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Fall Leaves
"The spectacular colours of autumn leaves!"
by Gary McWilliams

I know that you’ll think it’s odd, but I’ve started to think a lot about trees lately! While, maybe not so odd since it is the fall and “autumn colours” are everywhere! My first thoughts were, of course, about the magnificent colours displayed in the hills and valleys of the Blue Mountains. Everywhere I looked, colour invaded my eyes and conscious. It’s hard to image the bland colours of winter could emerge into the cavalcade of colours I am now witnessing! However, with “trees” it’s not just about colour.

It’s the thought of both rebirth and nourishment! The maple seeds that “flutter” to the ground like miniature “helicopters” bring hope of life and the sound of “acorns” dropping to the ground below and then being “snatched up” by industrious squirrels and chipmunks. “Food” taken to some unknown hiding place, ready for the hard winter to come!

As a boy I remember discovering the “power” of “chestnuts”! My friends and I would collect as many chestnuts as we could carry and then take them to our “secret fort”. Here we would put a hole through each chestnut with the tools (nail and hammer), that I had “borrowed” from my father’s tools chest. Once the chestnuts were ready for “battle” (hole and sting, or better yet, a shoelace!), we participants took turns trying to “smash” the other contestant’s chestnut to “smithereens”. What battles we had! Later in life, Judi and I would collect chestnuts from the trees where we lived. The chestnuts were then “gently” placed on a cookie sheet and put in an oven to bake. Getting the holes into the chestnuts was a lot harder, but the “smashing” to “smithereens” was just as “satisfying”!

It’s true, we may look older, but we are still “kids” at heart. If you don’t believe, try walking by a pile of “fallen leaves” and not thinking about jumping in it!

As I finish my thoughts about leaves, I hope that you will find the “joy” in thinking about them too. Drive down a tree lined lane in the fall, with the sun brightly shinning, and then think of me. I’ll be with you in “spirit”!

"A video of Fall colour tours in Ontario."
Fall …
by Judi "Scoop" McWilliams

This season brings rejuvenation, hope and “New Beginnings”!

Sounds like Spring … but I’m talking about FALL!

A time to give thanks to our "agricultural" friends who continue to bring fresh harvests to our communities.

Fall, for me, brings fond memories of fresh crisp air, enjoying juicy red apples, long walks with family, neighbours and friends and, of course, touch football.

Racking leaves in huge piles, jumping into them, and wheel barrel rides back on top of the piles was always something to look forward too! Collecting chestnuts was always a favourite activity, playing “knockers” and art projects such as pencil rubbings of the leaves onto greeting cards.

The fragrances of the season, the unique smell from the forests with the fallen leaves rustling on the ground, to the pumpkin and apple pie baking!

The colours sharp orange and red in contract to the deep blue skies!

To me, Fall is a “New Beginning” … a time of balance with nature! A time of sharing and generosity with the communities we live in and the wonderful people we connect with!

Fall is a great time to explore Ontario and all it has to offer!



"Memories of fresh crisp air, juicy red apples..."


Festival Nomad's Report...

September was a great month. It started off with a visit to the Toronto Distillery District to visit the Artfest Toronto show. This is really fabulous art and artisan show, organized by Lory MacDonald, owner of the Artfest Ontariogroup of shows (Port Credit, Kingston and Toronto).

In the middle of month, we traveled to Port Carling visit to Randy Potts, owner of Sunset Cruises. We were schedule to take a cruise of "Millionaires Row" (Lake Muskoka) on the Peerless II, an old gasoline tanker that Randy had turned into an amazing cruise ship. As always, the trip was fun and informative. After the cruises had ended, Judi was able to interview Randy for an upcomingInside Scoop Blog. I was able to video an "Oh Canada Eh! Game" question with Randy!


GIFF with Captain Randy

"Our new friend, GIFF, cruising with Captain Randy Potts (Sunset Cruises) on the Peerless II."


On our way back from the Peerless II, we stopped at the falls in Bracebridge. We wanted to create another Oh Canada Eh! Game question. While taking the video we spotted an OPP truck by the water. Curious, we walked down to see what was happening. There were three OPP officers standing at water’s edge. One of them was all dressed up on an amazing outfit! He was going diving and ready to take the “plunge”! We stayed to watch and I was permitted to take several photos and videos. Just before we left, the diver came up from down below and had a “crayfish” in his hand. He handed it to one of the officers on shore. We all took a close look, only to see that the poor thing was all wrapped up in fishing wire! Something had to be done, so the officer who held the crayfish gently cut away the wire. It was a delicate operation, but the crayfish was finally freed from the wire. Realizing that it was saved, it struggled until he was carefully placed back in the water. Another life saved! We never know what we are going to discover when we go on the road!



"Police operation!"


On the 20th of the month we visited the Town of Beaverton and the Beaverton Fall FairBeaverton is a beautiful community located on the shores of Lake Simcoe. The Fair was a lot of fun, with plenty to see and do.

During final Saturday of the month, visited two Fairs. The first was the Rocklyn Fair located just south of Meaford. The highlight of the Fair was the Men’s Apple Pie Baking Contest. Judi and I stood and watched in awe as the men set about their “baking” tasks. The intensity of the bakers was amazing and all of the final creations looked very “professional” (well, almost!). After Rocklyn, we raced to Stayner and the Great Northern Exhibition. All would have been fine if we hadn’t got lost and then re-routed by closed roads. Fortunately “Lucy” (our GPS) came to our rescue. At the Ex we met up with our friends Lory(Artfest) and Al and their beautiful granddaughter, Briar. We had a great time and enjoyed all that the Fair had to offer!

October is proving to be another great month. Still a lot to experience. The Fallcolours will be at their best. There are more Fall Fairs to explore, Pumpkin Festivals to discover and Halloween “Hauntings” to “Scare” you!

Too many times I have had to tell you about events that have ceased to continue. This month, however, I am very happy to tell you about one that is celebrating its 175th Anniversary! The Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show has been engaging Simcoe and surrounding area residents since 1840. This year’s Fair, to be held from October 6th to October 12th, will continue delight visitors from all over the county and the province. Judi and I congratulate everyone at the Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show on their 175th Anniversarycelebrations… see you at the Fair! 


"Happy 175th Anniversary ~ Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show!"

Oh Canada Eh! Game Answers…

In June, we started to play the Oh Canada Eh! Game. In September 2015, four Questions about Canada have been asked. The following are the Questions with the Answers.

  1. September 6th, 2015~ (Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, Sault Ste. Marie Question)
    QUESTION: “When was the 1st de Havilland delivered and to whom?” 
    ANSWER: “It was delivered in 1948 to the Ontario Government.
  2. September 13th, 2015~ (MS Chi-Cheemaun, South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island to Tobermory, Bruce Peninsula Question)
    QUESTION: “What does the MS stand for on the MS Chi-Cheemaun?
    ANSWER: “Motorship”
  3. September 20th, 2015~ (Gordon’s Park Eco Resort, Manitoulin Island Question)
    QUESTION: “What unique camping feature does Gordon’s Park Eco Resort have?
    ANSWER: “They offer Tipi camp sites.
  4. September 28th, 2015~ (Ermatinger. Clergue National Historic Site, Sault Ste. Marie Question)
    QUESTION: “What year was the OLD STONE HOUSE built and what was it built for?
    ANSWER“The OLD STONE HOUSE was built by Charles Oakes Ermatinger in 1808 and in addition to the family home, he used as his Fur Trading Post.

I hope that you enjoy playing the Oh Canada Eh! Game. I’m sure that you know all the answers. Remember, all of the answers can be found on the Internet. I’ll let you know the all answers to the October 2015 questions in our November 2015 INSIDER Newsletter.

Old Stone House

"Judi with Benn and Kathy Fisher standing in front of the Ermatinger's Old Stone House."


"It was a dark and stormy night..."

That's how the "scary" story began. I'm sure as kids we all had a "love/hate" relationship with being "scared". Sitting around a campfire, sitting in a dark house with all the lights out or just going up to a "dark old creepy" house, all of these caused most of us to have "goose bumps"!

I still hesitate before crossing the path of a black cat! However, of these are secondary to the scariest night of all, HALLOWEEN! As a kid, Halloween night was always exciting. Dressing up in something we thought was scary. Running up to each house yelling "TRICK or TREAT"! When we were younger, it was all about the "Treat"! Later, when I was older, I did want the "Treat", but I also wanted to "Trick"! We never "Tricked" the people who gave out "GOOD" treats!

Now the kids still go "Trick or Treating", but parents are more cautious. More and more communities are holding "Community Halloween" parties. Safer, but not as much fun. Some business are holding "Scary" event. One that I've been to a couple of times is "Fort Fright" held in Fort Henry, Kingston. Other facilities are also holding events. Wonderland in Vaughan tells us that they are the "Scariest". Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene is holding the "Pumpkinferno". Heritage Villages are also holding "Scary" events. Lang Pioneer Village (Keene) has "Historic All Hallows' Eve". Kawartha Settlers' Village (Bobcaygeon) has their "Haunted Village". Westfield Heritage Village(Rockton) has "Haunted Halloween". Black Creek Pioneer Village (Toronto) has "Howling Hootenanny", and the "Scary" list goes on.

So, hopefully Halloween night would be a "Dark and Stormy Night"! Hopefully it will a clear and "scary" night!

Enjoy yourselves and have safe "scary" fun!

Historic All Hallows Eve 2014 L.Keeley 080 P R

"Lots of All Hollows' Eve fun at Lang Pioneer Village Museum (Keene)."