This past Christmas my sister-in-law, Festival Nomad Correspondent Supreme (she made me add that!), Carol Law, gave me a “Word of the day” calendar. I’m not sure if she was trying to help me improve my vocabulary or was trying to tell me something else. No matter what the reason, the calendar has given me much food for thought! Here’s an example, March 28th word was “Tizzy ~ a very excited and mixed up state of mind”. An appropriate word for me at this time of year, because I get all “excited” at the thought of spring and all that it brings… flowers, warmth (I hope), rebirth, leaves and the list goes on. It also signals the time that Judi and start planning the upcoming year’s adventures! With this in mind, I must make a confession! I peeked at future words! I know that I shouldn’t have, but I’m glad I did (Don’t judge me). On the April 5th page I found the perfect word for what Judi and I were about to do… “Peruse ~ to examine or consider with attention and in detail: study”. Yikes, that’s exactly what Judi and I do to plan for the festivals, events and communities we want to visit in the future. Fortunately, these days the Internet allows us to research (peruse) even the smallest details. When you plan on visiting 40 to 50 venues in a fairly short time, research is the key. For anyone who loves to visit festivals, event and communities, I would definitely recommend “perusing” the Internet. So, that’s my April “word”. Who knows what “words” future months or days will bring! Who knows, it could be a word like “Bluster” or “Truculent”! I’ll let you know as time marches on. Thanks Carol for “The Gift” that keeps on giving!
"Visiting the scenic Village of Belfountain on the Forks of the Credit."
Over the years, Judi and I have visited hundreds of Ontario communities. Some are small hamlets and villages, while others are part of larger towns and cities. However, they all have one things in common, they represent the fabric of the people who reside there. That’s why community events are so important. They give residents a sense of pride and belonging and they give visitors the opportunity to discover the community and its people. It doesn’t matter how large or small the event, the effects are the same. That’s why I am encouraged when I see so many local community leaders support, both financially and more importantly volunteering, events that take place in their community. Volunteers make each community special. Judi and I had the opportunity the other day to talk to a lady who volunteers at her community’s fair. She told us how much so enjoyed volunteering and that she had been doing it all her life. Right now, she’s in charge of the Men’s Pie Baking Challenge. She told us that last year they auctioned off the Men’s Pies and that they raised over $2,000 last year… amazing! She mentioned that 2017 marked their fair’s 150th anniversary. Coincidently, the same year that Canada became a nation! Image, 150 years of tradition, thousands of volunteers, each making the community a better place to live. It breaks my heart when I see well-meaning, but misinformed politicians, not doing everything they can to help organizers make their event successful, no matter the size. Support doesn’t have to come in just dollars, it could come in the form of the use of town land, or of including the event on the town’s website. Some help is better than no help! The more successful an event, the better for the town and its residents. Also, I believe that smaller events can showcase a community just as much as larger events. As I have mentioned in past articles, Judi and I will be looking for unique places to travel to and visit. Hopefully, along the way, we will discover exciting and unique communities, ones that we have not visited before! The photos on both side columns show some of the communities we have experienced.
"A community within a community... the ByWard Market in Ottawa."
Festival Nomad’s Report…
In my previous article I spoke about communities and the important of Volunteers. This month these amazing community supporters are recognized through National Volunteer Week, April 12 -18. April is also important for volunteers because this is the month when most summer committees start rolling up their sleeves to finalize event plans. In February, Agricultural Fair volunteers met at their annual Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) to update themselves through convention seminars. The theme of this year’s event was “Fabulous Family Fun” and I am sure that that is what you will experience when you visit your favourite Fair this year! In March, Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) held annual convention in Niagara Falls. Volunteers from throughout Ontario gathered to celebrate last year’s events and earn about “what’s new” for the future. This year’s theme, “Let the Inspiration Flow”, emphasized the vitality of Ontario festivals and events. FEO also introduced their Top 100 Festivals and Events list. If you’d like to see which events have been included, you can click HERE.
Of course, spring committees will already have their plans in place and will be holding their collective breaths for the big day(s) to come. Judi and I are already looking forward to climbing out of are winter clothes and donning our “Festival Regalia”! The month of April features a variety of festivals and events. You can visit both our Ontario Event Calendar and our Ontario Event Finder for more information. Don’t forget that we are continually updating both of these services, so please feel free to search them frequently. As I have mentioned in the past, if you know of any events that are not shown on one of these websites, please let me know and I will make sure that they are included. If it’s Maple Syrup Festivals, Spring Tours, Poetry Readings and Easter Egg Hunts, April is the month to gather up your family and friends, put on you “Festival Regalia” and head out to one or more Ontario communities and enjoy “Fabulous Family Fun” and become “Let the Inspiration Flow”! See you on the road, and don’t forget to invite a senior to have fun with you!
NOTE ~ Judi and I would like to welcome back Joe Corrigan to the Lang Pioneer Village Museum Team! We hope to see you soon.
"We hope that the Easter Bunny comes to your home... he's at our home right now!"
National Volunteer Week ~ "Volunteers Are Part of the Ripple Effect"
Article by Festival Nomad Correspondent, Carol Law (Owner, VolunteersCan)
National Volunteer Week takes place, April 12th to 18th... Remember to thank a Volunteer!
National Volunteer Week is April 12-18! Volunteers are part of the ripple effect like a stone thrown in a lake: its effect has a direct impact. At the same time, like ripples, volunteer efforts reach-out far and wide to improve and strengthen our communities and make our country vibrant.
Celebrate National Volunteer Week by committing to take action to renew your volunteer investment in your community.
- Make a commitment to renew your volunteer support this spring. Check in with your Volunteer Coordinator where you volunteer to see if there are new opportunities. Renewing your contact and commitment to volunteering will reenergize and strengthen the organization you volunteer with.
- Create your own “ripple” story. Share it with your organization. You will be amazed at how far your efforts help. For example; volunteering at a food bank 2 hours once every two weeks. Here is how it ripples:|
You help the food bank meet its mission ~ the donors to the food bank are more invested in the food bank as it reaches more people because they have help to organize the food ~ the media does a story on the increase in donations so more donations of time and money follow ~ you mention how great you feel with your contribution to the success of the food bank ~ the team at work organizes a food drive ~ the food you helped organized goes to someone who now has hope ~ they decide to give back by helping at a local community dinner ~ the dinner helps someone feel cared for ~ they in turn find a way to care for others….. Your 2 hours every 2 weeks has engaged easily over 50 people in the community. This is how communities are strengthened. The time you give is valuable in countless ways!
- While you are renewing your commitment don’t forget to ensure that if one is required, your police screening is current. Many organizations require some level of police screening. They also differ in the cycle for renewal. As police screenings take time to process which might interrupt your volunteer work, take the time to check to see if your screening is due soon.
- Look for National Volunteer Week celebrations in your community. Attend one and get to know others who are committed to strengthening your community.
Whatever you do to celebrate National Volunteer Week know that you are an important part of your community in more ways than you realize.
"Feeding time for Lang Pioneer Village Museum Volunteers!"
A few years ago, I wrote several Blog articles describing a trip that Judi and I took across Western Canada. 2015 will mark the 25th anniversary since we took that trip. Although we didn’t know it then, it was the start of our “love affair” with exploring and discovering Canada’s great “Adventures”. As we enter our 9h year of reporting on Ontario communities and events, I thought that I would share another of our “Across Canada Visited” adventures.
ACROSS CANADA … Vancouver
In Vancouver we had a full schedule of meetings arranged. Our first was with the Vancouver Aquarium. The Vancouver Aquarium is spectacular above ground, but underneath it is something very special! After completing our meeting, we were treated to tour the Aquarium “below”! This area is the “heart” of the Aquarium and what allows it to be the fabulous facility it is! It is hard to imagine how the staff manages to keep everything working so well! To Judi and me it seemed to be a labyrinth of pipes and corridors, of dials and wheels; to the workers, it was “home”. That night we camped at Fort Langley and then returned to Vancouver. This time to visit the Stanley Park Zoo and then the Vancouver Museum. Both facilities were wonderful to visit and the staff at each made sure that we had a complete tour. It was now time to leave Vancouver and head back to Calgary. The “Queen” was waiting for us! We traveled back through the Rockies at the southern end of the Province, passing through Kelowna on the way. This is a wonderful part of British Columbia and one that Judi and I would like to explore more thoroughly in the future. Traveling along the Rocky Mountain highways is always an adventure! The beautiful scenic mountains, the magnificent valleys and, the wildlife are all spectacular! You never know what you are going to see! This trip there were mule deers, pronghorns, birds of all types and mountain goats. We stopped at Revelstoke to talk to a store buyer and then stayed in Field to camp for the night. Eventually we reached Calgary and back to our friends Dick and Melody. As before, we were greeted with much enthusiasm! It was now time to enjoy Calgary and to earn our keep!
ACROSS CANADA … The Pacific Rim
Once we had thoroughly explored Chemainus, we continued up island to Namino where we took the highway that would take us across the island to the Pacific Ocean. The trip across the island is very interesting. The only main town you pass is Port Alberni. It seems to appear all of a sudden, in the middle of nowhere! Along the way we passed through old growth forests with their famous giant trees. The road actually passes through one of these mammoth trees in Cathedral Grove! The middle of the island is lush and green. As we neared the western side of the island, the terrain became more mountainous. When we passed through many of the hills were barren of trees. A forest fire had ravaged the forest. Someone told me that although it looked awful, it would fairly quickly reforest itself. Nature is a wonderful thing, birth and re-birth! Coming down from the hills and overlooking the Pacific Ocean is awe inspiring! Judi and I marveled at the sight. The west side of Vancouver Island is very isolated and has only two major towns, Torfino and Ucluelet. In the middle of both towns is Long Beach, part of the Pacific Rim National Park. This is a wonderful natural park with white sandy beaches reaching into the sea. Off the shore are a group of small islands that are the home of many sea animals! Sea Lions were clearly visible from the shore! I must tell you, it was very hard to leave this magnificent place! But leave it we reluctantly did, and followed the same route we had come in. Back in Namino, we boarded the ferry, ready for our trip to Horseshoe Bay and then Vancouver.
"Walking on the beach at the Pacific Rim National Park."
ACROSS CANADA … Up Island
I think Victoria is one of the most beautiful cities in North America. It still retains its “Old British” charm! Tea at the Empress Hotel is a must, especially if you have any “British blood”! When we arrived on Vancouver Island we drove straight to Victoria. We were early enough to spend an hour or so sight-seeing. Victoria is a very expensive place to stay! So we decided to drive a short distance out of town to the Village of Sooke. There was a camp ground in Sooke that suited us and our needs. That night we had a fabulous meal at a Chinese Canadian restaurant. I don’t think that I have had a better meal! The next day we spent exploring Victoria and the Foot Rodd Hill Historic Park. Refreshed after a relaxing day, we packed up the van and started off towards “Up Island”. The trip takes you along the Malahat Highway. It is a spectacular trip and one well worth taking. There are several interesting towns along the way, but the one I was looking forward to was Chemainus. I had first visited this interesting town twenty years before and was anxious to see how it had changed. It has an interesting history. A few years before my first visit it had been a lumbering town with one main employer. The employer decided to shut the mill down and let all its employees go. Most towns facing this type of challenge would “fold up” and fade away. Not Chemainus! Some enterprising residents suggested that they hire several artists to paint murals on the sides of many of the buildings throughout the town. Each artist was instructed to paint an accurate painting of historical life in the area, but were to include one small inaccuracy in the scene. Once the murals were completed (with inaccuracies) the town offered a reward to visitors if they could identify all the inaccuracies. They offered a sizeable reward to the first person who could identify them all. Word spread about this unique contest and people “flocked” to the town. It has now become one of the most successful communities on the island. Artists, seniors and business people have chosen it as a great place to live! It's known as "The Little Town That Did"!
"Judi kayaking near Quadra Island, British Columbia."