By Gary "Festival Nomad" McWilliams
Since the beginning of 2014, Ontario Visited Websites have been going through a series of changes. Our first series of changes was to update our operating system. This allowed us to manage the websites more easily and efficiently. At the same time we decided to "update" the look of the websites. We wanted to make them more in line with the changes that the Ontario government made to the way it promoted Ontario Tourist regions. That's why we introduced the Ontario map which was split into Ontario's 13 RTO's (Regional Tourism Organizations). That is also why we posted our "Visited" articles into the appropriate region. I think that the concept was a good one, but the execution feel short. Frankly, we had a number of web visitors tell us that the websites were too complicated and that it was hard to find what they were looking for. As a result, we are now the process of updating our websites, especially the "Welcome/Entry" pages, with a more "modern" look and hopefully a better "search" system and layout. We will let you and our web visitors be the judges. Each "Welcome" page is divided into a number of sections. The top of each page includes a "photo slide show'' which features a number of images taken at the various events and communities we have visited. Below the "slide show" is a section that allows you to ~ "Visit Our Other Websites", "Visit Our Visited Articles" and finally, "Visit Our Information Hub", which Link to Interesting Event Features and Information. Under this section, is our "Past Ontario Adventures" area. Here you will find links to a selection of six past "Visited Articles". The next section takes you to Judi's INSIDE SCOOP Blog. The next section allows you to visit one of our "Special Information" websites, "Ontario Event Finder", "Ontario Event Calendar" (This section is 'Under Construction' and will allow event organizers to post themselves) and "Ontario Event News" (Also 'Under Construction' and will allow event organizers to post event information.)
The "Newsletter Sign-up" registration is next, followed by some of the "Testimonials" that we have received and then there is the bottom section, which includes SOCIAL MEDIA icons. Here you will have the chance, if you are not already doing so, to "follow us on Twitter" of "Like us on Facebook". Judi "Scoop" McWilliams is "Tweeting" up a storm and adding new followers everyday. If you have a "Scoop" you'd like "spread", e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. That's it, in a nutshell. Please let us know if you see areas where we can improve. As I said, we are in the "process" of "updating and tweaking".
In closing, let me thank you for helping me to improve our websites and to apologize for the lateness of this newsletter. The lateness is a result of the complex changes we have been making. We hope that you are enjoying the many great festivals, events and activities that are taking place in communities across Ontario!
"Old Church in Georgetown"
COMMUNITY FEATURE ~ Tourism Midland offers many special events and activities for the entire Family! From their Farmers Market, to the Midland Culture Centre, to their TugFest, August 22 – 23rd, to Fishing Championships, Boating, Hiking, Huronia Museum, Sainte Marie Among the Hurons, Martyr's Shrine and the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre to the Downtown Historic Mural Tours, (worth checking out their (just click Virtual Mural Tour) and so much more. We encourage you to check Tourism Midland website and see how a Family visit could be the perfect summer holiday.
HERITAGE ~ Travel along the Heritage Path ~ join along while visiting these amazing Heritage Sites and Facilities: Heritage Mica Days (Friends of Murphys Point Park) Silver Queen Mine Guided Hikes & Spirit Walks ~ Check their schedule for all the fun!; Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre ~ check out Wildfires! ~ 3-D Fire Fighting Adventure; Pathways to Peace ~ Western Corridor War 1812-1814; Westfield Heritage Village ~ August Sweet Summer Sundays, Labour Days ~ Special Event; Hutchison House Museum ~ Scottish Tea Afternoon treats; Lang Pioneer Village Museum; Kawartha Settlers’ Village
COMMUNITIES ~ Tourism in Ontario is thriving, as these City’s, Town’s and Communities welcome you to tour their Regions, we encourage you to check out their great website for a breakdown of all the wonderful adventures waiting to be discovered ~ Tourism Kingston; Tourism Midland; County of Brant; Tecumseh Business Improvement Area; Buckhorn Community Centre; City of Port Colborne; Brockville & District COC Tourism
ARTS & CULTURE ~ A very busy community active in providing wonderful Arts, Culture, Festivals and Events is the City of Waterloo offering their annual Waterloo Busker Carnival, Royal Medieval Faire and their ongoing Summer Concert Series to name a few of their activities.
Music and Theatre, Racing, Fairs, Shows, and more create a combination of delightful afternoons and exciting evenings. Check out these Arts & Culture experiences ~ Westben Arts Festival Theatre; St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival ; Western Fair District; Stratford Summer Music;
EXPLORE ~ If reptiles and Dinosaurs are your “cup of tea” try out the Indian River Reptile Zoo in the Peterborough area this summer; they offer a unique setting with life size animatronics dinosaurs, part of their Dinosaurs Roar exhibit; or set sails with Sunset Cruises in the Muskokas travelling with Captain Randy and Crew on the Peerless II, or Idyllwood; or if sticks, stones and bones are up your alley, the drive to Sarnia to the Stones 'N Bones Museum will delight the entire family, Sarnia’s #1 Attraction on Trip Advisor.
AGRITOURISM ~ While summer seems like a perfect time for festivals and events, the Agricultural Societies have many year round activities. From Fairground rentals, to dog shows, truck & car shows, Car Toot Bingo and so much more. If you check some of these websites you will be sure to catch some amazing events! McLean Berry Farm; Woodbridge Agricultural Society; Lindsay Agricultural Society; Ancaster Fairgrounds; Roseneath Agricultural Society; Listowel Agricultural Society; Lombardy Agricultural Society; Caledonia Agricultural Society; North Lanark Agricultural Society; Western Fair District; Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show; Binbrook Agricultural Society.
"Ice Cream in the Village of Erin"
Festival Nomad's Report...
Judi and I had a lot of fun traveling around Southern Ontario during the month of July. It all started off on July first when we visited Fort Wellington in Prescott and then traveled to Bath for their Canada Day Celebrations. Bath is a "Loyalist Town" and really knows how to celebrate Canada Day! If you are thinking of visiting Canada Day in Bath, arrive early! Our next travels where to north west to the Bolton - Orangeville area. This whole are has a number of very interesting communities and activities. During this trip we visited a number of communities, including Bolton, Orangeville, Erin and Georgetown. Along the way, we had a late breakfast at the "Caledon Family Restaurant". This was formerly known as "Flapjack's" and has been a favourite breakfast stop form many year's. The restaurant is located on Hwy. 10, just south of the entrance to the "Forks of the Credit" road and the food was every bite as good as I remembered it!. After a great meal, we wound our way along the scenic Credit River to Belfountain. After Belfountain we found a "Detour" sign that told us that "Creditview Road"" was closed due to "Cheltenham Day"! We, of course, decided to investigate. We were just in time to witness the "Pie Eating Contest"! The kids were certainly enjoying it, but I'm not sure about the Moms, who would have to deal with the "BLUEBERRY MESS"! All-in-all, I wonder outing! Also in July we traveled back to Prescott to Opening Night of "Two Gentlemen From Verona". This was our annual visit to the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. We had a wonderful time at the play, but were sad, however, to think that our friend, Artistic Director, Ian Farthing, was leaving. Judi and I certainly wish Ian the best for his future, we will miss him!
"Eating at the Forks of the Credit - Caledon Family Restaurant (formerly Flapjack's)!"
Lots, happened and will happen in August. Here's an idea of some of the events and activities available during the rest of August and during the month of September.
Art, Music, Culture
August 21 - 24 ~ Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival
August 23 ~ North Lanark Highland Games (North Lanark Agricultural Society,
August 23 - 24 ~ Cari Festival (Woodbridge Fairgrounds)
August 23 ~ Rock the Locks (Buckhorn Community Centre)
August 29 - September 1 ~ Artfest Toronto (Historic Distillery District)
September 4 - 7 ~ Cabbagetown Festival of the Arts
September 5 - 7 ~ Southside Shuffle Blues & Jazz Festival
September 19 - 20 ~ Jazz & Blues in the Village (Sarnia)
September 27 - 28 ~ Georgian Studio Tour
September 5 - 7 ~ Quilting at the Lakes (Buckhorn Community Centre)
Fun at the Fairgrounds!
August 6 - 27 ~ Car Toot Bingo (North Lanark Agricultural Society, Almonte Fairgrounds)
August 23 ~ Mallorytown Village Fair
August 24 ~ Junk in the Trunk Caledonia Fairgrounds)
August 28 - September 1 ~ Paris Fair
August 30 - September 1 ~ Port Perry Fair
Good Eats, Music, Family Fun!
August 21 - 24 ~ Waterloo Busker Carnival
August 21 - 24 ~ Tecumseh Corn Festival
September 5 - 7 ~ Rotary Club of Oshawa Ribfest
September 13 ~ Blessfest (Newmarket)
September 20 ~ Royal Medieval Faire ~ Waterloo
September 27 - 28 ~ Ruthven Apple Festival
September 19 - 21 ~ Bushplane Days Festival (Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, Sault Ste. Marie)
September 5 - 14 ~ Western Fair
September 5 - 7 ~ Uxbridge Fall Fair (150th)
September 11 - 14 ~ Spencerville Fair
September 11 - 14 ~ Welland Fair ~ Niagara Regional Exhibition
September 12 - 14 ~ Beaverton Fall Fair
September 12 - 14 ~ Port Hope Fair
September 12 - 14 ~ Binbrook Fair
September 12 - 14 ~ Bracebridge Fair & Horse Show
September 17 – 21 ~ Lindsay Exhibition
September 18 – 21 ~ Ancaster Fair
September 25 – 27 ~ Bobcaygeon Fall Fair
September 19 – 21 ~ Great Northern Exhibition
September 25 – 28 ~ Caledonia Agricultural Society
September 26 – 28 ~ Milton Fall Fair ~ Country Roots
September 26 – 28 ~ Roseneath Fair
"Detour to Cheltenham!"
DETOUR ~ ROAD CLOSURES WELCOME!
By Judi “Scoop” McWilliams
Whether you are expecting it or not, a Road Closure is inevitable!
If you are trying to get to an appointment on time, or an occasion that truly is “time sensitive”, a Road Closure is most likely going to negatively affect the outcome of your day.
As Ontario Visited is always trying to report on the “Positives” about our outings, we can truly report on several Road Closure Fantastic Outcomes!
We reported recently about our journey through Toronto, the final positive result was safely returning home. Our journey to the Village of Bath for Canada Day ended in a Fantastic Outcome! As we approached the area the traffic slowed, then stopped. A police vehicle was directing vehicles around the entire town to the other side, or if they choose, up to the 401 highway. We were concerned that we were now going to miss the Canada Day parade. Patiently, we waited our turn for directions and then followed the other cars. Much to our surprise and delight, we found ourselves on the “other side” of town, where volunteers welcomed us to park in a large farmer’s field. We could hear music coming towards us and crowds cheering. The Festival Nomad challenged me to run up the hill to see if I could get a few photos before we “missed” everything. I ran; he caught up just in time to see the first Grand Marshal and fire trucks ringing their bells to start the parade! Wow, we made it in time!
Another Road Closure Fantastic Outcome recently, was during a Saturday afternoon outing. We had decided to jump in the car for a driving Tour and take whatever the day had to offer. We are adventurers and like to take on challenges. However, as we approached one downtown that was in full swing of their community event, parking was nowhere to be found. We tried driving several times around the town, even up and down the side streets and hills. There were so many folks that even the thought of jumping out; doing a quick “walk-about” was out of the question, so, onward we traveled to what used to be our favorite breakfast spot at the “Forks of the Credit”. It previously was called “Flapjacks”, a dark, dingy place that was a tad “creepy”, but had the best homemade preserves, Texas toast and “flapjacks” anywhere. Back in the day, over 30 years ago there were long line-ups at the restaurant. Today, a new owner has created a fresh look, but the same recipes and same great “flapjacks” were being served, the long line ups still occur.
After a delicious feast, we took several drives back and forth, up and down the winding roads of the Forks of the Credit and finally to the top of the escarpment, to the Hamlet of Belfountain. After reaching the top and then visiting the Village of Erin, that we drove on down another windy road and suddenly decided to take a turn left onto a country road where the sign said to “Cheltenham”. The Village of Cheltenham. Gary had been there in the past and remembered the community as being quaint. As soon as we turned off the main highway, there it was, a "humongous" ROAD CLOSED sign. I got out and ran back to the sign; it welcomed folks to Cheltenham Day. We slowly drove down the road and found several vehicles parked on the narrow sides of the road by a few quaint homes. Gary managed to maneuver his way into the only spot left (thank goodness we have such a small car). We thought that if that many folks had parked here, how far a walk could it be to the downtown. After a short walk over a bridge with a shallow river running quietly by and kids were floating in “inner tubs”, we found ourselves right in the downtown. Bails of hay lined all the way up the steep hill and down towards the downtown. The trail of hay bales ended in front both the “General Store”. This was the finishing line for the "Soap Box Races". We soon found out this community is famous for its Cheltenham Day Soap Box Races. We will write more in a future article about the community, but today we were just in time for what seemed to be the entire community gathered for the blueberry pie eating contest.
The day turned out to be a fabulous one and our fortune to not obey the ROAD CLOSURE sign worked in our favor. Don’t be fooled by a sign, you never know what adventures may lie beyond! It could turn out to be a Road Closure Fantastic Outcome!