INSIDER Header March15
"Ontario Festivals Visited You Tube Lifestyle Events Video"


I know that over the past few months I’ve talked about our move to Thornbury. I’d like to tell that it was an easy move, but it wasn’t. Change, especially for Judi, didn’t come easily. For me, I tried to take it in stride, and even became “Winterman”! The move, however, did get me to think about change and what it meant to me. That’s why I’ve entitled this article “Evolution”. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Evolution” as “a process of slow change and development”. I think that all of us, throughout our lives, are in the process of “evolution or change”! I know that I can’t run as fast as I did as a kid! However, I think I can rationalize a situation better now than I did as a young man. Even my temper and “my shape” changed as I got older. Heck, as I said above, I even changed from hating winter and snow to become “Winterman”. If that’s not change (evolution) I don’t know what is!

Taking the thought of change a little further, I started to think about Ontario Festivals Visited and its “evolution”. Change began almost from day one. We started off as an event consulting business and evolved into a website, finding, visiting and promoting Ontario festivals, events, fairs and communities. The changes come both through desire to change and through necessity. As the definition says, it was a slow (8 years) process of change and development.

In fact, this evolutionary process is also “in play’ with most things, relationships, businesses, communities, politics and so on. I think that it is especially comes “in play” with communities and their events. How many times, over the past few years have we heard that event has been cancelled or postponed? Many of those events seemed to have been quite successful. I won’t go into specifics, but Judi and I have certainly seen our fair share of change, as we have traveled throughout Ontario over these past 8 years. We even gave a seminar at last year’s Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS). Part of our seminar contained an interview with the then General Manager of the Lindsay Central Exhibition, Andy Letham (Now Mayor of the City of Kawartha Lakes). During the interview he talked about how the Lindsay Ex changed to become more relevant to the community. If you’d like to listen to the interview, click HERE for our Ontario Festivals Visited You Tube video. It was amazing to see just how many fair committees were struggling in keeping their events relative. Interestingly enough, the reasons for their challenges varied. Some had committee members that had worked for years and were now tired. Others had town councils who didn’t appreciate the fair’s community value and wanted to take over the Society’s land for their own use. Still others found themselves financially strapped and were trying to make ends meet! None of these challenges were each Society’s fault, they were just part of the “evolutionary process”. Fortunately, most committees rise to the challenge and find ways to continue, especially if they collectively recognize that change is inevitable and embrace it.

That’s what Judi and I have tried to do, embrace life’s changes and move forward, “Winterman” and “Winterwoman” and all! Here’s to change and the future! See you around the corner, chasing our dreams!

"Conducting seminar at the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS)."

Festival Nomad’s Report…

Winter, especially February, hasn’t been kind to much of North America. Snow on the eastern seaboard has been particularly harsh! Fortunately, for most of Ontario, winter has played right into our “fun” loving, “snow” loving residents! In the Blue Mountain area, we have plenty of snow to keep most “snowbirds” happy! As you might sing, “The hills are alive with the sound of swishing”! However, we are about to enter the beginning of spring. Will the snow and cold weather continue? Wiarton “Willie” doesn’t think so, but like most weather forecasters, it’s a toss-up who will be right, the weather “man” (or animal) or “Mother Nature”. Frankly, my money’s on “Mother Nature”! With that being said, the March break will soon be here, and families will be looking for things to do. Some families will head south to “sunnier climates”, but others will want or have to stay here in the “colder” north. To me, that’s not such a bad idea. Ontario communities have lots to offer those of us who choose to brave the “variable” March weather. Our article, entitled “Family Fun”, will hopefully give you and your family some “food for thought”. We have tried to highlight some of the events and activities that we are aware of. There are, of course, so many wonderful activities available in March. So many, that we are only able to highlight a few. If you don’t seeing anything that catches your attention, you might want to visit either our Ontario Event Finder, or our Ontario Event Calendar. These two web services are being updated daily and contain links to the various event websites. These three other Ontario websites that can also try ~ Ontario Travels, Festivals and Events Ontario and the Summer Fun Guide. Each website contains event listings and links. Have fun this March. Hopefully Judi and I will see along the way!

"Enjoying winter activities at the Village at Blue Mountain!"

Engaging Youth…

"The following is an excerpt from Judi "Scoop" McWilliams' interview with Cauleen Viscoff, co-chair of the Peterborough Garden Show. The full article can be found on Judi's THE INSIDE SCOOP Blog. The 2015 Peterborough Garden Show takes place on April 2 - 4."

I had the privilege to get “THE INSIDE SCOOP” from co-chair Cauleen Viscoff. Our acquaintance and friend Margaret Higgins, committee member, offered me the opportunity to get the “SCOOP” from their “dynamo” co-chair. Margaret herself’ is a “dynamo”, always willing to share her insight, knowledge, wisdom, ideas and enthusiasm with anything to do with flowers, plants, gardening, and or course, the Peterborough Garden Show.

“Engaging Youth in your Community”!

The Peterborough Garden Show has been working with community youth and in particular, those at a local high school, where they have integrated a unique program in the students’ curriculum. The woodworking class takes generously donated lumber and creates “garden chairs” or “stools”, and this year “bird houses”. Then, the art class takes over and hand-paints floral designs on the stools, and birdhouses. This year, the Peterborough Garden Show is allocating “booth space” so garden show attendees can purchase the stools and birdhouses which the students are proud to share and show to their families and friends.

Two high schools are competing this year in a floral competition, creating small centre pieces that should create additional beauty and excitement to the Show!

Many skills are acquired during these projects. The students take a theme, create a design, and learn to work within the deadline parameters, execute their visions and finish the projects. Not only do the students gain the “community hours” required for their graduations from high school, they gain confidence, pride in their contribution to their school, community, family and themselves.

The Peterborough Garden Show believes it is important to engage not only the students, but the young families in the community in helping all types of gardeners, from the first-timers, to the dreamers and the experienced. There is something for everyone’s garden no matter how small or big.

In that vein, this year, they have a Garden Show Marketplace where small farmers or market gardeners can rent a table to sell their home grown or made wares, like veggies, honey, goat cheese etc.

You can check out the Peterborough Garden Show at http://www.peterboroughgardenshow.com.

"Enjoying the sights and sounds of the Peterborough Garden Show!"

Lots to Do in March!

As promised in my Festival Nomad’s Report, the following will give you an idea of what’s happening in Ontario in March. As explained, this is just a ‘snapshot”, there is so much more to see and do. The “Event Listing” websites mentioned above will also help you find other enjoyable activities for both you and your family. As you consider your “adventures”, why not include other family members (parents, grandparents, and cousins), neighbours or local seniors in your plans. Sharing your experiences with others can be a lot of fun!

To simplify this article, I’m going to split it into 3 different categories ~ Major Attractions, Festivals and Events and Community Activities. Where available, I will link the event to their website.

Major Attractions

AGO: Art Gallery of Ontario ~ Drop In Family Fun ~ March 14 – 22
Hockey Hall of Fame ~ Family Fun ~ March 13 - 22
CN TOWER ~ March 16 – 20
Ontario Science Centre ~ March 14 – 22
Toronto Zoo ~ March Break at the Zoo ~ March 14 – 22

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) ~ March Break ~ March 14 - 22

Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory ~ Bugfest ~ March 13 - 22

Village at Blue Mountain ~ March Break at Blue ~ March 14 - 24

Black Creek Pioneer Village ~ March Break Mystery Fun ~ March 14 - 22

King’s Court at Casa Loma ~ March 14 – 22
Canada Agriculture & Food Museum ~ Barnyard March Break ~ Feb 28 – March 22
Bob the Builder at the Canadian Children’s Museum ~ until March 22
Canada Aviation and Space Museum ~ March Break Activities ~ until March 22


Festivals and Events

Wildlife Festival 2015 (Norfolk County Fair) ~ March 14 - 15

Maple in the County (Prince Edward County ~ March 28 - 29

Maple Syrup Festival at Westfield Heritage Village ~ March 8, 15, 18, 19, 22, 29: April 3 & 5

March Break Camp (Ball's Falls Conservation Area) ~ March 16 - 20

SnowCrown Festival (Blue Mountain) ~ March 14 - 21

Wizard World Fun Park ~ Better Living Centre, Toronto ~ March 15 - 22
Canada Blooms: The Toronto Flower & Garden Festival ~ March 13 – 22 at the Direct Energy Centre
Toronto ComicCon ~ March 20 – 22 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Bell Free Weekend: Family Screenings & Activities ~ March 14 – 20 at TIFF Bell Lightbox

Pinocchio ~ March 3 – 21 at Young People’s Theatre
Disney on Ice Presents Frozen ~ March 18 – 22 at Rogers Centre

Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland – National Ballet of Canada ~ March 18 – 22 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts ~ Branching Out, March 4th to April 17thThe Arts Centre
Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts~ Meet the Artist Day, March 7th and 28th, 1 to 4pm

Westfield Heritage Village: Maple Syrup Festival ~ March 8, 15, 22, & 29 & Good Friday, Wednesday, March 18, Thursday, March 19 of March Break; April 3 and Easter Sunday, April 5

Lindsay & District Model Railway Show ~ March 2829

Buckhorn Maplefest ~ March 14, 15; March 21, 22; March 28, 29
Ottawa-Gatineau GolfExpo ~ March 7 – 8
Ottawa Valley Farm Show ~ March 10 – 12
Ottawa Home & Garden Show ~ March 26 – 29
Ottawa Irish Festival ~ March 6 – 17
Ottawa Antiques Show~ March 21 – 22

Community Activities
Goderich ~

YOUNG CANADA WEEK scheduled for March 13th to March 15th, 2015 and March 20 – 22

Ancaster (Fairgrounds) ~

Home & Leisure Hot Tub Show ~ March 6 – 8

Lantz McLaren Ontario Xtreme Cowboy Clinic ~ March 6 – 14

Homecraft Spring Garage Sale ~ March 21

Hamilton Cat Fanciers Show ~ March 21 - 22

Ancaster Wedding Show ~ March 27

Rodmasters Car Club ~ March 29

Brockville ~

Gibbons Maple Syrup Pancake Breakfast ~ March 21

Thousand Islands Playhouse ~ Swing, Swing, Swing - Cabaret Music Series ~ March 27 – 29

Caledonia ~

Home and Outdoor Living Show ~ March 27-28

London (Western Fair District) ~

London Farm Show ~ March 4 - 6

Little Rays Reptile Zoo ~ March 18 – 21

14th Annual Jr. Beef Expo Show ~ March 21st & 22nd

Speed & Custom Car Show ~ March 21 – 22

All Equine Show ~ March 27 – 29

Milton (Fairgrounds) ~

Milton Youth Theatre Productions (#1 Hall) ~ March 16-20

Kingston ~
           Maple Madness at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area ~ March 14 to 22 (March Break), March 28 and 29, April 4 and 5

    Kingston Home and Cottage Show ~ March 20 – 22

Lindsay (Fairgrounds)
          East Central Farm Show ~ March 4 -5
          Kawartha Lakes This Week Spring Home & Outdoor Show ~ March 20 - 22

Campbellford (Westben Arts Festival Theatre) ~
          Tick Talk: "Happy Birthday Chopin!" ~ March 1
          Chat & View: Fiddler on the Roof Movie ~ March 5


(Please Note ~ If you have an event or activity that is not shown in this article, please let us know and we will add it to both our Ontario Event Calendar and our Ontario Event Finder, if not already posted.)



"Making Maple Syrup at the Buckhorn Maple Syrup Festival ~ McLean Berry Farm."

Reflections of the Past ~ Across Canada Visited

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 … Crossing the Rockies
As I said, I had had a number of people tell me how monotonous crossing the Prairies were. I didn’t find it that way at all, and I don’t think Judi did either. I found beauty all around us, the interesting little Prairie Towns, the fields of waving wheat and the long straight roads. The sun, especially at dust, was spectacular! However, after traveling so far on flat ground, reaching the foothills of the Rocky Mountains was a pleasant relief. I had traveled to Calgary many times by air, so coming into the area by automobile was a new experience. Calgary, itself, is an interesting city, full of life and excitement. Fortunately, we had two good friends who lived in Calgary and they had offered to let us stay with them while we were in the city. Our friends, Melody and Dick Farmer, are wonderful people and we always have a great time when we visit them. At this point in our trip, our stay in Calgary was going to be very short, one night! Our plan was to drive straight through to British Columbia. We had arranged several appointments so we were on a tight schedule, plus, we had to get back to greet the “Queen”! For anyone who has taken the time to “Cross the Rockies”, I am sure that you will agree with me that it is an amazing trip! Along the way we stopped at Yoho National Park. As Judi’s notes in her trip diary, “ground squirrels, mule deers, very spectacular mountains, green, clear rivers, and lush forests!” I think that sums up our Rockies experience! We arrived in Langley, B.C. in time for a meeting with the British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF). From that meeting we went directly to the ferry that would take us to Vancouver Island! 


"Spectacular views while crossing the Rockie Mountains!"