Category Archives: Toronto

Toronto musician Gerry Shatford combines poetry and piano

Toronto music lovers will have a rare opportunity to hear “When I Sat Down to Play the Piano” performed live at Gallery 345 on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m.

Inspired by the poetry of Al Purdy, the collection of compositions (several of which appeared in the 2015 feature-length documentary “Al Purdy Was Here”) will be presented by East York pianist and composer Gerry Shatford, accompanied by Neil Swainson on bass and Barry Elmes on drums. Toronto poet, editor and educator Paul Vermeersch will also be on hand to provide introductory narration for each of the pieces, reading the Purdy poem from which its inspiration was drawn.

Proceeds from this concert will be donated to the Al Purdy A-Frame Association which has overseen the preservation and restoration of Al Purdy’s historic residence in Ameliasburgh, Ontario. During Purdy’s lifetime, the house was a gathering place for famous Canadian writers including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, George Bowering, Lynn Crosbie, Dennis Lee, Margaret Laurence, and numerous others. The A-Frame Association continues this tradition by financing a residency program for aspiring writers.

Gallery 345 is at 345 Sorauren Ave. Tickets cost $20 for general admission, or $10 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the door (cash only), and can be reserved by contacting info@gallery345.com

Exploring Waterloo Region – Bingeman’s Big Splash

After lunch at the (nearby) Boston Pizza, we came in to the Bingeman’s Big Splash. After changing into our bathing suits we stepped out on to the deck exited about all of the slides that awaited us. They had many slides to choose from and better yet, the height restrictions are very reasonable so that everyone can go (most of the required heights are around forty inches). My personal favourite slide was the Cyclone.

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

Over all, the park quite fairly spread out which makes it feel like there is less of a crowd, there also is a big wave pool

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

which has a shallow end

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

and a deep end however the tubes have to be rented for five dollars each and Cabana rentals are also available, another thing to note is that most of the rides are one person at a time, however there are a couple that two people can ride on at the same time.

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

We highly recommend that you try it out especially if traveling with young ones.

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario
Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario
Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario
Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

Overall it is the most fun water park in the region.

By Jonathan K.

Ctrl – V Experience in Waterloo, Ontario

As soon as we knew that we are going to CTRL-V we were so impatient that could not wait for 8 pm! The dinner took so long… Finally at 8:10 pm we arrived at Ctrl-V  – Canada’s first virtual reality arcade that was opened in Waterloo just recently.                                       We walked in the first set of doors… First the parents  had to sign the waver for safety reasons… after the wavers we watched the helpful demonstration video… and finally were ready to start!                           My first game was “Climbey”.  I had a tutorial, also the staff helped me to figure out walking and climbing techniques.  After playing “Climbey”, I choose a game where you pick a song and with your controllers you bump to the beat of the song – I chose “Shake it off” By Taylor Swift. It was a good exercise. My  about an hour experience felt like ten minutes…

By Anna Sophia

Family trip to African Lion Safari, Hamilton, Ontario

African Lion Safari, Hamilton, Ontario

African Lion Safari first opened its doors to the visitors in 1969 and since then went through a lot expansions and animal additions… About 6,000 visitors come here daily to see the exotic animals that are roaming free in the fields or just enjoying the warm summer day in their artfully created habitats on land and water.

To start our visit we boarded the “African Queen” boat that took us around the island where we saw monkeys jumping in the ropes and multiple birds such as vultures and pelicans.  One of the spots was taken by two lemur families. The boat operators told us about animals routine and some funny life stories…

A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada

The boat came back to the pierce and we decided to take a bus that goes to African savanna . We had to enter through the specially designed gate system that allows buses and cars to safely go in and out of that area. “Keep your arms and heads inside, no windows opening”…. The bus tour goes through multiple enclosures  each housing different wild animals.  We are surrounded by lions,  then  we pass by cheetahs… We got to see many mountain goats as well as rhinos and many giraffes…

A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada

The best part of the bus tour was visiting the giraffes, they came up very closely so we had around four of them circling around the bus, one of them even licked the bus mirrors. It is quite a spectacular view  – one of them gracefully approaching our window, the other is in the front of the bus… oh, one more is in the front!

A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada

Following the bus tour we went on the ”Nature Boy” scenic railway, the tour lasts around fifteen minutes. On the way we got to see the elephants habitat, a donkey and many turtles that came out of the pond for summer sun. It was a nice way to give our feet some rest and enjoy the fresh air coming from the lake and trees…

A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada

 

Elephants Bath time was now up, so we headed to the lake to see them coming gracefully – leading was a large male elephant and then smaller ones – females and young siblings. Elephants got in the water, it looked like they are walking on the bottom of the lake – but no, some places are deep and they do have to swim, sometimes we could only see the very top of the head and the trunk… they had some fun time splashing and spraying each other; later rangers came and started throwing apples to the elephants – which was a lot of fun for all!!

Elephant swim
A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada
A day with Family in African Lion Safari, Ontario, Canada

It was a hot day – we would not mind to go for a plunge too – and we could at the Safari’s water park area – however, we were quite hungry and went to the cafe to have lunch…. We had to say goodbye to all the animals big and small before heading of to our next destination.

By Jonathan K.

 

 

Day trip to Collingwood, July 2017

After the 1 hour drive from downtown Toronto we arrived at the Cranberry Village. We first arrived to the rooftop patio, which has the best view in all of Collingwood.

Roof top Patio in Living Water Resort, Collingwood

From the roof you can see the lake Huron, the 19 hole golf course as well as the newly refurbished marina.

Cranberry Golf Resort

Following a quick resort tour and lunch on the roof top patio we went to do paddle board yoga (SUP Yoga).

 

SUP Yoga, by Blu Wave in Living Water Resort, Collingwood

 

At first we thought that there was no way we could balance on a paddle board, let alone do handstands, bridges and other meditation poses.

Paddle Board Yoga by Blu Wave, in Collingwood Ontario

It turned out however that meditating on a paddle board while being gently rocked by the lake was very relaxing as well as a slightly challenging workout, after about an hour we returned back to the village to take on the iron chef challenge.

The iron chef challenge works like this; two teams of equal size are given 10 minutes to plan a dish using unknown ingredients
They can also “ purchase” products such as a lemon or herbs using the team’s points, which are then deducted from the final score.

Iron Chef Challenge Team 1, July 2017
Iron Chef Challenge food preparation

Once they have used up their 10 minutes of planning time, they are given 20 minutes to cook and arrange their chosen dish. The team at the end with the most points wins. However its not that simple as the chefs who organize the competition/exercise will throw in some really odd ingredients to challenge the contestants even more. For example in our list of products that we must use was included local fresh perch and oddly enough, a small box of cereal, again, all of the given items must be included.

Iron Chef Competition
Second Team in Iron Chef Challenge in Living Water Resort, Collingwood
Iron Chef Challenge winning team, July 2017

 

After completing the challenge, we went to the lakeside grill to enjoy their specialty steak, we heard that it was delicious because they had recently invested quite a lot of money into a brand new grill that cooks the whole steak perfectly and evenly and it was delicious, so delicious in fact that we all wanted another plate of steak even though we were full.

And like that the day was finished, we said our goodbyes and got in the car for the 1 hour drive back home.

By Jonathan K.

Bombardier Museum of ingenuity, Valcourt, Quebec

We arrived in Valcourt QC to see the place where the man known as the  pride of Valcourt created his company that would be renowned by the  world. The visit begins with the simple garage where  Joseph Armand  Bombardier decides to overcome the challenges of driving in the deep  snow.

Museum of Ingenuity, Valcourt, Quebec

By adapting the tractor wheels into treads and skis to become parts of  the vehicle he was able to make the first snowmobile- the B7 – that  within a very short period of time became in great demand not just in Quebec but all over Canada. In the garage there is still his officefilled with tools and papers, as if he just stepped out for a moment.
And you can see the first original snowmobile that looks quite bulky, since it was made of wood and various parts from other machines, stands in the middle of the garage.

Museum of Ingenuity, Valcourt, Quebec

The new creation became so popular that the company moved to the new larger building and was supported by the whole community of Valcourt. The larger sized vehicles followed and the business was prospering until… after World War II, the Quebec government passed a law that required cities to  remove the snow from highways and streets and the need for the snowmobile as a transportation quickly faded. The creativity of Joseph Armand Bombardier never stopped and he
brought new ideas into growing the business… a few months later the “Ski-Doo” comes out of his production and quickly gives raise to the new sport and gives all new outlook for winter fun.

Museum of Ingenuity, Valcourt, Quebec
Museum of Ingenuity, Valcourt, Quebec

From section to section we could see the machines created in different times for the variety of purposes – snowmobiles of all sizes, all terrain vehicles, the rail transport – here you can get on the actual streetcar and image being on the streets of the busy downtown.
In the next hall we were impressed by the original subway wheels that are used in Montreal Metro – and these are produced by Bombardier Inc. as well.

Museum of Ingenuity, Valcourt, Quebec

One of the expositions is dedicated to the aircraft industry, here the imagination will take you up to the skies – yes, you can fly! And feel like a pilot of the commercial aircraft, which destination is any place of your choice!

Museum of Ingenuity, Valcourt, Quebec

And not just the destinations you can reach here, you can build the totally new vehicle of your own creation. In the room filled with I-pads there is big screen with the images of all sorts of surrealistic machines moving, floating, flying, zooming… it’s a wonderful world of imagination; and no matter the age – it is a great fun for all!

FabLab, Museum of Ingenuity, Valcourt, Quebec

One more surprise at the end of our tour – so called ‘’ FabLabs’’. Anyone who likes to create, is in need of tools and good technical advice can come here and for a very reasonable fee get it all including materials, software and a helping hand! Really impressive and well done! And so encouraging!

Bombardier Original Garage, Museum of Ingenuity, Valcourt, Quebec

Granby Zoo, Quebec

During the last couple of years the topic of visiting Quebec was coming up several times in our discussions. Finally in May 2017 we booked a hotel and planned out the itinerary that would include some of the places that we thought would be interesting for everyone in the family.

The main destination was Quebec City and its beautiful downtown was so well preserved and such a distinct French heritage. We spent most of our time just strolling the streets, window shopping and watching the street performers who  really amazed us with their skills – fire jugglers, drama characters and musicians…

One of the destinations that excited our kids most was the Granby Zoo, which is about 3 hours drive from the downtown Quebec, and about an hour from Montreal. We were welcomed in the nice reception hall, got our tickets and went to explore the animal world.

Granby Zoo, Quebec

Right as we entered there was a gigantic size dinosaur’s head and a line up of kids willing to climb inside of it! No matter how big or small – they were very about the opportunity to see the real size dinosaurs! And there 21 of them right in front of you, so be very careful  – but don’t try to feed or pat these creatures!

Dino fun in Granby Zoo

Enough of the dinosaurs  – the kids forgot about dinosaurs right at the sight of the farm animals. And there were lots of them  – pigs, sheep, and goats – so friendly and ready to make friends!

Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec
Children are enjoying time at the Granby Zoo. Petting a piglet

After some hugs exchange with farm inhabitants we decided to go see some of the exotic creatures on display.

Granby Zoo, Quebec
Up close encounter with tropical fish via aquarium glass
Watching the turtles in Granby Zoo
Granby Zoo Aquarium

Oceania seemed to be a good place to start – first the stingrays and the variety of tropical fish and then all way around the Australian continent to see black swans, parrots, emus, and kangaroos.  Stingrays seem to be attracted to the hand emerged in the water –  some of them will come and allow us to gently touch their backs…
The Kangaroos were too busy to discuss any matters of their life, so the visit to the Oceania Garden was quite interesting as it is extremely rare you get to see kangaroos that close and with no fence!.

Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec
Australian Pavillion, Granby Zoo, Quebec

We entered the aviary and right away we were surrounded by many colorful parrots! For $1 you can buy a special nectar – just hold the cup tight and they will sit on your hand and drink it!

Granby Zoo Aviary, Quebec

We spend some good time  there – the parrots are so colorful and it is such a great experience to see them so close.

Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec

But there was a lot see and the time was  limited.
Our next destination was  Africa! Who doesn’t like to observe the grace of big cats, see elephants shower using trunks, slowly moving zebras and giraffes, and the hilarious monkeys?

Granby Zoo, Quebec
Meerkat, Granby Zoo, Quebec
Zebras, Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec

One of our major observations about Granby Zoo was the  design of the areas, nice fences that imitate greenery and well maintained grounds. We later learned that Granby Zoo received an Award for the Energy Consumption Reduction Efforts project that was implemented during the renovation of 2005-2010.

The Zoo is well mapped and organized – it was no problem to find any continent or animal of interest. And yes, the zookeepers definitely speak many languages, no worries if you don’t speak French!
After Africa we had just a bit of time to make a short tour of South America. We stopped by llamas who stretched out their necks asking for treat…

Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec
Llama, Granby Zoo, Quebec

it was a lot of fun to feed them some green leafs that we found on the trees  around; we were impressed by the spread of the wings of the Andean Condor and spent some time waiting for the alligators to wake up from the afternoon nap; finally one of them yawned and slowly moved towards the water… at the end of the South American trail we saw a powerful jaguar,  at the moment it was quite relaxed and not interested in any aggression.

Granby Zoo, Quebec
Granby Zoo, Quebec

On our way to South American continent we made a snack stop at “Le Marcher”. The restaurant offers a variety of foods and drinks and nice dining area;  there is also a large area outside with tables under umbrellas.
Next to the Restaurant there is an Amusement Park – where kids found some free rides while we were resting our feet; there is also an Amazoo Water park that offers quite the  variety of water rides, not now however… we may visit it some other time when the day will be hot enough for water fun…so long for now, the Zoo is closing and we are tired enough to get to our hotel and have some dinner.

What’s Up in Ottawa -Spring 2017 News

Ottawa Tourism
Not just tulips sprouting in Ottawa
GARDENS GALORE
Not just tulips sprouting in Ottawa
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The year of celebration continues!
OTTAWA THE HEADQUARTERS OF CANADA’S 150TH BIRTHDAY PARTY
The year of celebration continues!
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Fun ways to continue the party
STEP OUT AND ENJOY OTTAWA’S NIGHTLIFE
Fun ways to continue the party
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Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site
EXPLORE THE RIDEAU CANAL THIS SPRING
Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site
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Tempt your palate with these delicious offerings!
QUICK BITES OF OTTAWA’S FOOD AND DRINK SCENE
Tempt your palate with these delicious offerings!
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What’s shakin’ in Ottawa’s museums?
OTTAWA RACE WEEKEND
Get out and get active!
MORE
What’s shakin’ in Ottawa’s museums?
MUSEUM ROUNDUP
What’s shakin’ in Ottawa’s museums?
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REVAMPED! Canada’s National Museums Passport
REVAMPED! Canada’s National Museums Passport
3 museums, 3 days, $30
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Pedal power
CYCLING EXPLORATIONS
Pedal power
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‘Green light’ for St Patrick’s celebrations around the world!

16 March 2017:  Over 250 iconic landmarks and sites around the world will be illuminated green over the coming days – as part of Tourism Ireland’s 2017 Global Greening initiative to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.

The annual initiative, now in its eighth year, which sees a host of major landmarks around the world turn green for St Patrick’s Day, has grown from strength to strength, with many new landmarks signing up to take part this year.

Stadiums, statues, castles and towers will go green to celebrate our national day (17 March) with exciting additions for 2017 including the One World Trade Center in New York – the main building of the re-built World Trade Center in New York and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Canadian landmarks going green this year include the Toronto Sign, Casa Loma, Whistler Ski Resort, Calgary Tower, Cabot Tower, The Big Fiddle, the Museum of Nature, the Big Nickel, the Distillery District, the Sails of Lights, the Futalognkosaurus (dinosaur) in the Royal Ontario Museum, Montreal City Hall, Complexe Desjardins, and La Tour McGill.
Click Tourism Ireland’s Global Greenings for footage of the world turning green.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “This is the eighth year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative and each year I am delighted to see even more well-known attractions and landmark sites wishing to get involved. The eagerness of cities and countries everywhere to take part underlines the strength of the deep connection that people all over the world feel to Ireland. More than 70 million people around the world claim links to the island of Ireland and St Patrick’s Day is a truly unique opportunity to reconnect them with their heritage.”

Of course, the ‘greenings’ are just one part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The place to be on 17th March is Ireland where there are two festivals which shouldn’t be missed.

In Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, the ‘St Patrick’s Festival’ will last for four great days, taking in the weekend and running from 16-19 March.  The city will be alive with music, film, arts, dance, culture, fun and even international rugby.

Each year the festival has a different theme with this year’s ‘Ireland We Are’ giving the city a chance to showcase all that Ireland stands for today.  Festival favourites include the world’s largest outdoor céilí, world-class museums hosting free workshops and guided historic walks including famous sites such as the Guinness Storehouse. The main event, the St Patrick’s Festival parade, is held on Friday 17 March in Dublin’s city centre.

In Northern Ireland, the newly curated ‘Home of St Patrick Festival’ celebrates St Patrick, the man and the saint, as one of the world’s most inspiring and loved saints of all time. Taking place in the beautiful landscape of Counties Armagh and Down, which was once Patrick’s home, the festival will culminate on Sunday 19 March with ‘The Voice of the Irish’ closing concert in spectacular Newry Cathedral.

Add Some Light to Your Holiday

KITCHENER, Ont. — Get ready to pack the whole family into the car and drive through a Christmas
wonderland this season as Bingemans gears up to bring some spark and light to the holidays by hosting
the very first Gift of Lights exhibit in Southwestern Ontario.
Gift of Lights is a drive-thru holiday light display that has attracted many people to several cities across
the United States. This year for the first time, Gifts of Lights is coming to Southwestern Ontario and
Bingemans is proud to be the first to present and bring the luminous spectacle to Waterloo Region.
“Christmas is one of the best times of the year, and we are excited to bring this spectacular holiday
experience to the people of Waterloo Region and surrounding area. We’re excited to be hosting Gift of
Lights first-ever appearance in Southwestern Ontario,” says Mark Bingeman, President of Bingemans.
“We’re looking at this as the kick-off to many more new and exciting holiday experiences in future years.”
The display will stretch two kilometers through the Bingemans campground, featuring a combination of
30 static and animated displays and close to one million sparkling lights. Another prominent component
of the light extravaganza will be a 200-foot twinkling light tunnel.
“This will be a display of holiday lights unlike any other,” says Bingeman. “Best of all, you enjoy the lights
without ever having to leave the warmth and comfort of your car.”
Admission prices are $20 for cars, $40 for limos and $100 for buses and limo buses.
The grand opening of Bingemans’ Gift of Lights will be the weekend of November 18th from 5-10 pm. Preholiday
opening dates will include November 24th-27th and November 1st – December 4th. Regular holiday
hours begin December 8th.
For more information, please visit bingemans.com/gift-of-lights.php. Join the conversation on social
media; follow Bingemans on Instagram and Twitter @Bingemans, Like it on Facebook and watch exclusive
video on YouTube.
About Bingemans:
Waterloo Region’s leader in entertainment and hospitality, Bingemans is a multi-use amusement park and
campground located in Kitchener, Ont.,that provides the very best in family fun, recreation and family
camping. Explore FunworX all year long, a three-level indoor playground for children of all ages, boasting
an arcade, climbing wall, ropes course and more. Bingemans is also home to Canada’s largest Boston
Pizza, 28 lanes of 10-pin bowling at Kingpin Bowling, billiards, ping pong, outdoor beach volleyball and
outstanding banquet and catering facilities. And don’t miss Bingemans this winter season at their Annual
Holiday Gala, Christmas Day Buffet, Kids New Year’s Eve at FunworX and Gift of Lights – an absolute must-
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see this holiday. The camping resort features sites for tents, trailers and RVs, seasonal camping, yurts and
cabins. With a heated wave pool, Spray “n” Play for kids and huge waterslides, Big Splash Waterpark is a
great spot to cool down in summer’s heat.