Every summer we try to make a few local trips to explore our province and one of the regions we love to visit is Lanark County, which offers perfect combination of small towns, cottages on the beach and wild life. And after spending couple days in the cottage (“The Dancing Bass” Lodge cottage) we went to Perth for some shopping and lunch.
That lunch was a very special treat for us! Based on the art of Famous Canadian Group of Seven Chef Jamie Troutman from “The Stone Cellar” created the menu that interprets various elements present in paintings in “edible art”. Hours of research made it possible to reflect the famous Canadian art in the fine Canadian cuisine. In his creations Jamie is using the true Canadian ingredients coming from local farms. Chef Troutman, as per his own words, using the “deconstruction of the elements” from art into cuisine.
The shot glasses made of clear ice represent the art of Lawren Stewart Harris, who was criticized as being cold, but in fact deeply spiritual and one of the skilled abstract painters.
From ice and cold we suddenly surrounded by flowers and greenery of “Tangled Garden” by J. E. H. MacDonald – Jamie Troutman’s sunflower salad full of summer colours and fresh herbs… MacDonald’s art is distinguished by dark palette, tough, rich and at the same time elegant design. And Jamie is using the dark of the stone slab as background for the splash of colours…
From flowers and greenery of the garden we travel to Nova Scotia with help of another Jamie’s culinary creation based on “Nova Scotia Cove” again by J. E.H. MacDonald. Scallops and wild rice combined in a beautiful setting with shells to represent seashore…
We keep our taste buds tuned as next we get served Canadian beef – so tender! …accompanied by some root vegetables… chef’s creation based on the painting by Arthur Lismer “Habitant Farm”…
Lanark County is well known for Maple Syrup producers and it would be logical to find this unique Canadian product in local cuisine and famous art.
If you decide to indulge in creativity and fine cuisine make sure to make a 48 hours reservation, and if so, you may need to find a fine place to stay. Luckily the area offers a good variety of hotels – one of our favourites is “Perth Manor” which offers classic architecture, cozy rooms, beautiful garden and friendly atmosphere.
The Stone Cellar Restaurant Address: 71 Gore St E, Perth, ON K7H 1H Menu: thestonecellar.com Reservations: opentable.com Phone: (613) 267-0200
Perth Manor Hotel Address: 23 Drummond St. West, Perth, ON Phone: (613) 264-0050 and if this one is not available –
Best Western Plus Perth Parkside Inn & Spa Address: 82 Peter St, Perth, ON Phone: (613) 326-0082.
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.
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
which has a shallow end
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.
We highly recommend that you try it out especially if traveling with young ones.
Overall it is the most fun water park in the region.
By Jonathan K.
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…
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…
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!
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…
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!!
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.
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.
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!
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!
After some hugs exchange with farm inhabitants we decided to go see some of the exotic creatures on display.
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!.
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!
We spend some good time there – the parrots are so colorful and it is such a great experience to see them so close.
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?
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…
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.
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.
If you’ve ever visited Grey County during the fall, you know we’ve got something special here. From blazing colours atop the Niagara Escarpment to warm sunny days topped with crisp fall nights, from bustling farmer’s markets to orchards and vineyards tucked away in the Beaver Valley, fall in Grey County is a truly epic experience.
This fall, we’ve been sharing those fall touring opportunities with folks far and wide via a giant Facebook campaign. We’ve mailed out over 3000 packages with maps, brochures and information for those hoping to visit. At the heart of our campaign is the Ultimate Fall Colour Adventure Contest which will see one lucky winner walk away with a fabulous fall tour of Grey County, valued at over $3000. The contest runs until, October 9, 2015.
Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario
The Chelsea Hotel, Toronto
, a premier family hotel and urban resort in downtown Toronto, is ramping up for a summer season full of new programs and exciting partnerships, featuring the best the city has to offer for our guests. From an exciting new food truck to a designated beach on Centre Island, a stay at the Chelsea is guaranteed to create special memories that will last long after summer tans have faded.
Grab a taco and a beer on Market Garden Patio
Market Garden patio, the city’s best kept secret, is partially hidden off of Toronto’s busiest thoroughfare while still keeping guests close to the action on Yonge Street. This is the Chelsea
Food Truck’s inaugural summer
-open for lunch and dinner
-inspired dishes such as customizable tacos, churros, and beer-battered pineapple fritters. A unique experience in the city, the patio provides diners with spacious seating, as well as the opportunity to enjoy beer courtesy of local craft brewer Mill Street Brewery–there’s no thing else like it!
Market Garden patio will host two family-friendly movie nights,
July 17 and August 21, in partnership with the City of Toronto. Astroturf will be laid out to set the mood of a picnic movie night under the stars, allowing movie-watchers to lounge and purchase freshly made popcorn, with proceeds from treat sales benefiting the hotel’s charity, SickKids Foundation.
Stay, Play and Save with the Chelsea
Another perk for guests at the Chelsea Hotel are special partnership discounts at over 20 of the city’s best attractions -available through the hotel’s SHOW YOUR KEY AND SAVE program. Included are some of Toronto’s most popular venues, such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium, Legoland Discovery Centre,the Art Gallery of Ontario and Canada’s Wonderland. Added to this year’s partners is Pirate Life: Adventure Theatre Cruise, a new family adventure production that has kids and adults walking the gangplank in pirate finery on a 45 foot pirate ship in search of sunken treasure. The energetic and fun-loving crew gets the little ones involved in the story telling and acting, captivating their attention as the boat sails around Toronto Island.
Catch a Wave at Chelsea Beach Chelsea Beach is a designated area on beautiful Centre Island offered to our guests on a complimentary basis. A perfect family beach, it is life-guarded daily from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with first aid available on site. It even has a Blue Flag rating –an international eco-label awarded to beaches for excellence in water quality and high environmental standards. In partnership with City Sightseeing Tours, guests are offered roundtrip transportation from the hotel all summer long for a nominal fee. As guests at the hotel, families can take advantage of discount tickets to Centreville–a turn of the century amusement park –offering over 30 rides, games and attractions, all just a few minutes walk from Chelsea Beach. Stop by Franklin Children’s Garden, an interactive whimsical garden for kids and families on the Toronto Island Park, inspired by Franklin the Turtle from the celebrated book series. The garden is divided into six sections where children can participate in gardening and storytelling –encouraging them to become active stewards of the environment while engaging in creative play.
Splash and Play in the Family Fun Zone
As “Toronto’s Best Family Hotel” (according to City Parent magazine),the Chelsea offers a full range of services for all age groups and the best part is the ‘Family Fun Zone’. Step into the zone and the fun starts in the Kid Centre where bunnies and permanent hotel residents Marble and Dash play while children ages 3–12 can participate in a range of educational activities as well as arts and crafts. In Club 33 Teen Lounge, the older kids keep busy with arcade games, air hockey, two LCD flat-screen televisions and two Xbox 360s. Families can make a splash in the heated indoor pool and whirlpool or take an exhilarating ride on the 130-ft “Corkscrew” -downtown Toronto’s only indoor waterslide. For grown-ups looking for a little rest and relaxation, the separate adult-only pool area on the 27th floor also features a state-of-the-art fitness facility and outdoor sundeck with stunning views of the city.