Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Small Town Fall Fair Season

Ontario's big boy, the Canadian National Exhibition is over, and in community parks the amusement rides are starting to be setup and candy floss is being spun, ready for the gates to open. The vast majority of fairs happen in September, the golden month where leaves change colour, kids go to school and fair operators are asking if you feel lucky. The Canada Goose is the symbol of this year's fair as Acton celebrates Canada's 150th.

The Acton Fall Fair is almost ready to go. People are bringing in their baked goods and other items that will be judged, Friday is education day and the fair goes live Friday night. The blaring music, the bright lights of the rides and the beer tent are open from September 15-17, 2017.

A big part of a small town fair is the farm animals, with cattle and goat shows, poultry competitions and horse barrel racing. This is the time to win one of the colourful ribbons for your winning breeds and 4-H is heavily involved in the fair.
Former Miss Acton winner Kailey Donaldson (2012-13 Miss Acton) takes home the red ribbon for her cow. She is also entering the Ontario Plowsman 'Queen of the Furrow' contest as Halton's candidate. You have to plow a field as part of the skills competition.

Gates open to the public at 4pm Friday and 8am for both Saturday and Sunday and free shuttle buses will run from the Acton Legion to the fairgrounds in Prospect Park.

See more photos after the jump.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ship wrecks of Tobermory

The end of the Bruce Trail overlooks the town of Tobermory on the north edge of the Bruce Peninsula. From the harbour you can catch some glass bottom tours of ship wrecks and tourist destinations like Flowerpot Island as well as explore the tourist town or take the car ferry called Chi-Cheemaun over to Manitoulin Island. A plaque also notes that the Niagara Escarpments which follows an overland path, unbroken from Niagara Falls, submerges at Tobermory.
My fellow pirates
The clear waters are a beautiful blue and green and help form the entrance to Georgian Bay off the Great Lake waters of Lake Huron. We plan a two day kayak excursion with our friends heading north of Toronto to Collingwood where we check out the choppy waters at Northwinds Beach which is near the base of Blue Mountain Ski Resort. Too cold, too wavy, too late in the day. No go, so we head into Blue Mountain Village for some sightseeing and restauranteering. We stay in Collingwood for the night at Comfort Inn and Suites at the corner of Balsam and First Streets and get some rest before our adventure in the one of the prettiest towns in Ontario. In the morning the hotel puts on a great breakfast, which is included in the cost of the room, and so fortified we begin our journey to the end of the Bruce Peninsula.
Our first destination is somewhere to put in kayaks so that we can go into Big Tub Harbour to see some of the shallower ship wrecks. The closest place to find parking and a launch site was at Lighthouse Point Public Access (Tobermory Big Tub Lighthouse) which features paid parking and porta potties. We set off in our kayaks to the inland end of the harbour where the ruined ships lay on the bottom of the bay. At certain periods when the water is low, parts of the ships stick out of or are close to the surface. Bouys mark the location in an area circled by some pretty nice cottages and homes.
The view from above

At first you notice large changes in the colour of the water and when you get closer you can make out the shapes of the vessels. Without a mask or waterproof cameras it is difficult to make out the details of the ships and that is why glass bottom boat tours are very popular with the Blue Heron Company and Bruce Anchor Cruises providing these tours. One wreck seems almost complete laying across the bay in about 20 feet of water, it is the Canadian Schooner Sweepstakes sunk in 1885. Very close to this wreck is the burnt out hull of the City of Grand Rapids which caught on fire in the Tobermory harbour in 1907 and was pulled into the adjacent bay to save the dock and other ships.
City of Grand Rapids
It's a busy harbour as the tour boats come up to the ship wrecks in quick succession

We enjoy the experience and float around the wrecks wearing our pirate hats and saying 'arrrr' a lot. The tourists seem to like our pirate group and we get a lot of friendly waves before we board their ships and seize their treasure. Later we take out treasure and head out of Big Tub and into Little Tub Harbour, home to Tobermory and the loading point for the Chi-Cheemaun. We disembark our kayaks at the boat launch and survey the town, still wearing our pirate hats but leaving our cutlasses in the car. After a quick check we kayak back to the lighthouse and pack up and drive into the town for dinner and sightseeing. There are four sunken tug boats sitting in 40 feet of water along the east edge of Little Tug Harbour otherwise most wrecks rest in waters deeper than 100 feet, probably best seen by scuba divers.

Nearby is the Fathom Five National Marine Park and Land Base, the Bruce-Peninsula National park with the well known Grotto, Singing Sands and many other parks and reserves so there is lots of attractions to keep you busy in the area. The whole Georgian Bay and the Bruce Peninsula is a tourist paradise and worthy of extended visits.

See more of our adventure after the jump.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

And tiff returns

Festival Street is back, King Street from Peter St to University Ave is blocked for the annual street festival that coincides with the start of the Toronto International Film Festival. You can enjoy the pedestrian friendly zone from September 7-10, 2017 and catch some tunes at the Slaight Music Stage or just keep your eyes peeled for some celebrities.
The streets cleared out pretty fast when a down pouring of rain drenched the festival

If nothing else you can pose in front of the cool tiff sign.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Adventures for couples in Niagara-on-the-Lake

"Jets boats, helicopters and ziplines add excitement to any day out for couples." Looking for an exciting night? It is time to consider the Niagara area with a variety of options in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake, including the gorgeous town itself and Niagara Falls down the road, with helicopter tours, jet boats and a zipline over the Niagara River Gorge. Photo above from Whirlpool Jet Boats.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017 having been in business since 1992 and provides tours of the Niagara Gorge through Devil's Hole rapids and the Niagara Whirlpool. Here are some of the top date experiences couples can enjoy in Niagara-on-the-Lake courtesy as suggested by Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours.

"Get a stunning bird’s-eye view of Niagara Falls and the gorge, courtesy of Niagara Helicopters. The helicopter flight follows the Niagara River, giving passengers an incredible view of the rapids, plus the Whirlpool and other sights along the river.

Enjoy lunch or dinner aboard the Niagara Belle, a fully restored New Orleans-style paddle wheeler, as it cruises the Niagara River. Niagara Sunset Cruises operates a variety of tours aboard the Belle, taking passengers down the Lower Niagara River, through Queenston and Niagara-on-the-Lake, to the mouth of Lake Ontario. Tours depart from docks in Queenston.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours takes adventure-seeking passengers on unforgettable jet boat rides from the mouth of the Niagara River through the Class 5 Devil’s Hole Rapids and to just below the incredibly powerful Niagara Whirlpool. The trip includes commentary from guides on historic locations along the route. Passengers can get onboard at three departure points: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, Ont. (shuttle bus from Floral Clock on Niagara Parkway to Queenston dock) and Lewiston, N.Y.
Take your date for a jaw-dropping zipline ride to the base of Niagara Falls with Wildplay MistRider Zipline and then test your skills on a spectacular obstacle course suspended over the Niagara Gorge with Wildplay Whirlpool Adventure Course.

After any of these adventures, you and your date will want to plant your feet on solid ground and relax. Drop by Niagara-on-the-Lake craft beer maker Silversmith Brewing Company to sample some award-winning brews and soak up the ambience in a renovated former church building."

Sunday, September 03, 2017

High Rollers in Burlington - Surf City

Surfers and windsurfers in Ontario need to take advantage of every passing storm that brings high winds and rolling waves that crash onto the beach. And when the conditions are ripe these athletes head into the swells and ride the waves until their wet-suits can't keep them warm or the waves start to calm. This is the life for Great Lake Surfers year round. These guys were working hard as most of Burlington was next door at Spencer Smith Park for the "Canada's Largest Ribfest".
Bad weather threatened the skies over central Ontario for quite some time on Sunday, September 2, 2017 but in spite of a few sprinkles the rain remained at bay. Watching the whitecaps on the lake as the waves crashed along the shore, throwing up spray at the along the piers and rolling through the canal into Hamilton Harbour, you marvel at the power of wind and water. You had to pick your surf spot carefully because in some areas the waves hitting break-walls caused reflected waves that crashed into the oncoming waves, exploding in a fountain of water and showing that under water currents were probably active in the area.

There were several groups of surfers spread out along Burlington Beach and Hamilton Beach, trying to head out into the pounding waves with their big boards, riding the peaks until they were out far enough to catch a wave and stand up on the surf boards.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Toronto Buskerfest 2017

The 'Beaches' Buskerfest, which moves every couple of years, continues at Woodbine Park with a stream of talented street performers from around the world. Full of vendors, food trucks, a mini ribfest, beer garden, musical guests and a children's fair, the entertainment will keep you tapping to the beat while you enjoy more room than the former locations in the St Lawrence Market Area and downtown Yonge Street site. On from Friday, September 1 to Sunday, September 4 you may want to take public transit to get to the festival because it is hard to find any parking spaces available and surround the stage early or you will find yourself behind a couple rows of people watching the act. NorthFIRE is featured in the photo at top,
"Epilepsy Toronto is proud to announce that the 18th annual Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy will once again take place in Woodbine Park in The Beach, serving up its non-stop, action-packed, fun-filled entertainment over the Labour Day weekend, Friday September 1 through Monday September 4. Since its inception in 2000, the Toronto International BuskerFest has featured hundreds of the best street performers from around the world, hosted millions of amazed spectators and helped raise much-needed funds for Epilepsy Toronto through visitors’ donations at the gate. Now in its 18th year, the event is widely recognized as one of the best and biggest street performer festivals in the universe, and the largest epilepsy awareness event in the world!"

Friday, September 01, 2017

Fanexpo #comicon 2017

The caped crusader and many other superheroes are back at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre until Sunday, September 3. Saturday had the Annual Cosplay Masquerade while Sunday at 2pm is the Anime Costume Contest and Cosplay guests included Jessica Nigri, LeeannaVamp, Holly Wolf, Missy Mayhem and Karli Woods. Enjoy my photo gallery of some of the great costumes at the show.
Some of the attractions include celebrity photo and autograph sessions, panels and Q & As, artist alley, sketch duels, speed dating and 400,000 Sq feet of comics, accessories, artwork and toys. Celebrities like Tim Curry, Norman Reeds, Richard Dryfuss are just some of the many stars you can meet at FanExpo. Prepare to pay big bucks for photo ops as Norman Reedus is priced at $125, Tim Curry at $120 and Nathon Fillion at $105. Team photo ops are even more expensive - the Rocky Horror Cast including Bostwick, Campbell, Quinn and Meat Loaf go for $185. The celebrity autograph area as well as Cosplay Corner and Horror HQ were in the North Building.
A mix of sci-fi, comics, anime, fantasy, gaming and the costumes make up the popular show which squeezes big bucks from young fans. Entry starts at $30 on Thursday and peaks at $65 on Saturday. During the weekend the show opens at 10am and closes at 7pm Saturday and 5pm on Sunday. On Monday the Sith rest.

See more photos after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square