by Gary McWilliams
This is the time of year when festival and event organizers look ahead. Fair organizers attend their annual Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) Convention, while festival organizers gather at the annual Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) Conference. Each conference or convention allow participants to “look ahead” to see what their event could look like in the future. Judi and I hold our own “conference”. It’s at home or at our local “Tims”, but we do “look ahead”. You’d think that a small business like ours would be simple, but it’s not! Not only do we have to consider who or where we will visit in the upcoming year, but we have look at our website to see what changes we will need to make to keep current with the latest trends!
Here’s an example. Many communities are now considering “user engagement” in their marketing plan. This includes both traditional marketing (radio, print and television), as well as Internet marketing. As a result, we have to make sure that our websites meet the needs of the communities that we work with. Not only that, we need to make sure, when we visit a community or event, we take this trend in mind when we take photos and videos and talk to people. This is all very exciting, because it allows us to let our “creative juices” flowing.
Our “Oh Canada Eh! Game” is a great example! We travel around Ontario and produce “on location” videos that asking “Canadian Trivia” questions. Where possible we try to include local guests to ask the question. Our “eastern/northern” trip last year produced some amazing questions! We all had a great time making the videos! Hopefully, you’ll check out our “Oh Canada Eh! Game” You Tube Channel (LINK). The “Game” was created to celebrate Canada’s 150th(Sesquicentennial) birthday (July 1st, 2017).
So, here’s to “Looking Ahead”! We can’t wait to see what’s next!
Festival Nomad’s Report…
Ontario Festivals Visited ~ 2015 Ontario Visited in Review (Part Two)
In last month’s Festival Nomad’s Report I presented “Part One” of our “2015 Ontario Visited in Review”. Below is “Part Two” ~ we have left Sault Ste. Marie and are now heading for Killarney and Killarney Provincial Park!
With regret, we left our friends (new and old) in Sault Ste. Marie and headed back east to the community of Killarney. We spent three marvelous days in Killarney. Staying at the beautiful Killarney Mountain Lodge allowed us to explore this amazing area of northern Ontario. During our stay were able to explore the quaint community of Killarney, have a picnic lunch at Killarney Provincial Park and enjoy the rocks and landscape that surround the Killarney East Lighthouse. The Lighthouse offers a spectacular view of Georgian Bay! Leaving Killarney, we traversed the northern Ontario highways to Manitoulin Island. As we entered the northern part of the island, we passed by Whitefish Falls (impressive).
Following our way southward, down Highway 6, we passed through Little Current and made our way to Gordon’s Park Eco Resort. We had made arrangements with Rita and Terry Gordon to stay overnight, before our ferry ride to Tobermory. We had known Rita and Terry (by e-mail) for a number of years, so it was great the finally meet them in person. They were every bit a gracious in person as they were via the internet. Even though our stay at Gordon’s was very short, it was very memorable. Gordon’s Park manager, Paul, took on an exciting “back country” tour of the park. He showed us all the many wonder of the Park, including their “Dark Sky” area. You need to experience the Gordon’s Park to realize its full unique scope.
The next day we left Manitoulin Island from South Baymouth on the MS Chi-Cheemaun Ferry. After a few hours on the ferry, we docked in Tobermory. I had visited Tobermory years before, but didn’t recognize any of it. Tobermory has become an “unexpected” resort town with amazing views, quaint shops, an abundance of expensive boat and numerous restaurants to please most palates. The area also offers plenty of exciting attractions, including its famous scuba diving Fathom Five National Marine Park. However, Judi and I planned to stay “on land”, so we had other activities in mind. Actually, Judi had arranged a number of tours with Cabot Head Lighthouse Friends Chair, Helen Fry. Helen picked us up in Tobermory at the Blue Bay Motel (we had stayed there overnight [WOW]).
Our first stop was the Bruce Peninsula National Park. We had a very quick tour of the Visitor’s Centre. We hope to head back to the area for a proper tour of the park. After that, we ventured south to pick-up Ina Toxopeus, one of the founders of the Friends of Cabot Head Lighthouse. The trip to the Lighthouse was “interesting”, as we wound our way through Dyers Bay hamlet and along the long bumpy road way! However, once we reached the Lighthouse we weren’t disappointed. Located high upon a cliff, the views were spectacular. The Lighthouse itself was unique and contained many interesting artifacts. The Lighthouse was used to help ships who found themselves in trouble on stormy Georgian Bay days and nights. Below the Lighthouse lays Wingfield Basin, a refuse for ships in trouble. We traveled down the steep path, down to the Basin, a trip worth taking! This time the skies were blue and sun was shining brightly overhead. However, I can imagine a dark and stormy and the Basin being an answer to a sailor’s prayer! Back on top, we packed up and headed back to Tobermory.
We had an appointment to visit the Tobermory Hyperbaric Facility at the Tobermory Health Clinic. Dr. George Harpur, who established the Clinic in 1976, conducted the tour. The Tobermory hyperbaric chamber not only helps treat scuba diving accidents but is used in the treatment of other medical condition. After our tour, we said goodbye to Helen and Ina and headed south to home. Along the way we stopped in Lion’s Head to get a better view of the Niagara Escarpment Cliffs and the cliff that resembles a lion’s head profile.
After our “Great Summer Adventure” tour, life slowed down a little. At the beginning of August we traveled to Collingwood (not very far!) and visited the Collingwood Arts & Music Festival. This is an annual event headed by our friend Yvonne Gibson. While in Collingwood we visited two other events, the Collingwood Farmers Market and the inaugural, Collingwood Side Launch Days. The day proved to be very enjoyable. A few days later, Judi and our friend, Lory MacDonald, took on the perils of the Scenic Caves Nature Adventures (located just south of Collingwood). Their visit to the Scenic Caves Nature Adventures included walking along Canada’s longest suspension footbridge, braving the Treetop Canopy Walk, exploring the Fern Cavern and soaring (like a bird) along the Thunderbird Twin Zip Line (Canada’s longest twin zip line ~ 2550 feet long). Judi reported that neither she nor Lory “screamed” as they “flew” down the “adrenaline pumping” nearly “half mile long” zip line! Our final August and summer event was in Thornbury at the annual downtown “Hoedown”! A fitting end to a terrific summer!
“Fall Celebrations” start in September! Our first trip was to downtown Toronto, to the Distillery Historic District. Artfest Toronto was being held and Judi and I wanted to see all the great art being displayed there. Our next trip took us to Bracebridge. This is where we witnessed the OPP Dive Team save a “crayfish” that was tangled in a fishing line. From Bracebridge we traveled to Port Carling and the Peerless II.We had booked a cruise on the Peerless II. Captain Randy Potts, owner of Sunset Cruises, was reading the boat when we arrived. After all the passengers were aboard, we set sail! This trip was a tour around “Millionaire’s Row”. Captain Randy’s knowledge of the area was very impressive. He shared stories (good and bad) about many of the cottage owners who populated the “Row”.
Towards the end of September Fall Fairs started to “spring up”! The first Fall Fair we visited was the Beaverton Fall Fair. This is a fun and well run fair. I was impressed with the farrier who was shoeing a large, but patient “client”! After visiting the fair, Judi and I explored the Beaverton Harbour. It was still fairly early in the afternoon, to we made our way to Bobcaygeon and Lock 32. This is one of our favourite places to visit. The boats going through the Lock didn’t disappoint us, especially the house boat that was filled with fun loving ladies! I think the banner on the front of the boat said “The Knotty Ladies”! I hope that they had a great time!
Our next Fall Fair to visit was the Rocklyn Fall Fair. This is a very small fair, but enthusiasm more than made up for its size! While we were there, the Men’s Apple Pie Baking Contest took place. The competition was fierce. Mayors, ex-mayors and town councillors participated, but I think that the youngest competitor, a student, won. Everyone had a great time and the pies were eventually auctioned off! From the Rocklyn Fair, Judi and I drove to the Stayner area to visit the Great Northern Exhibition. What a “great” fair! We met up with our friends, Lory and Al and Lory’s granddaughter. We all toured the fair grounds and especially enjoyed the Kid’s Tent (we could sit down out of the sun and watch the kids play!).
On the first day of October we traveled to Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene. We had been invited to attend the opening of their newly created event, Pumpkinferno. WOW, what wonderful, but SCARY experience! With “pumpkin season” now under our belt, the next day we watched the Meaford Scarecrow Invasion parade. Downtown Meaford was crowded with all sorts of Scarecrows ~ hanging from street lights, in store windows and on street corners! They had “invaded” Meaford! The Port Elgin Pumpkinfest was next on our “pumpkin” journey. This award winning festival certainly lived up to its reputation. Down the road, the next day we were in Goderich. The night before we had stayed in the Ben Miller Inn & Spa. This historic Cotton Mill has been transformed into a wonderful country inn. Goderich, itself, is an amazing scenic town, set high above the blue waters of Lake Huron!
Our final stop on this “pumpkin” tour was the Town of Simcoe. We were there to enjoy the 175th anniversary celebrations of the Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show. This was the first day of the fair and the air was filled with the sound of chanting students, it was Young Canada Day and the school challenges were underway! Even though the Grandstand area was crowded, we eventually found our friend and the Fair’s Publicity and Marketing Co-ordinator, Wendy Brick. Wendy was very busy helping with the student activities! The Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show is one of the best agricultural fairs in Canada, a “must” visit for all county fair enthusiast! Back home, we attend our last “pumpkin” tour event, the Blue Mountain Apple Pie Trail. Yes, it was mainly about “apples” but there were plenty of pumpkins along the way! The Blue Mountain area is renowned for its various apple orchards, so there were lots of apple pies to be eaten!
In the final months of the year Judi and I slowed down. In fact, we only visited two events. Both were in Collingwood. First was the nighttime Collingwood Santa Claus Parade and the second was the Collingwood Ice Sculpture Festival.Having lived in the Blue Mountain region for over a year, we can confirm that it is truly a “Four Season” community! Perhaps we’ll see you this year skiing on the slopes of the Blue Mountain, visiting the shops in the Village at Blue Mountain, sliding down the mountain on the Scenic Caves Nature Adventures “Thunderbird Twin Zip Line”, sailing with the wind on the blue waters of Georgian Bay or enjoying one of the many “festivals and events” held throughout the year!
"Judi and GIFF ~ enjoying winter in Downtown Thornbury."
Oh Canada Eh! Game Answers…
In June, we started to play the Oh Canada Eh! Game. In January 2016, five Questions about Canada have been asked. The following are the Questions with the Answers.
- January 3rd, 2016~ (Walter’s Falls, Village of Walter’s Falls Question)
QUESTION: “What year was the first sawmill established in the Village Walter’s Fall?”
- January 10th, 2016~ (Town of Bracebridge Question)
QUESTION: “What very famous children’s village is found in Bracebridge?”
ANSWER: “Santa’s Village”
- January 17th, 2016~ (Village of Blue Mountain Question)
QUESTION: “There is a road that runs through the village that is named after the man who dreamed of opening the Blue Mountain Resort. What is the name of the road?”
ANSWER: “Jozo Weider Blvd.”
- January 24th, 2016~ (Skiing Question from the Village at Blue Mountain)
QUESTION: “Who was the first Canadian skier to win an Olympic medal?”
ANSWER: “Lucile Wheeler”
- January 31th, 2016~ (City of Barrie Question)
QUESTION: “Barrie hosts a wonderful festival, Kempenfest, which is held on Kempenfelt Bay. What lake is Kempenfelt Bay on?”
ANSWER: “Lake Simcoe”
I hope that you enjoy playing the Oh Canada Eh! Game. I’m sure that you knew all the answers. Remember, all of them can be found on the Internet. I’ll let you know the correct answers to all the February 2016 questions in our March 2016 INSIDER Newsletter.
NOTE ~ All future Oh Canada Eh! Gamevideos will give you a “choice” of “four” possible answers, one of which is correct! Good luck and have fun! At many of the events and communities we visited this past year, we took the time create an “Oh Canada Eh! Game” video. If you haven’t played yet, we hope that you will now and enjoy the trivia questions. All answers can be found on the internet. Events and communities highlighted in “RED” have an “Oh Canada Eh! Game video. To view the videos, please visit our Oh Canada Eh! Gamewebsite (http://www.ohcanadaehgame.ca/)