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"Relaxing with their FRIENDS!"
Memories of The Royal…
By Gary McWilliams
In the August issue of the INSIDER I wrote about my memories of The EX. Having grown up in Toronto, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (aka The Royal) was also a big part of my memories. Horses were always my main focus when I visited the Fair. Back then there was no “Direct Energy” Centre. It was just the Coliseum with stables and show rings. It seems for me that the “agricultural” part played a small roll. Even when we exhibited one year, it was still about the horses. That could have been because the Duchess of York(Fergie) was in attendance for the show jumping, so our attention drifted more to her and the show jumping! Of course, when I started to visit The Royal to write about it, the other aspects of the “Agricultural Fair” came into play. Now when go to the Royal Winter Fair we look forward to discovering all that it had to offer! I think that my favourite area to explore is the “Farm” area. This is where the farm animals (cows, sheep, pigs. etc.) hang out. Watching the kids groom and care for the animals is awe inspiring! Not being a “farm boy”, I am amazed at how at ease these “country kids” are around the animals! I am reminded of a “Dairy Commercial” where a little boy runs towards the milking barn and then the commercial follows the boy’s life as he grows into an older man, always dedicated to providing quality milk. I think that farming has always been like that, living and nurturing the land.
"Oh Canada Eh! Game ~ October 25, 2015 ~ taken at the Benmiller Inn & Spa, Goderich"

Oh Canada Eh! Game Answers…

In June, we started to play the Oh Canada Eh! Game. In October 2015, four Questions about Canada have been asked. The following are the Questions with the Answers.

  1. October 4th, 2015~ (Sunset Cruises ~ Peerless II Question)
    QUESTION: “Name the second largest oil company in Canada before it was bought out?”
    ANSWER: “BA Oil (aka British American Oil)
  2. October 11th, 2015~ (Blue Mountain Apple Pie Trail Question)

QUESTION: “How many pie shops are there on this year’s Apple Pie Trail?
ANSWER: “36 ~ Collingwood 10; Blue Mountain 3; Craigleith 1; Beaver Valley 7; Clarksburg 2; Thornbury 7; Meaford 6”

  1. October 18th, 2015~ (Benmiller Inn & Spa, Goderich)
    QUESTION: “On March 1st, 1974, Peter & Joanne Ivey officially opened the Benmiller Inn. What was it before it became an Inn?
    ANSWER: “A Woolen Mill"
  2. October 25th, 2015~ (Centennial Park, City of Orillia Question)
    QUESTION: “Orillia is the home of a National Historic Site Museum that’s been named after a famous humourist. What was the name of the humourist?
    ANSWER“Stephen Leacock

I hope that you enjoy playing the Oh Canada Eh! Game. I’m sure that you’ll knew all the answers. Remember, all of them can be found on the Internet. I’ll let you answers to all the November 2015 questions in our December 2015INSIDER Newsletter. Make sure that you watch each video to the end! There are funny “Outtakes” and interesting “GIFF Festival Tips”!


Port Elgin Pumpkinfest Photo

"Weighing In at the Port Elgin Pumpkinfest!"


Festival Nomad’s Report…

October was a great traveling month, especially the first 6 days! The month started off with a trip to Midland and then Penetanguishene. In both Midlandand at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons we were able to create two Oh Canada Day! Gamevideos. After spending time in Midland, we headed over toPenetanguishene and Discovery Harbour. We were invited to the opening night of Discovery Harbour’s new event, Pumpkinferno. What a great event! It takes in the “lighting magic” of Upper Canada Village’s Pumpkinferno and the “scariness” of Fort Henry’s Fort Fright. On the second of October we visitedMeaford’s Scarecrow Invasion parade. What a sight! Two days later we were in Port Elgin for their award winning Pumpkinfest. We had heard a lot about it and weren’t disappointed! From there we traveled down the road to Goderich. What an amazing town. The octagon traffic circle, or “The Square” as it’s referred to, surrounds the Huron County Courthouse. Overnight, we stayed at the beautiful Benmiller Inn & Spa. Check out our October 18th You Tube “OhCanada Eh! Game” video, which features the Benmiller Inn & Spa. Our final destination was Simcoe to visit the 175th Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show. The day that we spent there included the “enthusiasm” of a youth day (Young Canada Day) and the “somberness” of a memorial dedication (Bridge Dedication Ceremony honouring OPP Constable John C.A. Verral)Young Canada Day included all kinds of games and contests featuring contestants from area schools. The Bridge Dedication Ceremony included an amazing dedication ride by the OPP Golden Helmets motorcycle team. Our sincere thanks go to Wendy Brick, our liaison at the Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show and to the Comfort Inn Simcoe and their General Manager, Candace Smaggus, for their hospitably during our visit.


"Road to Glory ~ Marching On..."

With the first week of the month over, it was time to “breath”! Well, at least for a few days! Our next adventure took us to the “hills & valleys” of the Blue Mountain Apple Pie Trail! And, yes, we did stop for “apple goodies” along the way. We were even able to “shoot” an Oh Canada Eh! Gamevideo. Check out our October 11, 2015 You Tube video.

On October 17th we were headed for Mississauga and my Grandson’s 5thBirthday party! We headed “up the hill” and got about 10 kilometers when the “skies” opened and snow started to fall, and I mean lots of snow. Fortunately the day before we were to go south, I had had my “snow tires” installed. Reluctantly, we turned back, unwilling to risk going further. It was, of course, a great disappointment! The next day we woke up to a “Winter Wonderland”. There was at least 7 inches of snow on our deck and the surrounding trees! Beautiful, but not to last. The next day the temperatures rose to 13°C and almost instantly the snow disappeared! As a result of all the snow, we were able to create a “GIFF’s Tips ~ Winter Travel” video!  You can watch it below.


"GIFF's Tips ~ Winter Travel"

The rest of the month was devoted to family and updating the Ontario Festivals Visited websites.

November is another month (where has the time gone?) and there will be new adventures to discover!

Protocol ~ Remembrance Day Services and More!
By Judi “Scoop” McWilliams



While I was going to remind everyone about the “Protocol” for the upcoming “Remembrance Day” services, I decided that with so many other articles on the internet, detailing the “does and don’ts” that I would share, again, my “incident” with “Protocol”.

I must say, though, that it does “irk” me when people don’t “follow Protocol”, and the “special etiquette” reserved on Remembrance Day! I must remind myself that people, in their own way, “Remember”! Perhaps not exactly to “Protocol”, but they do Remember!

My story about “Protocol” leads us back to Canada Day in Ottawa. With our “silver 3D wristbands” securely on, we were told at the V.I.P. entrance … “this allows you access to anywhere you want, enjoy yourselves”! I took it literately!

The show was ramping up. Official announcements were read as a pre-welcome to Ottawa’s celebrations. Bagpipes lead in a precession of dignitary, “Oh ’Canada” was sung, not for the last time that day. I got some great “shots (photos that is!)” from behind the scenes here. TV stations, lights, camera, action.

The red carpet led down to the “Eternal Flame”, where TV personalities were doing “their thing”. I even walked up onto the center stage curved stairway and got a shot taken by the Prime Minister’s assistant who was gracious enough to take photos of myself and our acquaintance, Mr. James Maunder (Chief of Staff to Minister Moore). Meanwhile, Gary was sitting safely in his seat taking all this in.

RCMP officers in full uniform were wandering around the area. As I was told “you can go anywhere you want”, I did! I nonchalantly, aimlessly, strolled down the center isle (I did not walk ON the red carpet though, being respectful and all!). I was overwhelmed by how much the crowds had increased as they opened the center area. Panicking a bit, and grateful to be safe where I was, I had no idea the Governor General, the Prime Minster and dignitaries were minutes away from arrival. Again, TV live, cameras rolling. Suddenly a “man in black” approached me. Secret Service man said “excuse me madam what credentials do you have to be in this area?”.

Innocent me, stunned, I pulled up my sleeve and said, “Well, I have this silver wristband, I don’t know what it symbolizes but we are guests of Minister Moore”. “Well” Secret Service man replies, “I don’t know what the silver wristband symbolizes either, all I know is that you are walking out of protocol”. I’m thinking, “What”! “Yes Madam, did you not see the map behind you?”. I looked behind me and there it was … “the protocol map”. The timing, execution and precision of Canada Day in Ottawa is exact and precise. TV, live, cameras rolling. I quickly “thanked him” for bringing this to my attention and all but ran back to my seat safe and sound back with the Festival Nomad.

The arrival of the dignitaries was exciting. Security was visible from Ottawa Police, to the RCMP Officers, to Secret Service and to the Snipers on the rooftops. After my “little run in” with the Secret Service, I felt the eyes were on me everywhere watching every photo I snapped!

So my story ends with this note … with good intentions, trying to be polite, trying to be respectful, sometimes we just do not know the “Protocol”. At least I tried and will learn from experience!


Canada Day Photo

"Protocol at the Canada Day Ceremonies!"


Fall Memories…

Last year I wrote about Remembrance Day (2014 was the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I) and I wrote about a number of friends who had passed away. Fortunately this year finds my friends alive and well, thank goodness!

So this November, I thought that I would write about happier past memories, especially those of the Fall.

As a kid jumping into large piles of dried leaves was a lot of fun. We didn’t think about any foreign objects that might be hidden in the pile! We just wanted the joy of “leaf jumping”!

Chestnut Hunting” was also a great Fall adventure! Of course, finding them meant “Chestnut Wars”! Gathering scores of Chestnuts in our toques and then taking them home to “doctor” them into “fighting machines” was the start. Then a “time and place” was set. All of us “Chestnut Warriors” assembled and then the “wars” began. We would pair off and the try to “knock and break” the other “warrior’s” chestnut. The winner stood back waiting for the next opponent, while the loser cheered his “allies”. Eventually a winner was declared and we all went home tired and hungry. “Chestnut War Games” seemed to do that!

Later in life, Judi and I discovered chestnuts on our property. I told her about our childhood “Chestnut Wars”. That was it! Judi was determined to become the “Chestnut Champion” of the farm (where we lived at the time)! She figured out how to choose the best and strongest chestnuts! In no time, she beat me with her skill and determination! She was the Chestnut Champion! So much for sharing my “passion”!

On the farm, new Fall discoveries became available. The owner of the farm had had trails carved throughout the woods that made up a good part of the farm’s 280 acres. Walking along these leaf covered paths in the fresh crisp air of autumn made the cavalcade of colours become more beautiful and intense! Sometimes we would see or hear animals plowing their way along unmarked passageways.

Judi and I still love to step out into the cool still air of November and hear the crunch of fallen leaves under foot. It brings back memories of seasons past.Winter is just around the corner, but good Fall memories last a lifetime!


"Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum ~ Memories of Past Glory"