Weekend Fun Guide (July 5-7 2013)

Summer

Loving this short week as it means the weekend is just around the corner again!  Temperatures are expecting to stay high this weekend so try to keep cool by hitting the beach or a local Water Park.  There are also lots of fun things to keep you busy in our Weekend Fun Guide!

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Family Fishing Week 

Ontario Family Fishing Events is a province-wide opportunity for Canadian residents to fish Ontario waters without the otherwise mandatory fishing version outdoors card.  Events such as festivals, clinics, derbies and workshops are hosted across the province. To find an event near you, visit the Events List from Ontario Family Fishing. Each event provides a great opportunity to get outside, spend some wholesome time with the family, and develop a strong connection with conservation through the enjoyment of fishing.

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Thinking about taking in a movie with the family this weekend?  Check out what’s playing on Saturday mornings at Cineplex theatres for their Family Favourites.  At 11:00am you can watch a movie for only $2.50!  You can also load the family into the car and head to a drive-in near you for some family fun!

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Visit a a Farmer’s Market near you this weekend to get some super fresh local produce and support the Farmers of Ontario.

Around Town this Weekend…

Almonte

Celtfest  – A three day fun-for-all ages celebration of the Ottawa Valley’s music, song, and dance heritage. Held in Almonte’s Gemmill Park amphitheatre, local pubs and Old Town Hall, Celtfest features excellent concerts, workshops, artisans and food venues and children’s activities. Admission is by donation.

Amherstburg

Rotary Ribfest –  This is a family event – there is something for everyone – food, entertainment, midway rides, children’s activities, a licensed area, and best of all – great ribs! As an added bonus, parking and admission are FREE but donations are greatly appreciated.

Blue Mountain

Jazz on the Mountain – It’s Canada’s newest Jazz festival!  Over 30 free and ticketed concerts, master class workshops and the late night club series.  Children can enjoy outdoor animated acoustic musicians, face-painters and street performers.  This is a family-friendly fun for all ages.

Bracebridge

Reggae Muskoka – We invite you to join the celebration, as Bracebridge comes alive with the sound of reggae music, the sweet aroma of Caribbean food and the many vendors’ booths, decked out with a variety of crafts and other products.

Cambridge

2013 Forbes Park Music Festival – A fun-filled family day featuring clowns, jugglers, children’s rides/games, playground, splash pad, arts and crafts and food vendors. Various live bands on stage, refreshment tent and many other exciting activities for the entire family.

Chatham

Lavendar Festival – $3 admission (12 and under free) helps support the Growing Chefs! Classroom Gardening Project  As always there will be more lavender, local musicians, artisans and local producers bringing you the best Chatham-Kent has to offer!

Flamborough

John Burns Memorial Fishing Derby @ Valens Conservation Area – Catch the Big One and win great prizes for children and adults.  Prizes for the largest northern pike, largemouth bass and, for children, panfish.  Bait and boat rentals are available.  Runs from sunrise to 2 p.m.

Goderich

Festival of Arts & Crafts – The Festival of Arts and Craft is held in a park in beautiful historic Goderich. The event hosts as many as 150 craft persons who display their wares. The festival draws thousand of tourists to our lake-side town every year. You do not want to miss the opportunity to see and purchase unique, hand-crafted items. The festival is also the largest fund raiser for Huron Women’s Shelter.

Huntsville

Rotary Dockfest – Come out for this FREE day of family fun!  The starts with a yummy pancake breakfast and there will be face painting, children’s crafts and a magician.  Be sure to check out the DockFest parade of boats as well as the main events, the bathtub races!  The day winds down with a live band at the band shell.

Kincardine

Scottish Festival – Regarded as a world class Scottish Festival, patrons will be invited to enjoy the sights and sounds of Scotland on the shores of our own Loch Huron.  With 30 Pipe Bands, 200 Highland Dancers and plenty of talented Celtic performers, the Festival is a sure crowd pleaser.  The Festival offers a vast array of activities for young and old.  From our competitions of Piping and Drumming, Highland Dancing and Heavy Events, to the Parade, Clan Avenue and evening concerts, there is something for everyone.

Lakefield

Jazz, Art & Craft Festival – The 15th annual Lakefield Jazz Art Craft Festival invites you, your friends and family to come to a breezy day of outdoor summer living July 6 beside Lakefield’s scenic Otonabee River to enjoy a wide variety of Jazz music, colourful works for sale by artisans and crafters, plus interesting foods and ice cold beverages.

London

Victorian Teddy Bear Picnic – On Sunday, July 7th all the bears are gathering for a Victorian Teddy Bear Picnic.  Bring out your favourite stuffed friend for an afternoon of games in the park.  Watch a puppet show and make your very own teddy bear puppet.  Join Victorian Bear for a parade and enjoy a picnic of lemonade and cookies served in a china tea cup. Children and teddies alike will love many more activities throughout the Village.

Sunfest – TD Sunfest is Canada’s Premier celebration of World Music & Culture which is held over 4 days each July in beautiful Victoria Park, London, Ontario.

Milton

Farm Fun for Kids – Come to Country Heritage park all weekend for some good old fashioned fun!  Go for a tractor and wagon ride, play in the play barn, tour the buildings and pack a picnic!

Orangeville

150th Birthday Bash – Come out an celebrate the town’s 150th Birthday with a Community breakfast & lunch, Kids Zone, Strolling buskers, heritage walking tours,  juried art show, and lots of live entertainment.

Orillia

Mariposa Folk Festival – For more than 50 years, Mariposa has been presenting world class creators and performers of folk, roots, blues, gospel, acoustic and world music traditions in a beautiful, family-friendly setting.

Owen Sound

Music & Movies – On Friday nights for the month of July, see a family favourite under the stars at Harrison Park for FREE. The evening starts at 8 p.m. with supervised playtime for children, followed by an up-and- coming musical act at 8:30 and movie at 9:00.
Ottawa

RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest – This award winning, multi-staged music extravaganza is the biggest outdoor music festival in Canada and is considered one of the most important music events in North America. Thousands of national and international performers are featured annually at LeBreton Flats Park, in downtown Ottawa.

Toronto

Taste of Lawrence – This is an international food and cultural festival, celebrating the cultural diversity of the Wexford Heights community. The event features food from India to Italy to Jamaica, live entertainment, children can take part in arts and crafts and a chance to break a Guinness Book World Record to create the World’s Largest Necklace in the Kids Zone.

Afrofest – Afrofest is a FREE festival featuring music, dance, mouth-watering food, a large bustling marketplace and much more. It will take place on July 6 & 7, 2013 at Woodbine Park

Corso Italia Annual Street Festival – Enjoy streets lined with vendors offering a world of delicacies, amazing live entertainment, world-class shopping, fun contests and more!  Join us for a can’t-miss weekend of fun for all ages!

Warkworth

Warkworth Western Ram Rodeo Weekend – The Percy Agricultural Society (Warkworth Fair Board) and the RAM Rodeo Tour are pleased to announce this year’s RAM RODEO!  For 16 years the Warkworth Western Weekend has provided the thrills and live action of real Rodeo in the amazing little town of Warkworth just east of the GTA. Friday night starts the Weekend off with the Annual Western Gaming Show and Saturday and Sunday it’s the Ram Rodeo.

Wasaga Beach

Georgian Triangle Music Festival – A multi-venue, multi genre, three day music festival with over 60 Musical Acts all at the mouth of South Georgian Bay

Weekend Fun Guide (Canada Day Weekend 2013)

School is out for summer and we want to wish you all a fun and safe summer!  Happy Canada Day!  Be sure to get out and enjoy some great events this weekend that celebrate the birthday of our great country!

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Around Town this Weekend…

Amhertsburg 

Canada Day – At 9am start your day with a gorgeous course and 5 K run from the Fort.  Enjoy free activities and entertainment throughout the day and end it with a spectacular fireworks finale along the Detroit River!  This traditional event is the best in the region and not to be missed!

Barrie

Canada Day Fireworks – Celebrate Canada’s birthday with Barrie’s annual fireworks spectacular over Kempenfelt Bay beginning at 10:00pm.

Brantford

Canada Day Celebrations – There will be an amazing fire works show, MarketPlace, Citizenship Ceremony, Great Canadian Trail Run, Made in Canada Area, amazing entertainment and many more fun-filled activities!

Burlington

Canada Day Celebrations – Celebrate the beautiful country we live in at Burlington’s waterfront. Starting with a run in the morning the festivities including children’s activities and entertainment take place all day long until 10pm when the sky will light up with fireworks.

Calabogie

Calabogie Country Music Festival – The festival will feature one of Eastern Ontario’s best country music lineups including headliners Dallas Smith and Kira Isabella. A weekend fun for families and people of all ages – beer garden, vendor’s area, kids’ zone, and mountainside camping.

Caledonia 

Canada Day – Starting with a Parade at 11:00 am.  There will be all day children and adult entertainment in Kinsmen Park and the Park by the Dam.  Crafts, Steven Young Duck Race 3 pm, Fireworks at dusk.  Free Family Fun.

Cambridge

Canada Day – Come for the fun at Riverside Park!  There will be a fishing derby, carnival, parade, children’s area, beer garden, live bands and fireworks to end off the celebration!

Carleton Place

Canada Day – Celebrations commence in Riverside Park and include lots of children’s activities and entertainment for all ages. The day is topped off with the best fireworks in Lanark County, if not the Valley!

Cobourg

Waterfront Festival – Come out and have some fun with the family!  Grab a bite from a wide variety of food vendors, take a ride on the midway on the Pier, browse the Marketplace, and  enjoy the all-day entertainment on Cobourg’s Bandshell. Don’t miss the variety of special shows and demonstrations such as Canadian Forces Skyhawks, and Search and Rescue Teams, and Metropolitan Toronto’s Winged Wheels.

Dryden

Moosefest – Welcome to the Annual Moosefest website.   From Music in the Park to the Teddy Bear Picnic there are events for all ages.  Please visit our Calendar for a full listing of this year’s festival events.

Embro

Highland Games – In addition to watching our various piping, athletic and dancing competitions, you can inspect vintage cars, watch dogs at work, investigate Scottish clans, shop at our vendor booths, or enjoy a meal and licensed refreshments. If you want to become more actively involved, try your hand at log sawing or maybe the farmer’s walk. Youngsters have their own just-for-fun competition

Fergus

Twilight Canada Day Festivities – Twilight Canada Day Celebrations including: Kiddie arcade, live entertainment, food vendors and dazzling fireworks.

Gananoque

Family Ribfest – We’ll be rockin’ and a ribbin’!  Come and enjoy a great day or stay for the weekend in the heart of the 1000 Islands.  Browse, shop, relax, taste the delicious ribs and discover the sites, legends, and history Gananoque has to offer, See why we call it Paradise! •Something for Everyone!•4 days of fun for the whole family!•Music, entertainment, vendors, beer tent.•Lots of great ribs and pulled pork to eat!

Grand Bend

Canada Day – Grand Bend’s Canada Day Celebrations & Fireworks attracts thousands of people from throughout Southwestern Ontario – and for good reason! We’re the place to be to have fun, enjoy the beach and lake while listening to live music and top off the day with a professional fireworks display.

Goderich 

Children’s Festival – A fun free day for kids aged infant to 12. The Festival starts at 10 am with activities for all ages.
Bubbles, Balloons and Bouncers plus a model airshow by the Sky Harbour Modellers, Fincher’s Tent, Face Painting, Crafts, Playdough and Goop, and much more!

Guelph

Local Food Fest – A fun, colourful and delicious event. Join us for a Farmers Market, Exhibititor Market Place, Cooking Demos, Workshops, Tours, Wagon Rides, Children’s Activities, Live Music and Delicious Local Food.

Hamilton 

Summer Kick-off Celebration – Wild Waterworks invites friends and family to experience a hero-themed weekend at the Summer Kick-off weekend.  Visit with your favourite super heroes who will be visiting the park.  Don’t forget to wear your costume to enter the costume contest for great prizes!

Tall Ships – The majestic tall ships are coming to Hamilton’s waterfront as part of the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemorations. The excitement will begin June 28 with the Parade of Sail and Opening Ceremonies. Daily June 29 and 30 visitors can go aboard the ships and sail on selected ships (for a fee), enjoy free on-land activities, music, food and more. Return for July 1 Canada Day celebrations at nearby Bayfront and Pier 4 Parks. Fireworks begin at dusk.

It’s Your Festival – Celebrating Canada’s Birthday at It’s Your Festival in beautiful Gage Park FREE ADMISSION. Food, entertainment, games, contests and Canada Day ceremony!

Keene 

Historic Dominion Day – Celebrate Canada’s 146th birthday with historic fun and games for the whole family.  The fun includes but is not limited to musical performances, wagon rides, reenactments, school yard games and crafts for the kids and FREE cake!

London

Canada Day – The Canada Day event is a family day that will begin with opening ceremonies and include live entertainment, children’s air equipment, food vendors, cake cutting, movies and fireworks.

Midland

Canada Day Celebrations – Celebrate Canada’s Birthday at Little Lake Park with Games, kid’s activities, Crafts, entertainment, Firewors and so much more!

Milton

Canada Day Celebrations – The largest attended one day event in Milton will provide an array of exciting activities to include fantastic live music, wide variety of entertainment, diverse food choices, arts and crafts, fun activities for all ages, and the finale featuring spectacular fireworks under the stars

Mississauaga

Celebrate Canada Day – Join us July 1st as we celebrate Canada Day with performances by Mississauga’s hottest DJ duo Kissette, Crystalyne, Eleven Past One, Young Empires and Down With Webster. Don’t miss the amazing performances, delicious food trucks, spectacular cirque shows and fireworks

Niagara Falls

Canada Day Celebration – Kicking it off with a parade in the morning the festivities also include face painting, entertainment, inflatables, car show, cooking demonstrations, food vendors and of course ends off with some amazing fireworks

Orillia 

Canada Day Celebrations – A fun-filled family day at Couchiching Beach Park! Midway, Children’s Village, parade Downtown, craft & food vendors, live entertainment, giant birthday cake & more! Fabulous fireworks at dusk!

Owen Sound

Canada Day Festivities – Owen Sound celebrates Canada Day with a spectacular fireworks display over the harbour, a classic rock concert, and lots of family entertainment, games and attractions.

Peterborough 

Multicultural Canada Day – Start your day on George Street and watch the Canada Day Parade in the morning.  At the end of the parade, make your way to Del Crary Park for lunch.  You will find many cultural clubs, groups and vendors selling traditional dishes from around the world.  Then, stay in the park for a rich programme of cultural performances and end the day at the Little Lake Musicfest with great music and a spectacular fireworks display.

Port Burwell

Canada Day – Canada Day Celebrations in Port Burwell – Parade line up starts at 11:00 and departs the Legion at 11:30am followed by cake and children’s festivities.

Port Hope

Canada Day Festivities – Port  Hope Kinsmen celebrates Canada Day, July 1st, with an Antique Car Show in Rotary Park and Town Hall Parking Lot at 9am and Rock the Dogwalk 9am-1030am.  The annual Calithumpian Parade commences at 11am at the corner of Ridout and Bramley streets and continuing down Heritage Main Street. Live local entertainment in the Bandshell from noon to 10pm.There will be food booths, and a beer garden.Fireworks at the Waterfront East Beach  at 10:15pm (dusk).

Ottawa

Canada Day in the Capital – Join us  to celebrate Canada’s birthday!  Canada’s Capital Region buzzes with activity, as Canadians from across the country flock to the Capital to show their national pride.  The festivities take place on Parliament Hill, in downtown parks and on the streets. Witness the ceremonies, take in the musical talent from across the country, see the fireworks — and more!

Peterborough

Peterborough Musicfest – Peterborough Musicfest is a non-profit charitable organization that presents concerts every Wednesday and Saturday at 8:00pm on the shores of beautiful Little Lake in Del Crary Park, downtown Peterborough. All concerts are presented free of charge to ensure that all members of the community can enjoy an evening of entertainment in spite of economic or social barriers.  Peterborough Musicfest is proud of the past 26 years and looks forward to its 27th season beginning on June 29, 2013 and ending on August 24, 2013.

Picton

Canada Day Celebration – Please join us in celebrating Canada at Prince Edward County’s biggest Canada Day celebration! Our celebration takes place throughout Picton and offers everyone the chance to explore our town. You can dine at our restaurants, explore our many shops and boutiques, visit the artisan market and enjoy street performers, catch Rising Stars and finish it off with the biggest bang!

Sauble Beach

Canada Day Celebration – Please join us for our Canada Day Celebrations. This year the Canada Day festival will explode on June 30 with our Canadian anthem and opening ceremonies, fireworks will discharge from a barge over the water, outdoor movie and live Canadian bands will perform on the beach. This is a family event for all ages. Come join our family and children’s activities on Canada Day, July 1.  There will be face painting, colouring, arts and crafts plus lots for fun and games.

Stouffville

Strawberry Festival – Free family festival that definitely has something for everyone. There will be entertainment, children activities, arts and crafts, carnival, lots of contests and plenty of delicious strawberries with fireworks on Canada Day!

Toronto 

Canada Day Weekend @ Canada Square – A multidisciplinary, culturally diverse, innovative and fun extravaganza in celebration of Canada’s birthday. Dance, in all ways, shapes and forms, is the central theme to the weekend. Plus enjoy some great food and  join us for fireworks on June 30!

Ribfest @ Centennial Park – Toronto’s largest charity event, held over Canada Day weekend each year! A great family destination with rides, attractions, music and live entertainment and, of course, great food!

Vaughan 

Canada Day 2013 – Celebrate Canada’s 146th birthday at the City of Vaughan’s Canada Day event on Monday, July 1, 2013 at Mackenzie Glen District Park. This fun filled family event held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The features include headline concerts and a host of other activities, including the   Inflatable Zone, a Zip Line attraction, Face Painting and an Official Welcome by the Mayor.

Windsor

Canada Day – Parade 11:00 am featuring local/regional bands, floats, entertainers & Parade starts on Wyandotte at Devonshire, and proceeds to Wyandotte at Glengarry , Cake Cutting is at Riverfront Festival Plaza.

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Thinking about taking in a movie with the family this weekend?  Check out what’s playing on Saturday mornings at Cineplex theatres for their Family Favourites.  At 11:00am you can watch a movie for only $2.50!  You can also load the family into the car and head to a drive-in near you for some family fun!

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Visit a a Farmer’s Market near you this weekend to get some super fresh local produce and support the Farmers of Ontario.

Run away with the Circus for the Night

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Look up….look wayyyy up!  Yep, that’s the Big Top which means the Shrine Circus is in town!!

We were invited to attend the opening night of the circus last weekend and of course we were thrilled and to say the kids were super excited would have been an understatement.  From the moment we could see the Big Top in the distance, the kids didn’t stop smiling!

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Before the show started we were given a special behind the scenes tour of the Big Top and to see the animals getting all prepped for their big performances.  Now I know most of us wouldn’t want an audience when we’re having our shower but thankfully the elephant didn’t mind us watching him get his spray down before the show. It was the coolest thing to watch as the elephant completely cooperated during the process and even helped out by lifting his foot to be washed.  It was so cute to watch the elephant interact with the circus employees as he would playfully poke them with his trunk. We also got to watch the tigers (from afar) resting up for the show and the horses looking beautiful.  The best part of the behind the scenes look was to hear about how well all the animals are cared for.

Ringmaster Richard Curtis

Once we grabbed our hot dogs, snow cones and caramel corn and took our seats we were greeted in song by the charismatic Ringmaster, Richard Curtis.  Richard was an awesome ringmaster that kept the crowd engaged with his booming voice, good looks (for the ladies) and all around enthusiasm.  You could tell he loves his job!

Tigers, Trapeze and Elephants…Oh My! 

Here we gooooo! Now I don’t want to give away the entire show as I feel you need to experience this amazement for yourself but i’ll give you a little peek into some  of what you can expect under the Big Top through pictures!  Get ready for amazing animals, feet juggling, heart stopping stunts and SO much more.  Watching these performers you will be dazzled by their strength, courage, love for the Circus and the overwhelming feeling of family!

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Get your Tickets Now

Grab your family and head to see this classic circus for a night of fun you won’t soon forget!  Oh and did I mention YOU can ride an elephant?  Right before the show starts and during the intermission you can take a ride on the back of an elephant! How cool is that?!  So don’t forget to bring money for the reasonably priced food, face painting, elephant rides and fun light up toys for the kids!  Most all, get ready for some family FUN!

Use the coupon code “FUN” and get your general admission tickets 50% off, 2 for the price of 1!! An amazing deal for an AMAZING show!

Show Dates

June 21-July 1 2013                Rexdale – Woodbine Centre Parking Lot

July 5 – July 14 2013               Brampton – Powerade Centre Park

July 18 – July 21 2013             Vaughan – Interchange Parking Lot

July 25 – July 28 2013            Oakville –  Entertainment Centrum Parking Lot

August 2 – August 5 2013       Markham – Markham Fair Grounds

August 9 – August 11 2013      Ottawa – RA Centre Parking Lot

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The Shrine Circus can’t wait to entertain your family!

Rent a Cottage for a FUN Summer Getaway

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Some of your best summer memories can be made by renting a cottage for a summer getaway.  Imagine how much fun it can be swimming in the lake, building sand castles and sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows and telling stories.  Oh the fun possibilities are endless!

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Not sure where to start when looking for a cottage rental?  Our friends at Online Cottage Rental have some great tips for you to get started.  They also have an awesome website where you can search an abundance of rental cottage listings from across Canada.

Communication is Key

Ask lots of questions

  • How much is the security deposit and when do you get it back?
  • What form of payment do they accept?
  • Confirm rental dates.
  • When can you arrive?
  • How many visitors are allowed at one time?
  • Ask if you can go look at the property before renting it (this is dependent on your proximity to the rental property).
  • Who should you call if there is a problem with the rental?
  • Confirm all amenities included.
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • Confirm how much the cottages rent is.

Start Early

As most people plan both their summer and winter vacations in advanced so make sure you don’t miss out. If you happen to be late in your vacation plans check out their Last Minute Specials, you are bound to find an ideal rental spot there.
If you see a property you like with the right date’s available contact the owner right away. Most rentals tend to get booked up quickly for high season.
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Online Cottage Rental focuses on Canadian Cottage Rentals and Canadian vacation homes sales, allowing us to specifically target those searching for a cottage rental or sale in Canada. Whether you are looking for weekend cottage rentals, summer cottage rentals, beach cottages rentals or winter cabin getaways you’ve come to the right site.

The Circus is Coming to Town

The Big Top is going up because the Shrine Circus is coming to town!

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Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages we welcome you under the Big Top to see the largest exotic cat act in the world plus the TARZAN Zerbini Performing Elephants, Trapeze & Aerial Artistry, Jugglers, Unicycles, High Flying Acrobatics, Cavorting Clowns, the Incredible Circus Wheel and much more! And we want YOU to WIN Tickets  to take your family for some fun!

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Get your tickets

Use the coupon code “FUN” and get your general admission tickets 50% off, 2 for the price of 1!! An amazing deal for an AMAZING show!

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Show Dates

June 21-July 1 2013                Rexdale – Woodbine Centre Parking Lot

July 5 – July 14 2013               Brampton – Powerade Centre Park

July 18 – July 21 2013             Vaughan – Interchange Parking Lot

July 25 – July 28 2013            Oakville –  Entertainment Centrum Parking Lot

August 2 – August 5 2013       Markham – Markham Fair Grounds

August 9 – August 11 2013      Ottawa – RA Centre Parking Lot

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Join the Twitter Party on Tuesday June 18th from 8-9pm ET for a chance to WIN one of ten family passes for 4 to see The Shrine Circus LIVE in a city near you.  You can also enter to WIN the GRAND PRIZE (valued at $4,000.00)… a family trip for 4 to the Elephant Sanctuary, Two Tails Ranch (All AboutElephants), in Williston Florida!! RSVP to the party HERE and enter now to WIN a trip to the one of a kind Elephant Sanctuary.

Ontario Pioneer Camp is #1 in our Hearts!

How often do you get to step back into your childhood and play like a kid?  This past weekend I was given the chance to do just that as my family was invited to be guests at Ontario Pioneer Camp (OPC) in Haliburton!

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To be honest at first I was mostly excited for my kids as they have never been to camp (yet) and I thought they would have a blast.  Well I was right that they had a ton of fun but my husband and I had just as much fun …maybe more!  Sit back and enjoy as I retell our amazing time at OPC and also be sure to read about our kid’s thoughts on why they LOVED OPC!

Right from the moment we were invited I knew this was going to be a special place and a wonderful getaway for our family.  A week or so before we went we received a package in the mail.  Not expecting anything, I was totally excited because really who doesn’t love getting mail, let alone a package!  OPC sent us a camp care package filled with thoughtfulness!

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On the day we were leaving, the kids were up at the crack of dawn asking if it was time to leave yet and I only heard that asked about 40 more times that day.  😉 Finally we were overpacked and ready to go! With a little pit stop at Webers for dinner along the way (thanks to the certificates OPC gave us in our care package) we rolled into OPC after dinner.

VWK Roadtrip

We were welcomed with big smiles from the OPC staff and let me tell you, those smiles and their enthusiasm never wavered through our entire weekend!  I truly think OPC hit the jackpot when they secured their staff.  Every single one of them were fabulous and helped to make our weekend a great time.

Day #1 – Getting to know OPC and their staff

Once were all checked in and settled in our room we went to meet up with the other blogger families in the dining hall.  The kids would have been happy to spend all of their time here on the ping pong table, Ed’s alley and playing the games but OPC had a night of fun planned for us.

VWK OPC first night

We went to a show at the Crow’s Nest that night that was full of humour, goofiness and even required a lot of audience participation much to my chagrin. I am not one to jump up and volunteer but I wanted to make the most of this opportunity so I agreed to participate in an eating competition.  It was absolutely hilarious to try and move an Oreo that was stuck to my forehead into my mouth using only my facial muscles to get it there!  I could hear my children laughing and cheering me on from their seats and I knew I was making the cool Mom category today.

Next stop….bonfire with s’mores!  The kids were in their glory stuffing their faces with marshmallows and s’mores and the camp staff was right there getting sticks, cooking marshmallows and telling stories to the kids. The kids could have stayed here all night but there were games and nachos waiting for us in the dining hall.

Day #2 – Rise and Shine Campers…it’s going to be a fun and busy day!

Saturday was jam packed full of activities!  Once they filled our bellies with a yummy breakfast we got to try our hand at archery, climb the awesome indoor rock wall, make some crafts and try out their low-ropes course.  Now let me tell you, the kids were excited about all the activities but I think the kid in every single adult came out as we tried to master all of the activities as well.  What a fun time to put the worries of your everyday life aside and have some good true fun!  I loved how the kids cheered on their parents as they tried out the activities and you could see pride in both the parents and kids eyes as they watched each other complete the activity.  We saw fear turn to courage, uncertainty turn to pride and most importantly we saw families having FUN!

VWK OPC Activities

In the afternoon we got to spend some time on their beach where you could play beach volleyball, go for a swim, take a family canoe ride or just relax and take in the beauty of where we were!  Once again the staff was there checking us in to the beach area so that everyone was accounted for, getting us out on canoes, teaching the older kids to kayak and even showing off their volleyball skills.

At one point in the afternoon they loaded family by family into their huge war canoes and we paddled across the lake to see all the different areas of OPC.  It was amazing to see all the camps, cabins, dining halls and certainly one of the coolest things was their worship area, Chapel Point, which is a point where all the camps come to meet on a Sunday morning to worship the Creator of their beautiful surroundings.  We made our way to the Girl’s Camp where we were given a tour and the kids got to go down this awesomely fast water slide into the lake.  Now some watched (yes I watched) but others braved the speed and cold waters below and said it was a great thrill!!

After dinner we were split into two tribes based on our bandana colours, put on war paint and were challenged to defend our camp’s fire.  What a blast this was!!!  Kids and adults were to sneak up on the other camp’s fire and throw water balloons on it to try and extinguish it.  I think at one point this game was all about the adults as our competitive sides came out and felt the need to win.  In the end I don’t even know who won but there was a lot of laughs, some really soaked people from an impromptu water balloon fight (which I may or may not have started) and a great bonding experience.

Back to the dining hall where we all indulged in a late night snack of make your own ice cream sundaes and then off to bed.  I think the kids lasted all of 15 seconds once their heads hit the pillow this night.  Fun times = exhausted children :-)

Day #3 – Our time at OPC comes to an end and nobody wants to leave

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When we woke up on the last day I felt a bit of sadness knowing we had to leave this wonderful camp, the great staff and blogger families we had met.  We all met for a another yummy breakfast, got in a few last chats, pictures and a couple last games of ping pong and Ed’s Alley.  As we packed up our room, I listened to my kids talking about all the fun things they did, all the friends they made and how they can’t wait to come back.  Their conversation ended with a pinky swear to each other that they would come back together without Mommy and Daddy and have a great adventure!  My heart melted at that moment as I knew they had seen, as I had, what a super special place Ontario Pioneer Camp is.

Summary of my Rambling Thoughts…

  • Ontario Pioneer Camp was amazing
  • Their staff and recreational facilities are top notch
  • Food was delish
  • My kids (and their parents) can’t stop talking about it to everyone
  • Nobody wanted to leave
  • We can’t wait to go back!
  • Your kids will LOVE this camp!  Register them now
  • Ontario Pioneer Camp was named as one of the Best Camps in North America  and we can see why

Would I send my kids to Camp?

Before this weekend I would have said nope they’re not ready.  As it turns out it was probably Mommy that was not ready.  After this experience I would send them to OPC in a heartbeat.  I think it gives children maturity, courage and a great sense of camaraderie.  You could tell the staff loved what they did and had a true passion for working with kids.  OPC you will see my kids in the near future!

From one parent to another trust me when I say that your kids will have the time of their life at OPC, will be well taken care of and NO they will not want to come home when their time at camp is over!  Check out what Ontario Pioneer Camp has to offer for your child (Ages 5-17) and you will keep sending them back year after year!

Things I learned at camp…

I know that we never stop learning but there were things I learned about myself this weekend that surprised me so I can only imagine what a child can learn and walk away with after a week at camp!

Trying Something new

I am not one to normally step out of my comfort zone so when they asked for volunteers at the camp show the first night I was NOT the first person to raise my hand.  After some encouragement (ahem finger pointing) from my kids I did get up there.  Little did I know I would be sticking an Oreo cookie to my forehead and trying to move it into the mouth by only using my facial muscles.  It was a hoot and I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone!

I AM Courageous

So I strapped on some climbing gear and decided to climb the rock wall.  The kids are doing it and i’m not afraid of heights so it should be pretty easy.  Boy was I wrong!  As I neared the top something came over me and I started to shake pretty bad and the first thought that came into my head was “I’m out!”.  How easy would it have been for me to come back to the stability of the ground and say I tried it.  From the ground I could hear my kids cheering me on as well as my new camp friends telling me “You can do it”.   In my heart of hearts I knew I could do it and persevered until I hit that bell at the top.  Although still shaking when I made my way back down, I was proud of the courage I found deep within with the help from my supporters on the ground.

You CAN make camp friends as an adult 

Going into this weekend I knew only one other family that was going.  From the moment we got there we were meeting and talking to all these new “blogger” families and instantly knew these were good people.  I enjoyed meeting all the parents and their fantastic children and by the end of the weekend we were all hugging each other goodbye.  The staff was the same way, we felt like we knew them when we left and we were very sad to say goodbye!

Coffee can NOT combat the tiredness of going to camp as an adult

I am not a child and do not pretend to be able to fully keep up with the energy that one has. I did think that the copious amounts of caffeine I consumed would keep me awake and raring to go all weekend.  I now know that there is nothing that can keep you awake after a fun-filled day at camp.

Mosquito repellant works

In our camp care package from OPC we received bug repellant.  Thankfully we brought it along as with spring time comes mosquitos.  Although the mosquitos were a swarming, we each only came home with a couple of bites.  So thank you OPC for thinking ahead for us and sending us bug spray!

Memories last a lifetime

We are so grateful that we were given this opportunity to visit OPC.  We took a ton of pictures and met great people but in the end each and every one of us left with great memories that we will always remember!

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Goodbye OPC!  

Thank you for welcoming us with open arms and sharing your wonderful camp with our family. See you soon!

For the love of Pancakes…It’s Maple Syrup Time in Ontario

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One of the best things about Springtime is that it’s also Maple Syrup time in Ontario.  And one of the best things about living in Ontario during Maple Syrup season is that there is no shortage of sugar bushes to visit!!  Check out our list of Sugar Bushes here!!

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We took our kiddies (+1) to visit Maple Towne at Mountsberg Conservation Area in Campbellville today.  The weather was perfect and we had so much fun!

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We walked out to the Sugar Bush and took a tour through the tapped trees.  The kids loved checking in the buckets to see how much sap had been collected and there were signs throughout the path that gave you unique facts about maple syrup production, the trees and about the conservation area.  My 7 year old son who loves learning new facts thought this part was awesome.

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Once we wound our way through the trees to enter Maple Towne we entered the first building where we were taught the process of making maple syrup, from tapping the trees to the differences in syrup based on the time of spring it is produced.  Did you know it takes 45 buckets of sap to make one bucket of maple syrup?

Next building we entered, there was a lady making maple candy.  Let me tell you it was delicious and YES I did have more than one piece!  😉

Off to the the pancake house we went for a mountain of pancakes with real yummy maple syrup, sausages and some apple cider.  The kids were in their glory!!

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Last stop in Maple Town was a visit to the Country Store where we bought some syrup, of course, and some delicious maple suckers.

No trip to Mountsberg would be complete without visiting the animals, birds and the hay barn.  All in all a fun day with full bellies to boot!

Be sure to visit a Sugar Bush near you this Spring for some family fun!!

LEGO, LEGO Everywhere

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We were very excited to be invited to take part in the media preview for LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Vaughan Mills last week which opens March 1st.  I have loved LEGO since I was a kid but now I get to re-live that through my kids.  My son is 7 and he is a huge LEGO fan.  From mini figures to his fave sets of Ninjago and everything in between, he can spend hours upon hours building and using his imagination.  My daughter is 5 and being the girlie girl that she is has totally taken to  LEGO friends.  So you can imagine the squeals of glee when I told them they could come to the preview with me.

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Both up and dressed at the crack of dawn, we were early for the event so it gave us a chance to check out the storefront.  This would have made them happy in itself as the store is great!  The decor is bright and colourful and has cool big figurines constructed all out of LEGO blocks.  We found sets that my son had been looking for, sets that my daughter hadn’t seen yet, super cool key Chains, wall of bricks and the list goes of on and on.  Shopping list for the Easter Bunny….Done!  It’s going to be a LEGO themed Easter at this house!

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Our tour began as we entered the LEGO man cutout in the wall and into the LEGO factory where you learn through interactive play how raw plastic is turned into LEGO pieces. Here you can also weigh yourself to see how much you weigh in LEGO bricks. No…I will not reveal my number!

My 5 year old daughter’s favourite thing came next…Kingdom Quest.  Hop in a chariot and grab your laser gun to get rid of the bad guys and save the princess!  Your score tallies up as you go so you can see who the ultimate victor in the family will be.  If you’re anything like our competitive family you’ll want to ride again and again.

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Miniland is nothing short of amazing.  Check out the landmark buildings of Toronto as well as the wonders of Niagara Falls all made out of millions of pieces of LEGO.  Play a game of baseball at the Rogers Centre, hockey at the ACC or just marvel at the hours upon hours of work put into this area.

At this point we haven’t even made it into the main play area where even more fun with LEGO awaits us.  In this area you will find an area to build your own LEGO racer that you can race down 2 different tracks, check out the LEGO friends area, play in the LEGO Fire Academy and ride Merlin’s Apprentice.  Be sure to check out one of favourite things in this area, the Earthquake Tables.  Build a tower out of LEGO bricks and test it’s strength and integrity to see if it can withstand the shaking of an earthquake.

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My 7 year old son’s hands-down favourite was the 4-D Movie Cinema where we watched a Clutch Powers Adventure.  Put on your cool glasses, sit back and watch in amazement as LEGO bricks, mini figures and everything else busts out of the screen at you.  Watching the kids in the theatre reaching out to try and grab the flying pieces was amusement in itself.

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All this LEGO fun can make you hungry so be sure to stop by the Cafe for some eats to re-energize so you can do it all again!  Don’t worry the food is about the only thing not made out of LEGO!

How cool would it be for your child to have their Birthday Party hosted at LEGOland?  Yep, they host parties as well.

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You have to check this place out and we can’t wait to go back really soon.

For more information on hours, directions, pricing and planning your family’s visit go to www.legolanddiscoverycentre.ca