In the south-east corner of Ontario is a little piece of 19th Century Scotland. The British Army built a quarried stone canal from Kingston to the Ottawa River. The feat of engineering cost lives and required skills. The Scottish masons who worked the canal were stone-working mercenaries, who offered their services to the highest bidders. Tour the small towns in the region to see the results of their skill still standing a century later.
One such town is Perth on the Tay River about an hour’s drive from Ottawa, the Canadian capital. The canal that bisects the town is part of the Trent-Severn waterway, a recreational re-purpose of what began as a commercial venture. During the summer months boat rentals enable visitors to follow the locks and canal rather than the roadways.
B&Bs abound. Restaurants serve a variety of international cuisines. There historic sites and golf courses. Community theatre presentations and the a replica of the world’s largest cheese wheel can be experienced.
If competitive riding is your thing, a statue of Canada’s most famous competition horse - Big Ben - is on display in the town. Arts and crafts by local artisans are on display in shop windows. You can pick up a kilt or an Irish motto at the Celtic shop.
I am working on a special project that involves Whistler, BC. I need some external points of view. Would you answer the following question by posting a reply?
When you think of Whistler, BC, you think of _____________________________.
Thanks for a quick response. This is a time sensitive project.
Long before Europeans arrived in North America, the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains harvested bison. Hunting bison was a communal activity vital to survival. The first people devised a method that involved driving a portion of a herd over a cliff. The powerful beasts having fallen to their deaths would be gutted and skinned.
Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, located north and west of Fort Macleod in the province of Alberta, Canada, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with an interpretation centre that explains the importance of bison to the Plains peoples. Visitors learn about Plains cultural and how the first peoples used buffalo jumps to hunt the massive beasts.
Every trip to Southern Alberta should include a visit to Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump. Plan to spend a day. In addition to the Interpretive Centre, there are exterior paths that lead to extraordinary vistas that will inspire photographers and painters.
There is a spiritual quality to a stroll along the paths. The constant wind is Mother Earth’s song. Scudding clouds are like emotions playing across the face of a beloved friend. A moment of contemplation connects you to a continuum of human endeavour that stretches for thousands of years into the past, while looking to the future.
I have a burning desire to spend a week in NYC. The funds aren’t there right now. So I’ve looked around to find local activities that will substitute for the Manhattan experience. I think I may have found the methadone I need:
September, 29, 2011 - Burton Cummings - Do I need to tell you that he is a legendary singer/songwriter? He and Randy Bachman were the Guess Who.
October 22, 2011 - Herbie Hancock with the Massey Hall Orchestra
October 27, 2011 - Liza Minnelli - with a Z - Take me to the cabaret, please!
November 2, 2011 - Joan Baez
November 18, 2011 - The Priests
November 26, 2011 - Women’s Blues Revue
December 15, 2011 - The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs a Creole Christmas
February 4, 2012 - Chicago - I can hear the horns…
February 23, 2012 - Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
April 13, 2012 - Buddy Guy - saw him with my niece in 2008!
April 20, 2012 - Renee Fleming
June 2, 2012 - George Thorogood and the Destroyers
Yep, if you can’t get to Manhattan, Toronto is a mighty great place to be!
September 8 to 18 are the dates of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. With the opening of the TIFF headquarters at King and John Streets, however, you can experience the festival all year round. In addition to being the headquarters of the Festival, the Lightbox has multiple screening rooms, a bar, two areas to dine, and a world-class archive and rotating exhibits.
Cinema lovers visiting Toronto should plan to spend a day at the Lightbox, located in the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district. There are multiple dining options nearby, as well as the Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra theatres - for those who enjoy live performance as much as filmed.
Individual tickets for the September festival go on sale, September 3rd. If you are looking for a mainstream in-depth experience, you should buy passes early. Last minute attendees who are willing to see lesser known films and can attend in off peak hours should be satisfied.
Air Transat, a Canadian charter flight company, is offering a $399 round-trip fare from Toronto, Canada to Dublin, Ireland. Scheduled air can cost as much as $1200 and that’s in the off season. So when the consumer in me saw that rock bottom price, I began to dream of Guinness and County Laois.
The travel professional in me pushed the red alert button. If the price is too good to be true, it usually is. So I pushed the book button to uncover the inevitable taxes and service fees - $424. More than 100% of the cost. So the real cost of flying from Toronto to Dublin in August is $823. I won’t pay +100% in taxes and service fees. I might as well brand mark on my forehead.
Air Transat is not to blame +100% for the problem. The charter company only sets the service fee. International agreements and federal governments determine the taxes. The combination, however, results in an outrageous and travel dampening ransom. Nobody wins if the seat doesn’t sell.
The List of Losers
When I don’t buy that ticket to Ireland, my local limo company loses a round trip fare - $60. The local drug store and luggage shop loses, because I don’t replace and stock up on essentials prior to travel - +$50 depending on the state of my luggage. Pearson Airport loses, because I don’t buy a meal while I’m waiting with boredom for the flight to be called $15. Air Transat loses - not only the seat and service charges - but the Duty Free sale and other ancillary costs of flying. Ireland loses big time - no hotels, no meals, no admission fees, no domestic transportation costs - a per diem of at least $200 a day for 10 days - $2,000.
You can change the departure and destination points to suit your travel dreams - the problem remains the same. The world economy needs a transfusion. Travel - a selfishly motivated discretionary spend - just might be the turnaround’s life blood. Why don’t the powers that govern flight declare a moratorium on taxes for 6 months to test the theory? Let’s use self-interest for the common good!
Learning vacations appeal to me. An afternoon workshop at a museum, a lecture at a gallery. A Beefeater tour of the Tower of London at dusk. I seek out opportunities to learn when I travel.
Are you a “late-in-life” fan of theatre? Do you want to learn more, but are afraid of displaying your limited knowledge? There is a soul-satisfying, ego-protecting solution that just might change your life at the Shaw Festival - The Education Programs. I spent a week there once, attending 5 performances, and workshops every day. We toured backstage, spoke with cast members and gained an insider’s understanding of theatrical production. You don’t have to spend a week - there is a selection of one-day enrichments that you can added to a visit.
Southampton, a community on Lake Huron, in western Ontario, has an art school that offers a variety of courses all year round. Southampton is a holiday town surrounded by cottage country. There is plenty of lodging options and a beach with an unequaled view of Lake Huron sunsets.
Do you have any travel and learn suggestions?
Shopping off the beaten track means visits to artists’ colonies. Two east of Toronto offer a choice of travel styles.
Prince Edward County
South and east of Toronto lies a county/city where cattle graze and grapes mature on vines. Dotted around the county are wineries where you can sample and sip. Local produce is chopped, sauteed and seasoned into delicious dishes.
There are galleries and workshops where you can purchase one-of-a-kind items to grace your walls and halls. Oeno Gallery offers an upscale collection nestled in a vineyard. You can visit a glassmaker’s workshop in Wellington or stroll downtown Picton and visit an artists’ collectiv.
The name of a region and a town, Haliburton’s epynomous hills are a breathtaking backdrop for hiking and canoeing. The artistic epicentre of the community is the Haliburton School of the Arts. You can purchase works by professors and students or improve your own artistic abilities in a variety of classes and courses.
Places to Stay
Next door to Oeno Gallery, surrounded by the vineyards is Huff Estates Country Inn. The Inn is convenientally located in the heart of Prince Edward County, a short drive from everything.
In Haliburton, I recommend the Domain of Killien. You have a choice of cabins or rooms in the main house. There are 5,000 acres to tramp and a lake on which to paddle. The cuisine is French traditional.