Spotlight on Ontario Communities
Black Creek Pioneer Village
Blue Mountain Resort
Canadian Bushplane Museum
Canadian War Museum
Country Heritage Park
Kawartha Settler' Village
Staycations… Lots to Do Around Ontario!
by Gary McWilliams (aka Festival Nomad)
Now that the summer season is here, it’s time to start planning for family fun. With the cost of gas and other expenses, many families are planning on staying close to home or, as some call it, STAYCATIONS.
That’s Judi’s and my specialty, exploring Ontario. Over the past 13 years we have been visiting, discovering and exploring hundreds of Ontario communities and their events. As a result, we have experienced many fabulous adventures.
The following is a list of some of our favourite types of Ontario adventures ~
- Nature Adventures ~ Ontario has some of the best “Nature Adventures” available anywhere! There are nature trails, wildlife zoos and adventure parks. What’s great is they are located across the province, so there will be a “Nature Adventure” close to you!
- Outdoor Entertainment ~ Concerts in the Park, Sporting Events, Food and Music Festivals and Outdoor Theatre are all within easy reach of Ontario families. Our Ontario Event Directory lists hundreds of amazing activities that the whole family can enjoy!
- Outdoor Activities ~ Ontario is known for being the “Land of Lakes”. Sunning on a beach or dock, swimming on a clear blue lake or boating with the fresh clean air blowing through your hair (if you have any!), are all wonderful family activities. Enjoying them to the fullest is another great STAYCATION holiday!
- Exploring Ontario ~ We see so many commercials about exploring the “WORLD”. How about exploring “YOUR” world? Ontario communities have so much to offer, Farmers’ Markets, Interactive Heritage Museums (Pioneer Villages) and Historical Properties and Events. Learning about “YOUR” world is easy to do and so much fun!
Like I mentioned, Judi and I have been traveling throughout Ontario for many years, so we’ve experienced many amazing “adventures”. Here are 10 of our favourites (in no particulate order)
- Toronto Zoo
- Scenic Caves Nature Adventures
- Canada Day in Ottawa
- Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show
- The Grand Fondo Bike Race (Blue Mountains)
- Lang Pioneer Village Museum
- Canal Days in Port Colborne
- Goderich Farmers’ Market
- St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival
- Cruising the Muskoka Lakes on Sunset Cruises’ “Peerless II”
As you can imagine, I have experienced hundreds of wonderful adventures, but best overall adventure is just exploring Ontario with me best friend!
We have noticed a number of “trends” over the past year, events combining with other events, historic sites hosting farmers’ markets, food events joining with craft beer producers, festivals offering local foods and communities groups producing unique adventures like “murder mysteries” and “escape rooms“!
All this to attract new and non-traditional visitors. Of course, they still want to appeal to traditional visitors, but they want to increase their visibility and viability.
We think that these are great trends and hope that the industry produces more in the future. The creation of these new “trends” now only attract new visitors, but they attract new volunteers. The strength of any event are the volunteers!
The challenges that communities such as Bracebridge have had to endure this past spring are unimaginable to most of us. In The Blue Mountains we only experienced a raise in Georgian Bay waters, but in Bracebridge and Muskoka the story was much different, docks were lost, riverbanks eroded and basements flooded.
Our friends Randy and Debbie, owners and managers of Sunset Cruises experienced the challenges full force. Their cruise ship, normally docked near their home on the Muskoka River had to be moved to Port Carling. Their dock war destroyed by the rushing waters. With so much devastation in the area, repairing or replacing it will only happening in the distant future.
Of course, Randy and Debbie were not the only ones affected by the Climate Change. For those who thinks that the science is wrong and that global warming doesn’t exist, look north for a “glimpse” of the future.
Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all those (Canadian and the USA) people who were devastated by this ongoing phenomenon.
Ontario Community Spotlight
July’s Ontario Visited “Ontario Community Spotlight” community is the Town of Wasaga Beach.
Wasaga Beach is a great place for the whole family to visit and enjoy.
Wasaga Beach offers so much, the “World’s longest freshwater beach (14 km)“, the Blue Waters of Georgian Bay and lots of fun activities!
Last year Judi and I had the opportunity to enjoy several Wasaga Beach special events.
That’s why we have chosen Wasaga Beach as July’s Spotlight Community.
The photos shown gives you a “TASTE” of what we experienced!
What’s New at Ontario Visited?
As I have mentioned in past INSIDER Newsletters, we are continuously trying to update our Ontario Visited websites and improve our visitor experience.
In this issue I am pleased to describe 3 new updates ~
- Ontario Event News – Event organizers can now add their event news on our “Event News Submission Form”. It’s easy to use and gives you FREE access to let our web visitors know what’s happening at your event or community. Click HERE to access our News Submission Form.
- Ontario Event Directory – Our event directory now offers event seekers almost 2,000 events to choose from (we’re adding more every day). Our FREE “Event Listing Submission Form” allows event organizers the ability to list their event automatically. For organizers that want greater exposure for their event, we have several “marketing” options available. Our Ontario Event Directory attracts thousands of “event seekers” each month, all looking for that “perfect” event. Our low cost “marketing” options allow your event to “STAND OUT” from the “CROWD”! The submission form is easy to use and allows on-line payment through our secure “SQUARE” payment system. You can click HERE to view our “Event Listing Submission Registrations” page.
- Ontario Visited Pop-up Ads – We are now offering a limited number of “pop-up” ads to our advertisers. These are a great way of bringing attention to your community or event. This type of ad is especially effective in promoting ticket sales or short term product promotions. You can contact Judi by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (905) 375-3655.
In My Opinion… Lesson Learned?
by Gary McWilliams
The Ontario Government recently announced their Celebrate Ontario Grants. Several large events didn’t receive “expected” grants this year. Several event organizers were upset that they had not been included. Some had even “spent” the expected Grant money. Celebrate Ontario Grants are NOT a right! This year the Ontario government decided to give Celebrate grants to events that really needed them. Festival organizers should not spend money they don’t have. For events that did receive this year’s Grants, organizers should not anticipate that they will receive them next year. Instead they should plan their finances accordingly and use Grant money as a “chance to improve their event“!
Hopefully the events that did not receive “anticipated” Grants this year have “Learned their Lesson”!
On a Final Note…
Judi and I had the opportunity to watch the Blue Mountain Gran Fondo Cycling Road Race. It was spectacular!
Last year the same race, but a little different. You can check out their website (https://thebluemountainsgranfondo.com/) for the differences, but both events were fun to watch and photograph.
A few days before the event we decided to check out the course (so did potential participants). I can tell you, even by car, that the route was a long way! Unlike last year we wanted to experience the race as a whole, “start”, “feeding stations”, “the rush of the peloton (downhill)” and “the finish”.
We made it easily to the “start”, it’s only a one minute drive! Yes, we drove! We wanted to get a “fast” drive to the “feeding station”.
We arrived in plenty of time and took lots of photos and videos, perhaps too many, and then we were off to the “downhill peloton rush”.
We (I) had planned everything out to the exact detail, at least in my mind. I dropped Judi off at the top of our chosen hill and I drive to the bottom of the hill and then I waited for the “RUSH”! I waited and waited, and no “downhill peloton rush” came, only a few “stragglers”!
I finally gave up and rushed to pick up Judi. I wanted to get back to the finish line and witness “racers” crossing the “finish line”. We drove to where it had all started and, you guessed it, no one was there!
Everyone had finished and they were all in community centre, receiving their prizes! Maybe we’ll (I’ll) see the WHOLE race next year!
Throughout this article I have included some great photos of the “start” and “feeding station”, and above, I have posted our “Cycling in Ontario” video. There are some great action shots from last year’s event.
Happy Canada Day!
“We’ve Been There!”