Top 10 Most Memorable Visits

by Gary McWilliams
(aka The Festival Nomad)

Over the past 4 years, Judi and I have had the privilege of visiting almost 200 Ontario festivals and events. I can truthfully says that we have enjoyed visiting all of them. The time and effort made by the organizers of each is amazing, especially when you consider that most events are organized and managed by non-paid volunteers. The value, that each of these festivals and events, bring to their communities is incalculable! In bring you this “10 Most Memorable Ontario Event List“, you can imagine the trouble that Judi and I had in coming up with only ten. To be honest, many more festivals and events could have been included on the list. The following list is presented in no particular order. All were equally memorable!

Canada Blooms
This was one of those “you had to see it to believe it” shows! I don’t think anyone could give justice in describing how amazing the colours and displays of Canada Blooms were! Beauty was everywhere we walked and looked. (Read More)

Cornwall Lift-Off
We spent a wonderful weekend in Cornwall enjoying the Cornwall Lift-Off. For us the festival started off on Friday night at a concert, which included performances by Lighthouse and Randy Bachman, and ended on Sunday morning with us witnessing the “Lift-Off” of 27 huge colourful hot air balloons. (Read More)

Elmira Maple Syrup Festival
From the time we got off the hay wagon shuttle that brought us from the parking area to the festival, to taking the hay wagon shuttle back to our car, our day was filled with great activities! From there we had a “yummy” pancake breakfast, explored “Old MacDonald’s Farm“, visited a “Toy Show” and an “Antique Show” and then watched “MegaMutts” perform! Our visit to the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival was topped off by a trip to “Weber’s Maple Syrup Farm“. (Read More)

Festival of Textiles (Lang Pioneer Village)
Visiting Lang Pioneer Village is always a “memorable” experience, but our participation as “olde fashion” models made it even more so! As such, Judi and I were fitted into “period clothing” and then we each, in turn, paraded the “catwalk“. The cameras flashing and the applause was “head turning”! (Read More)

Fortune Cooking Food Festival
This was one event that I was not able to visit with Judi, however, we both thought that it should be included in our “most memorable list“. Here are Judi’s thoughts.
I was amazed at the vast array of activities, the high level and quality of the performances and the participation of all the festival visitors. I was completely surprised and excited by all that there was to see and do“. (Read More)

Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show
We’ve visited the Norfolk County Fair twice, and both times were extremely enjoyable. I think it represents the best in country fairs, horses, farm animals, produce judging, a great midway and plenty to see and do. Last year they had a fabulous high diving exhibition and a celebrity chef demonstration. (Read More)

Norwood Fall Fair
Frankly, this Fair surprised both Judi and me. We had been to a number of small town country fairs before, but the Norwood Fall Fair was at the top of the “heap“! From its new and very clean buildings (barns included) to the timing of the events, the Norwood Fall Fair was a joy to visit! Even it’s parade caught us by surprise! It was well organized, had lots of different participants and was long enough to keep our attention but not too long! (Read More)

St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival
Right from the start the organizers of this event have made Judi and I feel at home! The staff and volunteers treat us like long lost relatives, and the plays we have attended are second to none. The amount of thought and the attention to details make the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival plays a “must see“. And, if you are there on opening night, make sure you attend their Opening Night Gala. It’s a great opportunity to meet all the actors and actresses. (Read More)

Wasaga Under Siege
This War of 1812 re-enactment event is held in Wasaga Beach each year. It includes both a water/land skirmish and a land battle! Smoke clouds the skies and musket and cannon shots fill the air! The battle always ends with a salute to the winning side and then a march back to Nancy Island Historic Site. This where the Wasaga Under Siege re-enactors camp for the weekend. The encampment reconstructs what an 1812 encampment might have looked like. It is set up in such a way that it is fun to explore and easy to ask questions. (Read More)

Winona Peach Festival
If you like peach products, and I do, this is a super festival event to visit. Besides plenty of attractions to discover, like the mid-way, the arts and crafts show and sale, a vintage car show and lots of music, there is always the “Food Court“! Over the years, Judi and I have visited a lot of events, but I believe that the Winona Peach Festival has the best “Food Court“! Yes, of course, there are the peach dishes, but that’s only part of the story! Most of the food booths are operated by local charities. Not only is the food delicious, but the money that is earned stays in the community and is used to help local worthwhile causes! And, who can say NO to a “home-made peach pie“! (Read More)

A Few More…

These are Judi’s and my ” 10 Most Memorable Ontario Events“, but I want to mention 2 others. The first is the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival and the second is the Ukrainian Festival held in Toronto.

Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival
The reason for mentioning this festival is simple, it was the first event that we visited. It started us off on our Ontario festival and event journey and set the “bar” for excellence! The Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival has all the ingredients necessary to make it an enjoyable experience! Great main street vendors, an interesting midway and an entertaining pancake breakfast venue. No only can you get a tasty pancake meal, but you can tap your feet to the music. If you are interested in how maple syrup is made, then a trip to the sugarbush and a tour of the Sugar Shacks is “just what the doctors” ordered! That’s the “sweet tooth” doctors! (Read More)

Ukrainian Festival
Our friends and fellow Festival Nomads, Tom and Connie McAleese, rate the Ukrainian Festival the best that they have visited. That is why we have added this event to the “most memorable” list. Here is what Tom and Connie have to say, The Toronto Ukrainian Festival in the Bloor West Village took full marks for us this year. It is billed as “North America’s Largest Ukrainian Street Festival” and on this we must agree. It was an exciting well-planned cultural event. The non-stop stage performers with their authentic costumes, the music and dance. The colourful vendors stalls, the street performers, the food … everything was first-class. It was a day well spent in the sunshine and with the many friendly people out for a good time. We are looking forward to next year’s event.” (Read More)