The Guelph Box

The COVID -19 Pandemic has changed our world and how we do business.  Not being able to visit my parents in Guelph I wanted to let them know I was thinking of them. 

I first heard about the Guelph Box from an article in a local newspaper.  Immediately I googled their website, https://guelphbox.ca/ and ordered my first box for my parents.  My daughter and I were so excited when we ordered, we both agreed it kinda of felt like Christmas Morning!

Their second box should be arriving any day now.  Again we are super excited, as this box is filled with a lot of my parent’s favorite vendors, it will sure to bring them a lot of cheer and joy in these uncertain times.

I have always loved giving and really LOVE, LOVE the GUELPH BOX business on so many levels.  It really makes me feel good to support local business, and to know every box you purchase $5 is going to support local charities is amazing.

My parents keep telling me to stop gifting things to them, (I say yeah OK….) but honestly it brings me so much joy, I don’t think I can.  We cannot wait  once again to hear they have received their latest Guelph Box full of goodies I know they will truly enjoy!

I chatted with owners of the Guelph Box Josh Gray, (19 yrs) and Genevieve Sutherns, (17 yrs).

What is your business? 

Guelph Box is a social enterprise designed to help support local small businesses and charities.  We purchase products from a variety of local Guelph vendors and assemble weekly boxes of goods that are delivered straight to your door.  With every box purchased, $5 gets donated to a local charity and 10 local vendors are supported each week.

How did you come up with the idea?

The idea rapidly transformed from a “grocery delivery service” to the Guelph Box over the course of a few days.  Genevieve was travelling in France and was forced to come home due to the pandemic and Josh was studying at Carleton University when he was also brought home due to the COVID-19.  During a layover in Montreal, Josh FaceTimed Genevieve with the idea of starting a grocery delivery service for those unable to leave their homes.  After a few more conversations this quickly shifted into what Guelph Box is today.  Our goal has always been to help others and we found a unique way to do so in these times.

What is your background?

We always laugh when asked this question as teenagers we don’t have as much formal education as an older person.  That being said, our background truly is our upbringing and the mindset of making things happen!  We were both raised in local minded homes where going to the local Farmers’ Market or getting bread from the bakery was part of our routine.  This love for supporting local definitely helped shape Guelph Box and is the reason we have such a passion for supporting small businesses.  We are both very “make it happen” people and truly believe this made all the difference in the start-up of this venture.  It went from an idea to a business in 36 hours and we have not looked back since!

Josh is currently studying International Business at Carleton University with a major in global financial systems and a minor in German.  Genevieve plans to begin her studies at UBC in neuroscience in the Fall.

What have you learned operating the business?

What have we not learned? Seriously the learning curve for both of us has been incredible over the past couple of Months and we are so thankful to everyone who has stepped in to help us on this journey.  I think that the main thing we’ve taken away from it so far (beyond all the specific skills I’ve had to pick up), is how important community truly is in our lives.  Without the community of Guelph, we would not be able to support these businesses and charities.  Guelph Box has also built a unique community in Guelph when it was needed most, which is something we never imagined when we first launched.  Community truly is everything.

How has the Community welcomed your idea?

The community has welcomed our idea in a way that we could never have imagined!  We have been so overwhelmed by the positive response that we’ve gotten.  In our first week of operating our phone was going off non stop with people calling and offering to help, everybody wanted to be involved and lend a hand.  I think we screamed, “WE LOVE GUELPH” more times than you can imagine!

How do you stay inspired?

It really is the little things that keep us going.  It’s the voicemail, the emails, the smiles and the thank yous that seem to come when we need it most.  Knowing that we are not only relieving some stress for business owners but also spreading joy to so many households across the City is something that we don’t take lightly and remind ourselves of when we get worn down.

What is something people do not know about you?

(Josh)  Before COVID-19 I had planned to live in Vienna, Austria for 10 Months starting this September.

(Gen)  I went skydiving when I was 14 in New Zealand because I wasn’t legally old enough to go in Canada yet!

What is something you would like to share about the Pre-COVID-19, that you miss, and what is something you do not miss?

(Gen)  I really miss coffee shops and being able to hug those around me.  I spend a lot of my time working and hanging out with friends in coffee shops and really miss that so I eagerly await the reopening of some of my favorite Downtown spots.  Something I do not miss is how little I saw my family, there are seven people currently living in my house and it sort of feels like Christmas vacation for Months!

(Josh)  I miss the events going on around the City.  I love walking through Royal City Park near the Boathouse and seeing the Park packed and the gazebo filled with dancers and small festivals or stumbling on Street parties.  I do not miss the daily rush that we found ourselves in.  The change of pace has been a real eye-opener!

How often do you deliver your boxes, how you do you arrange for your deliveries, (respecting social distancing and the new COVID-19 measures)?

We deliver our boxes on a weekly basis and all our delivery protocols are contact-free.  We take multiple safety precautions to ensure that our volunteer drivers, customers and ourselves are not a risk in any way by delivering boxes.  As we started during COVID-19, we used these procedures right out of the gate and all of our drivers wear PPE and ensure social distancing when dropping off boxes.

Do you have new box ideas?

We definitely are full of some new box ideas and plan on doing some sort of “feature box” every couple of weeks going forward.  Our current feature box is the “Fitness Box” and they have recently introduced a “GO Play Box” for young children to keep them busy.   Moving forward people can look forward to our Father’s Day Box too.

How frequently do the items change?

Every single week is a new box!  We keep things fresh as we have many repeat customers and want to ensure that they are always getting new things to try, also this supports a wider variety of businesses.  We do have some vendors which remain constant, however, the products are switched up and over 80% of the vendors switch week to week.  There is always something new to try!

Tell us about the surprise element of your boxes and do people like it?

All of the contents in our boxes are a surprise, however we always ensure over $100 of value.  We think that the surprise element adds so much fun to the whole thing and allows people to try products that they many not actually pick but will learn that they love!  We have had a very positive response about the surprise elements hear things weekly like, “it feels like Christmas Morning!”  “It’s even better than I could’ve imagined!”

Thank you Guelph Box for your time, we too believe; “The Guelph Box feels like Christmas Morning”  Order your box for you or someone special in your life, https://guelphbox.ca/.

Talk soon ~

 

Nancy

 

Hope during the Pandemic

Sipping my first cup of black coffee this morning I stared out the window.  The birds bring me so much joy during these dark days of the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

My father gifted us a birdhouse when I moved into my new house last year.  It was his old birdhouse and he passed it along to me.  I have glued it once already, I really hope it will stay together.  I will forever hold a special place in my heart as my parents are birders. 

“A feeling of expectation and desire for certain things to happen” Oxford Dictionary

It may have taken me a pandemic to understand their fascination with these little fluttering creatures.  Perhaps a slowing down of life to truly appreciate the simple things. 

I have always loved the mornings, a time of quiet reflection before the day starts, the kids demanding my time.  It is just me, my coffee and the birds these early mornings.

Excited about my sightings I emailed my Mom with a photo of the red cardinal that I saw at the feeder this morning and I told her about the yellow finches I saw the day before.  My Mom replied, “you will have them all the time now”.  

Nature never ceases to amaze me, maybe I am getting old to be so awestruck by the birds and their plight.  Perhaps we could learn from them?

Last night after a bike ride around the neighborhood with the kids my daughter mentioned to me, “Mom where is the chalk, we should write something?” 

I may have muttered something under my breathe as I wanted to go in and turn on the TV as my legs felt a little like jello from the first big bike ride of the season.

Prior to this pandemic you rarely saw people writing on their driveways, but now it is commonplace.  My daughter quickly created beautiful hearts along with rainbows at the end of our driveway.  She also wrote a big Thank You in her beautiful handwriting. 

My contribution was the word, HOPE. 

We all need to be reminded to have hope in times like these.

Chatting with my Dad yesterday he let me know he will be most likely beginning his second round of radiation in the near future.  It was so good to hear hope in his voice.

He wasn’t supposed to be with us as his this long.  Three years ago he had his first round of chemo and radiation for cancer.  We are so grateful for everyday he gets out of bed and watches the birds with my Mom. 

He is an amazing strong man as is my Mother who is fighting her own battles.  They celebrate 58 years of marriage this July.  Together they have have weathered and endured many storms along with their share of rainbows and sunny skies. 

Music is so good for the soul, I found a beautiful song about hope.  Click on the link to listen, Michael Franti: HEY WORLD (DON’T GIVE UP), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01FE9cPXE3M

Together we are all fighting our own battles in these unprecedented times.  This invisible disease is lurking all around us.  We cannot see it, touch it, smell it and yet it is killing us. Quarantined in our houses, many unable to go to work, jobs lost or put on hold while we all try to social distance and stay safe.

When we first heard of this virus in early January which began in Wuhan, China.  Never in a million years did we think, (well maybe the Scientists knew) that the whole World would be shut down as the virus has traveled and spread so quickly.

Luckily I haven’t known anyone who has had the virus yet.  I say yet as the experts say most people may get it eventually.  We are 18 Months from a vaccine or maybe sooner if we are so lucky.

The World is slowly opening up again. Like other parts of the World, Ontario is announcing a Phase 1 reopening of our Province today, I am sure many of us will be glued to our TV’s waiting for news of our fate.

Hope is what we have for better days, for science to come up with a vaccine to help us get back to normal.  But will we ever be normal again?  What will the new normal be?

We will get back to our jobs, our family celebrations, concerts, events and HUGS. 

During this crisis we have seen amazing beautiful people caring in ways that seemed unimaginable just Months ago. 

Truth be told, I haven’t felt like writing much lately.   I am a freelance writer and a couple of the publications I write for told me they are not accepting freelance writers at this time due to the changes with COVID_19. 

Chatting with a good friend yesterday she said “how sad, people need stories more than ever these days!”  We all need friends to motivate us and encourage us to keep going and give us HOPE on those dark days.

I hope to share some upcoming stories of people, business and organizations helping others in the upcoming Months.  

Stay safe, stay together and lets have HOPE FOR BETTER DAYS!

Talk soon ~

 

Nancy

 

How Many Days Till Spring?

How many days till Spring?  The answer today is 20 days and counting, (  I found a website that actually counts for you, https://days.to/spring/2020.

Perhaps you are like me and just done with Winter?  I have had enough of cold, blowing snow, dark days and just BLAH days.

Don’t get me wrong I like the festivities of Christmas, the decorating the time spent with family and friends, but come January and February I am completely done with “Old Man Winter!”

I like to have fresh flowers in the house, especially this time of the year.  It is one of my guilty pleasures is keeping my house filled with flowers. 

I also like to add more warmth using comfy pillows, blankets and lighting.  I love to have candles all over and little strings of white lights all over the house.  I use the battery operated candles so I don’t have to worry about any mishaps.

I keep my white lights up well beyond the Christmas season, to bring cheer to the outside of the house. Some will disagree with this, but I love the twinkle in the snow at night.

Here is a little tune called “White Lights”, from a new band I have discovered.  Check out the link below to watch this great band.

White Lights by The Rural Alberta Advantage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxRFf45knBo…

I really try to embrace all of the seasons since we are Canadian Eh!  However once January rolls around I know many others voice the same concerns about the length of our Winters.

So my top 10 tips for keeping positive in the darkness of the long days and nights!

  1. Chocolate
  2. White lights, candles, outdoor lighting
  3. Getting out to local events 
  4. Comfy blankets and comfort foods, and Movies
  5. Books
  6. Nature Walks with My Kids
  7. Naps
  8. Laughter
  9. Fresh Flowers
  10. Listening to music

 

Talk soon ~

 

Nancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Polar Express Train Ride

 

The Waterloo Central Railway Village Station in St. Jacobs hosts some wonderful Holiday rides.  Walking towards the venue, you could see the glowing lights from the Christmas decor. 

Bells could be heard jingling in the darkness of the evening sky. One of the smiling attendees from the previous Polar Express train ride said, “Enjoy your time, you will love it, it was so amazing!” 

Entering the warmth of the building, there were Children dressed in pajamas clutching hands with their parents some were browsing the Polar express memorabilia and perhaps wondering what the night would entail.

The lights dimmed, smoke began to fill the room and our evening at the Polar Express began as actors began to tell the story of the popular Christmas book written by Chris Van Allsburg.

Entering train C, there were festive Christmas lights decorating the interior of the 1950’s old style train.  We were met with the actors in costume greeting us all with smiles as we found our seating arrangements. 

The conductor said, “All Aboard, we are embarking on a trip to the North Pole, please have your tickets ready!”

Rolling out of the station we all knew we were in for a special evening as the conductor began to inspect the golden tickets, walking up and down the aisle performing his golden ticket duties.

Attendees can enjoy a 1 hour train ride to the North Pole in the comfort of cozy seating while The Polar Express is read, hot chocolate and treats are served, carols are sang and everyone receives a gift and visit from SANTA. 

The acting was really well done along with all of the details taken in to account to make the ride so memorable for Children of all of all ages. 

Tickets are limited so be sure to check out the website and pre book your ride, Waterloo Central Railway, https://waterloocentralrailway.com/the-polar-express-train-ride/.

One of the last impressions I heard on the loudspeaker was, “What matter’s most is not where you are going, but that you got on!” 

This annual family fun Polar Express train ride along with the Santa train ride experience takes place from Mid November only until Mid December, so get ready to make one of the most memorable experience’s your family will have this holiday season.

 

Talk soon,

 

Nancy

 

Is the Wellington County Museum Haunted?

It is the eve of Halloween evening.  I sit here and reflect of all things that are spooky and go bump in the night as this time of year with all of the ghosts and goblins blowing in the wind.

My mind is wondering if there are really ghosts?  I think there is, and have encountered those shadow figures in my past walks in different locations.  If you have seen them, you too may know what I mean.

I have always believed the stories about the Wellington County Museum and Archives being haunted.  

This memory has been with me from a young age driving along the highway between Elora and Fergus and people saying, “that building is haunted you know!”

 

The building which is now the Wellington County Museum has not always been a museum.  It was a House of Industry and Refuge for persons who didn’t have anywhere else to go and had little monies or may have been abandoned.  

The grounds of the museum are home to a cemetery of many of the past people who lived there at one time.  It was referred to as the, “Poor House” of industry and refuge.

If you have never visited before I highly recommend you check out the display of the many photos, and stories on a permanent display.  They pay tribute to the many who did not have a place to live who may have been abandoned due to not having any other place to go, often the poor and neediest of the population.

The Museum often has ghost walks, tours and even had the Wellington County Paranormal Society.  Yes we have a group in Wellington County who investigate paranormal activity.   

They say yes it is true there is indeed some activity which has taken place at this and other locations in Wellington County.  Check out their link for information about their visit, https://wcpi.ca/

Talk soon ~

 

Happy Halloween, Nancy 

 

 

5 Things to Do in Wellington County This Weekend

Happy October….Lots of Events are going on in Wellington County this weekend!

Elora Fergus Studio Tour:  (Saturday, and Sunday Oct. 5, & 6th) Check out the 2nd weekend of this studio tour in Centre Wellington, https://elorafergusstudiotour.com/

Horse and Hound Parade, ELORA:  (Sunday Oct. 6th) http://grandandgorgeous.com/elora-horse-and-hound/

13 THE MUSICAL playing at the Guelph Little Theatre, Guelph https://guelph.snapd.com/events/view/1269433

The Elora Farmers Market: (Saturday Mornings) https://elorafarmersmarket.ca/

Tour De Elora: (Saturday Oct. 5th) http://www.grhf.org/event/tour-de-elora/

Talk soon,

Nancy

5 Things to do in Wellington County

WHAT GOING ON IN WELLINGTON COUNTY THIS WEEKEND?

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips for Your Toronto CN TOWER VISIT

 

  • Make sure you charge your phone, and check that it is working well before your visit.  You can capture the most amazing photos of the City, or take a selfie with the Toronto skyline.   Take tons of photos if you can, (my phone which was having technical issues at the time, sighh).  
  • Take a backpack with some water and snacks.  Or if you are like me and didn’t bring any snacks and beverages with you, check out the new Bistro with food and drinks.  We had a chance to sit down at the new bistro and watch the world go around, it was fun.  Last time we were there, we dined (burgers) at the 360 restaurant experience, it was great and not too expensive.
  • Buy an Express Pass for the Elevator – It will cost you $7.00 per person, but it was well worth it.  Our wait times went from 1.5hr to 30 minutes.  I really liked this option, we thought it was great value.
  • Go as early as you can, (they suggest before noon is the less busiest time of the day).  
  • Have FUN, walk across the glass bottom floor if you dare! My kids ran across, I was a little nervous and did not.  Walk all around the observation decks, both indoors and outdoors.  Wear comfortable shoes!

 

Here is the link to purchase tickets and to check out more information about the CN TOWER, https://www.cntower.ca/en-ca/plan-your-visit/tickets.html  Maybe take the new Edgewalk?

 

Talk soon ~

 

Nancy

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cn1CN

A Birds Eye View of Toronto

Toronto a City of almost 3 million people, just 1 hour West of Wellington County is a great City to go day tripping.  We finally had the opportunity to take the amazing hop on hop off City SightSeeing Toronto bus tour the other day with a friend and our kids. 

My 12-year-old daughters dream of riding a double-decker bus had finally come true!  We hopped on the last ride of the day at the habourfront pick up point at 249 Queens Quay West.

toronto3

What a view, if you have never had the opportunity to go on an open air double-decker bus it is highly suggested from my daughter Meaghan!  Our travel friend Dawn always takes the bus tours when traveling, and knew the City of Toronto well.  It is always great to go with someone who can add their favorite comments about your travels.

The bus departed and we were off!  The tour of the City, took us about 2.5 – 3 hours (normally a 2 hour tour), to take the whole tour and it was well worth the ticket price. 

It also includes access for 48 hours and a boat tour.  The boat tour is so amazing, we set sail from the Toronto Harbourfront around the Toronto Islands.  The photos we took from the boat tour on the Serendipity Princess Cruise added to our wonderful memories of our day in the City!

boatcruise

Having taken the tour, which included a commentary it allowed us to walk away with much more knowledge of this amazing City.  Here are my 5 things I learned on the tour.

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  • Toronto has 140 ethnic neighbourhoods in the City.
  • The St. Lawrence Market has been a culinary focal point since, 1803.
  • The Distillery district has no car access, looks like its own little Village.
  • John Graves Simcoe moved the capital of Upper Canada to Toronto, which he named York, not wanting an aboriginal name.
  • The R.O.M. Royal Ontario Museum, only has 5% of their collection on display, with the other 95% at a secret underground location.

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We got to see sights and sounds you wouldn’t normally be able to see driving on your own.  Such as when the bus stopped we all watched a band play in front of the Eaton’s Center. 

It was an amazing way to just sit back and relax and not worry about the crazy rush hour traffic.  It was a beautiful warm sunny day, however there was a lovely breeze to keep us cool as we drove along the scenic streets.

We got to see all of the major sites in the City which included a little history about each of the sites.  I loved all of the architecture and the different ethnic communities we traveled.  Here is the link to the tour, https://citysightseeingtoronto.com/

Talk soon ~

 

Nancy

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Summer Adventures In My BackYard

falls

Grand River

With the official kickoff of Summer happening tomorrow June 21st, many of us are busy planning our summer vacations.  What plans do you have this summer?  It is such a short season, and we have had alot of rain and not as warm as usual.

Some of us will be jumping on a plane and travelling to far away distant lands.  For others like myself, we will be staying around locally and discovering the many hidden “adventures in my backyard”.

Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to feel like you are in a far away land.  Often times just travelling around the neighbourhood can feel like a new escape.  It is all a mindset, or perhaps taking a different road on your daily commute.  We are so lucky to have so many beautiful places in this little part of the World.

Elora, Fergus, Elmira, St. Jacobs and Guelph are just a few of the great little Towns and Villages to go exploring this summer.  Pack a picnic, test out the local cuisine, farmers markets, jump in the local Lakes, or take in an event there are hundreds and watch the world go by.

Here are some great links to place in the area to discover, https://www.wellington.ca/en/business/EDVisitWellington.aspx.  Follow us this summer as we go exploring discovering new places and people this season!

Talk soon,

Nancy

Summer Trail Adventures

ADVENTURE AWAITS