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.

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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!

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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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The Beauty Queen of Leenane

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Are you looking for an escape from the January Blahhhs?  Check out the 1st show of the 2019 season production at the Guelph little Theatre.   The Beauty Queen of Leenane, written by Martin McDonagh is playing until February 3, 2019, with the entire cast of just four fabulous characters.  It was an entertaining afternoon sitting among the almost full house matinée performance.  It seemed as if we were transported back in time to a shabby sparse kitchen set in the hills of Western Ireland.  The inhabitants were the 40 something spinster Maureen who was the caretaker to old housebound Mother Mag’s.  

Act I we meet the bully Mother subtly pestering her daughter Maureen continuously.  She reluctantly fulfills her request of yet another cup of tea and offerings of the Irish Kimberly biscuit.  It was evident their relationship seemed rather unhealthy, as the two didn’t seem very fond of each other as they bickered back and forth in a thick Irish.

My daughter and I were grateful for the glossary of terms used in the play as it was at times hard to understand their thick Irish at times.  An example was the word  “Feck”, which was used thru-out the play.  It is a polite and socially acceptable profanity used by the Irish.  I must say it does sound much nicer than some of the profanity we use here in Canada.  

Maureen lived her day-to-day life looking after an ailing miserable Mother who seemed to enjoy that the daughter’s sole purpose in life was taking orders from her,  all the while tending to other household duties. Mag’s seemed to enjoy dishing out snide remarks to her and kept her focus on tending to all of her many needs.

I sympathized with Maureen’s character at times thru the play when the Mother made bullish remarks to her.  An example was when she told her new suitor Pato that she had spent time in the mental hospital and that in fact she was the care giver to her daughter.   The audience was left wondering then who was the more needier and perhaps more unbalanced, the daughter or the mother? 

Maureen had a chance at escaping her miserable life in Ireland when news came in the form of a letter her lover had written her.  In the letter he asked her to move to Boston, USA with him.  The smitten lover read his letter to the audience and suggested that he would understand if did not forgive him for some of the remarks he made that she took such a disliking to.  One of the the questionable remarks he said was, “put some cloths on!”, as she stood with her under garments on in the kitchen the morning after their encounter in the kitchen.  She was outraged and took this as a personal insult and told him at once to leave.  He abruptly left with the Mother shaking her head and glad for him to be gone.

After some time the brother Ray came one day to deliver a handwritten note which had been addressed to Maureen.  The delivery of the mail did not go as requested.  The Brother eventually lost patience while sitting with the chatty Mags and decided to leave it in her hands with a promise to give it to her daughter.  The audience saw all hope of the daughters chance at happiness vanish as the Mother immediately read the lovers note and threw it into the nearby fireplace. 

However the plot had its twists and turns when Maureen became outraged at the Mother’s knowledge of private information shared only between her lover Pato and her was revealed.  She knew her Mother knew something of their relationship and scolded her Mother’s hand with hot burning water demanding her to tell her what she knew.  When the daughter did this, and threw her to the floor the audience was left wondering what type of person would physically harm another, especially their mother!

The last Act was Maureen coming into the deserted kitchen with no sign of her Mother.  Her lovers brother stops by the house for a brief chat and mentions to her, “Oh did you hear, my brother got engaged?”,  and then promptly left.  Maureen sat in the now empty rocker staring at the four walls.  As with any story there is always more, but you will have to purchase your ticket to find out what happens in this little Irish Town.

This play was being adjudicated for an upcoming Festival, I am sure they will have a great chance at winning some awards.  It is another great production by the great Guelph Little Theatre, directed by Robin Bennett and produced by Liz Dennis.  There is still time to enjoy the show as it runs until Feburary 3rd.  To purchase tickets call the theatre during box office hours at 519-821-0270, or go to the website to purchase online, http://www.guelphlittletheatre.com/tickets.

Talk soon ~

Nancy

2019 Goals

 

2019 Goals for the New Year

The New Year is here, it is January 2nd, with just a few days into the year.  I have been silently thinking of some goals for the New Year.  Since I am not one for setting New Years Resolutions I thought it would be a good idea to perhaps jot a few of my plans for the New Year.

1. More Contentment

I want to be more contented with my everyday activities. I want to feel more grateful, and be happy for what I have in my life today, rather than scrambling around trying to fill that emptiness or that void in the soul with more stuff. I am not sure how or what I will do but this is just something I am throwing out there into the universe. I was reminded of this statement when my favorite New Years Eve host Anderson Cooper said he wanted more contentment.

2. Get more Active and Fit

I am turning a certain age this year, and really want to focus on getting more fit and more active. Mmmmm… that late night gobble of that 3 pack of Lindor last night may need to be kept out of sight. Trying to fall asleep last night, tossing and turning I remembered that I had a small red 3 pack of those delicious Lindor chocolates which where in my stocking at Christmas. I slowly devoured all 3, I did my best to melt each one slowly in my mouth to make that feeling of late night chocolate last longer. Mission accomplished I know don’t have any chocolate left in my room, now I have to actually walk downstairs to get a bite. This will allow me to become more active as stairs are a good way to get some cardio in.

3. Read More Books

I really want to read more books. I have a bad case of staring at my phone too much, looking up useless information and causing endless google searches which amount in a whole lot of wasted time. I want to delve into more books which are sitting in my box just waiting for me to take me out of myself and transport me to another world. That is the power of books and I am so grateful when I find a good book as it is such a great escape from reality.

These are my TOP 3 GOALS……….. What are yours for the 2019 Year ahead?

Talk soon,

 

 

Nancy

2019 Goals for the New Year

2019 Goals for the New Year

5 Reason’s We Need Little Breaks

ADVENTURE AWAITS

Lets face it, this life can get really busy at times.  Being a Mom to young children can get really crazy at times, busing the kids around to their various activities, packing the lunches, bathing them, washing the clothes, making the meals, shopping.  Oh my, I didn’t realize how glamorous all of the motherhood duties sounded until I wrote them down. 

I don’t know if you are like me?  Sometimes I have to admit, I am not always excited about making their lunches day in day out, or sitting in a cold arena watching my son’s hockey game, as I hear other parents screaming at their kids to do better. 

I have to admit I like to daydream of far away places at times, and think of perhaps the last time I treated myself to vacation or a girls night away.  OK maybe I do indulge in a few girls night’s away.  I must say I am rather lucky to have a wonderful support system for my kiddies.  I know lots of women with or without children, who could certainly use a much-needed break from the everyday demands of living in this fast paced world.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with my 2 little people, and I LOVE THEM TO THE MOON AND BACK!  But being an older Mom, I truly appreciate “little breaks” and some time off from my duties to recharge and relax a bit.

Here are 5 reasons we all need a little bit of a BREAK.

1. Recharge your Batteries

2. Perspective

3. Gratitude

4. Take Care of Yourself

5. Have Fun

 

These are my top 5 reasons why a little break from the ordinary is needed.  What are your 5 tips for taking a break from reality, I would love to hear your tips.  Stay tuned I am in the process of creating some cool excursions to help busy people like yourself take a little break, and have a little FUN!

NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST

 

Talk soon ~

 

Nancy

Cirque Eloize Saloon

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The performance of the Cirque Eloize Saloon was riveting for all in the audience who were lucky enough to attend a sold out performance at the River Run Centre in our Royal City.  The theatrical musical acrobatic play began with the sound of a train coming into town with just the sight of a headlight in the darkness, centre stage was a cowboy hat western musician playing the banjo.  It certainly set the tone of a good ol Western frontier with all of the elements you would expect a saloon, train, horses and unlike a lot of Westerns an amazing cast of acrobatic performances who’s performance left you on the edge of your seat. 

The Montreal based Cirque Eloize has been entertaining crowds since 1993.  The inspiration for this award-winning leading contemporary circus is lead by ringleader Jeannot Painchaud, who is President and CEO of this amazing group of over 100 individuals who make up this talented touring show.  Mr. Painchaud said in an interview once, “I got into the circus because I used to dream of traveling the entire globe.  It’s the most accessible, most beautiful way that I’ve found to do it.” 

Watching the audiences reactions I noticed a middle-aged man in front of me, who had a smile and an almost child like grin on his face the entire time during the performance.  This was the magic of the 90 minute performance it transported you to another world, the Wild West Circus world!

My 12-year-old daughter belongs to the Centre Wellington Children’s Drama Club, performed a play called the Great Canadian WEastern last year and she shared with me this brought back memories of her Western play.  She nudged me on a few occasions and commented, “Wow, they must really trust each other”, as the amazing artists displayed impressive strength and agility when they performed the many acts. 

We watched a performer twirling inside a Cyr wheel, which was invented by co-founder of the Cirque Eloize and graduate of the Montreal’s National Circus School.  I cannot imagine the sheer strength & many hours of perfecting their trade  it takes to maneuver the many moves they did, with the Arial straps, Chinese Pole, wooden planks and juggling.

My girlfriend who attended the performance with me said one of her favorite parts was the slow motion reverse and forward which was all in perfect timing during their saloon fight scene.  The performance included much of the Canadian history of building the railroad, gold rush, infused with lots of humor and don’t forget every Western needs a good romance too.  The entire show included live music with banjo, fiddle, guitar, piano and amazing vocals.

This performance is the first of The Wooly Pub Family Series, check out the River Run Centre for a full list of all of the performances taking place this 2018-2019 season, http://riverrun.ca/.

 

Talk soon ~

Nancy

 

 

Riverfest Elora 2018

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Have you ever attended RiverFest in Elora?  I hope you said YES; this is my 3rd year as an attendee at this amazing musical event which takes place along the banks of the Grand River in Elora.  They have been entertaining music lovers for 10 years and this was the biggest one yet, with the tens of thousands grooving back and forth under the moonlight!

The 3 day event takes place on the 3rd week in August, with local festival presenters working year round to bring this incredible weekend show to the town of Elora.  The weather was perfect this year, just a little drizzle of rain on the Friday night with the opening act JULY TALK, and Saturday evening was FLAMING LIPS and another big act was BLUE RODEO on Sunday night. 

A lot of other local talented bands such as Boo Radley Project, Bearskins, and Madison Galloway to name a few, kept the 3 stages rocking all weekend.  I had the opportunity to take in the Flaming Lips on Saturday night, and it felt surreal.  When I looked up into the sky all you could  these big colorful balls in the air with the biggest disco ball shining light on them along with huge blow up figures.  The crowd just roared when they came on stage, I must admit I had never heard of them, but walked away a new fan.

There were a lot of really cool vendors from henna tattoos, jewelery and fashions.  Check out my chat with the fashion designer, StudioKampino, who designs her own line of upcyled clothing. 

You can check out my FB page for the interview, https://www.facebook.com/wanderingwellingtoncounty/?hc_ref=ARRFC5ximMqK54VfugPsRM4yY8NMd2cx6XwPD7T9SXfBQm_o6CRc5TavmKdkAO21WqQ.  If you have never been before to this event,   mark your calendar for next years event, it is family friendly with a host of food vendors, so bring your appetite.  One of the great things is there is a ban on plastic bottles at the event, you will see everyone walking around with reusable mugs.    They fully support green initiatives which help save our environment such as the, “SAVE THE WATER Campaign”.   This year the blue mugs were easy to spot as this is the color of the beautiful water flowing from the Grand River along the boardwalk of the event. 

Talk soon ~

 

Nancy

 

 

 

Fergus Highland Games

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This community is so amazing there is just always something going on!  Centre Wellington was once again hosting the Annual Fergus Highland Games this August weekend.   I had the privilege of attending the opening ceremonies on the Friday evening. 

Ahhhh… the sound of those bag pipes, it was truly soul-stirring and when the Tattoo began, my heart seemed to have skipped a beat.  I found myself getting rather emotional, almost in tears which surprised me, however I don’t think I was alone in my thoughts as I looked around everyone was standing still and appeared to be just as in awe as I was.

I had the honour of meeting and chatting with Graham McTavish,  the Scottish Actor who portrays Dougal MacKenzie in the popular Outlander series.  Check out my chat with him on my FB social media, https://www.facebook.com/wanderingwellingtoncounty/?hc_ref=ARQNbIui3YV67rLi_OYe7MeqChO8gLxPQwWHonNU2InD-bhxNFeaiHNgHhgw6PeBSig

Last year when I attended the Fergus Highland Games I had the opportunity to meet the popular author of the Outlander series who was a special guest, http://www.dianagabaldon.com/ Diana Gabaldon.   She was full of grace, elegance and appeared humble amidst her immense popularity. Meeting both of these two talented public figures I believe is definitely the universe’s way of sending a message;  it is time to dust off the book I had purchased at last years event and delve into another world.

Another bonus of attending the Festival, is of course learning more about the culture and customs of different countries.  When one of the speakers shared some of his insight into the various clans in attendance, it is like I had a light bulb moment! I am rather embarrassed to admit this, however I had never seemed to fully comprehend the meaning of the Scottish Clans.  He explained it in a way I finally could understand a little more about this interesting culture.  Clans as I understood it for the first time in the Scottish context is another word for family.  If you are like me and need to understand a little more about the definition of the word, here is the Wikipedia definition below. 

A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship[1] and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. Clans in indigenous societies tend to be exogamous, meaning that their members cannot marry one another. Clans proceeded more centralized forms of community organization and government, and exist in every country. Members may identify with a coat of arms or other symbol to show they are an independent clan. The kinship-based bonds may also have a symbolic ancestor, whereby the clan shares a “stipulated” common ancestor that is a symbol of the clan’s unity. When this “ancestor” is non-human, it is referred to as a totem, which is frequently an animal.

The word clan is derived from the Gaelic clann[1] meaning “children” or “progeny”; it is not from the word for “family” in either Irish[2][3] or Scottish Gaelic. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was introduced into English in around 1425, as a label for the nature of the society of the Scottish Highlands

As I sat at a table with people watching the Tattoo, I felt more welcomed as the night was nearing its end.  Perhaps this is a glimpse into what the Scottish call a Clan, as it felt like we were part of a family.

As I have learned this life, there are various types of family,  not always blood.  What ever you call it, I love my “CLAN”.  You know who I am talking about, “those people who get you!”, “they have your back, they fight for you, they cry with you, they are family, they are your clan!” 

 Sláinte or until we meet again!

 

Talk soon,

 

Nancy

 

 

5 THINGS to Do this WEEKEND

fireworks

Hey Canada … It’s the official May 24 weekend upon us!   Yeah… for me and many more Canadian’s that always signifies the unofficial start of the SUMMER.  I hope you enjoy your long weekend and the many adventures which await you this start of the season ahead of us.  Perhaps your jumping in your car heading to your cottage or camping at one of the local provincial parks.  Or maybe you are hanging out locally and just chilling.  Here are some great local events going on in Wellington County this weekend.  

 

Elora PLEIN AIR :  http://grandandgorgeous.com/event/elora-en-plein-air/

Grand River Raceway Fireworks:  https://www.wellingtonadvertiser.com/index.cfm?page=detail&itmno=3272

2Rivers Festival:  https://www.guelphmercury.com/events/8594070-701051-2rivers-festival-2018/

The Royal Wedding at the Secret Garden Tea House: http://www.thesecretgardenteahouse.com/upcoming-events

Hillsburgh Garden Club Plant Sale:  http://www.erin.ca/whats-on/details?id=ff84113f-e7f2-41b5-974b-d4024b9b1466

 

Happy Birthday Queen Victoria!

 

Talk soon ~

 

Nancy

 

 

 

 

JUST GIVE IT ALL YOU HAVE!

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Sometimes in life your kind of cruising along, then you hear something that just sticks with you.  You know that light bulb kind of Eureka moment?  

I was out with an old friend last night, which I had not seen in a while.  You know the one who shares the ups and downs on this road called life!  We went to the https://medieval.academy/ in Guelph, as I had heard how much fun it was to throw AXES and KNIVES around.

I must admit I was feeling a little nervous after we had signed the waivers; especially when they reviewed things like,  “Don’t swing it this way, because if you do……”.  Well I will not go in to details, but you can imagine?  We had these metal pointy things in our reach, I took the smallest one in my hand,  I was a little shaky.   I could smell the newly greased edges on the blades and watched them glisten in the light with marks left from past patrons. 

I glanced at my friends face and her eyes where lit up and she squealed with delight, “I really like this!”  She had just thrown this huge metal object at the bulls-eye marker, and she had struck it right in the middle of the marker.  I think she found a new favorite sport, or as they say properly “Activity”.

What happened for me last night, was a light bulb moment of sorts.  I looked at her as she swung the axe and asked her,  “How do you do that?”  She said, “JUST GIVE IT ALL YOU HAVE!”  MMM… isn’t that just so true.   I took the big axe in my hand as she suggested big is better and I swung it like it was the last thing to do before I took my final breath.  You know what? That bloody thing hit the mark. 

Just like that, I was in the moment AXE in hand and just, “GAVE IT MY ALL”; man what a freeing feeling!   At that moment nothing else seemed to matter.  You know those things like laundry, work, aging parents, kids, and the everyday aches and pains of life. 

Who knew throwing these weapons could be so bloody freeing.  I joked with her, “this is better than therapy?”  We both laughed and nodded at each other.  It was the kind of nod only shared with an old/new kind of bonding experience of hanging out on a Saturday night without any expectations.

We knew then, (or maybe it was just me who finally figured it out), that this life stuff is better when you share,  not only your tears but also those cool vibes with your tribe.

Sometimes it isn’t those big things in life, but rather those quiet times, that just kind of make you smile, and you know in your heart, “THANKS, I get it now!”

PS. Thanks Kim, for braiding my hair at my grade 8 graduation, and being that sister I never had xxx.

Talk Soon ~

Nancy

Macaroons & Paris

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BONJOUR! 

“You stumble, and you soar.  And, if you’re lucky, you make it to Paris for a while.” ~ Amy Howard

Have you ever wanted to visit Paris?  I have heard many times from my daughter all about the fine pastries, the hotels, landmarks and ohhhh the food.  My 11-year-old daughter announced months ago, “Mom, I am doing my speech on Paris this year!”  I thought well good for you, but why Paris?  She really didn’t have an answer.   Perhaps I  have mentioned once or twice,  I would like to take her there one day!

This girl really has done a great job writing, preparing & presenting her speech.  I may be a proud Momma, but I think her teacher agreed too, as she was one of the top 2 students in her class.  She practiced for weeks, talking into the wall and flipping her cue cards, and learning to pronounce the Louvre, Pierre Cardin & the The Arch de Triomphe.    Yesterday she was one of 10 to speak in front of her school.  She could be in the running to be one of the top students in Ontario and win $1000.00.  Proud Mom, thought MMMM…. this could be your ticket to Paris kid!

When I spoke with Meaghan about how her day went, she said “My legs were shaking, I am sure everyone saw them, and I think I talked really fast.”  Oh how I wished I could have been there to hold her hand, and to cheer her on.  She had asked me the night before, “What do I do when my friend makes a funny face at me and sticks her tongue out and waves her hands in the air”.  Dare I tell her my true thoughts, I came up with “just pretend everyone is in their underwear!”.  She said of , “OH MOM, don’t be so silly!”

My girlfriend and I have been talking for years about taking her granddaughter and my daughter to visit Paris on their 10th Birthdays.  Their 10th Birthday’s have come and gone, and this year they will both be 12.  I hope we can take them before they turn into teenagers.  Time has a funny way of passing quickly and before you know it, within a  blink of your eye the kids grow up and are out of the house, (so I am told).  

Meaghan said to me, “What you never ate Macaroons when you were in Paris?”  Sadly I didn’t, however I found a great place I would love to go to and partake in tea and maybe a few macaroons.   One of Meg’s line in her speech, “You don’t want to forget about those baguettes, when they come out of the oven, they are hot and taste just like……”

Perhaps this speech on Paris has a purpose to refuel the travel bug in me, and make concrete plans to get to Paris?  I have fortunate to have been twice in my lifetime and know that it is an amazing City.  I know Meaghan & I will get there one day, do you want to come with us?

Auviour ~

 

Nancy