A Birds Eye View of Toronto

bus

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.

toronto2

 

  • 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.

toronto1

 

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

toronto

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The Man Who Shot Chance Delaney

chance

It is so great to have a night out; especially a date night with your 12-year-old daughter. 

My daughter luckily still likes to hang out with her Mom on a Friday night, I am not sure how much longer that will last.  Meaghan and I were excited to watch the performance of  The Man Who Shot Chance Delaney together as she performed in a Western play with the Centre Wellington Children’s Drama Club in Fergus not too long ago.   

We settled into our seats and were transported back to the 1900’s to a small town in Kansas where the majority of the play took place in the Lucky Dollar Saloon along with several other locations.  

This two act play was written by Canadian playwright Ian Weir.  I had read about Weir he had a dream of being a writer when he was young, but was told like many artists, “Yes but what will you do to earn a living?” 

We watched the 6 experienced actors who all had multiple roles in the play with delight and awe as they quickly transformed from one character to another mostly without even leaving the stage.  The visual effects of the lighting and set design all made for a great Wild West gun slinging story.

I especially liked the quick flip of an apron strap which changed the lead actress Molly into a totally different character once the strap was properly fastened on the apron. There were the many voices of Perkins, the fast talking Brewster and Abilene who changed from a young women to a little boy with just a flip of a hat.

The storytelling began with a stranger who entered the Saloon and started to share his tales.  Meanwhile at the same time the tales were told by each actor helping to get a better glimpse of how the story unfolded.  The story included like any good Western shootouts, bar fights, and broken hearts.

Chatting with my daughter on the way home she commented, “It was as if there was multiple layers to the characters and you had to listen really closely to see what would happen next!”  I agreed and said “It sure was an evening of great storytelling and was so well done.” 

From the experience my daughter had in a live production, it give us a glimpse of the many hours of rehearsal required for a production. 

Many thanks to the Director of the play Denise Gismondi, Judi McCuaig the Producer and Bev Maintenay the Stage Manager and Assistant Director. 

The GLT has many volunteers that help make the productions run smoothly and I am told they are always looking for more people to come and help them share the love of arts and the Royal City.  

The entertainment continued after the show when we walked into the lobby and a dance party had begun with the Range Riders band playing country music.

If you want to find out Who Shot Chance Delaney and how the story ends you still have time to attend a show, it is running until June 2, 2019. 

Bring a date to either next Friday or Saturday’s evening performance and you can kick up your heels to the Dan Badger Band playing both pre show and post show with the bar open later.    You can purchase tickets at the Guelph Little Theatre, http://www.guelphlittletheatre.com/.

Talk soon ~

Nancy

This Girl would have been 101 Today!

grandma

There are some benefits of social media, such as the memories feature on your Facebook.  While sipping my first coffee of the day I checked out my social media.  I am not so sure this is the best use of my time, or if it is the most beneficial way to start the day.  

I hear yoga is a great way to start the day with a little meditation.  It sounds good, but I am privy to my FB and checking out what’s going on in the world of my friends updates, and news updates.  I admit I am forgetful and don’t always know when someone’s Birthday is.  I like FB for that type of reminder.  

This morning this picture showed up of my Grandmother.  It was taken on May 16th, 2014, she had turned 96 that year.  She so wanted to join the 100-year-old club.  Sadly she didn’t make it.  However she did live 96 long years of life and today would have marked her 101 year Birthday!

Grandma I thought of you today and I remember when I snapped this picture of you above.  The silly Birthday hat, and colourful balloon and few little things to make you feel special.    Here are 50 thoughts I have today on your 101 Birthday.

  1. Happy Birthday Grandma
  2. Life is awesome
  3. We Miss You
  4. Love you
  5. Meaghan and Noah are getting so big
  6. The weather is finally getting better
  7. The birds are coming now
  8. I bet your squirrel will be coming soon to see you
  9. Do you want to play scrabble
  10. Did I say we miss you
  11. Your house you lived in for all those years has a young happy family in it now
  12. Miss those Christmas’s at your house
  13. Remember when we went swimming in the summer
  14. I loved your raspberries
  15. You were a great gardener
  16. I love your toastites
  17. Sandy was the best Dog ever
  18. I ll bet you miss going to Midland
  19. How did you have 5 kids, 5 years apart
  20. What was your greatest fear
  21. You never really liked a lot of affection, not kissy feely
  22. You always listened to every word when people spoke
  23. You were the best scrabble player 
  24. You love big
  25. You were so kind
  26. Big hearted person
  27. I remember your funky Nissan van
  28. Thanks for all the great memories with David and I
  29. You took my other Grandma places, she loved it
  30. Thanks for the “special Nancy, David, days”
  31. You would not believe your house now
  32. The Airport sold
  33. You loved a big lunch, it was your meal of the day
  34. How did you have so many kids
  35. You were the same age as me, when you had your last 2 kids
  36. I know I was your favourite oldest Granddaughter
  37. I am writing in the Guelph Today
  38. I bought a house finally
  39. We are so happy now, Meg, Noah and Me.
  40. Matt always talks so fondly of you.
  41. Mom and Dad are good
  42. I wish I could take you out a Rocky’s hotdog
  43. Len was your greatest love
  44. We loved you fiercely
  45. You kept the family together
  46. It is not the same without you
  47. How come you didn’t have more comfortable things
  48. Did you have a party when you went to Heaven
  49. I loved reading to you
  50. Simple Abundance

In Conversation With Santee Smith

santee2

The River Run was very lucky to have an Internationally recognized Indigenous performing arts leader Santee Smith to launch the new, Miijidaa Life Stories speakers series.  Entering the Cooperators Hall you could sense it would be an intimate evening filled with insight into the life of a creative soul.

sante

The stage was set with beautiful costumes and 2 chairs one which was guest, Santee Smith and the other was taken by host, Cameron Smillie who wears many hats in both the corporate and the performing arts world.  The night began with host asking Santee a few questions about the very beginnings of her life.  Here is a link to one of her past performances, https://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcasa&p=santee+smith+performances#id=1&vid=dc32e16c556d47d42d02114c9a408845&action=view.

Santee shared with the audience that she is from the Turtle Clan, Six Nations of the Grand River, Haldimand Treaty territory.  She shared with us that she is a proud Mother to a 20-year-old daughter who is currently studying at the University, and like most parents could not believe where the time went.

It was hard to imagine what the early years of life were like for the beautiful women who took centre stage.  She had endured much hardship in the early years and mentioned many of the events she did not remember.  At age 3 she had endured the first of three accidents which left a major impression on the life of such a young soul.

At the young age of just 3 years old she was run over in a car by her Grandmother.  She endured many injuries and was hospitalized for over 3 months and many weeks of rehabilitation to learn to walk again.  Then recovering from this injury she was riding on a bicycle with her father who was at the time a carefree 20 something year old riding down a hill with his baby girl strapped on the back of his bike with a homemade carrier and by the time they had made it down to the bottom she had somehow fallen off the bike with her ankle caught in the spokes of the wheel facing the opposite direction.

With three accidents at the age of just 3 years old she needed to regain strength and with her dancing ability at such a young age she began her journey of entering the world of ballet.  She shared with the audience that thru her natural talents and her dedication she was accepted in the National Ballet School at age 11.  So at that preadolescent age she left home and studied.  Her close-knit family would call her and tell her she, “She could come home at any time, that they would just come and pick her up”.  However by the end of the call she shares she would feel better and carry on with her love and passion of the dance world. 

Dance and the performing arts was Santee’s whole world and left little for much else.  She finally became disillusioned with the dance world, and left at Grade 11 to explore other options.  She didn’t realize there was another world outside of dance until she began exploring what every other young women at the age explores, which she giggled and said “included a few parties along the way!”

She ended up going back to school and entered University and gained a degree in Kinesiology and thought she would work a physical therapist until she entered the profession and realized it was not for her.  Her love of psychology that she minored in allowed for more schooling and she eventually realized that she wanted to return back to the performing arts.

We watched 3 short films which showcased a few of Santee’s work.  The audience could gain a better insight into the creative force who sat in front of us, with the host describing how Santee’s ability to process the start and finish of each production with all of the elements such as idea, dance, choreograph, design, execution many times are the sole work of the multi talented artist.

When asked what is next by host you could tell that may take a whole other evening of conversation with Santee to delve into her world and share her vision for the future of her arts, including the Kawa:wi Dance Theatre which has served as a vehicle for Smith’s practice for than a decade.  She founded the theatre in 2005, Kaha:wi means “to carry” in Mohawk.

She was available for a VIP experience of post show Meet & Greet which took place in the Sleeman Atrium.  Here is a link with some of her students at her performing arts centre, https://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcasa&p=santee+smith+performances#id=5&vid=921d0693d8a508735bff8388abea67f5&action=view

I look forward to more performances at the River Run Centre, here is a listing of upcoming “WHAT”S ON”, http://riverrun.ca/events/whats-on/?event_search=&event_month=&event_category=river-run-presents

Talk soon ~

 

Nancy

Jason Raso “Funktet”

jason raso

I attended my first Jason Raso performance last night, and I can tell you it will not be my last.  What a wonderful intimate evening with local Guelphite Bassist, Jason and his “Funktet”, http://riverrun.ca/whats-on/the-jason-raso-funktet/.   They kicked off the Borealis Music Series at the River Run Centre last night to a full house of Jazz loving attendees. 

My daughter Meaghan who was my date for the evening, is in grade 7 and just starting her musical journey.  She chose the trumpet as an instrument to play in her music class.  She was watching the 6 piece band playing and I knew she had her eye on the trumpet when she nudged me and whispered, “Mom could I get my own mouthpiece?”  I gave her a hug and whispered back, “of course Meaghan!”, being that I played trumpet in the high school band I knew the importance of having something of your own in the musical instrument world.  I secretly can’t wait for her to come home for the first time carrying thru the door her school loaner trumpet for the weekend.

 Jason the bassist lead guitar player and his band, include a trumpet, keyboard, guitar, saxophone, and a drummer. They began their first set with the spotlight on the trumpet soloist.   Band leader, Jason Raso began strumming along, slowly introducing all of the 6 piece “Funktet”.   I had always wanted to attend one of Jason’s performance’s.  He has been performing for crowds for over two decades and is very well-respected within the local community and is a very busy professional playing worldwide. Check out his website here, https://www.jasonrasomusic.com/.

Memories of my first live Jazz performances came flooding back during the night.  My first real introduction to live Jazz was in Montreal nightclub, I will never forget the first time I sat and listened to a bluesy live jazz performer in a smokey club in Montreal.  My mother’s love of Diana Washington & Ella Fitzgerald playing loudly in the background of my youth also helped to in grain the love of Jazz.

One of my favorite songs of the night titled Eviction, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DET6ZZf3NoY .  He shared with the audience his inspiration for the writing of the song came from a photo he saw of a beautiful shiny expensive guitar sitting in a room of what looked to be someone who was down on their luck.

During this song I had visualized a troubled soul who had to choose to sell their instrument at a pawn shop just to survive. This image along with the haunting sounds of the band conjured up feelings of loss and sadness of long forgotten dreams.  Oh, the power of music to paint such a vivid portrait of the human condition.

Later in the evening he dedicated a song to his father.  Pointing him out in the audience he joked that the last time he had done that his father had excused himself to the facilities, the audience roared.  These comments and others felt like you were part of his family and maybe sitting in his living room watching the live performance, which I am sure many of the attendees in this cozy venue would agree upon.  If you ever get a chance to attend or listen to his music I highly recommend that you do so.

 

Talk soon,

 

Nancy

 

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

untitled

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

 

 

Fergus Highland Games

bagpipes

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

 

 

Adventures In My Backyard

adventuresbkyd

Why do I sometimes think I should travel far & wide to discover more about myself?  With the end of the school year upon us and the kids beginning their summer holidays, I pondered this thought.  I was brought back to reality when after the kids were safely on the bus, I stepped out onto my backyard which has a forest like feel & look to it.  It is in on the outskirts of the City limits and we are moving shortly to a new home.

I know already how much I am going to miss this fabulous backyard, but thinking of the new place, it does have a pond close by and I have always wanted to live close to the water.  I am getting closer I guess, although it is an irrigation pond and it located by the kids playground area.  I did discover one of my favorite birds flying overhead as I was walking around the pond.  It was the Blue Heron(s) who were flying back and forth and may live in the vicinity. 

Summer officially began yesterday, (June 21, 2018) and with that came the longest night of the year.  My mother was eager to inform us,  that yesterday had 15 hours and 36 minutes of daylight.  She then said, “After today the days are going to get shorter”.  OH no, not shorter days already, we just had winter with blowing snow and cold.  OK back to today, it was a gorgeous summer day and night!

I sat on the sidelines of the CW Sportsplex along with my parents cheering my 11-year-old daughter, who truth be told needs a few soccer tips.  I was a proud Mom, as this is the first sports team she has ever wanted to join.  She is building her confidence and is blending into the group nicely. I am becoming a sports Mom cheering her on the sidelines. She is getting a little older now and when we arrived she immediately got out of the Jeep and went over to her team, not even a see you later.  It seemed as if she didn’t want us to even be there, but we had to say a few cheers when she kicked the ball.  We tried to respect her coolness factor and not make a spectacle out of her or us. 

Her grandfather and I chuckled and I understood how she must have felt, I was that preteen girl not long ago.  Ok maybe it was quite a long time OK, but who is counting?  That one who when I got dropped off at high school dreaded the thought of my father and brother blowing the horn and yelling out the window “Bye, Have a Good Day at School Nancy!” 

AHHH….summer so darn short and sweet, the sky looked like a photo from a postcard by the end of the night.  The thought of wanting to travel to far away lands disappeared because when I looked around I realized I had everything I needed, right in my own backyard!

Amazing what a little perspective can do, and sometimes it can be a little more economical than booking an airline ticket.  Although they just introduced a new economical airline flying in Canada this June.  That’s another story.

Talk soon ~

Nancy