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

 

13 THE MUSICAL Now Playing at the Guelph Little Theatre

 

It is Friday night in the Royal City, what better way to spend an evening than to take in a live performance and watch 13 THE MUSICAL at the Guelph Little Theatre.

My date for the evening was my 13-year-old daughter and her 2 giggling teeny bobber friends.  This is the first play of the Guelph Little Theatre 2019-2020 season and the musical runs until October 6th. 

The 3 gigglers beside me who are currently seniors in their secondary school all said how much the loved the performance. When asked if they could relate with the characters they all smiled and said, “Oh for sure, it so true to life!”  

Jen and Paul Barson the producers of the show commented, “When 13 The Musical was originally produced on Broadway, the musicians were teens as well as actors.  We wanted to take that to the next level for our production here at GLT and we staffed almost all the backstage roles with youth volunteers as well.”  The director, Thea Lale a young women said in the playbill that she had never written a Director’s note before. 

We watched the coming of age story play out as 13-year-old lead actor Evan Goldman moves from New York City to small town Appleton, Indiana.  He is coming to terms with his newly divorced parents, while trying to fit in with the “cool kids’ at his new school.  He hopes they will all attend his bar mitzvah, when giving out the invites describing it as a fun party to his newly non-Jewish classmates.

Looking around the audience which was all ages I could not help but think they too were reliving their school days as well.  Some memories good and some not so good.

The 5 piece live band was great and was a great addition to the rock score of the coming of age musical.  The music was incredible and like any music does it helped bring the character alive.  The many solos in the play and the singing was hard to belief for such young performers. 

We watched as Evan navigated many emotions being the new kid in school attempting to fit in with the jocks, pretty girls, cheerleaders, cool guys, and the outcasts.  

The set was simple but very well done.  You could visualize many of the different scenes.  I especially liked the simple painted boxes used throughout the play which did not feel repetitive at all.

There was a lot of interest in the initial try outs for the casting call of this play.  There were 80 people who auditioned for the 13 acting roles. All of the actors are in the up and coming stages and all exhibited a high level of professionalism. 

The ending of this 2 act play brought the packed house to a standing ovation with lots of applause for the amazing talented group of young men and women who told the story so wonderfully. 

This play is just one of many you can attend for the new season of the Guelph Little Theatre.  Check out the link to purchase tickets, https://guelphlittletheatre.com/big-shows/tickets/.  Thanks GLT for a great evening.  We look forward to the next show!

 

Talk soon,

 

Nancy

New Elora Luxury B&B Accomodations Inner Joy Getaways

An Elora couple has found a unique way to re-use shipping containers.

Will and Laura Feenstra are the owners of Inner Joy Getaways, just outside of Elora, where they have turned former shipping containers into luxurious suites.

Inner Joy Getaways 7.44 acres of land along four suites looking out onto the Grand River. Along the side of the property is Swan Creek which is a premium fly fishing spot on the Grand River.

“The property has acres upon acres of protected GRCA land and beside us is a small protected bush area.  You can tube right from the Elora gorge all the way to the property. The Wilson flats are just minutes down the road from us along with various other hiking paths,” said Laura.

She said they had been watching the property on the market for 1.5 years prior and they thought they would look at it just for fun. 

(This article was originally Published at Village Media, Guelph Today, see link below)

To read more, check out the link on Guelph Today, https://www.guelphtoday.com/local-news/elora-business-turns-shipping-containers-into-luxurious-accommodations-1671276

Talk soon ~

Nancy

The Drayton Entertainment Disney Beauty and the Beast


Photo By: Hilary Gauld Camilleri

The Drayton Festival Theatre, a renovated 1902 Opera House was at full capacity last evening for the opening night of the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast.  Entering the former Town Hall and Opera House the building was lit up ready for its audience to watch “A tale as old as time”.

The Drayton spin on the old tale was magnificent.  The audience was captivated from the very beginning until its final bows.  Entering into the old building it was bustling with preshow activity, 50/50 draw tickets, people purchasing admission at the box office, as well as patrons having a few beverages before the show.

Hearing the bell we knew it was time to quickly find our seats.  The theatre is very accessible with one of our attendees who required the elevator to bring us to the balcony seating.  As always we found the staff to be so welcoming and helpful during our evening.

The show began with the iconic voice of Lloyd Robertson narrating the opening act where we met the handsome looking fellow who played the beast by actor Tony Edgerton.  Within minutes the Prince is transformed into a hideous beast after a spell is cast on him. 

The tale begins when we are introduced to Belle, played by Jessica Gallant who discovers her father is missing so she sets out on a search to find him.  

Later at the castle we find the beast staring at the enchanted rose wondering how he will ever return to normal.  Meanwhile in the basement of the castle Belle’s father is trapped in a cage.

The set was ever-changing with quick scene changes that brought the tale to life.  The set designer Christine Peters, definitely utilized the magic of Disney in all her designs.   The costumes were colorful and added to the fairy-tale appeal, including the debut of Chip, who played the cup of tea. 

The first set was a full of musical acts and we enjoyed the antics of Belle’s hometown.  There were the Village silly girls, Gaston, Lefou and lots of singing and dancing of course.

We watched Gaston’s flex his muscles throughout the show all the while trying to win the beauty’s heart to no avail. 

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Photo by: Hilary Gauld Camilleri

Belle gave up her freedom for her father, we knew little about the journey it would take her on.  The musical stirred all the senses and emotions like any good fairy-tale does.  Like all good ending we hoped that love would be found.

The Drayton musical adaptation of the Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is wonderful for all audiences, including both younger and older.  We were transformed into a magical fairy-tale world for 2.5 hours.  The cast, crew and director Jayme Armstrong certainly deserved the standing ovation. 

Go see this creative performance playing until August 31st at the Drayton Festival Theatre. You can purchase tickets here at 1-855-DRAYTON or check out the website to purchase tickets, https://www.draytonentertainment.com/Online/default.asp.

You will have to come and see for yourself if love will safe the day!

 

Talk soon,

 

 

Nancy

 

 

Washed Ashore Exhibit at the Toronto Zoo

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During a recent trip to the wonderful Toronto Zoo this past Month, one of the first things you see when walking into the gates is a larger than life-sized Marlin.  

Looking closer you could see it was made of recycled materials, reading the plaque by this huge fish was my first time learning about this travelling project called “Washed Ashore”, “Art to Save the Sea”. Here is the link about this project found on the Toronto Zoo, http://www.torontozoo.com/washedashore/.

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Walking around the Zoo in the warm sunny skies, I had an opportunity to explore all 10 of these amazing larger than life sculptures. 

Of course like many visitors, I too had snapped photos of the gang standing beside these friendly characters.

A travel friend commented on one of my social media posts.  She mentioned how much she had loved this artist.  She first saw these creatures at an exhibit in Palm Beach Florida several years ago. 

This lead me to do some more research and learn more about the artist and realized how lucky we and the visitors to the Zoo are to know this is the Canadian Debut of this thought-provoking exhibit.

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The lead artist and founder of this organization is Angela Haseltine Pozzi.  Each sculpture is designed and created by a team of people who love the Ocean and the mission of this amazing project. Pozzi said the first step is to let people know there is a problem with plastics and garbage in our Oceans.  

“The friendly characters are giving a voice to what needs to be done, better than what a statistical chart can do”, shares one of the artists on a YouTube video.

Here is the CEO of the Toronto Zoo sharing about the Canadian Debut of the project on the Zoo’s FB page, https://www.facebook.com/TheTorontoZoo/videos/716042262151443/

An interesting article on how a dog advisor learns from zoo’s on behaviours can be found here, https://yourdogadvisor.com/zoo-mental-exercise/.  

Help get the conversations started about our environment, share these great images which are taken from the Washed Ashore Website or better yet go see them yourself, they are only on display until November 17th, 2019.

 

Talk soon ~

 

 

Nancy

 

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 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

The Lovely SMILING Crossguard Mary-Ellen!

cross

I like to watch people from a distance.  Having watched this crossing guard at my children’s school for the past few years at J.D. Hogarth Public School in Fergus.  I have always thought this women must really enjoy her job. 

Mary-Ellen is that kind of person who always has a smile on her face.  You know those kind of people who are always so cheerful no matter what the weather is doing.  I see her standing in the rain or snow in the early morning hours and she is always bright and cheerful despite the weather.  I have watched her and she seems to have that natural ability to chat with others and always has something kind to say when you see her.

I had more of a chance to chat with her recently while waiting in line a the local post office.  While tapping my toes trying to wait patiently for the elderly women in front of me, I turned to the lady behind me who was staring patiently out the window with a smile.

The lady behind me in the line was certainly recognizable with her bright yellow jacket on and her infectious smile.  Like many others to pass time we began to chat about the weather and she mentioned she “had that cold going around”.   She said “she didn’t want to get out of bed that morning, but always feels better when she puts her smile on and gets going!”  

When asked if she wakes up like that she chuckled and said, “she has been asked that question often before.”  Mary-Ellen said,  “No I have to remind myself you can go thru life either smiling or frowning.  She said, “she chooses to smile!”

She said she “loves her job, and loves working outside”.  I told her how much I appreciated her happy disposition and that she just puts a smile on my face every time I see her. 

Well time didn’t permit me that morning to take care of my business in the post office that morning, but I was sure glad I had bumped into “My favorite crossing guard” as she just made my day, as I needed a reminder on how I could choose to smile or not thru-out my day!

I had asked her when she would be dressing up again and she said, “Oh, I am sure I will be getting the bunny ears out for Easter, the kids love them!”  As you can see in the photo, today was the day she wore the bunny ears. 

Thanks for always making my day brighter Mary-Ellen and keeping our kids safe!

Talk soon~

Nancy

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

leenane

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

A Walk in the Park

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One of my favorite things to do is take a walk in the park.  Anytime I am feeling life’s stresses or wanting to just take a few moments to remember what is really important, I love to walk around my favorite park in Guelph.  Riverside Park is my park, it is the Park I grew up in, it is the park I like to watch bridge to-bridge as my father calls it.  

I always love to think of the various conversations that take place on one of the many park benches I walk by.  I love the park in all seasons, with Winter just upon us, I love the stillness and the quietness of the image of this lonely park bench set amongst the river bank. 

When I take time just to spend 30 minutes in nature, I always feel better for doing so.  Why is so hard to get going sometimes, I often spend more time thinking of doing something rather than doing it at times.  This happens often on weekends when my paper arrives at its doorstep, coffee in hand and I plan my day.  My plans always include a little walk or two but often the day floats into night and I am still on the couch serving the internet or changing the channels on the TV.  

Why is so hard to get outside in the Winter weather at times when you know you will feel better after a little stroll around the block.  I put pressure on myself at times when the wind is howling and the snow is blowing to get outside for a little fresh air, as I know I will feel better for even the most basic of steps in the Winter months.  Clearing the car of snow, and oh the drag of shovelling can be overwhelming at times.

I am already counting down the days till Spring but know that we must first endure the quiet and stillness of the Winter.  Maybe just maybe I can be OK with not being so hard on myself this time of year to get outside more.  As it just looks so much prettier from inside.  The snow glistening on the fence, or the kids building a snowman.  

I have some gift cards for the ski hill which I know the kids and I would really have fun at.  I just have to find the courage to get outside and get going on those days when it just seems simpler to stay inside.  I used to ski but have not been in many years, and last year I had promised my Mother I would take the kids downhill skiing this season.  I guess I still have a few more months to accomplish this task.  Or maybe I could make it a fun outing rather than a task.  I guess it is all how you look at things.

Winter I LOVE YOU, I WILL EMBRACE THIS SEASON!

 

“When you change the way you look at things…. the things you look at change.” ~ Wayne Dyer

 

Talk soon~

 

Nancy