Last summer I had the opportunity to attend a family wedding in the Toronto area. It was a godsend in many ways as I was still reeling from the U.S. election, (actually I’m still reeling, but that’s another blog) and I needed a new perspective. Canada is the perfect place to regain your world view and it was, as luck would have it, their 150th anniversary of independence. I looked forward to relaxing and disconnecting but there was one question that kept coming up in every conversation.
“Can you explain Trump to us?”
I was asked this same question by everyone I met, whether they were Canadian, British, Irish, Hungarian, you name it. This was always asked very politely and with deep curiosity, no malice or judgment really, just a desire to try to understand. My simple answer was “No.”
Canadians, of course, have Justin Trudeau, a prime minister and leader that is to-die-for. From his marching in the Gay Pride parade, to his role as North American broker of rational thought, to his now-iconic sock fashion, you probably couldn’t find a starker contrast in leadership.
Eventually, I gave up trying to explain the current U.S. political landscape and simply immersed myself in a delightful country. I encourage you to go visit, especially in the summer, and get to know our wonderful neighbours to the north.
Georgian Bay and the Blue Mountain Resort
This area is equally equipped for winter fun as well as summer fun. From a giant Adirondack chair fit for an entire family to gentle mountain bobsled rides, paddle boats on the pond and a few wonderful wineries, this beautiful area has something to offer everyone in the family.
Yoga at Terre Bleu Lavender Farm
I didn’t know doing yoga in a lavender field was on my bucket list until I was doing downward dog and breathing fresh lavender. I encourage you to add it to your list. Visit this farm and then enjoy a refreshing herbal drink while wandering beautiful forest trails.
The Shaw Festival and Wineries at Niagra-on-the-lake
This gem of a festival will make your heart sing; literally in my case, as we saw a delightful, funny and endearing production of Me and My Gal. As the name indicates, this festival was originally founded to produce plays by George Bernard Shaw. Over the years, they’ve expanded their repertory to include all playwrights of his time, and since he lived until the ripe age of 94, that allows for quite a rich variety of shows.
This region is also unique in their ability to grow wine, so be sure to add a few tastings of their unique ice wine on a hot summer afternoon. For a special treat, and to hear first-hand about the history of Niagra-on-the-lake, take a walking tour with Lily at Old Town Tours.
This festival is North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company, producing classics, contemporary dramas and musicals in four distinctive venues. Don’t miss the warehouse tour featuring 65,000 costumes and rows upon rows of props. You even get to try on costumes at the end!
The production of HMS Pinafore was wonderful and the town, lovely. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy along the bankside of the river Avon, although you may have to fend off the ducks and geese!
Speaking of geese, I first heard about the Wawa goose from a couple of slightly inebriated cousins. I thought they were teasing the “Yank” but came to find out, there really is a town called Wawa, and they really do claim to have the largest goose statue in the world. Don’t laugh. They take this very seriously. Really.
This world-class museum is unique in its dedication to celebrating Canadian and Indigenous art, both historical and contemporary. It’s a beautiful setting and well worth the trip to go visit and learn about the rich Canadian history through eye of some of their most famous artists. The love for their country is palpable throughout the museum.
Mosaicultures in Gatineau, Quebec
Okay, I know this post is about Ontario and this is in Quebec, however it’s a must see in my book because it doesn’t happen every year. I first saw this exhibit in Montreal in 2013 and it’s like the best topiaries you’ve ever seen, on steroids, designed by folks that may have ingested a magic mushroom or two. Pictures don’t give the sheer scale or the full vibrancy of the plants, so my sincere suggestion is to brush up on your French, and go visit. It’s there this summer and may not return for several years!
Half my family is Canadian, so I’ll offer that as a caveat when I say, truly, that I’ve never met a Canadian I didn’t like. I’ve also never met a Canadian that didn’t like beer. In fact, they have entire stores dedicated to just beer.
There’s something very simple and very beautiful about that kind of national focus.
Finally . . . They Sell Bum Warmers & Nose Mittens!
I love this country.