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Greetings to the many thousands of readers over the past month from across Canada and the United States, as well as countries including the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, France, India, Australia, Japan, the Ukraine, Mexico, Romania and the Netherlands.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Motorcycle and boat show put some summer in the winter

   One-Tank Trip published on Dec. 31/11
  
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Put some summer in your winter if just for a day and go for a spin to the motorcycle show in Mississauga or paddle around at the Toronto boat show.

   Get your motor running
   The North American International Motorcycle Supershow is an adrenaline rush with hundreds of the latest bikes along with the oldies but goodies.
The North American International Motorcycle Supershow will unveil the 2012 lineup of bikes along with showing vintage and collector cycles.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday fun to bring in the New Year

   One Tank Trip published Dec. 24/25, 2011


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Looking for some fun over the holidays?
   Bring in the New Year at the “Honeymoon Capital of the World,” talk to the animals, check out Leonardo da Vinci’s Workshop or make gingerbread at the fort.
Colourful fireworks over Niagara Falls help to welcome 2012 at a free party at Queen Victoria Park.
   Lighting up the night sky
   Spectacular fireworks over the falls help to welcome 2012 in Niagara Falls.
   Some 40,000 people are expected for the free concert in Queen Victoria Park starting at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 31.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mysteries of ancient Mayan civilization revealed at Royal Ontario Museum

   One-Tank Trip for Dec. 17/18, 2011
 
   (c) By Jim Fox

   You don’t have to travel to Mexico or back in time to explore the mysteries of the legendary ancient Mayan civilization.
   Maya: Secrets of Their Ancient World is at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto with about 250 artifacts including sculptures, ceramics, masks and other precious works.
The head of a man with a headdress made out of stucco from Palenque, Chiapas Mexico in the Late Classic Period, 600 to 900 CE. (Handout – Photo credit: CONACULTA-INAH, Jorge Vertiz)

   And, there’s a hotel package for an overnight stay and tickets to the exhibition or to museums and galleries in the Ottawa area.
   There’s also a game-day overnight package to catch a Canadiens hockey game in Montreal.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Motown sounds, "Elvis" and lavish productions offered at this time of year

   One-Tank Trip published on Dec. 10/11, 2011

 
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Seasonal song-and-dance routines, lavish productions and concerts fill the entertainment calendar at this time of year.
   Take a “one-tank” trip back to Motown, experience an Elvis Christmas show and legendary stage performances of Hair, Mary Poppins and the Wizard of Oz or rock-and-roll with the Disney gang.
Motown Gold, a musical revue at Stage West Theatre Restaurant in Mississauga, recalls the hits from the 1960s and ’70s.
   And, the hits just keep on coming
   Motown Gold, a musical revue, relives the Marvelettes’ hit Dancing in the Streets with audience members dancing in their seats.
   The all-Canadian cast of singers and dancers is at Stage West Theatre Restaurant in Mississauga now through Feb. 5.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Old-world Christmas traditions at markets in Toronto, Kitchener

   One-Tank Trip published on Nov. 26/27, 2011


   (c) By Jim Fox

   ‘Tis the season for some “old-world” holiday traditions – Christmas markets.
   Toronto’s Distillery Historic District has a re-enactment of a traditional European-style market while downtown Kitchener is the place for a festival of German Christmas.
Kris Kringle, an old-fashioned Santa, arrives by horse at the Distillery District’s Toronto Christmas Market.
   Markets have been part of the festive time for centuries in Germany, with the oldest recorded in 1310 in Munich.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday house tour puts Niagara-on-the-Lake in the Christmas spirit

   One-Tank Trip published on Nov. 19/11

 
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Visitors to Niagara-on-the-Lake can relive the spirit of Christmases past – all the way back to the Victorian era – during the Holiday House Tour.
   The event on Dec. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. presents six houses among 15 properties all adorned in festive decorations.
   Thousands of visitors will descend on this picturesque and historic community for the event, now in its 13th year, presented by the local Rotary Club.
The Holiday House Tour is set in the scenic Victorian-style community of  Niagara-on-the-Lake. (Photo by Jim Fox)
   On view are “historic and contemporary properties, all decorated for the holiday season by local businesses and volunteers,” said club president Ward Simpson.
   “Stay for the weekend, enjoy the Friday night Candlelight Stroll, enchanting town atmosphere and holiday shopping all weekend long,” he added.
   A ticket supports the club’s community work and provides admission to all the properties, wineries, lunch at St. Mark’s Addison Hall and a chance to win door prizes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Metro Detroit: Shop 'til you drop; everyone loves a parade

    One-Tank Trip published on Nov. 12/13, 2011


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Shop ’til you drop could have a new meaning for “Black Friday” shoppers heading to the U.S.
   It might be called the turkey trot as there will be hardly enough time for that U.S. Thanksgiving dinner to digest when shoppers will be hitting the malls in Metro Detroit, joined by bargain hunters from Ontario.
   That’s because one of the largest and most popular shopping destinations, Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, 30 minutes north of downtown Detroit, opens at 9 p.m. on Nov. 24, the evening of the U.S. Thanksgiving.
   The 1,000-seat food court at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills has children’s rides including a carousel. (Jim Fox photo)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tea times at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts around the world

   One-Tank Trip published on Nov. 5/6, 2011


   (c) By Jim Fox

   It’s a custom steeped in time and tradition.
   Afternoon tea, a thoroughly British tradition from the early 1800s and popularized by Queen Victoria, is back in fashion.
A traditional royal afternoon tea is served by Christophe Dumas for Rehanna Palumbo in the Heritage Court at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess in Bermuda. (Jim Fox photo)
   The afternoon restorative cup of tea served with small plates of sandwiches and pastries on fine china, of course, are offered at fine hotels, inns, tea rooms and on many cruise ships.
   After all, an ancient Chinese proverb says: “Better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one.”
   Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels and Resorts has a long, illustrious history of having some of the best afternoon tea parties.
   To celebrate this cherished tradition, Fairmont has declared next Saturday (Nov. 12) an “official” day to celebrate tea at its properties around the world. 

Yee haw for the Royal; Niagara Falls lights up; cottagers and DIYers

   One-Tank Trip published on Oct. 29/30, 2011

    (c) By Jim Fox

   It’s not yet winter but a couple of big upcoming shows have that season as part of their name.

   The Royal, yee haw
Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, Ont., the top-ranked rider in the world, will appear at the Royal Horse Show. (Photo credit © mdunnphoto.com)
   It’s known as the “world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show” and returns to Toronto for its 89th year.
   Although it’s not winter, the Royal – officially known as the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair – brings with it the best the country has to offer.
   It runs from Nov. 4 to 13 at Exhibition Place, offering “spectacular sights and sounds of thousands of horses and livestock animals, combined with the thrill of international competition – from equestrian to agriculture innovation,” said publicist Tiffany Fisher.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Boo who as frights escalate for Halloween

   One-Tank Trip published on Oct. 22-23, 2011


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Want to be scared out of your wits?
Blood-curdling fun takes over Canada’s Wonderland for Halloween Haunt.
   How about spending a sleepless night in a fortress of terror, avoiding Jack the Ripper reincarnated or being one of the scaredy-cats who “chicken out” at Screampark?
   Halloween terrors are again reaping havoc across the land. Here’s where evil lurks.

Boo at the Toronto Zoo

Looking for something "Spook"tactular to do...
Come out and enjoy BOO AT THE ZOO!

Check out Minute Maid® Presents Boo at the Zoo (October 22, 23, 29 & 30) where little ones can follow along the Zoo's "Pumpkin Trail" to discover trick-or-treat activity stations throughout the Tundra Trek and take part in our "Critters and Costumes Parade" at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm daily. 
Best of all, up to two kids in costume (12 and under) get in free when accompanied by an adult!
Happy Halloween from your WILD Friends at the Toronto Zoo! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cranberries and pumpkins highlighted at Ontario festivals

    One-Tank Trip column published on Oct. 15-16, 2011

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie are an indispensable part of traditional Thanksgiving dinners and take the spotlight in two upcoming festivals.
Visitors to the Bala Cranberry Festival can watch the berries being harvested at two area marshes.
   The little red acidic berry stars in a three-day festival in Bala on the scenic shores of Lake Muskoka and the Moon River.
   And, day-trippers should head for Waterford, south of Brantford, to see more than a thousand decorated pumpkins, including a gigantic jack o’lantern tower, ready for Halloween.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Everyone's gone country at fall fairs

   One-Tank Trip published Oct. 1-2, 2011

   (c) By Jim Fox

   City slickers can find out what goes on down on the farm at two of the longest-running fall fairs.
   Everyone’s gone country as we’re talking about farm animals, horse shows and rodeo events, the venerable baby contests, demolition derbies, country crooners and big veggies.
   Monster gourds and more will be at the Rockton World’s Fair and Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show.
Huge veggies, such as this pumpkin, compete for the largest title at Rockton World’s Fair. (Photo by John Overmeyer)
   World-class fall fair
   In 1878, poet Andrew Kernighan said the fair in Rockton, between Cambridge and Dundas, was really a world’s fair because “all of the world comes to it.”
   Newspapers then picked up the “world” tag for the Beverly Agricultural Society Fair as it was then known and the rest is history.

Monday, September 26, 2011

'A-mazing' events taking place in cornfields across southwestern Ontario

   One-Tank Trip published Sept. 24-25/11

   (c) By Jim Fox

   You will be “a-mazed” by all the fun fall activities cropping up in area cornfields.
   How about a Toyota RAV 4 maze or a rural farm scene etched out in another?
Get lost in the labyrinth of the Toyota RAV 4-themed Norwich Optimist corn maze.
   And, watch out for Billy Bob and Coz Charlie firing up their high-powered cannon that blasts pumpkins across the field.

   This maze will drive you
   Visitors can “spin their wheels” racing around the latest model of the Norwich Optimist club’s corn maze southeast of Woodstock.
   The maze is cut into the shape of Toyota’s RAV 4 compact crossover SUV and “looks amazing,” said the club’s Doug Ellis. Toyota has a nearby plant and is a supporter of the club’s event.
   It covers 10 acres (four hectares) on the Rettie Farm and is open weekends through Oct. 30 (Saturdays, noon to 9 p.m.; Sundays and Thanksgiving Monday, noon to 5 p.m.).
   Haunted Corn Maze Nights on Oct. 22and 29 are for “those brave enough to enter as you never know what might be around the next corner.”
   Trick or Treat Day on Oct. 29 has tours and collecting candy and treats, costume judging and other activities while family movie nights are outdoors on Saturdays this month at dusk.
   There are also duck races, a mini maze, snack shack, playground, corn box and pumpkin bowling.
   Jed, the mini horse, Pete, the pot-bellied pig, sheep Ruby and Snowflake and “all of their friends” are at the petting zoo.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweet! Nectar of the gods' harvest calls for a Niagara celebration

    One-Tank Trip published by Quebecor (Sun Media Newspapers) on Sept. 17/18, 2011

   (c) By Jim Fox

   It’s time to raise a glass to celebrate the vintage harvest of the "nectar of the gods" in Ontario wine country.
   The province has four “viticultural” or wine regions -- the Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore, Pelee Island and Prince Edward County -- but Niagara draws the crowds at this time of year.
Visitors try their hand at harvesting grapes at Chateau des Charmes winery at Niagara-on-the-Lake.  (Jim Fox photo)
   That’s when about 200,000 people gather in this picturesque area to join in a 10-day celebration of the grape in this 60th-anniversary year of the Niagara Wine Festival on now through Sept. 25.
   It appears the weather “gods” have come through, providing what is needed for what looks to be a banner year and outstanding vintage, said Kimberly Hundertmark, festival executive director.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Doors Open events invite visitors to explore power, environmental issues

   One-Tank Trip published Sept. 10/11, 2011

   (c) By Jim Fox

  Ever wondered about those wind turbines swirling along the shores of Lake Erie or what goes on inside a nuclear generating station?
The Erie Shores Wind Farm is a featured stop for Doors Open East Elgin.

  Doors Open Ontario provides an insight into power that’s blowing in the wind at the East Elgin event on Sept. 24 and the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station on Oct. 1.
   Environmentalists can check out a house renovated for “sustainable living” in Kitchener and see the operation of a hazardous waste, recyclable materials and reusable goods centre in Mississauga.
   Doors Open is the Ontario Heritage Trust program giving people to take a peek behind often-closed doors to “discover the province's hidden heritage treasures,” said publicist Liane Nowosielski.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ontario day trips to wind up summer; culinary adventures for fall


   One-Tank Trip published on Sept. 3/4 2011


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Looking for that last-minute, day trip on the last long weekend of the summer?
   Then check out these suggestions just in from Ontario Tourism along with some culinary getaways for later.

   Happening now
   - Canada’s Largest Ribfest – Burlington, through Monday from 11 a.m., with tasty ribs, entertainment and fun for the family.
“Canada’s Largest Ribfest” in Burlington will attract 140,000 people through Monday for a lip-smacking time at Spencer Smith Park on Lake Ontario.
   This event is huge, attracting about 140,000 people, and lip-smacking good as it marks its 16th year at Spencer Smith Park on Lake Ontario. Last year’s “People’s Choice” winner was the Boss Hogs from London.
Ribfest draws the crowds.
   - 87th Annual Homecoming Celebration – North Buxton, through Monday. This Underground Railroad settlement in Chatham-Kent celebrates its heritage with a dance, car show, food and lots of children’s activities.
   - Bayfest – Port Rowan/Long Point, through Sunday, is a family festival on the Lake Erie shoreline with a midway, fireworks, live entertainment and lots of fun.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stratford Shakespeare Festival extends Jesus Christ Superstar performances

Paul Nolan as Jesus (centre) with members of the company. Photo by David Hou

August 26, 2011… With all scheduled performances – and the week-long extension sold out – the Stratford Shakespeare Festival is announcing three additional performances of Jesus Christ Superstar:
·         September 9 at 8 p.m.
·         October 4 at 8 p.m.
·         October 16 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Let's go to The Ex, fall fairs, air show


   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 20/21 2011
  
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Dare I mention that four-letter word while we’re still having summer fun?
   Well, “fall” is just around the corner as summer races along and it will soon be time for season-altering events.
   There’s the Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition – the annual harbinger of back to school and the end of summer – the looming slew of fall fairs and other cooler events.
   Animal events including the six-horse hitch competition are an exciting part of the 175th Woodstock Fall Fair. (Oxford Tourism)
   Let’s go to the fair
   Believe it or not, “fall fairs” will soon be upon us with Woodstock’s happening next week.
   It’s an amazing 175th year for the Woodstock Fall Fair that runs from next Thursday through Sunday (Aug. 25 to28) at the Woodstock Fairgrounds (875 Nellis St.).
   Since 1836, this has been the signature event of the Woodstock Agricultural Society and is something that “everyone looks forward to,” said society manager Michelle Ward.
   “The excitement of pitting your skills on the midway or the thrill of the rides and the enjoyment of seeing the variety of entertainment at the grandstand is a great way to spend time with the family and have fun at the fair,” she said.
  Fair games: “One in you win.” Dunk the basketball and win a prize at the Woodstock Fall Fair. (Oxford Tourism) 
  

Friday, August 19, 2011

A California dreaming "One-Tank Trip" along the rugged and scenic Highway 1

   © By Jim Fox

   California dreaming!
   A "one-tank trip" that's among the world's most scenic drives, where mountains plunge almost vertically into the Pacific Ocean, can be found south of San Francisco.
   This trip along California's Highway 1 -- or the Pacific Coast Highway -- puts drivers to the test with its hairpin twists and turns along mountain ridges south to Morro Bay.
The scenery never stops along Highway 1 (Barbara Fox photo)
   The dramatic encounter between land and sea repeats itself throughout the 250-mile route.
   Along the Golden State's famous route, ocean waves crash against rocky shorelines and wind-swept beaches are inhabited by surfers, perky sea lions and otters.
   It traverses forests rising from cool mountains, step-back-in-time towns, artist colonies, mining camps, historic missions and magnificent mansions.

Editor's note: Also see the companion piece about California 1's wildlife at http://foxtrotstravel.blogspot.com

   Our land-sea journey began conveniently in San Francisco where Highway 1 crosses the Golden Gate Bridge.
   Staying atop Nob Hill at the impressive Fairmont San Francisco, then marking its centennial year, was opportune. That's because local expert Tom Wolfe prepares Highway 1 tourists with assistance. There's also a Hertz car rental counter right inside the Fairmont.
   A celebrity at Fairmont, Wolfe was America's first concierge in the 1970s, providing personal assistance to guests.
Staying in style at the Fairmont San Francisco. (Jim Fox photo)

Canada’s Wonderland unleashes Leviathan, one of the biggest, tallest roller coasters, in 2012

Vaughan, ON (August 18, 2011) - In 2012, Canada’s Wonderland will unveil one of the biggest and tallest roller coasters in the world:  Leviathan.

When the Park opens in May 2012, Leviathan will dominate the Park’s landscape, taking riders to breathtaking heights and speeds never experienced before at Wonderland.

The excitement begins on Leviathan’s first lift hill as riders climb to a record breaking height of 306 feet (93.3M) followed by an exhilarating 80 degree drop. Reaching a top speed of 148 kilometers per hour, riders will experience extreme coaster thrills on 5,486 feet (1,672M) of track that includes a series of giant camelback hills reaching heights up to 180 feet (54.9M), and an astonishing overbanked hammerhead turn at 115 degrees that will cross above the Park’s front gate at 147 feet (44.8M) high.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Monarch and Migrants Weekend on at Presqu’ile Sept. 3 and 4


Giant Swallowtail at Presqu'ile (Photo by David Bree)
Presqu’ile Provincial Park's annual celebration of all things that migrate is on again this year over the Labour Day weekend.

“Presqu’ile being a point of land that sticks out into Lake Ontario is a natural trap for south bound migrants, be they birds or butterflies” states chief park naturalist David Bree.

“These flying creatures tend to follow the shoreline of Lake Ontario, looking for an easy way across the big water.  They funnel down into Presqu’ile and are reluctant to head north again to get out of the park and are equally reluctant to cross the lake.

Also in Presqu’ile’s favour is the fact that we have a number of good natural habitats where these migrants can rest and feed. So they just hang out for awhile waiting for the right conditions to jump across the lake.  This provides those that like looking at animals a great opportunity to for finding and seeing these animals”.
Sanderlings one of many species of shorebird that stop at Presqu'ile (Photo by David Bree)

GO is selling CNE tickets and running extra service


TORONTO - GO Transit is making it easy to go to the Canadian National Exhibition by selling CNE tickets and running extra service along the Lakeshore lines. Again this year, veterans ride GO free to the Warriors' Day parade at the CNE on August 20. 


From August 19 - Sept 5, all Lakeshore GO stations, including Union Station, will sell CNE ride-all-day and admission tickets.
CNE ticket prices:

  • Ride-all-day: $52 (admission plus rides)
  • General admission(ages 14 - 59): $16
  • Senior admission (ages 60+): $12
  • Child admission (ages 5 - 13): $12
  • Family pass: $48 (admission only) 
Some Lakeshore East and West weekday GO Train trips will be making special stops at Exhibition GO Station to accommodate visitors during the 2011 CNE season.

Hills of Headwaters presents SummerFeast

SummerFeast: A Culinary Experience in the Hills of Headwaters

The 6th annual SummerFeast:
A Culinary Experience In the Hills of Headwaters
August 16th to September 4th, 2011

Celebrate summer in the Hills of Headwaters with a SummerFeast, our annual summer culinary event presented by twelve (12) of the region's finest restaurants. One of our most anticipated seasonal events, SummerFeast offers special menus showcasing the extraordinary cuisine at some of our area's most popular dining establishments.

Let's go to The Ex!

CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION

AUGUST 19 - SEPTEMBER 5, 2011 in Toronto at Exhibition Place

The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), the largest fair in Canada, and one of the top 10 in North America, will open its gates August 19 through September 5, 2011 in Toronto, (Canada).

For 18 days the CNE will celebrate important anniversaries, while thrilling people of all ages with an exciting line-up of concerts, food, celebrity demonstrations, performances, midway rides, and spooky ghost tours.

The following is an overview of the attractions. Full schedule is available at TheEX.com

Highlights:
- 75th Anniversary of the Bandshell will be marked by an extensive concert
series including: Marianas Trench, The Spinners with the Manhattans, LIGHTS,
Glen Campbell, My Darkest Days, Neil Sedaka, Loverboy, Blues Festival, K-OS,
Tommy James & The Shondells and the Battle of the Bands – a regional band
festival hosted by Supernova. The Canadian Forces Musical Salute also returns.