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Southern Ontario Staycation Ideas for Summer 2013: Two Islands Weekend, Manitoulin Star Party, Canoeing the Grand River and more

In Entertainment on July 18, 2013 at 10:09 am


Staycation doesn’t have to be bad word. Ontario is a beautiful province full of endless summer possibilities, and we’ve got a list to prove it!

Attend summer camp for grown-ups

Nothing evokes nostalgia quite like memories of summer camp. For those who have spent every summer fantasizing about camp, Two Islands Weekend is here to take you back. Branded as a “one-of-a-kind summer camp for adults,” Two Islands Weekend takes over Camp Timberlane in the 600-acre forest of the Haliburton Highlands for one weekend (September 6-8). The all-inclusive camp offers two nights in shared cabins, camp activities (canoeing, arts and crafts, yoga, field sports, capture the flag, camp-themed trivia night, etc.), camp fires (with s’mores, of course), camp-inspired meals prepared by Toronto chefs, and alcoholic beverages available at night. The $300 fee includes everything but your transportation and can be purchased online.

See a drive-in movie

Like summer camp, the drive-in also has that sentimental summer nostalgia thing going for it. I would hate to see drive-ins become extinct, so let’s all make a pact to go to at least one this summer, ok? Wear your sweats or PJs, stock up on endless amounts of snacks, and make the car your sanctuary for that night. Here’s a list of 20 active drive-ins in Southern Ontario.

Spend a weekend in Prince Edward County

Located about three hours east of Toronto, Prince Edward County is the perfect escape from city life. The area is sprawling with wineries, bed and breakfasts, farm markets, antique shops, and art galleries/workshops (The Globe called PEC “Ontario’s other arts hot spot”).

Spend a day on the Toronto Island

How cool is it that us Torontonians have an island to escape to?! Just a $7 ferry ride away, the Toronto Islands have everything you need for a perfect day trip: beaches, picnic areas, fire pits, snack bars, volleyball courts, and a seriously beautiful view of the skyline.

Stargaze at the Manitoulin Star Party

Toronto has a lot to offer, but there is one thing you will never find here: an unobstructed view of the stars. So, for those who would like to see the night sky in all its glory (and feel so very small), the Manitoulin Star Party is for you. Happening August 9-12, the Star Party is held at the Dark Sky Preserve at Gordon’s Park and offers 360 degree viewing, no light pollution, and the darkest skies in Ontario. The weekend includes a welcome wine and cheese reception, astronomy art show, guest speakers, guided public astronomy sessions, laser guided sky tours, nature interpretive centre, guided fossil walk, mini putt challenge, wind up campfire, and Saturday night pot luck supper. For sleeping, you have the option of the Stargazing Cabin, Dark Sky Preserve Bunkie, Camping Cabins, Tipi Tenting, or the Bed & Breakfast. Cost is $42 + tax per person per night.

Canoe on the Grand River

Located in Kitchener, the Grand River is the largest river in Southern Ontario and is known for its beautiful scenery – most notably, the Elora Gorge. Canoeing is the best way to explore the River and whether you’re a first-timer or expert, Canoeing the Grand offers several different trips and rental options. All trip prices include shuttle service, canoe for 2 or kayak for 1, and all gear. If you need more convincing, watch this promotional video set to the Jurassic Park theme song.

Visit the Thousand Islands

Easily one of the most beautiful places in Ontario and maybe even the world, Thousand Islands is made up of 1,864 islands on the New York-Southern Ontario border. You’ll probably want to spend at least a weekend here, because the possibilities are endless: pirates, cruises, ghost walks, art galleries, museums, scuba diving, trails, cottaging…you get the point.

Explore the Warsaw Caves

For those who don’t mind getting a little dirty, the Warsaw Caves (located just outside of Peterborough) are worth exploring. Made up of limestone bedrock, the seven caves were formed thousands of years ago during the last ice age when Ontario was covered in sheets of ice two to three kilometres thick. Referred to as an “underground jungle gym,” sturdy shoes, clothing you don’t mind getting dirty, and a flashlight or headlamp (available at the gatehouse) are essential. Have fun spelunking!

* Published on July 17, 2013 at She Does the City


Bonnaroo 2013 Highlights

In Concert Reviews, Music on June 26, 2013 at 7:05 am

Photo credit: Caitlyn Holroyd

Went to Bonnaroo and loved it. Here are some highlights.

  • Major props to the Wal-Mart in Manchester for making our pre-Bonnaroo shopping trip quick, easy, and fun. Being first-timers, we had heard that stopping here beforehand was a rite of passage—and it most definitely is. Upon entering, we were greeted by a giant “Welcome to Bonnaroo” banner and friendly staff decked out in tie-dye. Everything we needed—beer, snacks, baby wipes, bug spray, tie-dye shirts—was easily accessible and well-stocked, which made navigating the store a breeze.
  • The ladies of HAIM and Deap Vally are worth the hype. Both put on great shows.
  • I don’t think I stopped smiling during Father John Misty’s set.
  • Passion Pit’s Friday afternoon set was one big dance party under the sweltering Tennessee sun.
  • Wu-Tang Clan proved they Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit and their ASL interpreter was incredible.
  • I can now say that I’ve seen a Beatle live. Paul McCartney’s three-hour performance included songs from the Beatles and Wings era plus his own solo material and stories about Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and John Lennon. There were two encores, fireworks, and 80,000 people singing along to “Hey Jude” so yes, it was epic.
  • I tried alligator for the first time and it was delicious!
  • When it’s so hot that you can barely move, you need beautiful music to lounge to. Local Natives and Solange were just that.
  • We met a guy from Alabama and he asked us to explain Canadian money and healthcare to him.
  • On Saturday night, I had to decide between R. Kelly and Billy Idol and that is just not fair. Ultimately, I went with Billy because seeing an ’80s icon perform on a farm in Tennessee was a once in a lifetime kind of thing. His costume changes included a leather jacket, a leather vest, a dress shirt, a suit jacket worn open, and no shirt at all.
  • Mac DeMarco’s show at Canadian Music Week in March was one of the craziest I’ve ever been to, so I knew seeing him perform at Bonnaroo was a must. His Sunday afternoon show was far more tame, but it wasn’t any less fun—it’s impossible not to have fun at a Mac DeMarco show.
  • Tame Impala probably should have performed on the main stage because their Sunday evening set was overflowing from The Other Tent. I had a prime spot near the front which meant that I was able to experience the band in all their psychedelic glory and high-five crowd surfers after they floated across the audience.
  • “It smells really good at Bonnaroo. I swear it smells like pot,” Tom Petty said during his closing set on Sunday night. Naturally, smoke filled the air during “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”

Photo credit: Caitlyn Holroyd


Photo credit: Caitlyn Holroyd


Photo credit: Caitlyn Holroyd


Photo credit: Caitlyn Holroyd


Photo credit: Caitlyn Holroyd


Photo credit: Caitlyn Holroyd


Photo credit: Caitlyn Holroyd

* Published on June 24, 2013 at She Does the City

In honour of Father’s Day, here are our favourite TV Dads

In Entertainment on June 26, 2013 at 6:56 am


Many great men have graced our television screens to play the role of Dad. In honour of Father’s Day this weekend, here are our favourites.

Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher), The O.C.

Sandy wasn’t just the rock of the Cohen family, he was the rock of the entire Orange County community. Just think of how much more drama there would have been if he wasn’t there to be the voice of reason and make bagels! Also, those eyebrows.

Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), Modern Family

A hard working, loveable suburbanite, Phil Dunphy is a perfect representation of modern dads. He’s a balance of masculinity and sensitivity, of authority and immaturity; and often comes across as awkward and goofy in his quest to be known as the “cool dad.” He’s forever a family man, though, and for that we love him.

Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby), The Cosby Show

If you watched The Cosby Show growing up, you know that Cliff Huxtable was full of very important wisdom. Case in point: “No 14-year-old boy may wear a $95 jacket unless he’s on stage with his four brothers.” He also has a style of sweater named after him, and can bust a move like it’s nobody’s business—feats very few fathers can claim.

Danny Tanner (Bob Saget), Full House

I can only imagine how difficult it would be to raise three young girls on your own, so that makes Danny Tanner Super Dad. His obsession with cleanliness was adorable and admirable, as was his tendency to spoil his youngest daughter, Michelle. He also knew the importance of a good hug.

Tim Taylor (Tim Allen), Home Improvement

I like to think that there’s a little Tim Taylor in every dad: an obsession for tools, occasionally blowing stuff up, the general stubbornness…such dad things. But for everything he did wrong, the Tool Man did plenty of things right, like helping to raise three strapping young men. Being an adult and a parent isn’t easy, and Tim was always there to remind us of this.

* Published on June 12, 2013 at She Does the City