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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

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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

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

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

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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

A timeline of my celebrity crushes

In Entertainment, Life Stories on January 30, 2013 at 6:26 pm
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Photo credit: Fuck Yeah JTT

I’ve left a long trail of celebrity crushes over the years, but the following are the ones I remember most fondly and who will forever hold a piece of my young, fangirl heart.

1994: Jonathan Taylor Thomas (JTT)

At one point in time, every girl was in love with JTT – and really, how could you not be? He was forever on the cover of Bop magazine and our TV screens; his baby blue eyes and lucious blonde locks drawing you in. I don’t need to tell you how great he was in Home Improvement, or how adorable he was in The Lion King, or how rugged he was in Wild America. JTT was the complete package and he most definitely ruled the 90s. (If someone can tell me where he is and what he is doing now, I will be forever grateful. I just want to know that he is still alive somewhere.)

1995: Devon Sawa

Like JTT, Devon Sawa was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed cutie who stole the hearts of many girls during the 90s. I was so unbelievably jealous that Christina Ricci got to kiss him twice, especially during that slow dance scene in Casper. The line “Can I keep you?” will forever make me weak in the knees. Just ONCE I would like someone to say that to me.

1996: Nick Carter

I remember the boy band era fondly. We girls were busy idolizing the Spice Girls and then, suddenly, the boy version arrived to sing sweet nothings to us and make us all giddy. Every girl had her favourite member and when it came to the Backstreet Boys, Nick and Brian had the monopoly when it came to young girls’ hearts (I remember one of my friends had a crush on Kevin and we all thought that was so weird because he was “too much of a man.”) I was a Nick girl myself and liked to think that he was only ever serenading me.

1997: Leonardo DiCaprio

So by now you’ve probably figured out that I had a huge thing for blonde-haired, blue-eyed boys back in the day. Leo was the first crush who’s face was displayed on my bedroom wall and I have very vivid memories of kissing his fake movie poster lips before going to bed. He was perfect in Titanic and while I cried throughout the whole movie, I cried most when his character disappeared into the ocean abyss.

1998: Rider Strong

Shawn Hunter of Boy Meets World was my first introduction to the bad boy. Cory was cute and all, but Shawn wore leather jackets and had floppy hair and came from a broken home. He was like this little lost puppy dog that you wanted to cuddle and take home.

1999: Ryan Phillipe

During middle school, Ryan Phillipe would greet me everyday from inside my locker. His sultry expression made it seem as though he was so in love with me and his frosted tips were 1000000x better than any 12-year-old boy’s at the time. I was definitely too young to understand most of Cruel Intentions when I saw it but I did understand that Ryan was sooo hot in it.

2001: Johnny Depp

I will never not have a crush on Johnny Depp because he is never not sexy. He’s one of those men who’s just like, “Oh hey, you thought I was good looking last decade? Well look at me NOW!” My crush developed after I saw Edward Scissorhands, which seems weird but is also a testament to how Mr. Depp can make any character attractive.

2003: Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie)

Seth Cohen may have had excellent taste in music, but Ryan had that whole Rebel Without A Cause-thing going for him. He had me at that “Whoever you want me to be” line and is probably the only guy who makes a wife beater look good. I’ve never consulted Marissa (R.I.P.) on the matter, but I’m positive that Ryan is a damn good kisser too.

2004: Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas (lead singer of The Strokes) is one of the few people who can sing literally anything and make it sound amazing. His voice is the definition of sex and his image is pure rock ‘n’ roll: greasy hair, leather jackets, sunglasses. He’s mysterious; has terrific genes (his mother is a former model and was Miss Denmark in 1965, and his father is the founder of Elite Model Management); and writes beautiful songs. So yeah, he’s perfect.

* Published on January 10, 2013 at She Does the City

Hills Hit List

In Entertainment on April 25, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Lauren’s become a best-selling author, Whitney’s switched cities and reality shows, Heidi’s boobs have quadrupled in size and Audrina is still looking for a Justin Bobby replacement. A lot’s changed since we first met the Hills girls six seasons ago and the time has finally come to bid the drama farewell. Next Tuesday marks the premiere of the show’s final season and while only half the original cast members remain, you can bet it’s gonna be a doozy.

I recently settled in with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s for the ultimate Hills marathon, reuniting with the ghosts of seasons past. Remember when Lauren still dressed like a Laguna Beach bum? Or when Heidi still looked human? Here’s some memorable Hills moments long forgotten.

Heidi crashes the Young Hollywood party
Before the girls were on the guestlists for Hollywood’s hottest parties, they were crashing them. It’s the first episode of the series and while Teen Vogue intern Lauren is faced with the daunting task of ensuring no one sits on some chairs at the Young Hollywood party, troublemaker Heidi and sidekick Audrina are busy trying to sneak in. Once inside, fights ensue between Heidi and then-boyfriend Jordan and the unthinkable happens – the gang sits on the forbidden chairs. We all knew at this moment that Heidi was bad news but sadly, it would take Lauren another couple of seasons to figure it out.

Jen Bunney the backstabber
Remember the Bunster? Lauren decides to throw her friend since third grade a 21st birthday party, even buying her a diamond bracelet for the occasion. Bunney then breaks the number one girl rule and hooks up with Brody, Lauren’s ex, after being egged on by Heidi. Confronting Bunney about how all her friends are turning against her, Lauren begins the first of many mascara-streaked bawls to come.

Meet “Justin Bobby”
We learned soon enough that the Hills girls love their bad boys – Lauren had Jason, Heidi had Spencer, and Audrina had the equally bad (and much greasier) Justin Bobby.

The Mr. Bobby we first met back in season 3 was much different from the Johnny Depp look-a-like we know today – belching in public, sporting dirty dreads, and kissing redhead club-goers behind Audrina’s back. After discovering that Justin is eager to change his name to Bobby, Lo has her most shining moment in Hills history, penning the nickname “Justin Bobby.” It stuck – unlike his rocky relationship with Audrina.

The infamous “you know what you did!”
The biggest (and best) showdown in Hills history came after rumours began surfacing of a Lauren and Jason sex tape. Believed culprits Spencer and Heidi show up to Hollywood hotspot Les Deux where Lauren happens to be and naturally, all hell breaks loose. Heidi decides to confront Lauren about missing her housewarming party and plays dumb as Lauren screams “you know what you did!” Both go their separate ways and proceed to bitch about what just went down. Cue official end to the Heidi and Lauren friendship.

Spencer and Heidi get “married”
Well into their famewhore status, the two lovebirds take off to Mexico and decide to elope in a Patron-induced stupor after Spencer confesses: “I’m madly obsessed with you. It’s pretty apparent in the fact that I haven’t left your side in pretty much two-and-a-half years. I pretty much keep you from the whole world.” I certainly hope it was the tequila shots and not this chilling line that wooed Heidi into exchanging vows. While we all crossed our fingers that this wouldn’t go beyond a fake Cabo wedding, they would eventually make it official back home.

Stephanie teaches us what NOT to do in a job interview
Spencer’s younger sister never seemed like the brightest gal of the bunch but all was confirmed when she sat down with Kelly Cutrone for the most awkward interview ever.

After unknowingly confessing to wanting the job for the sake of her own handbag career, Stephanie further makes a fool of herself by lying about understanding French, staring blankly as Kelly starts a conversation en français. She would get the job thanks to a little help from her pal Lauren but to no surprise, her time with People’s Revolution would be very short-lived.

Rounding out the top 10:
– Whitney falls on live TV while modeling Oscar gowns
– Spencer and Brody go clubbing with some Playboy bunnies…and get caught
– Lauren finally goes to Paris and attends the super fancy Crillon Ball
– Heidi and Lauren hug it out at Lauren’s b-day yacht party

* Published on April 23, 2010 at She Does The City