Tag Archives: Ontario

2chicks Canada ~ Having a Tea Party!

Niagara on the Lake is History come alive. But sometimes it’s just plain fun history. Like Alice In Wonderland kind of fun. Mad Hatter Tea Party kind of crazy.

This is a two-parter blog post. First the tea party, because we just couldn’t resist. Our next blog post on Niagara on the Lake, will be “History alive”. But isn’t that kind of the same thing? So we shall just begin at the beginning.

It all starts with the Shaw Festival and their play, Alice in Wonderland. Here is the link including dates and showtimes. This really is something you wouldn’t care to miss. Surely you’d better hurry and not be late…for a very important date! http://www.shawfest.com/playbill/alice-in-wonderland/

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The Shaw Festival across from Fort George. Everything old is new again.

Secondly, all in strictly proper timing, we’re sure, Beau Chapeau has the most felicitous of window dressings. You will be missing out if you don’t drop by for a look-see. And while looking you may just want to stop inside and find the very hat you’ve been looking for, from a by-gone era or not. https://beauchapeau.com/  (3 slide-show below. Click arrows if you’re still late)…

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See how that crazy Mad Hatter worked on his tea-potion to blend the old and new? What a guy! Gotta tip your hat to him. 😉

Lastly, nothing like a sample of the real deal. A real tea party, done up in Mad Hatter style. An homage to the Shaw and the Carroll, Alice and the Queen.

Let’s stroll down the Avenue to meet the Prince: Prince of Wales that is, the dreamy little Hotel hosting this gem of a party in their very own Tea Room.

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Step back into yesteryear and enter the upside down world of the Hatter. The Queen will be sure to greet you. The Queen of Hearts, that is.

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She will beguile you with her charms and entice you with the aroma of sugar and spice and everything nice.

For your pleasure, another quick slide-show, below, 4 photos.

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With a tower of tea sandwiches, pastries, buttery croissants and muffins set before you, who would not surely be happy? Mouth watering house made scones with devonshire cream and strawberry jam? Specialty teas? Served by a Queen? Oh my!
http://www.vintage-hotels.com/princeofwales/downloads/menus/pw-alice-wonderland-menu.pdf

All in all, if in Niagara on the Lake and you see a cute little rabbit dashing down a hole, we would suggest that you “begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end, then stop”.

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Niagara on the Lake ~ Wines

NIAGARA ON THE LAKE ~ WINE, WISDOM and WHIMSY

For a glass full of quaint and cozy, brimming with cordials and witticisms, whimsy and wine, classics and vistas, join us on our picture filled tour of a day in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada.

The day started sunny with a ninety eight percent chance of fun. Things just point in that direction when you’re in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

We were staying at the gorgeous Queen’s Landing Hotel. http://www.vintage-hotels.com/queenslanding/?gclid=CjwKEAjw6_q5BRCOp-Hj-IfHwncSJABMtDai1QjHfO1abUPupU9f7gODs-ThCfYltcMCedoAdFu2hBoCJdTw_wcB

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It’s a good start when you look out the window and see the Niagara river’s waters glistening and the sailboats docked.

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We began with a day trip to close-at-hand wine country; Niagara-on-the-Lake is known for it’s wineries, and we wanted to weigh in on that. After-all, a 2chicks review is priceless…

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There are many wineries, large and small to choose from, and we started with one of Ontario’s  largest Wineries: Peller. This family owned winery offers daily tours and award winning wines.  http://www.winealign.com/wineries/26-peller-estates-winery. And https://www.peller.com/

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The vineyards are fresh and budding, ready to start this year’s crop of grapes.

Next door is the ‘new kid on the block’, Two Sister’s Vineyards. http://www.twosistersvineyards.com/site/home

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We appreciated the intimacy and attention.

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We tried several samples…

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And pleasing the effort turned out to be…

…before settling on a Cabernet Sauvignon, Ice Wine. Rich and full, but not overpowering on the sweet side. Special.

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This Chick and her Rooster will be saving it for a special occasion…

And like a very fine wine, this very fine view topped off our visit.

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After such royal treatment, we went back to our hotel. Unfortunately the Rooster had to fly the coop, but the 2chicks and a brother lazed around the lobby and the library at Queen’s landing, for a bit of whimsy and wisdom:

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Some statues just look smart.

 

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The plant and pot are delightful…dare we say, just ducky?

All kidding aside, elegant beauty is around every corner. We spent forever exploring…

 

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Learning something? Fabulous. In a charming setting? Glorious. Two siblings getting along? Priceless.

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Three strong naked guys supporting a bowl, yet still looking good? Definitely classic, if not a little amusing.

And there for our convenience, more wine, or a nibble at the Tiara Restaurant and their locally sourced (my favorite)and delicious food. Loved this cozy corner! http://www.vintage-hotels.com/queenslanding/dining.php

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Clue? Sir George in the library with the candlesticks…
For those in the know, this is Sir George Bernard Shaw. This renowned author and playwright is honored by the well-known Shaw Festival, permanently located in Niagara-on-the-Lake. http://www.shawfest.com/about-the-shaw/george-bernard-shaws-bio/ Many folks come just for the Festival, so be sure to take in a play during your stay.

It’s surprising just how much one can learn from actual books in libraries, statues, wooden ducks (or geese), wine-tasting, visiting wineries, historical plays or just fun plays (Alice in Wonderland is currently running). It’s also surprising how accommodating a Son/Brother can be… 😉

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Now that you’ve partaken in our NOTL adventure, perhaps you’ll be as informed and knowledgeable as THIS Chick…

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Don’t hang up. We’ll be back with more.

Round II, Niagara-on-the-Lake, coming soon…

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One Light ~ well, maybe two…

Only one small light to shine in the vast darkness that surrounds…

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The River Range Rear Lighthouse, lighting the way on the Niagara River in by-gone years. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. There are actually two lighthouses within close vicinity, one for the Niagara River and the other for Lake Ontario.

More Niagara-on-the-Lake photos and travel info to come. It’s only 18 miles from Niagara Falls with many treats and treasures.

Niagara Parks Part II

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This is Part II of the Niagara Parks piece. We are so fortunate to be living in one of the most beautiful areas on earth. We hope you enjoy the photos and learn a bit more about Niagara and its parks and then come on over to inspect them for yourselves.

Queen Victoria Park

Queen Victoria Park is the park in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, where people go to see the Falls – all three – The American Falls, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe. It is maintained by NPC – the Niagara Parks Commission, and is truly lovely, in itself.

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This exquisite pond is located directly across from where one views the American Falls.

Niagara Falls, USA as seen from Niagara Falls, Canada
Niagara Falls, USA as seen from Niagara Falls, Canada

In the same vicinity, is the Oakes Garden Theatre. This is a great place to sit and have a picinic, take wedding photos, or to walk around and check out the gardens.

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Nestled in behind the theater, and through a gate, lies a secret garden. Yes, really. Many visitors miss this gem.

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And, here I am, (one of the two chicks) sitting at a restaurant right next door, called the Secret Garden. I honestly can’t give a review of the menu, as I’ve only had drinks on the terrace, but the link is here, http://www.secretgardenrestaurant.net/

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Fort Niagara 

Back over on the American side, one really must see Fort Niagara. The Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario at this juncture. There is a lighthouse, the Fort, the River, The Lake a swimming pool, picnic area, snack bar and more. It’s a great place to spend the day with the family.

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The Fort Niagara Lighthouse offers tours and a gift shop.

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There is an old road that follows the river and makes for a great walkway, with beautiful views along the way.

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You can even stop and take a moment to reflect.

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Public Dock – Youngstown, NY

Just down the way from Fort Niagara, are the Youngstown Public Docks. we like it there. When you’re at the Fort, you can see sailboats emerging from upriver, and coming out into the open waters of Lake Ontario. But going to the Docks, you can see these boats up close at waters edge. It’s also kind of handy if you happen to have a boat. 😉

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Lewiston’s Waterfront Park

At the river’s edge, in Lewiston, downriver from Niagara Falls and upriver from Youngstown is a quaint little park. Lewiston has their docks down at the water below, but up some steps and at the end of Center Street is this park. The Silo Restaurant is there, picnic tables, a couple of bench swings to watch the sunset over Canada. One of our favorite things are the spectacular statues by sculptor, Susan Gessler.

http://www.lewistonsilo.com/

http://www.susangeissler.com/

Susan Gessler's sculpture, Freedom Crossing at Lewiston's Waterfront Park.
Susan Gessler’s sculpture, Freedom Crossing at Lewiston’s Waterfront Park.

Peace Garden – Lewiston, NY

Back up the hill, on Center Street lies a quiet little nook, behind the main buildings. It is a peaceful place with flowers and sculptures and a table to play chess on. A small oasis during a tour of the historic town of Lewiston.

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Lockport Cave Entrance/Lockport Canal/Town of Lockport Nature Trail

Alright folks. You got me. Have you ever been someplace and don’t really know where it was? I googled until my eyes crossed and then called the Lockport Library where a very kind research librarian helped me. (Heck, they live there and don’t know what it’s called.)

The Erie Canal runs through the town of Lockport and there are trails meandering all around the canals, here and there. There are walkways and ruins, and woods and hiking and picnic tables, oh my! In the midst of that is an attraction called the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat ride. Near the entrance is a park-like area. We choose to call it a park!

Famous "upside down" railroad bridge. Railroad companies built the bridge this way to limit size of ships going through canal to force companies to use rail transport for goods.
Famous “upside down” railroad bridge. Railroad companies built the bridge this way to limit size of ships going through canal to force companies to use rail transport for goods.

There is the famous ‘upside down’ railroad bridge. It’s an interesting story:

http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=truss/lockportrr/

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There are all kinds of photo ops, with ruins and scenery and historical buildings. Such a fun place to go!

Hyde Park – Niagara Falls

Hyde park is New York State’s largest park aside from Central Park in Manhattan. It has a lake for fishing and boating, bocce ball, tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool and a baseball stadium. We take walks quite often through this park, and it’s one of our favorite ways to exercise. With the holiday weekend upon us, it is also good to mention that every year, they have an impressive fireworks show over the lake for the 4th of July.

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Niagara has a treasure trove of parks and green spaces, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed touring it with us! Stay tuned for part three…

More than I’d expected: The Argyll Highlander’s connection

Grandpa Marr and Uncle Lorne

My Grandfather, E.W. Marr and his son, Lance Cprl. Lorne Andrew Marr

 

With all that transpired last week in Ottawa,Canada, little did I know it would result in a journey of my own.

Sometime early last week, my husband and I decided that our Wedding Anniversary weekend would be celebrated in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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By Webster Falls, Ontario

 

My Father lived in the Hamilton area as a child, and we often went to nearby Waterdown to visit my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. But I had never been there as a tourist. So, we booked a cute little B & B in the outskirts, and began to make plans.

 

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Uncle Lorne and his dog, Teddy

 

Just then, I heard the devastating news that an unarmed soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo had been shot and killed while guarding the memorial of the Unknown Soldier. The perpetrator had then broken into Parliament, fired his weapon several times in the Hall of Honour while the Prime Minister was in a nearby room. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was taken down by the Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers, a now celebrated hero. Many people felt that the heart of Canadian Democracy and her freedom had been attacked.

Our family lives in the border city of Niagara Falls, USA, where many folks, either side of the river have connections on both sides. I, still being a Canadian citizen, though having lived in America for many years with my American family, was very concerned and kept a keen eye out as the story evolved, especially since we were about to cross the border.

Much to my surprise, it turned out that Cirillo was a member of the very same Hamilton regiment that my deceased Uncle Lorne had been a part of, the Argyll Highlanders. Uncle Lorne gave his life in France, towards the end of World War II.

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Cprl. Nathan Cirillo, a couple of days before the shooting.- https://twitter.com/huffpostcanada/status/525033449132785664

 

I’d always wanted to see Uncle Lorne’s home Armoury and when this weekend presented itself, my husband gladly chauffeured me along the busy street, dropping me off at the site, turned shrine.

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The Armoury- The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada

 

Thousands of flowers, bouquets, candles, memorabilia and well wishes awaited. Veterans saluted, and a single ‘by gone’ soldier maneuvered his motorized wheel chair, one lone leg protruding from beneath his blanket. Both spontaneous and planned acts of good will merged on the street; one flag on a makeshift hockey stick pole, while a boy’s hockey team posed with another, this one dotted with children’s names. News media, ordinary citizens, Mothers Fathers, Sons and Daughters alike, stood in solidarity, some with heads bowed low.

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A sampling of the mementos

 

There was an acrid smell of gasoline from over much traffic, mixed with the excessive sweetness of flowers and pungent candle smoke all combining to hover over the now hallowed space. Soldiers stood on guard while people placed remembrances, reminders, and tokens of good will on the unyielding sidewalk. Photos of Cirillo’s dogs accumulated alongside newspaper headlines while cameras clicked and television news crews waited for their moment. This cacophony of visual aids, sounds, smells, intentions of the grieving heart, melded into a spontaneous declaration of defiance and respect.

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On the armoury gate

 

So, it was a small connection, but it was an important one for me. I don’t know exactly why it was so good for me to be right there, and then, at that very moment, but it was. I stood beside freedom loving people, honouring both Nathan Cirillo, other soldiers who’d sacrificed their lives and my own Uncle whom I had never met. God Bless them, every one.

Maybe it’s because I live on the border. Perhaps it’s because I’m the only Canadian in my family. It might even be because so many people on both sides of the border get irritated with one another over the small things; bad driving, too much shopping or irritating accents? But isn’t this, at least in part, what freedom is really made of? Celebrating the unique in an individual or culture? Blood, tears and honour? And just maybe I found a little bit more of mine that day.

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Boy’s hockey team showing their respects

 

*If you’d like a copy of the book Peter’s Argyll, written by my cousin George A. Wilkinson, about our Uncle, Lance Corporal Lorne Andrew Marr, KIA August 27th, 1944, you can find it at: http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-0052119050/PETERS-ARGYLL.aspx

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The secret inspiration of the gorge

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One of my all time favorite places to write.

There is a space along the Niagara gorge, between the Devil’s Hole and Whirlpool Parks that holds my heart. The land slopes gently downward, among slithering bends, parallel to the mighty Niagara, though lofty heights above. A stately old bridge graces a water run off and large trees play hide and seek with chipmunks and squirrels.

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I love lazy autumn afternoons, when the air is still and the sky grey, when there is a mere wisp of a cool breeze, indicating what is yet to come.

But nothing can properly describe the breath taking visuals, nor the total immersion of sounds; a regular feast for the senses; crickets, katydids and grasshoppers chorus their canticle, alongside the hum and roar of the waters rushing below. Up above, whirlybirds (helicopters) hum their constant Niagara tune, a theme played multiple times daily, delivering thrills to hundreds of tourists.  Cars and lawnmowers chime in to remind us that this is actually a giant slice of nature placed in an urban setting…or perhaps the other way around.

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A residential area is directly across the Robert Moses Parkway. Deveaux has many stately old homes.

The Canadian side is so close, one feels as though they could reach out and touch it, (if you had a freakishly long arm)! The Niagara Glen is just across the way, a place my high school class made an annual visit for our year end picnic. Now here I sit, writing from Western New York, an observer of little bodies climbing up and down stairs and rocks like ants.

Back here, in continued observation, the Great Niagara Whirlpool is to my left. (It’s also home of the Spanish Aero car accessible from Canada only). To the right are both power plants, the American Niagara Power Project and Canadian Sir Adam Beck. The Niagara Power Project is easily accessible from here, a mere stones throw away. The Robert Moses Parkway also jangles along the gorge from beyond Youngstown NY on one end and to the far end of Niagara Falls on the other.

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This is the converted Robert Moses Highway. On one side there is a road, and this side is a pedestrian and bike pathway. Part of this land is protected so that the flora and fauna can grow naturally.

Regarding trail accessibility, bike and hiking trails, both dirt and paved (adjacent to the Robert Moses Parkway) are varied. The trails available are for both the adventuresome and the more gentle soul. Hikers, bikers, joggers, dog walkers and strollers all live together in perfect harmony…or at least they use some of the same path ways! Picnic tables, and bathrooms are also available. (seasonally).

I prefer to stroll along the top of the gorge, gaze at the beautiful vistas, take pictures in a photographer’s paradise and dodge the occasional squirrel,  sitting ‘neath the tree, with my name on it, putting pen to ink…

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