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Bayfield hosts The Tall Ships

14 Jul Tall_Ships_Bayfield3

Tall_Ships_Bayfield5Diva Christine visited Bayfield to get a glimpse of two Tall Ships that docked here for the weekend.

Per CKNX Radio, the Tall Ships were hosted by ten local service clubs including the Optimists. Chair of the Optimists Tall Ships Committee, Mike Dixon described the ships:  “both two-masted square riggers, 72 ft long, and both with a permanent crew of about ten. Each ship also carries a temporary crew of a dozen students who sign on for one to two weeks.”  Bayfield is the first of eight stops the tall ships will make on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes this summer.

Tall_Ships_Bayfield2

Tall_Ships_Bayfield1

 

Huron County Museum offers great Summer Family Activities

7 Jul the Huron County Museum is housed in a magnificent structure on North Street in Goderich
Behind the Bars is a summer favourite … returning again in 2014.

Behind the Bars is a summer favourite … returning again in 2014.

Behind the Bars is a great family event that offers special evening tours. Go “Behind the Bars” and meet some of “Faces of Gaol” on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Huron Historic Gaol. Experience the history as you explore and learn about life at the Gaol between 1841 and 1911. This interactive event provides visitors with the opportunity to explore this National Historic Site while meeting historical figures from the Gaol’s past. Tour the Gaol and Governor’s House to learn more about the men, women & children who lived and worked behind the bars.

Tuesdays & Thursdays from July 10 to August 28 | 7 to 9 PM
Huron Historic Gaol – Admission: Adults $10, Children $5, Family $25

Read about Diva Trista Russell’s experience last year at “Behind the Bars” HERE

 

Read on for more great events at the Huron County Museum and Gaol.

the Huron County Museum is housed in a magnificent structure on North Street in Goderich

the Huron County Museum is housed in a magnificent structure on North Street in Goderich

Learning and fun! Drop in, Interactive activities to compliment your visit are included with regular admission.

Museum Sundays – 2 PM to 4 PM

Faces of Huron County – July 6 & August 13

Explore the “Our Stories” exhibit while you hunt for clues to uncover the stories of Huron County residents featured in the exhibit. Meet someone you might know have known was from our County.

Discover unique artifacts at the Huron County Museum

Discover unique artifacts at the Huron County Museum

That’s So Weird! – July 13 & August 10

Discover quirky artifacts from the Huron County Museum’s collection. Will it be neat, gross, or just plain weird?

Enjoy old sounds at the Noteworthy Exhibit

Enjoy old sounds at the Noteworthy Exhibit

Melodic Doodads & Gizmos – July 20 & August 17

Try out a variety of different musical instruments and start creating your own music in our “Noteworthy” exhibit.

Enjoy a Victorian Tea Party

Enjoy a Victorian Tea Party

Victorian Tea Party – July 27 & August 24

The Huron County Museum would like to extend their cordial invitation to a Victorian Tea Party. Enjoy fine teas, crafts, and sweet treats for all.

The Huron County Gaol has a significant history and designated a heritage site by Canada … learn more about the Gaol at these great events.

The Huron County Gaol has a significant history and designated a heritage site by Canada … learn more about the Gaol at these great events.

Gaol Mondays – 2 PM to 4 PM

Escapes! – July 7 & August 4

How would you to escape from our Gaol? Over the wall, through the front door or on the run? Discover how some inmates managed to escape.

Building a Gaol – July 14 & August 11

Learn about our architect, his designs and the Gaol committee. Using a brick Gaol model, add on your own modifications and special touches.

Larceny, Spoil & Destitution – July 21 & August 18

Discover some of the unique laws and charges that would have landed you in our Gaol from 1841 to 1911.

Hangman’s Noose – July 28 to August 25

For more serious crimes some of our inmates spent their last days at the Gaol. What would it have been like to witness their public hanging and learn about the man who had to do the job.

This small museum located at the main beach and harbour area, in Goderich is dedicated to the men and women who made their living on Lake Huron.

This small museum located at the main beach and harbour area, in Goderich is dedicated to the men and women who made their living on Lake Huron.

Marine Museum Fridays – 2 PM to 4 PM

July 11 to August 29 – Marine themed crafts & activities such as Harbour Silhouettes, Semaphore and more.

Be a Tourist in your own Backyard

18 Jun

by Diva Claire Carter
As a recent transplant, I still feel like a tourist in the town of Goderich in many ways.  Although I’ve lived here for over a year, I still spend my weekends following the crowds; attending concerts, outdoor events and visiting the beach.  Here are some of my favourite ways to relax in Goderich:

Shop the Square, and explore the Farmer’s and Flea Markets

Farmers Market on the Square, Saturday's

Farmers Market on the Square, Saturday’s

The Square in Goderich is a beautiful shopping destination.  Shops have something for everyone, including clothing, home and kitchen items, jewelry and books.  If shopping isn’t your thing, or you’re hungry from too much of it, enjoy one of the great restaurants.  Whether you are in the mood for a snack, full meal or fast-casual, you will be delighted by all of the food choices.

The Farmer’s Market takes place each Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., starting in May and ending in October.  The Market is a fantastic place to buy locally grown items.  As a tourist, I would suggest picking up some items to be enjoyed right away, and some non-perishables to bring home.  The Flea Market takes place on Sundays during the same months, but starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.  In addition to many delicious food items, unique vendors selling antiques, collectables and handmade items are also at the Flea Market.

As a tourist, I would pick up a snack or meal from one of the wonderful restaurants on the Square, or vendor from the Flea or Farmer’s Market, pick up a book, and have a picnic in the Square, or at one of many beautiful local parks.  Depending on what day it is, I might find a concert or festival in one of these settings.

Gates to Harbour Park

Gates to Harbour Park

Lions’ Harbour Park

Located right before the hill to the beach on West Street, Lions’ Harbour Park is also home to many great events throughout the year.  Weekly summer events include Circle City Cruize Nights (every second Wednesday from May 21-September 10) and Sunday Concerts (June 22- August 31).  Annual events include the Festival of Arts and Crafts and Celtic Roots Festival.  The stage makes this park great for watching concerts, while the covered gazebo ensures an enjoyable atmosphere, regardless of the weather.

On Gloucester Terrace, across from the Huron Historic Gaol, there is a lovely place to sit on the swings.  This area also happens to be a scenic lookout point, as it overlooks the harbour.  There is a cairn with a giant piece of salt nearby, and plaques that tell the story of salt in Goderich.  After enjoying a bite to eat, cross the road and visit the Huron Historic Gaol, which also happens to be a National Historic Site.  If you’re lucky enough to be in Goderich on a Tuesday or Thursday night between July 10 and August 28, consider visiting in the evening (7-9 p.m.) to enjoy a special tour called Behind the Bars.

Huron County Gaol hosts "Behind the Bars" all summer long … it's a great way to learn about local history.

Huron County Gaol hosts “Behind the Bars” all summer long … it’s a great way to learn about local history.

Once you are feeling well fueled, I would suggest visiting one of the great local trails.  Two of my favourites are the Maitland Woods Trail, and the Tiger Dunlop Trail.  Both trails are cyclist, walker, runner and dog friendly.  In the winter, bring cross-country skiis or snowshoes.

The Maitland Woods Trail is located at the south end of the Knights of Columbus Centre parking lot (390 Parsons Court).  The trails are beautiful all year long, and depending on what you are in the mood for, you can choose a number of different distances.

The Menesetung Bridge is a really beautiful walk, as it features some of the best views in Goderich.  Another walk that is different each season, this one takes you across the historic wooden Menesetung Bridge that spans the Maitland River.

Sunsets are spectacular at Rotary Cove

Sunsets are spectacular at Rotary Cove

After a long, action packed day, my final move would be to head to the beach and enjoy the sunset.   Lake Huron is known for beautiful sunsets, and I happen to think the view from Rotary Cove is pretty spectacular!  If you’re visiting on a Friday (early July – late August), come an hour before sunset, get an ice cream cone, and listen to the Celtic Blue Highlanders pipe the sun down.

(Photo Credit:  Pat Carter)

The view from Menesetung Bridge - great place for a hike

The view from Menesetung Bridge – great place for a hike

Winter trails ...

Winter trails …

Maitland Trail … another great place to explore flora and fauna

Maitland Trail … another great place to explore flora and fauna

 

 

 

 

 

Before and After: Undiscovered Gardens

25 Apr

by Diva Gwen Richardson

Are you waiting for this,

Early Spring

Early Spring


to become this?


(spring-photo-with-allium

While you wait for the beauty and warmth of (spring? summer?) to return to
Huron County, organize a carload of friends and get ready to discover the “Undiscovered Gardens of Huron Perth”.   For a full listing of participating private gardens and gardening  businesses, check out the website:  gardensofhuronperth.com

‘N Sew On

17 Apr

by Diva Claire Carter

I am always impressed by the unique businesses and offerings found in Huron County.  N Sew On is no exception.  Owned by Kevin Soehner, and located just off of the Square, N Sew On produces custom embroidered items, screen prints, vinyl and custom promotional items.

Embroidery Threads

Embroidery Threads

Kevin is very passionate about his work. He gives the impression that no task is too large or small.  While I was in the shop, he made a one-of-a-kind screen printed table cloth, hundreds of magnets, had several boxes of orders picked up and set up embroidery machines to make sweaters for a local hockey team.

LogoInProgress

in-house equipment

in-house equipment

 

Whenever possible, Kevin makes products in house.  Custom blankets, tote bags and aprons are all sewn in Goderich.  This allows the client to choose exactly what colour, fabric and dimensions they would like, and then a truly custom product is created.

Kevin said that he is starting to become popular with businesses in Toronto and Stratford, who hear about his services when they ask “who made that” of a promotional product.

I was amazed with the number of colours throughout the store.  Tye-dye and florescent shirts and hats are popular, and bright spools of thread are hung from the wall behind the giant Barudan embroidery machine.

EmbroideryMachine

Images supplied by clients can be transferred to items in a number of ways.   The photo above shows how an image on the screen is transferred by printer directly onto fabric.  I got thinking of all sorts of unique gifts and custom items that could be made possible with all of the equipment (and skill) at N’ Sew On.

In addition to plenty of bright colours and example pieces, the walls of N’ Sew On are lined with newspaper articles and awards that Kevin has received for his business, including Business of the Year at the Goderich and District Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Success Awards.  N’ Sew On began as a home based business, and has grown to a large storefront off of the Square.  Based on his accommodating attitude, it isn’t hard to understand why!

N’ Sew On is located at 53 South Street, Goderich.
(519) 612-1034

Henderson Digitization Project Launches at HCM

15 Apr

by Diva Claire Carter

After a year of scanning, digitizing, formatting and researching, the Henderson Digitization Project is online!  The project shares over 850 photographs taken by Goderich photographer, J. Gordon Henderson, at WWII Air Training Sites in Huron County.

No. 4 Sky Harbour Class, about 1940-1943

No. 4 Sky Harbour Class, about 1940-1943

If you don’t know about this part of Huron County’s military history, here’s a quick backgrounder.  The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) aimed to quickly increase the number of pilots, navigators, bomb-aimers, wireless operators, air gunners and flight engineers able to fight in the war.  The agreement was signed by Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia on December 17, 1939.

Commandos at Sky Harbour, 1943

Commandos at Sky Harbour, 1943

Under the BCATP, over 90 training schools were opened across Canada, graduating more than 130,000 people between 1940 and 1945.  Four of these training schools were established in Huron County, No. 9 Service Flying Training School (Centralia), No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School (Goderich), No. 31/ No. 5 Radio School (Clinton) and No. 31 Air Navigation School (Port Albert).

Instructor and Student, about 1940-1944

Instructor and Student, about 1940-1944

The Henderson Digitization Project tells the story of daily life at these training sites.  Photos are varied and capture group and individuals in both posed and casual settings.   Daily life is also captured, including weddings, funerals, parties, training and flight.

Heard Wedding Party, 1944

Heard Wedding Party, 1944

I find it really exciting that these negatives have been turned into photographs and are now easily found online.  A quick flip through gives a sense of who the men and women were that worked at these air training sites and may have travelled to Huron from the other side of the world.  The Huron County Museum has been contacted by individuals from as far away as the UK who have ties to the base.

I find myself partial to the portraits of the young airmen.  The details in the different uniforms and gestures tell a story.  We don’t know the fate of each of these men, but can imagine the charisma, humour or sense of duty they brought to their jobs based on their facial expressions and body language.  This photo of F/LT Simpson is one of my favourites:

Simpson

F/LT Simpson, about 1940-1945

The photos can be accessed at http://digital.huroncounty.ca, and can be searched by keywords, categories or as a whole collection.  The Museum is asking for help from the public to identify some staff and trainees or provide additional details.

There is also a blog that provides additional details and stories behind the project and photos.  It can be accessed here, http://blog.huroncounty.ca/museum.

 

Something to look forward to in 2014

20 Dec

This blog post is a little different as it’s announcing a project that will be launched in Spring of 2014.

If you are a regular reader of OntarioTravelDivas you’ll know that Huron County offers a rich and vibrant life-style to its residents and a most pleasant place for visitors to explore.  Now visitor’s the world over will be able to learn a little more about our unique history through the Huron County Museum’s Henderson Digitization Project.    We’ll let you know when the site is officially launched …

HCM-a992-0003-342aContact:  Emily Beliveau, Digital Archives Assistant
Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol
519.524.2686, ext. 300

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Museum to Publish Hundreds of Photos Online in 2014

Newly digitized photographs from the Archives at the Huron County Museum reveal New Year’s Day festivities at Sky Harbour seventy years ago. The images, which were scanned from negatives, show trainees from the British Navy Fleet Air Arm enjoying a holiday meal alongside Sky Harbour
instructors and staff on January 1, 1944. The Huron County Museum is kicking off the new year by announcing the publication of these and hundreds more WWII air training photos on a new online collections site.

In Spring 2014, over 850 scanned images will be published on the web to conclude the Henderson Digitization Project. The year-long initiative was undertaken by the Archives at the Huron County Museum with support from a Museum and Technology Fund grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport.

Between 1940 and 1944, Sky Harbour was the site of No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School, one of many wartime training schools located across the country that operated under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The new website will also feature pictures from No. 31 Air
Navigation School (Port Albert) and No. 5/31 Radio School (Clinton), all taken by Goderich-based photographer J. G. Henderson.

John Gordon Henderson (1913-1989) operated a photography studio on the north part of The Square for several decades, where Garb and Gear Source For Sports is now located. The Huron County Museum holds the collection of Henderson’s work as a professional photographer.

Before scanning, many of the images were only available as negatives, making it difficult to see exactly what—or who—was in the photo. The digital darkroom of the Henderson Digitization Project has made hundreds of images more accessible to researchers, and in a few months will make them available to everyone on the web.

Until the site launches, previews from the collection will be featured on the museum’s Facebook page, facebook.com/huroncountymuseum.

-30-

HCM-a992-0003-330aHCM-a992-0003-334New Year’s Day 1944, Sky Harbour [3 images]

[Image:12192013_13548_0.png]
Image A992.0003.330a, Huron County Museum

[Image:12192013_13548_1.png]
Image A992.0003.334, Huron County Museum

[Image:12192013_13548_2.png]
Image A992.0003.342a, Huron County Museum

HURON COUNTY MUSEUM
1
10 North Street, Goderich
519-524-2686

Spirits on the Trail

28 Oct
James Willis, founding settler of Exeter

James Willis, founding settler of Exeter

By Diva Trista Russell

The ghosts of Huron County’s past came back to life last week! The Spirit Trail Super-Natural Hike in Exeter was originally scheduled for October 17th, but with the rainy weather it was rescheduled to the following evening. Luckily, Friday brought no rain, but it was a chilly evening. I bundled up, flashlight in hand (just in case), and headed to MacNaughton Park in Exeter.

Since 2010, a volunteer community group called the Friends of the South Huron Trail have held this spooky hike. The hike along the South Huron Trail features characters from local history, with an environmental theme. The hike was free, and I saw hikers of all ages enjoying interacting with the characters.

The hike was about an hour, and after starting at MacNaughton Park, it loops back to the start via the Stirling Bridge. The moon was very visible about half way through the hike, which added to the “spookiness”.

Dr. Smillie (Canada’s first female surgeon) who was raised in the Hensall area

Dr. Smillie (Canada’s first female surgeon) who was raised in the Hensall area

Along the way I met some spirits from our area’s past, including Mr. James and Mrs. Jane Willis, Mr. Gidley, James Stephen Jr. (aka King Stephen), the Green Lady of Hay Swamp, Dr. Smillie, and former canning factory workers. Mr. and Mrs. Willis led the hikers through the moonlight trail with an oil lamp. Along the way, each spirit kindly introduced himself or herself (except for the Green Lady who caught us all by surprise!) and explained what life was like back then. All the spirits gently reminded us that we are future stewards of the environment – and that we have an important role in how we protect our surroundings.

 

 

former workers from the Exeter canning factory

former workers from the Exeter canning factory

King Stephen (Stephen Township was named after him)

King Stephen (Stephen Township was named after him)

 

Sunday at the Blyth Steam Threshers Show

9 Sep
Classic Steamer

Classic Steamer

By Guest Travel Divo and Diva Wayne Vaasjo and Karen Melady

For Wayne this first time visit was a great surprise.
Wayne:  There was just so much going on.  It’s a mechanical engineer’s dream.
My highlight was the steam shovel – sort of like a fairy tale – with a man in the old engineer’s spot pulling the levers and the bucket magically goes up. Meanwhile in the back the stoker is filling the firebox, the machine is sending up a great plume of smoke that you can see from any place in the grounds.
Karen is a repeat visitor.
Karen: It’s been a few years since I last visited and I’m amazed at the increased organization and that it doesn’t change the homey feel.  There was great camaraderie among the people – those with displays, the visitors, the vendors.   And stories from the campers about the great music and the reunion atmosphere going on all week. It’s been going on for 52 years, so there are a lot of friendships made and kept up  because of this event.
Fairlane

Fairlane

1959 Retractable Ford Fairlane

1959 Retractable Ford Fairlane

We enjoyed the classic cars, the tractor pull and watching children cheer for their grampa. Loved the interactive displays and demonstrations: farm animal tent, rope making, blacksmithing, miniatures.  And just watching those great machines do their work threshing, cutting corn, shredding turnip.  A special moment was when an older man answered my question about a seeder that I recognized but couldn’t name. He described how he and his father worked the turnip seeder. I thought about how much more rare this is – a first person account of using the old farming equipment.

Here comes Grampa2 (Tractor Pull)

Here comes Grampa2 (Tractor Pull)

Steam Shovel

Steam Shovel

Wayne and I noted that it was sort of like being in a cartoon with these loud self-propelled, huge, old (and small), loud things popping up and tooting their whistles and puffing out smoke! A really grand day capped off with a swim in the lake. Love this country to coast lifestyle.

Turnip Seeder

Turnip Seeder

thresher at work

thresher at work

Old Beauty

Old Beauty

Co-ordinator Notes:  Ray Hallahan, a representative from the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association reported that attendance for the 52nd annual Steam Show was up slightly – that even the rain on Saturday couldn’t keep enthusiasts away!

750-800 trailers were on site for the three-day event, filling the trailer park  with a few located in an overflow area.

The Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Associations annual reunion is held the weekend after Labour Day each September.  Admission is $8 per person.

Behind the Bars

15 Aug
Huron County's Gaol is a National Historic site.

Huron County’s Gaol is a National Historic site.

By Diva Trista Russell

I think this one of the coolest (and relatively unknown) summer events in Huron County! “Behind the Bars” is an interactive tour of the Huron Historic Gaol in Goderich. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings from July to August, you can explore the gaol and interact with volunteers who step into the role of late-1800s prisoners. I have to confess that I’m not much of a museum fanatic, but I really enjoyed this as it was interactive and entertaining!

The Huron Historic Gaol served as the County Jail from 1842 to 1972 and now is a designated National Historic Site. One thing I didn’t realize before is that the building housed the County Courts and Council Chambers on the top floor. The gaol also held prisoners not only from Huron County, but also from neighbouring Perth and Bruce Counties as well.

Meeting characters from the past

Meeting characters from the past

Upon entering the gaol, there is an opportunity to sign the guestbook and state your “crime”. After paying the $10 admission fee, I was greeted by a museum attendant who explained some of the faces of the gaol I might meet. There are three floors to explore, as well as the Governor’s House. The cell blocks, kitchen, laundry room, Gaoler’s apartment, surgeon room, courtroom, and holding rooms/cells are all open for viewing. In almost every room there were opportunities to meet and question those who were representing the men, women and children who lived and worked behind the bars. There were also little excerpts on the walls that detailed the background of some of the prisoners. I quickly learned that some prisoners committed serious crimes, and other some very minor offences. I got to meet a young boy, around 13 years old, who was incarcerated for not having a job!

IMG_3764Each one of the prisoners did a wonderful job of representing and staying in character. I had a nice chat with the Governor’s daughter about life in the 1800s, and when I explained why I was visiting, she was was quite perplexed about what a “blog” was. Imagine explaining technology to someone growing up in the early 1900s!

IMG_3774What is truly amazing is that everything in the building is original to that time period and still works. One of the tour guides in the Governor’s House told me that the radiator in the bedroom still works to this day exactly as it did over 100 years ago!

As an extra treat, refreshments were served outside on the court yard.  It’s recommended that you allow at least 45 minutes for the tour. I easily spent over an hour exploring the building.

I had never been to the Historic Gaol before so this was a first-time experience for me. The chance to interact with these characters definitely makes this a truly unique attraction, and in my opinion is a great way to spend a summer evening learning about history. Plus, how often can you tell people that you went to jail for a night?

Behind the Bars Gaol Tours
Tuesday & Thursday evenings until August 29, 2013, 7 PM to 9 PM (last entry 8:30PM)
Admission: Adults: $10, Children: $5; Families: $25; Ages 5 & under: Free; Members: FreeLocation: Huron Historic Gaol, 181 Victoria St. North, Goderich

IMG_3763

One Cell Block

One Cell Block

IMG_3780 IMG_3781 IMG_3783 IMG_3785Contact: museum@huroncounty.ca

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