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Kitchen Radio opens Blyth’s 40th Anniversary Season

13 Jul KitchenRadioSet

by Claire Carter
I must begin this post with full disclosure.  I am a big fan of the Blyth Festival.  I love that the performances feature locally relevant topics, and exclusively Canadian plays.  I love visiting Blyth Memorial Hall, sitting in either the upper or lower balcony, and enjoying a world-class show in a Huron County village of 1,000 people.

I have been lucky enough that each of the recent productions I have attended have had bonus events.  Last year, I enjoyed a country dinner before a play (dinners take place Friday and Saturdays at different locations in Blyth, including churches, community centres and the Legion). The meal was lovingly prepared, and ended with so many different types of pie!  This year, the Huron Tourism Association was hosting the evening I attended.  Sweets and appetizers featuring local ingredients were available from local eateries and hotels, including Queens Bakery, Benmiller Inn and Samuels.

I was lucky enough to attend Kitchen Radio at the Blyth Festival on June 26.  The performance I attended was the day before the official opening, but as an audience member, I would have thought the show had been on stage for years.

Written and directed by Marion de Vries, the musical is set in 1968, and features a mainly female cast.  The play examines the relationship that women have with each other and music.  The play was captivating, and seemed to feature each of the four strong main characters equally, developing their personalities through song and dance.  The set and costumes were both fantastic.  Charming and funny, I found myself in good company with the rest of the audience, laughing and grinning at the on-stage antics.  Locally relevant tie-ins were made throughout the play, my favourite being that CKNX was the station being listened to over the radio.  Over a week later, many of the songs are still stuck in my head.  The YouTube clip below shows dress rehearsal of Kitchen Radio, and will give you an idea of the fun music and choreography you can expect in this play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwBLniZy_PI

The Blyth Festival offers Canadian written and produced plays from late June through early September.  This season, four plays are set on the Mainstage (Blyth Memorial Hall): Kitchen Radio, Billy Bishop Goes to War, Stag and Doe and St. Anne’s Reel.  The Young Company presents Out of this World from August 27-30, and Radio: 30 is on stage at Phillips Studio from September 4-6.

Blyth Festival
Box 10
Blyth, ON  N0M 1H0
519-523-9300 / 1-877-862-5984

KitchenRadioSet

 

 

I’ll Be Back Before Midnight at the Huron Country Playhouse

10 Jul

HCPlayhouseby Diva Calista Powell
I can confidently tell you two things about myself; 1: Im no theatre buff and 2: I am terrified of horror movies. Despite this, I had an absolutely wonderful time seeing, “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight” at the Huron Country Playhouse.

Set in the 1980’s at a spooky and secluded farmhouse, the characters of this play did an excellent job of making their roles believable. I half expected as I left the theatre to see Jan, the neurotic city girl and her geeky inventor husband, Greg, doing the tourist thing out at a local flea market. I could picture Greg’s pretentious sister, Laura, clanking on the boardwalk in her stiletto’s shaded by a parasol. And I most definitely could see George, the hard working farmer stopping into Kate’s Station to meet up for some gossip with the good ‘ol boys.

It is performers like this that bring these stories to life with such vigour and passion that make it such an enjoyable experience. I must admit, it takes a lot to get me to laugh out loud, but the theatrics that these actors presented had me chuckling and I found myself jumping out of my seat as ghouls and ghosts popped out of the shadows.

This may not be a play for the faint of heart, but it is most definitely a unique blend of humour and horror that showcases the amazing talent that Huron has to offer. From the set design, to the 80’s costuming, to the comedic display of pyrotechnics and lighting, I’d recommend this production to theatre-goers and rookies alike. Be sure to check out the show playing in Plahouse II before it closes on July 12th.

For tickets, visit:
Drayton Entertainment
Huron Country Playhouse, RR 1, 70689 B Line, Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0
GPS coordinates: N 43° 18.834 W 81° 43.549
Box Office: 519-238-6000 Administration: 519-238-8387 Fax: 519-238-6587

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Blossom Walk on the Blyth Greenway Trail

14 Jun The winter was long and hard on fruit trees - and the blossoms weren't quite at their peak.
The winter was long and hard on fruit trees - and the blossoms weren't quite at their peak.

The winter was long and hard on fruit trees – and the blossoms weren’t quite at their peak.

by Karen Stewart

On Saturday, May 24th, 2014 a small group of local residents met in the Village of Blyth to enjoy a walk along the Greenway Trail and hear about the no less than fifteen brands of apples growing there.  The story that these apples grew from cores pitched from the windows of the passing trains captured my interest.

Due to the long, long winter, the blossoms were not quite at their peak, but we did listen to tales of the Blyth Greenway by local historian Brock Vodden while enjoying a walk among the blossoms, trees and shrubs!

This blossom walk was lead by Hauke Reisenbichler, a Master Craftsmen in Gardens and Orchards from Germany.  He shared information on the fruit trees as well as some uses for wild plants growing along the Maitland River located adjacent to the trail.

Participants agreed there was interest in gathering again this fall to walk the trail and identify the apples, many of which are heritage brands.  A local source reported that one particular tree makes great applesauce — I look forward to trying some this fall.

But, the Trilliums were in their prime.

But, the Trilliums were in their prime.

The Sun Shone and Shines on 14/19

4 Jun the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during "Follow the Light"
the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during "Follow the Light"

the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during “Follow the Light”

by Diva Gwen Let me be clear; I love theatre, I love local talent, I love supporting grassroots initiatives, but more than that; I love being outside & moving! (as in not sitting, not as in packing boxes and saying goodbyes). So attending Follow the Light on Friday May 30th was golden in every way, including the warm evening sunshine. 14/19 Inc. presented a creative way to showcase local talent, and to broaden our perspective about what “art” truly is. Set along a lovely trail in Blyth, groups were guided on a walk that rambled over hills, fields and streams, with frequent stops along the way. We enjoyed theatrical performances and wonderful musical offerings as would be expected, but the organizers also had the wisdom to include weavers, painters, kayak, canoe and furniture builders, and even a fly fisherman. It was such a pleasant evening to be active and outdoors, and to be reminded that art is everywhere if we choose to see it, and that changing a venue can let us see the familiar in a fresh way. 14/19 Inc. is a promising and energetic initiative that will support the renovation of the Blyth Memorial Community Hall – home of the Blyth Festival -  and will develop and revitalize the charming and artistic community of Blyth through arts and culture. They have more great ideas ready to roll out, so be sure to follow them on twitter or mark them as a favourite website. Blyth Arts & Cultural Initiative 14/19 Inc 197 Dinsley Street Blyth, Ontario  N0M 1H0 email:  info@blyth1419.ca

Visual Artist Ron Walker chats with the children while painting the landscape

Visual Artist Ron Walker chats with the children while painting the landscape

twelve or so harpists from the Huron Strings Harp School delighted the participants …

twelve or so harpists from the Huron Strings Harp School delighted the participants …

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

Beechwood Pottery Christmas Show & Sale

19 Nov

IMG_4476by Diva Trista Russell

This past weekend I had the pleasure of checking out Beechwood Pottery, which is just outside St. Columban in Huron East. I have to admit it’s in an area of Huron County that I rarely visit, but I am very glad that I made the trip!

Each year Beechwood Pottery holds their Christmas Show and Sale, which is a studio open house featuring pottery by Robert Tetu and Cora De Vries. I had the pleasure of meeting both Robert and Cora, and Robert told me the story of how he got into pottery. He previously attended art school in Toronto, but later decided it wasn’t for him. After some unfulfilling jobs, he decided to attend a pottery class with a friend, where he discovered his passion for pottery. He now runs Beechwood Pottery along with his partner Cora, which is displayed in a historic general store at the corner of Beechwood Line and Bridge Road.

When I arrived, I was greeted with some hot mulled wine while I pursued the pottery collection. There was a mix of functional pottery and beautiful decorative items. There was also some gorgeous porcelain earrings made by Cora.

beautiful and functional pottery 1

beautiful and functional pottery 1

Since Christmas is quickly approaching, I starting thinking about Christmas gifts. I think the oil and vinegar dispensers would be a great gift for a “foodie” in your life! What is great about the pottery is that all of it is ovenproof, dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and lead free. I ended up purchasing some small wine mugs, which I’m going to wrap up with a bottle of wine as a unique Christmas gift!

With its one-of-kind pieces, Beechwood Pottery is definitely a hidden gem in Huron County

IMG_4479

Beechwood Pottery
44004 Bridge Road (4 km. north of St. Columban)
Phone: 519-345-2184
Email: beechwood@cyg.net

porcelain earrings - another great Christmas gift idea

porcelain earrings – another great Christmas gift idea

wine mugs that I purchased for a Christmas gift

wine mugs that I purchased for a Christmas gift

Celebrating Young Artists in South Huron

4 Nov
IMG_4470by Diva Trista Russell
Art aRound Town held the second annual South Huron Community Juried Art Show and Sale in Exeter this past weekend in Exeter. This year the theme focused on the talents of South Huron’s young people by dedicating this year’s show to Youth Art. There were entries from students in grades 7 to 12, which featured works from 18 different youth artists. There were also pieces from 35 different adult artists, with categories including three dimensional art, fabric art, drawings and printmaking, photography, and painting. All the art pieces were available for purchase – just in time for Christmas!
IMG_4471I toured the Art Show on Sunday afternoon, and upon arrival at the Exeter Lions Youth Center I was given a ballot to vote for my favourite piece (people’s choice). The one piece that caught my eye was a pencil drawing of a bicycle by Elizabeth Carr of Zurich (see photo). At first I thought it was a black and white photograph, but then realized it was a pencil drawing. It was quite impressive as the drawing looked just like a photo!
The variety of art pieces from these local professional and amateur artists made me realize that we have a lot of talent in our own area. You don’t have to travel far to find beautiful and unique art pieces!
If you’re inspired, Art aRound Town has some upcoming workshops in November, including landscape painting in oils and how to take better photos. Visit their website for more details.
IMG_4473
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