Tag Archives: North Huron

Great Horned owls, frogs and hot dogs draw many to Wawanosh Nature Centre

26 Aug

wawanosh3By Diva Caroline Thuss

NORTH HURON – Packed up the family, flashlights, bug spray and donned rubber boots this past Thursday to head to the Wawanosh Nature Centre for an evening full of discovery for all ages at the annual Wawanosh By Moonlight event.

Located in North Huron, the drive into the Wawanosh Nature centre leads down a beautiful winding country road. It is not very well marked so it was very handy to have my husband with me to help spot the turns. Once we parked the car, we were greeted by staff and shown through the classroom where several artefacts were on display to teach about owls, bats and other creatures in the nature area.

wawanosh1The leader for the event, Erin, informed the group about some crazy owl facts, like they can turn their heads 270 degrees, and although they have amazing sight and hearing they do NOT have a great sense of smell as one of the Great Horned owls favourite snacks is skunks…yes, you read it here: SKUNKS!  Once we practised a few owl calls and refreshed our bug spray we headed out on our 1.5-k hike with lots of other families. There was also a 3-k route for those who were up for the longer adventure.

wawanosh4We kept up with the pace as we explored the woods, stopping a few times to learn about the different creatures in the conservation area that are nocturnal. This was very interactive as Erin got the attendees of all ages involved in figuring which frog call belong to what frog, using our sense of smell in the dark and working on our hearing to have a better understanding of the amazing abilities owls and others have.

wawanosh2At our last stop, we were very fortunate to spot a Great Horned owl perched on top of a tree. We watched it for a short while before it majestically took off in search of its dinner. We tried our best to call it back but many of the younger group members were ready to head for the campfire for hot dogs and marshmallows as a fun way to end the night.

The campfire was a very social event with many breaking out into traditional songs and sharing tips on how to get the perfectly roasted marshmallow. Conservation Authority staff were available to answer any more questions that attendees had. It was a great evening event that had all my kiddos snoring on our drive home.

A nice bonus was the free bowling pass to the Goderich Little Bowl that we received on our way out.


 

There are many things happening at the different conservation authorities in Huron County.

Check them out:

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Maitland Valley Conservation Authority

 

Family friendly fun in Blyth

28 Jul
Brodie Nesbitt, 10, sold railway spikes to raise money for a 4-wheeler.

Brodie Nesbitt, 10, sold railway spikes to raise money for a 4-wheeler at the Blyth Streetfest this past weekend. Photos by Shari Parsons.

By Diva Shari Parsons

BLYTH – It was with some nervous excitement that I set out Saturday afternoon for my first assignment as an Ontario Travel Diva, which was to report on the Blyth Streetfest. After reading a number of the other Diva’s posts, I felt that I had some pretty big shoes to fill.

Blyth is a picturesque village about 27 kms east of Goderich. From Goderich, it is an easy and relaxing drive along Blyth Rd. 25 through rolling countryside dotted with farm fields reminiscent of Gramma’s crazy quilts.

Once in Blyth, I found a shady parking spot beside the Blyth Public School and then walked two short blocks to Queen Street where all the action was to take place. As I approached, I could hear the skirl of bagpipes and the rat-a-tat-tat and boom-boom of the Brussels Legion Pipe Band. I arrived shortly after the noon start time and a number of the vendors were still in the process of setting up their booths. This gave me some time to wander the length of the Fest, before it got crowded, to scope out what was available. A cheerful gentleman in a bright tropical shirt was strumming little ditties on his ukulele as he wandered up and down while a budding young artist was busy creating a welcoming message on the road with pastel-coloured sidewalk chalk – ‘Blyth Streetfest “hear”’ (artistic licence perhaps?).

I stopped in to the Blyth Streetfest Headquarters and spoke with Connie Goodall, Economic Development Officer for the Township of North Huron. She told me that the event was started three years ago as a Busker Festival by the Blyth Business Improvement Association in partnership with the Township. It was created as an event that would bring people into the downtown core as an adjunct to a large camping festival that was taking place in Blyth at that time. Two years later, the event has changed dynamics somewhat and now features a performance stage and vendors. Connie said the focus of the Streetfest is to have an affordable, family friendly event with something to interest all ages.

For vintage car buffs, there was a variety of models of vintage cars all buffed and polished with chrome trim sparkling in the
IMG_2252 (2) (640x439)bright summer sun. You definitely needed your sunglasses on to look at those babies! My favourite was the 1958 Pontiac Chieftan with its shiny jet black body, brilliant chrome trim and crisp white sidewall tires, owned by Ed Becker of Clinton, ON. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone who would take me for a ride in it!

Summer festivals always mean food vendors and there was no shortage of choices to be made. You could try a basket of deep-fried pickles at Gator’s Grub (my tummy wasn’t brave enough). If you wanted something more traditional, the Lions Club had hamburgers and hotdogs. For those with a sweet tooth, there were a number of vendors offering a wide variety of delicious, home-baked goodies. Although those baked goods called to me with their siren (as in mermaid) voices, my burgeoning waistline convinced me to just look but not taste. The most interesting and entertaining food choice was the Tatostix and the Appostix. The Tatostix was made from a potato that was placed into a cylindrical machine that turned the potato while slicing it into one, long corkscrew. This was then threaded onto a long wooden skewer and placed in a deep-fryer. When cooked, the buyer then had a choice of a variety of flavours and spices that could be sprinkled onto the Tatostix. The Appostix was made from a Granny Smith apple that was sliced in the same manner and then threaded onto the skewer. The Appostix is not cooked but you could choose to have it sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or drizzled with chocolate sauce. In keeping with my desire to eat something “healthier” I chose an Appostix, but seeing as I am a bit of a chocoholic, I broke down and had mine drizzled with the chocolate sauce. The tart, crisp apple with the bittersweet dark chocolate was quite the taste sensation. It left me with sticky fingers and a paranoia that my face was covered in chocolate.

If you enjoy shopping, street vendors offered cosmetics, handicrafts, home decor, baked goods, fresh produce, spices, scented candles and even 3D Fibre Eyelashes! Many of the vendors are local folk but there were also some from Brussels, Mitchell and IMG_2279 (2) (640x480)_1Chesley. One lady from Stitches with a Twist in Blyth offered the most darling selection of tiny, hand-knit sheep, chickens, hedgehogs, rabbits and gnomes. Another lady sold soft-sided toy boxes, the colourful fabrics reminding me of a Turkish bazaar. Whitefield Farms had an artistic display of wonderful fruits, veggies and flower arrangements. Roslyn Cook of Goderich made lovely, brightly coloured mosaics. Vendors, David Hafner and Nick Buri, from Maple and Moose in Blyth sold quality wooden bird houses, feeders, game boards and cutting boards. The Wonky Frog Studio created pottery and other art. Their business mascot is the endangered Lemur Leaf Frog from Costa Rica.

My favourite entrepreneur was 10-year-old Brodie Nesbitt who was selling rusty rail road spikes for the bargain price of $1 each. Brodie and some friends have been busy collecting the spikes from the nearby Greenway Trail. He told me that he is hoping to earn enough money to buy a four-wheeler.

For the children, there was face-painting, a bike rodeo and a Corn Box filled with corn kernels and toy farm equipment, which was IMG_2293 (2) (480x640)very popular with the younger crowd, all farmers-in-training. The North Huron Fire Dept. had its Safety House to teach the children home fire safety. The volunteer firemen took me through a tour, which included smoke filled rooms, hot doors and fire alarms. There were booths where children could enter their guess as to how many coins there were in one jar or jellybeans in another. The CIBC had a bean bag toss and gave out little bottles of bubble solution.

Entertainment for children was provided by Dickie Bird – the fellow in the bright Hawaiian shirt. He played guitar and mixed humour with upbeat songs while a bubble machine filled the air with rainbow coloured bubbles. Dickie Bird was not one to hog the limelight so he quickly had the stage filled with young participants who clapped, honked horns, and jingled and jangled while others tried to hulahoop in time to the music. Dickie followed his music with magic tricks to the delight of the children.

The children’s entertainment was followed by a display of ballroom dancing performed by the East Side Studio Dancers from Blyth. I wanted to get up there and rhumba with them! 1-2-cha-cha-cha. Waiting in the wings ready to “swing your partner” were the Wheel’N’Dealers Modern Square Dancers from Clinton with the ladies wearing their brightly coloured skirts over puffy crinolines and the men in their western shirts and coloured neckerchiefs.

I have been considering getting a tattoo but I am not crazy about needles. Luckily for me, Dr. T was there with his airbrushes. He used to have a venue on Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls and also travelled with carnivals. I chose the design with 2 hearts (for me and my hubby) bordered by delicate leaves – and of course I had to have a healthy sprinkling of sparkling pixie dust to finish it off.

Another booth that I found interesting was a display of handcrafted items made by students at the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity located in Blyth. You could sign up for a wide variety of courses. I chose photography, photojournalism, wire jewelry, and fabric marbling.

If you were hot and needed a quick cool down, you could try bobbing for apples at the North Huron Community Foodshare booth where you could also learn just how little the amount of food that a family of four can pick up for one month.

IMG_2312 (2) (480x640)As I was leaving, some young men were performing skateboard jumps. The occasional jumper landed on the ground sans skate board – I was glad it was their bum and not mine!

I would like to acknowledge all the young volunteers who were present throughout the event, many of them high school students earning their community service hours. One student, Kaila Nesbitt, (older sister of the intrepid railroad spike entrepreneur) modelled the vivid, lime green Blyth Streetfest backpacks that were available for purchase. Kaila lives in Blyth and likes to support her community through volunteerism.

I enjoyed my time at the Blyth Streetfest. Everyone was very friendly and parents felt safe letting their little ones roam. I think that it is a pleasant, inexpensive, family friendly activity that can easily be enjoyed for a couple of hours.

Abra-KID-abra a magical way to end March Break

23 Mar

magicwithkids

By Diva Caroline Thuss

Looking for entertainment that is good for both kids and adults alike? Abra-KID-abra pulls an excellent magic show out of a hat that left both my daughter and me in stiches. As soon as we entered the Blyth Memorial Community Hall the comical mood was set with the music playing as we waited for the show to start. The theatre was full of kids of all ages, parents and grandparents who were all eager for the show to start. Once Peter Mennie took the stage you knew that it would be a performance that would leave adults and kids in awe of his magic and in stitches from all the comedy that he effortlessly dishes out.

Diva Caroline Thuss and her daughter were in stitches during the show.

Diva Caroline Thuss and her daughter were in stitches during the show.

His magic and illusions allowed a multitude of kids to become part of the show as his “assistants” and he played off of their reactions, which if you have kids you know they can say some pretty funny things. Many of the kids around us wanted to get on stage and he made sure he involved as many as he could. My daughter often whispered to me “Mom, he is soooo funny!” and “WOW…how did he do that?” I have to admit that I also wondered the same thing.

After the show, they had kid-friendly magic wands for sale at a very reasonable price of $3, which included a booklet of magic tricks to do at home. I bought five of them to give to my other children and my nephew and niece the next time I see them.

It was a pirate-themed week over at Queen's Bakery, with treasure chest treats - Rice Krispies squares with chocolate gold coins

It was a pirate-themed week over at Queen’s Bakery, with treasure chest treats – Rice Krispies squares with chocolate gold coins

After the show, we headed across the street to the Queen’s Bakery to enjoy a coffee. They were having a pirate-themed week, which added to more fun. My daughter enjoyed a treasure chest (Rice Krispies squares with chocolate gold coins) and a Davey Jones root beer while I enjoyed a wonderful blueberry scone and a latté. What a great way to end a fun afternoon outing in Blyth!

To find out more about attractions in Huron County, visit online.

 


 

WHERE WAS THIS?

Blyth Memorial Community Hall is a 444-seat theatre owned by the Municipality of North Huron. It is home to the Blyth Centre for the Arts, which includes the Blyth Festival, a professional summer theatre that produces new Canadian plays. Check its 2015 season here.

423 Queen St., Blyth. Phone: 519-523-9300 Toll free: 1-877-862-5984

Queen’s Bakery is a coffee shop and bakery located in a former apothecary on the main street of Blyth. Lunch served.

430 Queen St., Blyth. Phone: 226-523-9720

Fall Colour Tour made for a nice family outing

8 Oct
Harper and I in front of the Belgrave Creek

Harper and I in front of the Belgrave Creek

by Diva Melody Hodgson
Years ago we used to promote motocross races a few kilometers up from the Wawanosh Nature Centre, passing the signs early each morning and long after the sun had set in the evening, but we never ventured over.  Erin Dolmage, the Community Education Technician at Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (which includes the centre), has also come out to our Outdoor Sports Camp at the farm* for the past two years, and yet still we have never ventured over.  So this morning, when Twitter and Ontario’s West Coast informed me of the Fall Colour Tour taking place at the Wawanosh Nature Centre, we made plans to load up and finally venture over to the facility for the first time.

Erin Dolmage of the MVCA giving us a brief history on the facilty.

Erin Dolmage of the MVCA giving us a brief history on the facilty.

The Wawanosh Nature Centre is located approximately 7KM northwest of Blyth on what used to be a farmer’s field.  The result of a tree planting expedition forty years ago is a heavily forested area split by the Maitland River and Belgrave Creek, home to many species of critter and plant alike.  The leafy trails, mossy trees and hidden nooks and crannies had the dreamer in me working in overdrive, expecting to find my favourite childhood storybook characters around each corner.

WawanoshNatureHike

The Fall Colour Tour welcomed visitors (we were actually blown away by the number of people who came to the centre) of all ages, from newborns to grandmas and grandpas.  The Huron Stewardship Council was on site with live reptiles (snakes and turtles!), there were wagon rides, guided walking tours, hot dogs and fresh apple cider, all of which was free to the public (however donations were accepted in support of the centre).  It was a wonderful day, at a beautiful facility and, as always, made me glad that we ventured out.

Wawanosh Nature Centre
38854 Nature Centre Road | west off Hwy #4, between Blyth & Belgrave
@maitlandvalley
or Visit Wawanosh Nature Centre on Facebook

*Farm being Walton Raceway…it used to be a dairy farm many years ago, and is still called “the farm” out of habit.

MVCAlearningCentre

From leeches to crayfish, the creek and river have it all! The MVCA had a learning centre set up for visitors to see the residents of the local water ecosystems.

 

 

The Huron Stewardship Council had many eager visitors.

The Huron Stewardship Council had many eager visitors.

The Huron Stewardship Council were also on site to educate visitors about local reptile species, including snakes and turtles.  The council members were totally at ease handling the snakes and turtles, which helped the visitors to get over their fears and do the same.  Here I am learning how to properly handle a snapping turtle if I happen to find one on the road!

The Huron Stewardship Council were also on site to educate visitors about local reptile species, including snakes and turtles. The council members were totally at ease handling the snakes and turtles, which helped the visitors to get over their fears and do the same. Here I am learning how to properly handle a snapping turtle if I happen to find one on the road!

“Flying” down the trails at Wawanosh.

“Flying” down the trails at Wawanosh.

Kitchen Radio opens Blyth’s 40th Anniversary Season

13 Jul

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

 

 

Group Spa Days popular at Spa Essentials

5 Feb

by Diva Karen

spaEssentialsI ran into Kelly of Spa Essentials recently and asked her what was new in “Spa” world.  Her answer surprised me.

Group Spa days are becoming more and more popular” she said.   I was curious how they work as I think of the spa as being an individual experience.

Employee and girl-friend groups are getting together in a more leisurely fashion as time is at a premium.  Spa Group Outings are perfect for brainstorming and networking at an entirely different levels – a whole new way of team-building.

As the touch-point, Kelly co-ordinates all the services for the participants during a set time period, say 4-5 hours.    All the group leader needs to do is pick a date and provide Kelly email addresses of group members.  She takes care of the rest!

Some participants enjoy a single spa service, some buy-in for a full set.    Sometimes an employer will provide a credit for each of their staff (unused credits are carried over for another visit); other times the group participants pay for their own way.  Either way, the atmosphere is set for the “party” to be fun for everyone.  And if someone is running late, or another must leave early, schedules can be accommodated.

Groups bring in their own meals and beverages – sometimes potluck, sometimes they order from one of Blyth’s great restaurants (Part II Bistro, Blyth Inn, or pizza from Bell’s).

Manicures, Pedicures, waxing, facials, eye lash extensions, various types of massage, teeth whitening, and laser hair removal services are all available at Spa Essentials.  

Spa Essentials
406 Mill Street
Blyth, ON  N0M 1H0
kelly@spaessentialsblyth.com

Celebrating Canada’s Birthday!

3 Jul

CanadaDay1by Diva Nicole Olson

To celebrate Canada Day this year, we headed to the Optimist Park in Wingham. The evening began with a Community BBQ served up by the Wingham Ironman hockey team. We then proceeded to the Canada Day Summer Classic slo-pitch game between the CKNX Radio Staff Tryhards and the Wingham Hitman Fastball team. The picture shows 94.5 FM, The Bull’s Stampede Home host Jay Stevens striking out. Not depicted were the festive underwear he had to wear over his clothes for the rest of the game. The “Hit-women” (wives and significant others of the Hitmen) even took to the field for an inning or two to show our support. It was a fun game to be a part of and there was a great crowd there to watch.

Canada Day cuties

Canada Day cuties

CanadaDay2We then filled up on treats and glow sticks from the Wingham Scouts Concession booth and watched the dazzling fireworks display put on by the North Huron Fire Department. My family and I have attended the festivities in Wingham for several years and it never seems to disappoint!

Optimist Park
Park Drive
Wingham, ON
N0G 2W0

 

CanadaDay4

CanadaDay3