More Bright Ideas…

Still need some ideas what to do this summer?

We have been focusing this month on all the great things our area has to offer, especially now that summer is upon us.

Gary and I were recently discussing places to visit in the area, and we were surprised to find that we suffered from a common ailment… lack of enjoyment of what we know is here! Oddly enough, we have both toured Dundurn Castle only once. I did it during the Christmas season about 6 or 7 years ago. Considering I have lived in the area all my life, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that. Considering the history of our area, and the history surrounding Dundurn Castle, we should all make multiple trips to fully appreciate what we are taking for granted. In comparing other local sites, we were amazed at how little we have taken in of what is right here on our doorstep..

Here are a few more, and I am sorry to admit I have visited only a few

• Battlefield House Museum in Stoney Creek
• Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum in Ancaster
• Whitehern Historic House and Garden in downtown Hamilton
• Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Heritage Museum in Downtown Hamilton
• HMCS Haida Hational Historic Site at the harbour
• Erland Lee Museum in Stoney Creek
• And the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Mount Hope.

Considering we are celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 this year, perhaps this is a good time to plan to visit a few of these historical sites, and perhaps participate in some of the events taking place.

If you are looking for some outside fun, how about the African Lion Safari in Flamborough? Since it seems to be time for true confessions, I have yet to visit the Safari. Perhaps Westfield Pioneer Village should be on your list.

If you are looking for a bit of culture or just a few laughs, how about attending a play or show? Have you been to the Player’s Guild, or Hamilton Place, or Theatre Aquarius…? The list goes on.

We are truly lucky to live in an area that has so much to offer. I hope that Gary and I have perhaps highlighted some ideas you hadn’t considered and places you haven’t visited, or perhaps have always meant to do, but just haven’t got around to. You never know, maybe you’ll see me at the Lion Safari this summer…

FAMILY SUMMER FUN – WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS!

Since today is the first full day of summer I thought I would share some ideas of WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS! Fortunately my children are older now and all have summer jobs to keep them busy. But, it wasn’t that long ago when my kids would get up in the morning and say, “Hey Mom, what are we doing today?” It was a challenge to keep the kids busy during their summer vacation, and doing it without going broke.

I must give all the credit to my wife, Karen, who was always on the go with our children all summer long. On hot days like today she would take the kids to one of the many splash pads in the city, or when they got older it was the Wild Waterworks at Confederation Park. Other activities would be to pack a picnic lunch and go to one of the many conservation areas and go for a hike, or go to the Children’s Museum at Gage Park, they always liked going there.

Another popular outing was Bronte Creek Provincial Park. The kids enjoyed the farm setting as well as the very large jungle gym apparatus in the barn.

Summer day camps was another thing our children liked to do as they were always different and the kids all had different interests such as horseback riding, the arts, and basketball, etc. The following are links to the City of Hamilton Summer Camp programs as well as the City of Hamilton outdoor pools:

http://www.hamilton.ca/CultureandRecreation/Recreation/Camp/

http://www.hamilton.ca/CultureandRecreation/Recreation/CentresPoolsArenas/OutdoorPools.htm

What parents need to remember is, the children just want to be active and the activities can be as simple as going for a walk or bike ride. Be creative, look up different children’s crafts on the internet, plant a small vegetable garden or ask your children to come up with ideas of their own.

Here is another website that has a great list of things to do in the Hamilton Area:

http://attractions.uptake.com/ontario/hamilton/cheap_vacations/601764558.html

So get out there, be active, have some fun, and don’t let your kids drive you crazy!!

 

 

Nature Beckons!

It seems I keep harping back to Hamilton is not JUST a steel city, but really, it’s not!

Hamilton is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural areas in southern Ontario. The Pier 4 Waterfront and the Royal Botanical Gardens may be two of the better known areas, but I want to bring to your attention our abundance of conservation areas.

Whether you’re interested in camping, hiking, swimming, cross country skiing or just getting a little closer to nature, Hamilton Conservation Authority truly has it all.  These areas offer interesting attractions and places to visit.

The areas include:

  • Christie Lake Conservation Area, 1000 Highway 5 West, Dundas, Ontario 905-628-3060
  • Confederation Park/Wild Waterworks, 680 Van Wagners Beach Road, Hamilton, Ontario 905-547-614
  • Dundas Valley Conservation Area, 650 Governors Road, Dundas, Ontario 905-627-1233
  • Eramosa Karst Conservation Area, Upper Mount Albion Road, Stoney Creek, Ontar
  • Fifty Point Conservation Area, 1479 Baseline Road, Winona, Ontario 905-525-2187 or 905-643-210
  • Spencer Gorge/Webster’s Falls Conservation Area, Access from Harvest Road and Fallsview Road, Greensville, Ontario 905-628-306
  • Valens Conservation Area, 1691 Regional Road 97 (RR#6), Flamborough, Ontario 905-525-2183 or 519-621-602
  • Westfield Heritage Village, 1049 Kirkwall Road (formerly Regional Road 552), Rockton,Ontario 519-621-8851 or 1-800-883-0104

Our conservation areas also encompass a portion of the Bruce Trail, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. On June 24th, there are a number of events. If you are interested in participating, check out their website at www.brucetrail.org.

Having lived in the Hamilton area my whole life, I have explored and enjoyed a number of these areas. On a summer afternoon, you will have plenty of company should you decide to go for a hike, or decide to go to Christies or to Confederation Park to enjoy the water. The true beauty of living in the Hamilton area is it’s not a long trip to these areas. Many of us live a just short stroll from conservation. As children, these were our adventure and play areas. In winter, the cross country skiing opportunities are unmatched, along with the hiking and snowball fights.

So, next time you wonder what you can do or where to take the family for a day of fun, look no further than our local conservation areas.

So, have I swayed any of you folks that were still thinking Hamilton is just a Steel city over to my vision of Hamilton?

Have you ever been to a Farmer’s Market?

Last week Ann talked about some of the great summer events in our area. She mentioned the many Summer Festivals that take place as well as the area Farmer’s Markets.

Although Ann provided you with links to various websites to obtain more information, I thought I would give you my take on Farmer’s Markets.

Growing up in a small town it was routine for the family to go to the farmer’s market every Saturday morning starting in the late spring and going through to late fall. I can remember the anticipation we felt when we knew the time was near for certain kinds of produce. For example some of the earliest items were asparagus, green onions, and radishes. Later in the season it always seemed a long wait for the first picking of corn on the cob – still one of my personal favourites. You wanted to get there early so you get the best choice and before they were sold out. As young children we learned that not only were we supporting our local farmers and neighbours but we were getting the best and freshest produce there was to offer.

My Dad seemed to know all the farmers on a first name basis. This was more a social outing for him. Mom made sure we bought everything we needed as Dad was too busy talking.

After moving to the Hamilton area I quickly discovered there were an abundance of Farmer’s Markets in the area. My wife and I go to the Hamilton Farmer’s Market almost every Saturday morning, (our children don’t come any longer), where you can buy fresh produce, meats, cheeses, flowers, baked goods and more all from local farmers. We also attend the Ottawa Street Market on Saturday mornings, but mostly in late spring, summer, and fall.

It is a great feeling when you are walking down the aisle at the market and the sun is shining on your back and you can smell the freshness of the produce, be it garlic, peaches, or peppers, its’ all good.

I highly recommend you take the time to bring your whole family to visit one the many Farmer’s Markets in our area and enjoy the abundance of great food that is at our door step. This is a great opportunity to teach the young children where food actually comes from, because it doesn’t come from the back room of a supermarket!

Give it a try! I guarantee you will enjoy the experience!!