Fall into Nature

A great time of year to enjoy the outdoors and what a better place to do this than at Kelso.   http://conservationhalton.ca/fallintonature is a good program for the whole family.  Today we took advantage of the beautiful sunshine to travel to Conservation Halton’s KELSO park where they were hosting all sorts of activities:

  • Chairlift rides to the top of the escarpment with spectacular views along the way
  • Self-guided and interpreter led tours through our many trails and landscapes
  • Live music performances
  • Demonstrations (birds of prey and reptile shows)
  • Children’s activities, BBQs, pumpkin picture patches, face painting and more!

The place was busy with all sorts of kids taking their creative talents and applying them to this fall activity and decorating their personal pumpkins.  Paint, Glue, craft paper, markers etc. were available.   A musical duo were playing and the sun was shining.

After putting our pumpkins aside to dry in the sun we made our way to the chairlift to go up the escarpment and witnessed some great fall colours from the top.

The kids enjoying the awesome fall view

The kids enjoying the awesome fall view


The walks along the trail were lots of fun however those with little children will need to be mindful of the steep cliffs along the escarpment trail as the drop offs are close in several parts.  There are plenty of trail to chose from away from the edge if you’re uncomfortable with the kids.   Each of us found our walking sticks and investigated the fissures along the trail.  I found it looked like the kids were coming out from middle-earth in a Hobbit movie.


investigating middle-earth

investigating middle-earth

We had a good BBQ lunch, enjoyed some live music and relaxed in the fresh fall air.

Another good taste travel into the books!
The Traveller
Got my Gandalf walking stick so I must be ready.

Got my Gandalf walking stick so I must be ready.

My perspective on Canada.

cape breton cabot trail

cabot trail

Having lived in three provinces (Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario) and travelled to all but one of the provinces has given me a great appreciation of Canada’s uniqueness.

Recently I had a conversation with some friends about the Canada Day celebrations and we got to talking about the diversity and dynamics we enjoy living here.  For me I’ve grown up with the appreciation of the majestic landscapes, great foods, our worldly recognized wines, beers and spirits, a naturally caring society and endless opportunities and freedoms here in Canada.

Through my posts here at tastetravels.ca I look back and realize that this theme comes through each time.

The following are some fun facts about Canada:

  1. Canada is HUGE!  It’s 9 984 670 sq km and comprised of 6 time zones.
  2. Canada is also home to the longest street in the world. Yonge Street in Ontario starts at Lake Ontario, and runs north through Ontario to the Minnesota border, a distance of almost 2000 kilometres.
  3. Canada has the world’s longest coastline at 202 080 km.
  4. The largest Sony big screen in the world, measuring 10 m x 33.6 m is in Toronto Ontario.
  5. Canada’s only desert in British Columbia is only 15 miles long and is the only desert in the world with a long boardwalk for visitors to walk on.

Some Canadian inventions:

  1. The IMAX movie system
  2. McIntosh Red apple, Canola and Pablum
  3. The Walkie-TalkieAmplitude modulation (used in AM radio) and Standard time
  4. Go figure that the snow blower was invented here
  5. SONAR
  6. Table hockey game
  7. The  hockey goalie mask
  8. Five pin bowling
  9. Lacrosse
  10. Basketball was invented by a Canadian living in the USA
  11. The first wheelchair accessible bus
  12. The hydrofoil boat
  13. The Canadarm
  14. The snowmobile
  15. The Electric wheelchair
  16. Prosthetic hand
  17. Instant Replay for sports
  18. Trivial Pursuit
  19. Cardiac pacemaker
  20. Alkaline battery
  21. Caulking gun and the list can go on and on …

I’d love to hear about your great stories of Canada.

The Traveller

Have you ever had a goal that you just never got around to planning on how you’d achieve it?  I’ve recently tackled one of those to cycle through Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Next will be the Twenty Valley area along the escarpment, www.20valley.ca.

All ready to go

www.niagaraparks.com has lots of details on the area.

My wife & I took up the challenge a few weeks ago, strapped the bikes on the car and took off down to NOTL.  Here’s a rundown of what we did and some recommendations along the way.

A place we’ve found to be quite enjoyable is the Niagara On The Lake Golf Club.  This is where we started our day with a view of Lake Ontario while we enjoyed breakfast.  It’s also a great spot to have lunch out on the patio.  There’s not many parking spots at the course itself but along Front Street there’s plenty of free parking.  We left the car there, got on our bikes and headed towards Fort George at the end of Byron Street.  The park around the fort is good for picnics and it’s the start of the Niagara Parkway Recreational Trail.   On a side note, during the war of 1812 Fort George served as the headquarters for the British Army so there’s plenty of history to absorb here.  If you’re interested www.friendsoffortgeorge.ca/fort-george/index.html.

After cycling past Fort George and the Paradise Grove Park you come out right beside the Parkway.  We decided to stop at Lailey Vineyard, which is one of those good stories of a family run businesses that has grown through a few generations.  This is where we realized that the next time we cycle along the parkway we need to have baskets or a trailer so that we can carry some wines back with us after some taste travels.  Across the street there’s also a great picnic area at McFarland Park.  About three kilometers up the Parkway  we crossed the street again to taste some wines at Riverview Cellars Winery.

At this point we thought we’d travel back towards Inniskillin Wines.  The weather was amazing with lots of sun and a bit of a strong wind (which added to exercise benefits of the day).   We took some extra time here as we had brought along some cheeses, crackers and fruit since it was getting close to lunch time.  We tasted some great wines at Inniskillin but bought a glass to take outside and sat at the picnic tables set out in the courtyard to enjoy.  What a view of the vines, the Parkway and rich colours.  We left and cycled back along the Niagara Parkway  past Reif Estates (which I highly recommend to stop and enjoy some great tasting wines) and turned left along Line 2.  Here’s where we headed straight into the wind.  Now we were earning our wine tastings.  Staying on Line 2 until we passed Concession 3 Road we came up to Pondview Estate Winery on the left.  This is a good place with a fresh natural wood setting inside with unique tasting tables.  With the music playing softly we had a good conversation with the friendly staff.  I’m always encouraging my friends to make sure they engage with the winery staff as it’s a great way to learn plus you meet some very interesting people along the way.

My cycling companion

Now it was time to head back towards the town so we took Line 2 across to Concession 4 Road where we turned right to go north to Niagara Stone Road which is approximately 2.5 kilometers.  The cycling path continues along Niagara Stone Road .  Although we didn’t stop in this time we cycled passed Joseph’s Estate Winery, Stratus Vineyards and Jackson Triggs.  Niagara Stone Road turns into Mississauga Street once you get into the town of NOTL.   If you’re not able to bring your own bikes along you’ll see Zoom Leisure Bike Rentals here which is one of the local rental shops.  A right hand turn onto Queen Street (the main road through town) and a quick left on Simcoe Street gets us back to the golf course and our car.  A 20kms ride with great stops along the way!

There’s a number of B&B’s in this area and in particular the Oban Inn has a good restaurant if you like to try something nice.  Lunches have a good selection for under $20 and most of the dinner plates are $30+.

We’ll definitely be doing this again and most likely staying overnight to get even more enjoying for our TasteTravels.


The Traveller

Pillar and Post plus local treats

I had the opportunity recently to enjoy a couple of days at #pillarandpost

a warm welcome

a warm welcome

Comfortably located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this is a great spot to enjoy the treats of small town Ontario,  http://www.vintage-hotels.com/pillarandpost/accommodations.htm.  The food and setting is well worth it and completes your stay at this Vintage inn.  I found the team there very courteous and attentive.

Within walking distance you can enjoy some of the local hospitality at the Irish HARP Pub on King Street.  A really friendly staff, great pubfare and a good place to get your Irish on!   Easy enough to bring the family as well.

Take the time to walk further down King St. to the watersedge to Queen’s Royal Park.  It’s worth it to skip a few rocks on the water, gaze over to Fort George, feel the breeze coming off Lake Ontario and relax for a bit.

NOTL - Queen's Royal Park

NOTL – Queen’s Royal Park

Lots of local treats and special locations to travel to in NOTL.  Make sure you stop by the Wine Country Vintners for a sample of wines and enjoy the tastes at Nina’s Gelateria & Pastry Shop.  It’s well worth it.


The Traveller  www.tastetravels.ca


Enjoying twenty valley

20 valley

Niagara’s Twenty Valley http://www.20valley.ca/ encompasses Beamsville, Vineland and Jordan offering unique experiences from the serenity of rustic nature trails to signature wine touring and exquisite boutique shopping.  Enjoying the valley has become a regular part of our local travel adventures.  With over 35 wineries, great small town shops, fantastic restaurants with great places to rest & relax.  I’ve been impressed over the years as I always assumed that if we wanted to go tour some of Ontario’s wineries it meant you had to drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake and we’ve learned this is not the case.  The views from the Niagara Escarpment from Jordan are amazing and in fact some of our favourite wineries are now located in Twenty Valley.  In particular, we really enjoy Megalomaniac and Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery both present very different experiences.

Coming up in April ( 5&6, 12&13 or 26&27) you can purchase the Get Fresh in the Valley winery passport for $40 + HST.  http://www.20valley.ca/news/71/get_fresh_in_the_valley_

Take advantage of this local event in the Twenty Valley area of Niagara which is located in between St. Catherines and Hamilton along the shores of Lake Ontario!  This is a great start to Spring and a chance to get outside and enjoy the valley.

The Traveller.


Skating at Bronte Creek

In an attempt to get outside on a sunny Saturday afternoon last week the family decided to go skating at Bronte Creek Provincial Park in Oakville Ontario http://www.brontecreek.org/bronte-creek-ice-rink.htm.  Getting to the rink from the parking lot was half the fun … well a challenge anyways.  The path was quite wet but it didn’t seem that way with the snow however it didn’t take long until we were up to our shins in slush.  This became quite the adventure for the kids (mommy & daddy too).

We got to the rink and there were only a dozen or so people on it.  The wind was strong enough that you could stand with your arms out and you would slide from one end of the rink to the other.

A mild weekend of outdoor activities

A mild weekend of outdoor activities

Travelling around locally made for a good use of time this weekend.  We also had a huge snowball fight which started out as everyone for themselves and turned into everyone else against daddy.  Needless to say I held my own however required a break to recoup on the swing.  The warmth of the sun on my face was a great change from the last few week of harsh cold.

Coming up at Bronte Creek Provincial Park is the Maple Syrup Festival http://www.brontecreek.org/bronte-creek-maple-syrup-festival.htm.

More to come from http://www.tastetravels.ca


Lobster in Cape Breton NS

Sonya & I enjoyed a great trip through Cape Breton last summer.  On August 1st, 2013 while we were staying at http://www.theponderosa.ca/ our hosts Connie and Garry highly recommended that we go for dinner at #TheLobsterPoundandMoore.  The phenomenal food, presentation and incredible people made this meal a real treat!  Chef Richard Moore and crew were so friendly with a great sense of humour.

A pound of lobster & risotto with vegetables made for a gut busting but enjoyable dinner.


Family on the go

As important as family time is there seems to be so many things that get in the way.  So I thought I would post something that reminds me of a warm day this past summer (especially with the amount of snow that fell today).

This particular weekend in early September we took a ride through Oakville along the creek.

We made several stops along the way to watch some squirrels play tag, look at a hawk sitting high up in a tree and notice that there were no sharks in the creek.

It’s times like these that you get into those precious discussions on why is the creek going that way and we’re going this way.  How come there are trees lying down on the ground?  Can I go in front now?

Travels like this make weekends so worthwhile.  I’m hoping my kids remember going for these bike rides and some of the talks we had when they get older.  It’s the simple things that I remember with my parents that motivate me to work harder at being a better dad.

ENJOY each moment

Tasty Maple dish

With my family on a trip back from the east coast while we have all this snow here in southern Ontario, I began to dream of a sunny (warm) spring day in New Brunswick & sipping on some Riordon Maple syrup.   This inspired me to research a few recipes.  Here’s an example of a tasty maple salmon dish paired with smooth and creamy chardonnay.


2011 Barrel Aged Chardonnay, VQA Niagara Peninsula,
The nose is complex with notes of honey comb, citrus and creme brulee. The palate is smooth with the same flavours and a full, rich mouth feel. Good acidity and minerality on the finish.  – See more at: http://www.peninsularidge.com




Riordon Maple

George Riordon (on the right) recognized for producing the World's Best Maple Butter

George Riordon recognized for producing the World’s Best Maple Butter