After lunch at the (nearby) Boston Pizza, we came in to the Bingeman’s Big Splash. After changing into our bathing suits we stepped out on to the deck exited about all of the slides that awaited us. They had many slides to choose from and better yet, the height restrictions are very reasonable so that everyone can go (most of the required heights are around forty inches). My personal favourite slide was the Cyclone.
Over all, the park quite fairly spread out which makes it feel like there is less of a crowd, there also is a big wave pool
which has a shallow end
and a deep end however the tubes have to be rented for five dollars each and Cabana rentals are also available, another thing to note is that most of the rides are one person at a time, however there are a couple that two people can ride on at the same time.
We highly recommend that you try it out especially if traveling with young ones.
Overall it is the most fun water park in the region.
As soon as we knew that we are going to CTRL-V we were so impatient that could not wait for 8 pm! The dinner took so long… Finally at 8:10 pm we arrived at Ctrl-V – Canada’s first virtual reality arcade that was opened in Waterloo just recently. We walked in the first set of doors… First the parents had to sign the waver for safety reasons… after the wavers we watched the helpful demonstration video… and finally were ready to start! My first game was “Climbey”. I had a tutorial, also the staff helped me to figure out walking and climbing techniques. After playing “Climbey”, I choose a game where you pick a song and with your controllers you bump to the beat of the song – I chose “Shake it off” By Taylor Swift. It was a good exercise. My about an hour experience felt like ten minutes…
African Lion Safari first opened its doors to the visitors in 1969 and since then went through a lot expansions and animal additions… About 6,000 visitors come here daily to see the exotic animals that are roaming free in the fields or just enjoying the warm summer day in their artfully created habitats on land and water.
To start our visit we boarded the “African Queen” boat that took us around the island where we saw monkeys jumping in the ropes and multiple birds such as vultures and pelicans. One of the spots was taken by two lemur families. The boat operators told us about animals routine and some funny life stories…
The boat came back to the pierce and we decided to take a bus that goes to African savanna . We had to enter through the specially designed gate system that allows buses and cars to safely go in and out of that area. “Keep your arms and heads inside, no windows opening”…. The bus tour goes through multiple enclosures each housing different wild animals. We are surrounded by lions, then we pass by cheetahs… We got to see many mountain goats as well as rhinos and many giraffes…
The best part of the bus tour was visiting the giraffes, they came up very closely so we had around four of them circling around the bus, one of them even licked the bus mirrors. It is quite a spectacular view – one of them gracefully approaching our window, the other is in the front of the bus… oh, one more is in the front!
Following the bus tour we went on the ”Nature Boy” scenic railway, the tour lasts around fifteen minutes. On the way we got to see the elephants habitat, a donkey and many turtles that came out of the pond for summer sun. It was a nice way to give our feet some rest and enjoy the fresh air coming from the lake and trees…
Elephants Bath time was now up, so we headed to the lake to see them coming gracefully – leading was a large male elephant and then smaller ones – females and young siblings. Elephants got in the water, it looked like they are walking on the bottom of the lake – but no, some places are deep and they do have to swim, sometimes we could only see the very top of the head and the trunk… they had some fun time splashing and spraying each other; later rangers came and started throwing apples to the elephants – which was a lot of fun for all!!
It was a hot day – we would not mind to go for a plunge too – and we could at the Safari’s water park area – however, we were quite hungry and went to the cafe to have lunch…. We had to say goodbye to all the animals big and small before heading of to our next destination.
After the 1 hour drive from downtown Toronto we arrived at the Cranberry Village. We first arrived to the rooftop patio, which has the best view in all of Collingwood.
From the roof you can see the lake Huron, the 19 hole golf course as well as the newly refurbished marina.
Following a quick resort tour and lunch on the roof top patio we went to do paddle board yoga (SUP Yoga).
At first we thought that there was no way we could balance on a paddle board, let alone do handstands, bridges and other meditation poses.
It turned out however that meditating on a paddle board while being gently rocked by the lake was very relaxing as well as a slightly challenging workout, after about an hour we returned back to the village to take on the iron chef challenge.
The iron chef challenge works like this; two teams of equal size are given 10 minutes to plan a dish using unknown ingredients
They can also “ purchase” products such as a lemon or herbs using the team’s points, which are then deducted from the final score.
Once they have used up their 10 minutes of planning time, they are given 20 minutes to cook and arrange their chosen dish. The team at the end with the most points wins. However its not that simple as the chefs who organize the competition/exercise will throw in some really odd ingredients to challenge the contestants even more. For example in our list of products that we must use was included local fresh perch and oddly enough, a small box of cereal, again, all of the given items must be included.
After completing the challenge, we went to the lakeside grill to enjoy their specialty steak, we heard that it was delicious because they had recently invested quite a lot of money into a brand new grill that cooks the whole steak perfectly and evenly and it was delicious, so delicious in fact that we all wanted another plate of steak even though we were full.
And like that the day was finished, we said our goodbyes and got in the car for the 1 hour drive back home.
We arrived in Valcourt QC to see the place where the man known as the pride of Valcourt created his company that would be renowned by the world. The visit begins with the simple garage where Joseph Armand Bombardier decides to overcome the challenges of driving in the deep snow.
By adapting the tractor wheels into treads and skis to become parts of the vehicle he was able to make the first snowmobile- the B7 – that within a very short period of time became in great demand not just in Quebec but all over Canada. In the garage there is still his officefilled with tools and papers, as if he just stepped out for a moment.
And you can see the first original snowmobile that looks quite bulky, since it was made of wood and various parts from other machines, stands in the middle of the garage.
The new creation became so popular that the company moved to the new larger building and was supported by the whole community of Valcourt. The larger sized vehicles followed and the business was prospering until… after World War II, the Quebec government passed a law that required cities to remove the snow from highways and streets and the need for the snowmobile as a transportation quickly faded. The creativity of Joseph Armand Bombardier never stopped and he
brought new ideas into growing the business… a few months later the “Ski-Doo” comes out of his production and quickly gives raise to the new sport and gives all new outlook for winter fun.
From section to section we could see the machines created in different times for the variety of purposes – snowmobiles of all sizes, all terrain vehicles, the rail transport – here you can get on the actual streetcar and image being on the streets of the busy downtown.
In the next hall we were impressed by the original subway wheels that are used in Montreal Metro – and these are produced by Bombardier Inc. as well.
One of the expositions is dedicated to the aircraft industry, here the imagination will take you up to the skies – yes, you can fly! And feel like a pilot of the commercial aircraft, which destination is any place of your choice!
And not just the destinations you can reach here, you can build the totally new vehicle of your own creation. In the room filled with I-pads there is big screen with the images of all sorts of surrealistic machines moving, floating, flying, zooming… it’s a wonderful world of imagination; and no matter the age – it is a great fun for all!
One more surprise at the end of our tour – so called ‘’ FabLabs’’. Anyone who likes to create, is in need of tools and good technical advice can come here and for a very reasonable fee get it all including materials, software and a helping hand! Really impressive and well done! And so encouraging!
During the last couple of years the topic of visiting Quebec was coming up several times in our discussions. Finally in May 2017 we booked a hotel and planned out the itinerary that would include some of the places that we thought would be interesting for everyone in the family.
The main destination was Quebec City and its beautiful downtown was so well preserved and such a distinct French heritage. We spent most of our time just strolling the streets, window shopping and watching the street performers who really amazed us with their skills – fire jugglers, drama characters and musicians…
One of the destinations that excited our kids most was the Granby Zoo, which is about 3 hours drive from the downtown Quebec, and about an hour from Montreal. We were welcomed in the nice reception hall, got our tickets and went to explore the animal world.
Right as we entered there was a gigantic size dinosaur’s head and a line up of kids willing to climb inside of it! No matter how big or small – they were very about the opportunity to see the real size dinosaurs! And there 21 of them right in front of you, so be very careful – but don’t try to feed or pat these creatures!
Enough of the dinosaurs – the kids forgot about dinosaurs right at the sight of the farm animals. And there were lots of them – pigs, sheep, and goats – so friendly and ready to make friends!
After some hugs exchange with farm inhabitants we decided to go see some of the exotic creatures on display.
Oceania seemed to be a good place to start – first the stingrays and the variety of tropical fish and then all way around the Australian continent to see black swans, parrots, emus, and kangaroos. Stingrays seem to be attracted to the hand emerged in the water – some of them will come and allow us to gently touch their backs…
The Kangaroos were too busy to discuss any matters of their life, so the visit to the Oceania Garden was quite interesting as it is extremely rare you get to see kangaroos that close and with no fence!.
We entered the aviary and right away we were surrounded by many colorful parrots! For $1 you can buy a special nectar – just hold the cup tight and they will sit on your hand and drink it!
We spend some good time there – the parrots are so colorful and it is such a great experience to see them so close.
But there was a lot see and the time was limited.
Our next destination was Africa! Who doesn’t like to observe the grace of big cats, see elephants shower using trunks, slowly moving zebras and giraffes, and the hilarious monkeys?
One of our major observations about Granby Zoo was the design of the areas, nice fences that imitate greenery and well maintained grounds. We later learned that Granby Zoo received an Award for the Energy Consumption Reduction Efforts project that was implemented during the renovation of 2005-2010.
The Zoo is well mapped and organized – it was no problem to find any continent or animal of interest. And yes, the zookeepers definitely speak many languages, no worries if you don’t speak French!
After Africa we had just a bit of time to make a short tour of South America. We stopped by llamas who stretched out their necks asking for treat…
it was a lot of fun to feed them some green leafs that we found on the trees around; we were impressed by the spread of the wings of the Andean Condor and spent some time waiting for the alligators to wake up from the afternoon nap; finally one of them yawned and slowly moved towards the water… at the end of the South American trail we saw a powerful jaguar, at the moment it was quite relaxed and not interested in any aggression.
On our way to South American continent we made a snack stop at “Le Marcher”. The restaurant offers a variety of foods and drinks and nice dining area; there is also a large area outside with tables under umbrellas.
Next to the Restaurant there is an Amusement Park – where kids found some free rides while we were resting our feet; there is also an Amazoo Water park that offers quite the variety of water rides, not now however… we may visit it some other time when the day will be hot enough for water fun…so long for now, the Zoo is closing and we are tired enough to get to our hotel and have some dinner.
16 March 2017: Over 250 iconic landmarks and sites around the world will be illuminated green over the coming days – as part of Tourism Ireland’s 2017 Global Greening initiative to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The annual initiative, now in its eighth year, which sees a host of major landmarks around the world turn green for St Patrick’s Day, has grown from strength to strength, with many new landmarks signing up to take part this year.
Stadiums, statues, castles and towers will go green to celebrate our national day (17 March) with exciting additions for 2017 including the One World Trade Center in New York – the main building of the re-built World Trade Center in New York and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Canadian landmarks going green this year include the Toronto Sign, Casa Loma, Whistler Ski Resort, Calgary Tower, Cabot Tower, The Big Fiddle, the Museum of Nature, the Big Nickel, the Distillery District, the Sails of Lights, the Futalognkosaurus (dinosaur) in the Royal Ontario Museum, Montreal City Hall, Complexe Desjardins, and La Tour McGill.
Click Tourism Ireland’s Global Greenings for footage of the world turning green.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “This is the eighth year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative and each year I am delighted to see even more well-known attractions and landmark sites wishing to get involved. The eagerness of cities and countries everywhere to take part underlines the strength of the deep connection that people all over the world feel to Ireland. More than 70 million people around the world claim links to the island of Ireland and St Patrick’s Day is a truly unique opportunity to reconnect them with their heritage.”
Of course, the ‘greenings’ are just one part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The place to be on 17th March is Ireland where there are two festivals which shouldn’t be missed.
In Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, the ‘St Patrick’s Festival’ will last for four great days, taking in the weekend and running from 16-19 March. The city will be alive with music, film, arts, dance, culture, fun and even international rugby.
Each year the festival has a different theme with this year’s ‘Ireland We Are’ giving the city a chance to showcase all that Ireland stands for today. Festival favourites include the world’s largest outdoor céilí, world-class museums hosting free workshops and guided historic walks including famous sites such as the Guinness Storehouse. The main event, the St Patrick’s Festival parade, is held on Friday 17 March in Dublin’s city centre.
In Northern Ireland, the newly curated ‘Home of St Patrick Festival’ celebrates St Patrick, the man and the saint, as one of the world’s most inspiring and loved saints of all time. Taking place in the beautiful landscape of Counties Armagh and Down, which was once Patrick’s home, the festival will culminate on Sunday 19 March with ‘The Voice of the Irish’ closing concert in spectacular Newry Cathedral.
KITCHENER, Ont. — Get ready to pack the whole family into the car and drive through a Christmas
wonderland this season as Bingemans gears up to bring some spark and light to the holidays by hosting
the very first Gift of Lights exhibit in Southwestern Ontario.
Gift of Lights is a drive-thru holiday light display that has attracted many people to several cities across
the United States. This year for the first time, Gifts of Lights is coming to Southwestern Ontario and
Bingemans is proud to be the first to present and bring the luminous spectacle to Waterloo Region.
“Christmas is one of the best times of the year, and we are excited to bring this spectacular holiday
experience to the people of Waterloo Region and surrounding area. We’re excited to be hosting Gift of
Lights first-ever appearance in Southwestern Ontario,” says Mark Bingeman, President of Bingemans.
“We’re looking at this as the kick-off to many more new and exciting holiday experiences in future years.”
The display will stretch two kilometers through the Bingemans campground, featuring a combination of
30 static and animated displays and close to one million sparkling lights. Another prominent component
of the light extravaganza will be a 200-foot twinkling light tunnel.
“This will be a display of holiday lights unlike any other,” says Bingeman. “Best of all, you enjoy the lights
without ever having to leave the warmth and comfort of your car.”
Admission prices are $20 for cars, $40 for limos and $100 for buses and limo buses.
The grand opening of Bingemans’ Gift of Lights will be the weekend of November 18th from 5-10 pm. Preholiday
opening dates will include November 24th-27th and November 1st – December 4th. Regular holiday
hours begin December 8th.
For more information, please visit bingemans.com/gift-of-lights.php. Join the conversation on social
media; follow Bingemans on Instagram and Twitter @Bingemans, Like it on Facebook and watch exclusive
video on YouTube.
Waterloo Region’s leader in entertainment and hospitality, Bingemans is a multi-use amusement park and
campground located in Kitchener, Ont.,that provides the very best in family fun, recreation and family
camping. Explore FunworX all year long, a three-level indoor playground for children of all ages, boasting
an arcade, climbing wall, ropes course and more. Bingemans is also home to Canada’s largest Boston
Pizza, 28 lanes of 10-pin bowling at Kingpin Bowling, billiards, ping pong, outdoor beach volleyball and
outstanding banquet and catering facilities. And don’t miss Bingemans this winter season at their Annual
Holiday Gala, Christmas Day Buffet, Kids New Year’s Eve at FunworX and Gift of Lights – an absolute must-
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see this holiday. The camping resort features sites for tents, trailers and RVs, seasonal camping, yurts and
cabins. With a heated wave pool, Spray “n” Play for kids and huge waterslides, Big Splash Waterpark is a
great spot to cool down in summer’s heat.
Adventures during our Perth-Ottawa Road Trip. Summer 2016
We left Toronto early in morning and after about an hour on 401 as usually stopped over at Big Apple. The place is well known for cute cafeteria, large giftshop, children`s outdoor pet zoo, and clean washrooms.
After arriving to Perth, we first stopped over at the Fairgrounds where the place was already prepared for the 200th years celebrations. One could see the rib grillers’ stands from all over Lanark county and the vendors offering foods and drinks to all tastes. There was a mini amusement park for young children with bouncy castles and a climbing tower. The stage was ready for musicians and singers; close by the stone carvers were competing in their art – the winners’ sculptures will become part of the new stone bridge being constructed in Perth and funded mainly by donations.
Late afternoon we headed to the McReary’s beach resort. The resort has beautiful and spacious cottages and we stayed in one of them for the next 3 days. The resort is located on the beach and at the same time not far from the main road; that made it convenient for our local day trips exploring the area. Our cottage had fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms, living room and the deck with BBQ. The environment is really family friendly and kids were allowed to go around by themselves.
Once settled we all headed for a boat tour that was so much fun!
We swam in warm lake water, did spectacular jumps from the boat and raced each other. On the way back to the cottage we saw two eagles high up on a pine tree.
Next to the beach there one can find a boat house with many canoes and kayaks to borrow, but we were too tempted to relax in the indoor pool; under same roof there is a sauna and hot tub. After dinner we played for a while and later enjoyed a beautiful sunset and the marshmallows roasted on the campfire right behind the cottage.
The next morning we went to Perth to see the 200th year anniversary parade, which was very well organized and included a lot of various performances. After the parade we stopped by the ice-cream shop before heading to the park.
Not far from the park there was a farmers market where we bought local maple syrup and some homemade jams; the stands were also filled with crafts and flowers. It was a fine place to browse…
In the park the speeches were already underway and we could see the Mayor and other city officials on the stage. At the end of the ceremony the Mayor handed the special capsule with the money collected for the construction of the new stone bridge to the builders.
After the official part everyone headed across the park to the spacious lawn where the dressed up musicians and dancers were getting ready to perform. The Scottish kilts in different colours, traditional musical instruments and actors were all mixed with the arriving public.
For the next hour we all could watch the scenes from the past brought by the musicians and actors to show the history of Perth from 19th century. The show ended by the guns’ salute and marching of the bands.
On the way back to the cottage we stopped again at Fairgrounds to have some ribs, check out the stone carving competition and listen to some music.
The day was almost done, we only had enough time to get back to the cottage for some swim in a pool and dinner.
The next morning we left early for the Blue Heron Golf club. The club house was already busy with the arriving golfers, so we quickly got ready and headed out to the course.
The course has nine holes which makes it suitable for those new to the game or seasoned golfers. The beautiful landscaping adds to the natural surroundings creating pleasant environment – mix of water, forest and green lawns… after golf we all were ready to have good lunch, and decided to go towards Perth.
On the way we stopped by the General store to buy sandwiches. Forget the sandwiches – in the middle of the store there was a small table where a lady was painting the large egg… The painting reminded us some fine antique porcelains, Easter eggs and may be Christmas… the paintings were filled with very fine details such as flowers, birds, butterflies, little bunnies and colourful ornaments. Hard to resist – we bought two beautifully painted eggs and then turned to sandwiches – we were hungry!
After Perth our destination was Ottawa. Instead of staying in the city hotel we stopped at the Generations Inn., which is about thirty minutes away. Even before we open our bags right away kids went to swim in a lake… The Inn has three rooms with private bathrooms located in the old estate. The place is quite well known for the fact that the chief for the Ottawa Senators sometimes cooks his famous dishes for the guests, but you have to call in advance to find out when; we didn’t and so had to visit nearby restaurants.
Next morning we were in Ottawa. First we visited The Museum of History, Children’s Museum and Parliament Hill, later the Airspace Museum and we finished the day watching the amazing Light Show that is projected right on the Parliament building.
In the Museum of History “Napoleon” and “Gold Rush” special exhibits were well worth to visit. Going back in times of Napoleon and learning about his personality and various projects was really like visiting France and Europe of that time. In the halls of “Gold Rush” we were able to wash some golden nuggets and learn about gold mining history. At the exit the special scale displayed the value of your weight as gold equivivalent in $$ – so we all got on! Worth millions!!
Children’s Museum is always full of kids and their parents. It’s a wonderful world of real things scaled to toy size. One can be a banker, another a salesman of Turkish rugs or spices, be a sailor or mechanic or dress up and go on stage!
After lunch on the French side in a small lovely café and some rest we headed to the Airspace museum. And that is where we spent a lot of time learning about airplanes, history of aviation and space exploration.
A bit tired we went back to the city to have dinner. And again we went to the Airspace Museum this time for the conference to meet the real astronauts Jeremy Hansen and Robert Thirsk.
They were presenting the launch of the new recruitment campaign and there were various officials and a lot of fans. We even got a chance to chat with them and get autographs.
After such an exciting evening we were back to the Parliament Hill for the Light Show that presented the history of Canada in projected images accompanied by narration and music.
Tired after such a long day full of events we were ready to go back to Generations Inn for a good night sleep…
Next morning we were on our way back home. We decided to stop over in Peterborough and visit the unique lift locks. Dated back to 1900 the locks operate based on the natural powers created by the weight of the water in the tubs – this is the largest hydraulic lift lock in the world that raises boats up to about 65 feet high! It was a lot of fun to watch the boats go up and down – they looked so small compare to locks’ structure!
Before getting back on the road we stopped over for pizza lunch and then drove all the way home talking about places we liked most…