Thursday, January 07, 2016

Winter Bucket List - Top 5 Favorite Winter Activities in Ontario

We can help with that! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Fall Pumpkin Patch Visit North of Toronto

Ever wonder where all those wonderful pumpkins come from that flood the markets and store in September and October? Most are grown here in Ontario, north of Toronto by friendly farmers.

Not only do farms north of Toronto supply Ontario with porch pumpkins but many offer pick your own pumpkin experiences and family fun farm visits.

Here are a few photos of a fun pumpkin visit north of Toronto.

This is just the beginning to a fun day trip. Farms may include other activities and the fall leaf colour displays along the way are sure to delight. Activities available offer both families, couples and single adventurers a great time. 

Visit our website for:

Happy Pumpkin Picking!

* all images copyright 400 Eleven Inc.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2015 Ontario Festivals in Fun Filled Cottage Country North of Toronto

From racing along a pristine northern Ontario lake to dancing under the stars to traditional French music, the region north of Toronto offers a rich cornucopia of things to see, do and even taste.

Things kick into a high and rather sweet, gooey gear on June 13 with Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival and Contest in Midland.

Amateur and professional bakers alike are expected to flock to the pretty Georgian Bay town to see if they can have their butter tarts declared the best in Ontario.

Besides the contest, the event features a full slate of activities to appeal to families.

Festival creator Barbara Rowlandson said she had worked for years perfecting her butter tart recipe and eventually started selling her creations in her downtown store.

photo credit: Shelby Mulligan

“Almost instantaneously, the tarts were a hit,” she recalled. “That first summer selling butter tarts, I watched an amazing thing happen in my shop. Complete strangers would linger, and have lengthy, and sometimes heated, discussions about what makes a good butter tart.” Rowlandson said that initial recognition of people’s passion for the pastry led to the eventual planning of the inaugural festival two years ago.

And history seems to be on the region’s side. According to organizers, the earliest published butter-tart recipe comes from Simcoe County with an entry in a Barrie hospital cookbook dated 1900.

Speaking of turn-of-the 20th century fun, the village of Coldwater hosts its Steampunk Festival on August 8 with a full-costumed meet and greet scheduled for the previous day.

Event chair Suzy Burtenshaw said the festival initially kicked off in 2011 with the seed being a local artist and the inspiration coming from a young “Steampunk” girl from Coldwater, who makes her own costumes.

“People like coming to the festival because it overlaps with the maker movement, which is growing in leaps and bounds as people return to loving the beauty of things made by hand” Burtenshaw said, noting the entire village is transported back in time throughout the weekend.

“With hundreds of fully-costumed festival goers, this visual alone creates a photographer’s dream, against the back drop of turn-of-the century buildings, vintage vehicles and amazing museums. Our festival is unique because the entire village gets involved.”

The initial offering has grown dramatically and now features high-quality, related offerings from a range of vendors and artisans along with food, music, headline entertainment and street performers. As well, visitors attend the festival from across southern Ontario and the northern U.S.

“We are listed on Steampunk Canada’s website which puts the call out to people who love dressing up and showcasing their elaborate Victorian and Edwardian-era costumes and characters.”

For those looking to delve into Canada’s other official language, Lafontaine hosts the Festival du Loup from July 16 to 19.

This year’s edition of the popular, family-friendly event will commemorate 400 years of francophone presence in Ontario with guests transported back in time to the 17th century.

The festival’s program includes French stories and music, local food, artisans, a “painted-wolf” art auction and the always popular howling contest. There’s traditional French music throughout the event, highlighted Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night with a performance by Bon Débarras and Coureurs des Bois.

A few weeks later, the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre holds its Get Outdoors Festival.

The family-friendly festival, which features a special Get Hiking portion, runs August 8 and 9 and provides a chance for guests to explore one of Ontario's largest wetlands by foot, boat or bike.

The site features more than 25 kilometres of scenic forested trails, floating boardwalks and canoe channels that allows one to “escape” into the marsh. The event also gives visitors the chance to experience hummingbird-banding and Monarch-tagging demonstrations while also taking part of in an interactive workshop on birding, backcountry camping or shelter building.

There’s also the chance to see the facility’s birds of prey soar above and learn how to identify native Ontario turtles and snakes during a live animal show.

As well, the Chippewas of Rama First Nation hosts its 30th annual Powwow with a full slate of activities highlighting traditional activities. Running August 22 and 23, the event features world-class singing and dancing along with related displays and the chance to taste traditional foods while also checking out the wares of area arts and crafts vendors.

For foodies, the award-winning agri-culinary event Savour Simcoe takes place August 30 at the Simcoe County Museum. The eighth annual event changes every year with new farmer/chef pairings and new offerings for beverages from area craft breweries and wineries.

Further north in Timmins from August 28 to 30, plans for the seventh annual Great Canadian Kayak Challenge & Festival are well underway, according to event co-chair Guy Lamarche.

“We’ve had paddlers register from as far away as the U.K.,” Lamarche said, noting the event that’s listed as a Top 100 festival by Festival and Events Ontario regularly attracts visitors from across Ontario, Quebec and the United States.

“We challenge you to finish what you enter. The rewards are secondary.”

But besides the many water-based activities, the overall production has become much larger since its humble origins.

There’s now demonstrations and fun activities throughout the weekend along with a huge fireworks display that visitors have said would “rival Ottawa on Canada Day” and both local and well-known bands playing throughout, including this year’s headliners the Box and Platinum Box.

“It’s a community festival first,” Lamarche said, noting there’s no charge to attend with even parking provided free-of-charge.

“We have 13,000 to 15,000 people come to the park. At the end of the day, we’ve got a program that appears to every demographic and every level of paddler.”

Across the bay, Collingwood’s Blue Mountain Village boasts a number of family-friendly events.

From June 19 to 21, the seventh annual Salsa at Blue event offers a free family street party that transforms the village into a showcase of Latin life throughout the weekend with pulsating music, passionate dancing and live performances and demonstrations.

 A little later in the summer on August 8 and 9, the village celebrates families with live music, interactive activities, variety shows, guided family hikes and gondola rides during Famarama.

These or other festivals happening this season north of Toronto are an excellent activity to plan a day trip or getaway around. Pack a bag, start the car and enjoy Ontario road tripping.

Visit our website to find:

Summer Getaways

Attractions / Activities

More Events & Festivals

Visit our website and plan your perfect day trip or getaway north of Toronto, today!

Article written by: A Philips for

Monday, June 29, 2015

Canada Day Fireworks in Ontario Cottage Country Cities & Towns North of Toronto

Happy Birthday Canada!

Bring your lawnchairs, blankets and snacks and celebrate Canada's 148th birthday with evening fireworks.

Barrie's annual fireworks spectacular takes place over Kempenfelt Bay at 10:00pm and can be viewed from all waterfront parks.

Horseshoe Valley Resort: It's Canada's Birthday! What a better way to celebrate then with a BBQ, birthday cake and a fireworks display? It's all going down at Horseshoe. Make sure you don't miss out!

Canada Day Fireworks celebrations, with KABOOM! at scenic Bracebridge Bay.

The festivities commence at 5:00pm, at the Bradford and District Memorial Community Centre, and includes entertainment, music, food, the official ceremonies, the presentation of the annual Civic Awards and closing with an amazing show of fireworks at 10pm.

Celebrate Canada Day with friends and neighbours in Downtown Collingwood. Take in a special edition of Local Live Lunch, traditional Canadian flag birthday cake, citizenship reaffirmation ceremony, strolling entertainers, and the Collingwood Idol Finals. It all wraps up at dark with spectacular fireworks display over the harbour.

Blue Mountain Village: Celebrate Canada’s birthday in the Village with a variety of live music on stage throughout the day plus an official cake cutting & ‘Oh Canada’ ceremony capped off with evening Fireworks.

Launch location over Hunters Bay behind the Fire Hall at Dusk - 10:00 pm. Great locations to view fireworks: Avery Beach, Huntsville Public School and the Huntsville Fire Department. Tune in to THE MOOSE FM 105.5 and enjoy the fireworks set to music.

Parade starts at 10:30am followed by activities and games all day long at Little Lake Park. Fireworks to be held in Penetanguishene at Rotary Park.

At dusk, the Minden Hills Fire Department put on a spectacular fireworks show at the Minden Fairgrounds. Entry is by donation.

10:00pm fireworks at the waterfront.

The Orillia Canada Day Celebrations is a fun filled day! Enjoy the parade, midway, children's village, craft vendors, food vendors, entertainment and fireworks at dusk.

Go to the Stockey Centre for a full day of fun, family activities, food, vendors, entertainment.Don't miss the spectacular fireworks display at dusk.

Renfrew Canada Day Celebrations - Their will be a day filled with activites and vendors, so bring a friend and have some fun! July 1st Celebrations in the Township of Madawaska Valley, topping off with a spectacular fireworks display over the waters of Kamaniskeg Lake.

The Canada Day Parade will take place at 12:30pm. Park activities start at 1pm - fireworks at dusk.

Looking to get away or for other events and activities for the week? Visit

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Cottage Country Night Life & Enterntainment North of Toronto

The haunting call of a loon over a sleepy Ontario lake isn’t the only sound north of the big city.

There’s also plenty of laughter, music and, yes, even a few tears, thanks to a solid lineup of first-rate entertainment at one of the region’s live theatre venues.

Along the shores of Georgian Bay, the Midland Cultural Centre and Penetanguishene’s King’s Wharf Theatre offer a wonderful and eclectic selection of live entertainment over the coming months.

The Midland venue features plays such as Marshall Karp’s comedic take on familial relationships in Squabbles to a wide range of concerts by the likes of Steeleye Span (an ensemble that remains one of the most influential names in British roots music), prominent Canadian blues guitarist Steve Strongman and a full slate of critically-acclaimed classical players, including Austrian violinist Wolfgang David, Italian pianist Mauro Bertoli and Spanish pianist Leopoldo Erice.

King’s Wharf, meanwhile, offers a welcome location on the Georgian Bay shoreline with a summer theatre lineup led by Snow White: The Panto and followed by the raucous Sexy Laundry, which needless to say isn’t appropriate for children, and concluding with two fun musical offerings.

Legends... of Rock 'n' Roll comes to the theatre from the creators of last year’s sensation, Twist and Shout: The British Invasion. It celebrates some of the greatest musical acts from the 1950s through the 1970s such as Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Beach Boys.

The musical theme continues with Footloose (the dance musical) that features memorable 1980s anthems like Holding Out For A Hero, Almost Paradise, Let’s Hear It For The Boy and the self-titled track along with plenty of dancing and a story celebrating “the wisdom of listening to young people.”

Across the bay, Collingwood’s Blue Mountain Village boasts a number of family-friendly events.

From June 19 to 21, the seventh annual Salsa at Blue event offers a free family street party that transforms the village into a showcase of Latin life throughout the weekend with pulsating music, passionate dancing and live performances and demonstrations.

A little later in the summer on August 8 and 9, the village celebrates families with live music, interactive activities, variety shows, guided family hikes and gondola rides during Famarama.

Speaking of Rama, the Orillia-area casino hosts live music throughout the summer including Melissa Etheridge, George Thorogood and The Destroyers & Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot, Burton Cummings, Whitesnake, Charley Pride, Kenny G, Neil Sedaka, Culture Club and the Happy Together Tour 2015 to appeal to the nostalgia crowd.

The entertainment centre also offers performances designed to tickle the funny bone with headliners Craig Ferguson, Jeff Foxworthy and Weird Al Yankovic scheduled over the summer.

A little further north, the granddaddy of Ontario resorts features a new stage show that’s sure to please a wide demographic.

Deerhurst Resort’s HIT L!ST takes on a different format from previous shows while taking the audience through music’s most popular genres by incorporating rock, pop, reggae, country, indie and R&B.

Company manager Kasey Stephan said the new show that runs until next March benefits greatly by having a stable of cast members who have been entertaining crowds at the resort for decades.

“Audiences will be thrilled to see returning show-stoppers Serge Charlebois, Leaynne Connolly and Monica Nowak on vocals, and our multi-talented band members Glenn Bladon and Will Main on vocals, guitar and bass,” Stephan said.

“We’re excited to welcome newcomer Daniel Neill on vocals and drums, dancer Aislinn Wishart and I’m thrilled to be back on the Deerhurst stage as a dancer to round out the cast.”

Stephan said the creative team felt it was time to move from the previous show titled Decades to HIT L!ST to allow the company to tap into songs that “really resonate with us and our audiences rather than fitting into a chronological formula.

“So each cast member took aim at their absolute favourites to pack the new, tighter 75-minute format with only the crème de la crème hits they love.” 

Deerhurst remains unique as it’s believed to be the only resort in Canada with its own onsite entertainment department.

“It is an honour being a part of the entertainment legacy here,” Stephan said. “Former cast members come to see the current shows and you can feel the camaraderie, it’s like a special club we belong to.

“As well as a sense of responsibility, we understand there’s a reputation to uphold after over thirty years of fantastic shows and unforgettable performers.”

As you can see, you can put to rest the notion that a getaway to cottage country offers only sleepy quiet night.

Stay tuned to our Events Calendar for more events and details about the events and shows listed above.

Visit our website and plan your perfect day trip or getaway north of Toronto, today!

Article written by: A Philips for

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Ontario Maple Syrup Festivals, Events and Sweet Maple Fun North of Toronto

Those with a sweet tooth will want to hit areas 'north' of Toronto over the coming weeks.

That’s when the region pays homage to maple syrup, the one Canadian icon those in other parts of the world can only dream of tasting.

The annual sweet nectar harvest and all things related to it highlight a number of special events throughout the region.

“Everyone loves a little taste of taffy on the snow or syrup on their pancakes,” says Jennifer Whitley, marketing manager for Ontario’s Lake Country, which kicked off its three-month Tap into Maple event March 1 - May 31.

“It is something to do in the spring when there are not many other activities happening.”
Now in its second year, Tap into Maple gives those visiting the Lake Country region (Orillia and neighbouring townships) a chance to “experience all things maple,” according to Whitley.

Visitors can grab a map and travel along a scenic self-guided route with participating businesses and organizations offering a variety of fun options from hands-on experiences and delicious treats to giftware and stay-and-play packages at locations such as Bayview Wildwood Resort and Casino Rama.

“You can do it all in one day or multiple days depending on how many stops you wanted to make,” Whitley says, pointing out last year’s event attracted not only visitors from across the province, but also from other countries as foreign guests sought the “real Canadian” experience.

“Pick up a passport, explore and experience the sweetest route in Ontario’s Lake Country and Springwater,” Whitley says, adding those collecting three stamps at participating businesses along the route can submit the passport and have a chance to win one of three maple prize packages.

Besides enjoying a variety of shops, restaurants and accommodations, there are also museums and farmers’ markets across the region incorporating maple into their products.

Worldwide, maple syrup is only produced in certain parts of Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes and the northeastern United States due to a climate comprised of below freezing nights and higher daytime temperatures that allows the sap to run.

Near Midland, the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre hosts one of Ontario’s longest running maple syrup festivals with the 23rd annual Sweetwater Harvest Festival slated for March 28 and 29.
Running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, the festival celebrates the history of maple syrup and the role it plays in the nation’s cultural and natural heritage.

Wye Marsh marketing and development coordinator Laura Thomas says Sweetwater is not your average maple syrup festival due to its setting and emphasis on nature.

“We have an educational component,” Thomas says, noting the wildlife centre is also home to many birds and mammals that use maple sap as an important food source in the spring before trees and plants blossom and insects reappear.

“We’re bringing the natural element back into play. The biggest feedback we get is ‘don’t change a thing.’”

While there are sugar-shack tours, pancakes and taffy tasting, visitors can also check out the centre’s birds of prey and enjoy reptile/amphibian talks along with wilderness survival, cooking and woodcarving demonstrations.

Tickets cost $10 each with families (two adults, the children) paying $30. There’s also an all-day pancake breakfast for $5.

A little further east near Lakefield, McLean Berry Farm’s Maplefest runs on consecutive weekends in March beginning on the 14th (9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Now in its 22nd year, the family-friendly event features hayrides, live music, the chance to meet farm animals and, of course, enjoy and learn more about spring’s sweet tonic with tree tappings, tastings and other demonstrations.

Entrance fees are $7 per person with families of four getting in for $25.

A little later in the spring, the Orillia Farmers’ Market holds its annual maple syrup market festival on May 9th. Featuring live music, the friendly market offers the chance to take home a variety of maple products with visitors also able bring along their aforementioned Tap into Maple passport for a complimentary maple treat.

These are just a few of maple festivals featured in the blog, our website has a full list of festivals, events and special maple promotions happening north of Toronto spring 2015.

Events and maple celebrations are taking place at resorts, restaurants, sugar shacks and fun places and destinations and are a welcome spring tradition for all. 

Visit our website and plan your perfect day trip or getaway north of Toronto, today!

Article written by: A Philips for
Photo Credits: 400 Eleven Inc., Ontario's Lake Country
Wye Marsh & McLean Berry Farm

Friday, February 27, 2015

Events Happening This March, North of Toronto

We've made it to March! Longer sunny days, blue skies and warmer temps are bringing folks out of their homes and doing fun activities.

Areas north of Toronto are perfect for day tripping and taking that winter getaway you've been putting off, before the winter is gone.

Full Event information, details and link can found on our website Events Calendar.


We have full March Break pages on our website

March Break Events, Day Trips & Activities

March Break Getaway Vacations



Farmers's Markets
Enjoy farmers and artisans markets all year long!
Click to here to find a great winter market.

Maple Festivals
It's time to celebrate the sure sign of spring in Ontario with a great number of maple festivals taking place in March. Click here to find a weekend maple festival.


Family Sunday Art Workshop
MacLaren Art Centre
Every Sunday is Family Sunday at the MacLaren. Regional artists Meghan Thorpe and Annie Aspden will lead creative projects that families complete together.

Art 21: Artists in the 21st Century
MacLaren Art Centre
Join MacLaren Wednesday evenings for special screenings of season seven of Art 21: Artists in the 21st Century!

The Horseshoe Open & Elan Demos
Horseshoe Resort
This March break festival will host some of North America’s best skiers, snowboarders, DJ’s, concerts, Junior riders, and the coolest pro rider after parties of the year.

Polar Rush
Horseshoe Resort
Polar Rush features 12+ obstacles, a bonfire after party and the ultimate kick-off to spring - paired with the already awesome amenities you know and love at Horseshoe Resort. 

Spring Fling & Salomon Races
Hardwood Ski & Bike
This is a fun day of activities to wrap up the ski season. Skiers of all ages and abilities can participate. The morning consists of more serious events (only slightly serious), but the afternoon is dedicated to just having a good time. The Salomon mixed relay is 3 x 3km; the first leg of the relay is classic skiing, the second and third may be skate or classic. One team member must be female. Costume Content & Poker Ski in the afternoon!

Milky Way Intergalactic Fat Bike Championships
Hardwood Ski & Bike
The LARGEST Fat Bike Championships in the WORLD! Hardwood and The Bike Zone presents the MILKY WAY INTERGALACTIC FAT BIKE CHAMPIONSHIPS! With a sci-fi spin, Hardwood is adding a costume contest on to this as well. Let’s see what Star Wars or Superhero costumes you can come up with! Amazing prizes and a ton of fun! Save the date.

Ladies Day
Snow Valley Resort
Mardi Gras! On the Hills!


Saturday Night Guided Snowshoe Hikes

Scenic Caves Nordic Centre
Strap on your snowshoes for a night-time hike, where stars and shadows create a dramatic setting for adventure.

Skate Ski Loppet
Scenic Caves Nordic Centre
Scenic Caves Nordic Centre proudly launches its first Cross-Country Ski Loppet.

Freestyle Ontario Sapling Tour
Blue Mountain Village
Sapling Sessions are held over a two day weekend and will focus on building freestyle skills in park, pipe & mogels.

Molson Canadian Men's Week
Blue Mountain Village
Take advantage of speciality $46 day/night lift tickets rates. Enjoy Apres specials at Jozo’s Bar and week-long excitement in participating Village locations.


Fat Bike Festival
Sir Sam's Ski & Bike
Fat Biking Fun!

Spring Splash
Sir Sam's Ski & Bike
Ski over open water, après dinner and dance, Prizes for best costumes.

Area Tourism Information: Haliburton Highlands
Area Tourism Information: Ontario's Highlands


Decades Show
Deerhurst Resort
With a more current vibe, brilliant time-travelling medleys, and a new home in the elegant Waterhouse Show Room under the same roof as dining, lounges, accommodation and conference facilities, this year's show is truly bigger and better than ever!


McLean Berry Farm
At Maplefest, there are a tons of fun activities for the entire family. Whether it's going for a wagon ride, eating pancakes with fresh maple syrup or seeing how the sweet stuff is made, there is something to do for everyone! Kids and kids at heart love tapping their toes and swinging their hips to live music, trying their hand at tapping a maple tree and testing their toffee on snow twirling skills to get a taste of the sweet stuff!


Drag at the Mag

A 2-Day Amateur Snow Drag Racing the weekend of February 28 to March 1, 2015. All amateurs racers welcome, kids included.
Click here for more information.

Area Tourism Information: Municipality of Magnetawan


Live Music & Shows at the Midland Cultural Centre
The Bombadils, A Day in the Life Series, Winter Blues Concert Series, Midland Wedding Showcase

Moonlight Ski & Snowshoe
Wye Marsh
Explore the Marsh under the full moon. Ski and snowshoe trails will be open late, with last admission at 7:30pm. Visitors are welcome to come early and stay late. Our doors will be open from 9am. Cost is general admission or free with membership. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available.

Sweetwater Harvest Festival
Wye Marsh
Celebrate an uniquely Canadian tradition in a distinctively Canadian landscape. Escape to a time when maple syrup was made over an open fire, experience our history and explore nature at its best.

Midland Public Library
Books 2 Eat Midland is a fun and popular annual event (now in its third year) that challenges local chefs to transform any book of choice into a spectacular edible creation. Click here for a chance to win 2 tickets (draw is March 18).

Area Tourism Information: Midland Tourism 


North Bay Outdoor Show
Clarion Resort Pinewood Park
Whether you’re new to powersports or a seasoned adventurer, the second annual North Bay Outdoor Show has something for everyone.


Tap into Maple Tour
Starting on March 1st and running through to May 31st, the Tap into Maple route was created to support and showcase our local maple syrup, maple products and events. Filled with a variety of different stops throughout the region, the Tap into Maple route will get your senses flowing and your mouth watering. Come and experience our maple history, taste our local maple cuisine, and create your own maple products. You can even stay awhile, our local accommodators have some sweet maple packages available for you! Bring your family or getaway as a couple, Ontario’s Lake Country has something for everyone.

Live Music & Shows at Casino Rama
Gord Bamford with special guests The Boom Chucka Boys, Micheal Bolton, ZZ Top, Trace Adkins, Lynyrd Skynyrd
Click here for more information.

Area Tourism Information: Ontario's Lake Country


Visit our website for fun and specific getaways offers, like...

DogSledding Getaways

Snowmobiling Getaways

Downhill Skiing Getaways

Cross Country Skiing Getaways

Snowshoeing Getaways

Ice Fishing Getaways

Culinary Getaways

Click for more Winter Getaways.

Click here for the Ski and Snowboard north of Toronto info page.
Find links to your favourite alpine and cross country hosts, including links to current conditions, ski schools, web cams and online ticket purchases.

Hope to see you 'north' of Toronto!