Thursday, June 09, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Historical Interpreter

Blog Writer & Historical Interpreter,
Larry Ford
Ah, summer jobs! For those hardworking students who need seasonal employment what could be more enjoyable than working in front of a grill or filling up someone’s SUV. I’m not knocking either of the two jobs noted, but where I work you can dress up like someone from the past and be a doctor, a cook, a blacksmith, even a Jesuit priest! Such is the summer life of a historical interpreter at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, the reconstructed 17th century French Jesuit community just east of Midland, Ontario.  

While you have to wear heavy clothing in 30 degree weather, and you may be stuck in front of a fire, the biggest plus of the job are the people you meet from all over the world, who are interested in you and what you have to say. The majority of our audience are absolutely fascinated in hearing the story of two very different cultures, the French and the Wendat/Huron, how they interacted and what happened, both good and bad. We don’t pick sides. We try to balance the story and allow our visitors to draw conclusions, and most importantly learn about one of the most dramatic periods in Canadian history. 

Historical Interpreters are
chosen from all over Ontario
Oh, we may struggle making sagamité (a thick corn, porridge like soup that one historical Jesuit said looked like wallpaper paste), or making a twisted piece of metal we call a nail, or wearing a long black robe in the sun, our hands-on third person interpretation and story-telling have been very popular for nearly 50 years.

It’s time to go. I have a Grade 5 group from Pickering and the bus has just pulled up. Time for me to put on my beaver felt hat and lead my tour on a visit to the 17th century.

Whether you are with a school group, just dropping in, or if you are one of the lucky few who have the chance to work at Ontario’s first European community, get ready for an experience that is truly historical…a summer job second to none!

Friday, May 06, 2016

The Best New and Undiscovered Festivals in Ontario

Festival season is around the corner and we have your go to list of the best new and upcoming festivals North of Toronto for 2016.   From the much beloved Butter Tart to the treasured kayak, there are endless opportunities that will get you out discovering the best of Ontario's cottage country and beyond.

Ontario’s Best Buttertart Festival

June 10, 2017
Are you ready for the sweetest showdown of the year?  Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival and Contest is the province’s premier event celebrating everyone’s favourite ooey-gooey pastry—the butter tart! 
Learn more

See more at Midland Tourism | Downtown Midland

Salsa at Blue

Blue Mountains
June 17-19, 2016
Muy Caliente!   Latino fever hits Blue Mountain with the return of the much anticpated 8th annual Salsa at Blue Mountain.  A FREE family street party transforming the entire Village into a fiesta of fun with mucho music and dancing capped off with FIREWORKS! 
See more at Blue Mountain Village

SantaFest - Summer Edition

July 9, 2016
Lying on the 45th parallel, Bracebridge is halfway between the equator and the North Pole. SantaFest – Summer Edition is a “Christmas in July” event celebrating Bracebridge as Santa’s Summer Home! There will be live music, a Town Crier competition, vendors, games and activities for all ages, and a parade featuring Santa Claus himself!  Celebrate Santa, family, fun and summertime!
Learn more
See more at Muskoka Tourism

Festival du loup

July 14-17, 2016
French Canadian Heritage and Cultural Festival celebrating the roots and the "alive and well" French community. It is a family event with music blending professionals and locals. A taste of the past and present through music, exhibits, arts, food and laughter! The theme of the Festival originates from the legend of the wolf of Lafontaine.

Cupcake Festival

July 22-23, 2016
Cupcakes galore! Street vendors, live music, cupcake contest, charily silent auction, sidewalk sales, fabulous restaurant offerings. Come be a part of Ontario’s first and only Cupcake Festival!

Mattawa Voyageur Days

Mattawa Voyageur CountyJuly 21-24, 2016Mattawa’s population triples when it hosts its fun filled four day festival the last full weekend of July annually with events and activities for all. Professional concerts are held each evening at beautiful Explorer’s Point. The Mattawa River Canoe Race starts in North Bay with the finishing line in Mattawa. Come experience the Timbersport competition. Children can join in the Mattawa Lions kids fishing derby. Youth day events are held on Mattawa Island. This year’s performers include Chad Brownlee, Doc Walker, Vince Neil, Alan Doyle and more!Learn more

See more at Mattawa Voyageur County

Summer in the Park Festival

North Bay
July 29-31, 2016
Civic long weekend is going to rock with headliners Hedley, Tim Hicks, and Cory Marquardt. Plus more artists to be added soon.  
Learn more

Steampunk Festival
August 6, 2016
Steampunk Festival Theme:Circus Sideshow. Vintage Car Show on August 4.  Artists Flea Market on August 5. Heritage Performers, Artisan market, Costume Contest and more August 6.
Learn more

Blue Mountain Village
August 6-7, 2016
Celebrating families with entertainment to delight all ages including Mega Magic Show, Isabella Hoops, The Tom Show, Hands on Exotic animals, The Balloon Tree theatrical performance, Groove Dancing, guided family hikes and live music by The Next Generation Leahy.
Learn more

See more at Blue Mountain Village

Get Outdoors Festival

Wye Marsh, Midland
August 6 & 7, 2016
Explore one of Ontario’s largest wetlands by foot, boat or bike. There are over 25km of forested trails, floating boardwalks and canoe channels that let you escape into the Marsh. Experience hummingbird banding and monarch tagging demonstrations. See birds of prey soar and learn how to i.d. turtles and snakes in a live demo.
Learn more

Rama First Nation Pow Wow

August 20-21, 2016
The 30th annual Rama First Nation Pow Wow!  Competition powwow featuring some of Turtle Island\’s best singers and dancers.  Dozens of food, arts, craft, and educational vendors onsite.
Learn more

See more at Ontario's Lake Country

The Great Canadian Kayak Challenge & Festival

August 26-28, 2016
A showcase of kayak & stand up paddleboard challenges, seminars & workshops, arts & culture exhibitors & vendors, live performing arts which include free admission to live concerts both Friday & Saturday night, an interactive  Aboriginal village, fireworks, and children’s activities.

Learn more

Hike Haliburton Festival

September 22-25, 2016
Canada's largest hiking festival.  The Hike Haliburton Festival welcomes over 1,500 people participate in 75 guided hikes throughout the beautiful Haliburton Highlands. Hikers of all ages and abilities come from all over Ontario - and beyond - to take in the wonder of our the Haliburton Highlands. The Festival goes beyond just ‘traditional hiking‘; heavily integrating the arts, culture, heritage and foodie experiences to truly showcase the area.

Discovery Harbour, Penetanguishene
October 1-2, 6-9, 13-16, 20-23 & 27-30, 2016
On a cold rainy night in October of 1815, a ship from ports far away glided effortlessly into the Penetanguishene Naval Establishment blown by an eerie wind from the East. Little did the people of Penetanguishene know but this ship was bringing with it a curse that would haunt these lands… forever!
Learn more

First Light

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, Midland
November 24-26, December 1-3 & 8-10, 2016
“First Light” is a must-see event with a great line-up of family activities and performers, all amidst the spectacular glow of over 5,000 candles.
Learn more

Buckhorn Maplefest

MacLean Berry Farm, Buckhorn
March 18-19 & 25-26, 2017
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! Whatever it is you’re looking for this spring, McLean’s Maplefest is a great way for everyone to shake off a long winter and enjoy the celebration of springs arrival.
Learn more

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Best Ontario Earth Day Activities

Take a Hike

Check out the trails north of Toronto and explore on your own this Earth Day,

Discover the rugged beauty of Muskoka by foot
Hike lakeside in Ontario's Lake Country
Take in the view and vistas in Ontario's Highlands
Explore Midland in the Heart of Georgian Bay.  
Go beyond the Village at Blue Mountain 
Escape into the Ottawa Valley 
Experience the historic beauty of the Algonquin's Highlands
Find your favourite spot in the Haliburton Highlands 

Eat Local

Go local, support a farmer near you and reduce the environmental footprint of your food.

This Saturday April 23rd, the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers' Market and Orillia Farmers' Market have special Earth Day events happening!  Build a bird house, learn to grow your own food and more!

Explore the Outdoors

There really can't be a better way to celebrate Earth Day than by being immersed in nature. 

See some of Ontario's native reptiles and amphibians up close or take in a live birds of prey demonstration at Wye Marsh. Take a tour on the trails and hear the trumpet of the Trumpeter Swans. Starting this weekend you can explore the new exhibit - The Canoe: A Canadian Cultural Icon.  

Go on an authentic natural adventure at Scenic Caves and experience the view from their 420' suspension bridge or get rockin' at the gemstone mine.

Get Active

Get your adrenaline pumping this Earth Day by going on an extreme adventure high up in the canopy of the forest at Tree Top Trekking. Feel the rush as you fly like a bird on zip lines or balance like a squirrel from hammock nets, cable traverses, logs and wooden bridges.

Go hard or go home at Hardwood Ski & Bike, one of the best places north of Toronto for you to get your bike on this Earth Day.  Opening Saturday April 23rd, the trails will be waiting for you.

Art from Nature or Upcycled Items

Make your own art using what nature provides or what would normally get thrown out. Your imagination is the limit to what you can create! Or get inspired by a visit to the MacLaren Art Centre or get the whole family involved by taking part in a Family Art Workshop, held every Sunday.

Relax and Soak It In

Nothing says thank-you like a little bit of appreciation.  Take the day or weekend to appreciate the birds, the bees, the plants and the trees by surrounding yourself in the best of nature north of Toronto.  Whether on the lake, trails or hanging a line dockside there are plenty of places north of Toronto to celebrate Earth Day. Check out more Nature Adventures.

Earth Day is April 22.  For more Earth Day ideas visit

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Spring Time North of Toronto and North in Ontario

Seasonal transition times are not always an easy time to plan an activity. We recommend always calling or emailing to check conditions first and always pay close attention to the weather.

You can find the following spring fun day trip and getaway options on our website,

What is

400eleven is a website that promotes tourism based on heading north in Ontario. Whether you're looking to stay close to Toronto, check out the rugged beauty of true northern Ontario, or vear off a little to the east or west - the website has over 150 members promoting getaway offers, events, activities and other day trip or vacation option to consider. 

Sunday, March 06, 2016

March Day Trips and Getaways in Ontario

Well? We made it. Almost. March is all about doing winter activities in spring-like weather!

What is happening in Ontario this March worth seeing and doing? LOTS!

A sure sign of spring to lift our long winter spirits. March Break is a spring tradition, and north of Toronto they are usually sunny with blues skies and warm enough to relax outdoors and enjoy winter activities one last time.

Maple and maple syrup activities are popular along with spring downhill skiing and snowboarding.

From day trip activities to getaways - you can find it all on our website,




Let's not forget about Easter too! Long weekend and spring breaks offer the best r&r for day trips or getaways to areas in Ontario north of Toronto.

On our website you'll find,





Be sure to also check out website out for great contest. The March contest is the Foodie Weekend Getaway to the Savour the Flavours Food and Drink show in Barrie.

To Enter visit

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.