Alice in Wonderland - Festival Theatre - Shaw Festival
Fantastic! Incredible! Wonderful! Superlatives after viewing Peter Hinton's latest triumph at the Shaw Festival, Alice in Wonderland, his World Premiere featuring 19 original songs. And yes, quick, grab your grandchildren and take them to see Alice at the Festival Theatre, an experience that they will never forget, nor will you.
Alice in Wonderland Prior to my viewing, I played White Rabbit through my brain, the 1960's LSD cult song written by Grace Slick and performed with Jefferson Airplane. Remember its addictive lyrics? One pill makes you larger-And one pill makes you small-And the ones that mother gives you-Don't do anything at all-Go ask Alice-When she's ten feet tall...
Hinton's take is not about drugs; it's all about childhood, a precious commodity in children like Alice. It's about a world of unbridled imagination to be encouraged and cultivated by parents, and allowed to blossom, and yes, there were many young people at the theatre. (warning: the play runs a bit long for the youngest.)
Everyone is familiar with the story - on a summer day in 1862, ten-year old Alice and her two sisters were told a tale about a little girl, a white rabbit and a trip down a hole into an astonishing world, which became one of the best-selling books of all time...
Mrs. Warren's Profession - the Royal George Theatre - Shaw Festival
Director Eda Holmes offers us a fascinating look at the world's oldest profession aka Mrs. Warren's Profession, through an appropriate setting thanks to Patrick Clark, Designer and Kimberly Purtell, Lighting, a male-dominant private members club and her two leading characters, both female, Mrs. Warren (Nicole Underhay) and her daughter Vivie (Jennifer Dzialoszynski) whose battle of wills in the final scene evokes an explosive reading of 7.0 on the Richter scale.
Prior to the play's start, Holmes has four overly-pleased-with-themselves males - Thom Marriott (Sir George Crofts), Gray Powell (Praed), Wade Bogert-O'Brien (Frank Gardner), and Shawn Wright (Rev. Samuel Gardner) lounge in the Royal George set which exudes testosterone - the men outfitted in tweed jackets, a large leather couch and dark wood paneling. They banter about with the crowd, and Marriott takes group selfies with his cell phone...
The problem I experienced with Shaw's rendition of Our Town, the 1938 Pulitzer Prize winning play by Thornton Wilder was the fact that it was so Norman Rockwell in appearance - so white, so Anglo-Saxon and so Protestant (although the Catholic church does get mentioned briefly at the start).
Benedict Campbell as Stage Manager with the cast of Our Town. Photo by David Cooper Via an impersonal 'stage manager,' Wilder tells the story of the inhabitants of the small town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, population 2,642, from 1901-1913. The stage manager is Benedict Campbell, the narrator, commentator, and our guide. He joins in the action of the play periodically as the minister at the wedding, the soda shop owner, a local townsmen, etc., and he speaks directly to Emily Webb after her death. Campbell is solid, his booming voice resonating with the command and the gravitas required for such a role.
Campbell even provides the coordinates of Grover's Corners as 42°40' north latitude and 70°37' west longitude (which is actually Massachusetts)...
Uncle Vanya which just opened at Shaw's Court House Theatre is one of Chekhov's four prime plays (The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1899), Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904)) written in the last few years of his life, the luminous literary quartet establishing him as one of the world's great playwrights. Chekhov's recurrent mood is one of melancholy derived from the parched themes of frustrated hope and wasted lives, all of his characters seemingly miserable, each in their own fashion.
Uncle Vanya's drama is quickly set in motion by the visit of Aleksandr Serebryakov (David Schurmann) an elderly, retired and pompous professor and his enchanting, much younger second wife, Yelena (Moya O'Connell) at the rural estate that helps sustain their urban lifestyle.
Earned revenue (ticket sales): 62%
Government grants: 8%
Other revenues: 5%
Attendance for the 2015 Season: 232,671
66% of our audience came from Canada
33% of our audience came from the United States
1% of our audience came from overseas
Shaw Festival Company
About 600 employees at the height of the season, including 65 actors
1690 seats in
856 in the
327 in the
Court House Theatre
313 in the
Royal George Theatre
194 in the
Ticket prices for students are $25 and Platinum seating on a summer weekend starts from $117. There are many ways of saving on ticket prices, from Super Sundays to preview tickets to $30 tickets for patrons under the age of 30.
The Shaw Festival contributed $75.4 million locally and $106.6 million to Ontario's economy in 2010. Shaw Festival visitors spent over $42.8 million on regional accommodations, dining, winery visits and other tourism-related experiences.
(Source: The Shaw Festival)
Shaw Festival 2016 Season Trailer
2016 Season Preview with Jackie Maxwell - Alice in Wonderland
Eternity - Bach Mass in B Minor
"Eternity" might be a lofty aspiration for any of the performing arts but the poet Robert Browning reminds us, "Ah but a man's reach should exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for?"
Robert Cooper, Artistic Director and maestro for Chorus Niagara seemed up to the task this evening, aided by the combined forces of the Niagara and Toronto's Orpheus choirs and the Talisker Players orchestra along with five solid soloists - Jennifer Krabbe, soprano, Maeve Palmer, soprano, Charles Sy, tenor, Geoffrey Sirett, baritone and mezzo-soprano Marjorie Maltais who capably subbed for the ailing Anita Krause.
Cooper's credentials speak for themselves. He is regarded as one of Canada's foremost choral musicians as Artistic Director of the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, Chorus Niagara,
the Opera in Concert Chorus and the newly created Ontario Male Chorus. He has taught
at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and has had the honour of conducting the
National Youth Choir of Canada, the Ontario Youth Choir (1979, 2007) and a Celebration
of Canadian Choral Music at Carnegie Hall.
What do you get when you combine opera with tango? You get TANGOPERA performed by a highly skilled quartet aptly named Quartango and an extraordinary soprano, Marie-Josée Lord. Together, they produced a magical evening of musical entertainment at Partridge Hall in the brand new FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.
Quartango consists of Stephane Aubin, piano, Jonathan Goldman, bandoneon, Rene Gosselin, double bass and Antoine Bareil, violin. With Aubin and Bareil contributing their own compositions, together, the quartet produced an eclectic repertoire that ranged from classic tangos such as El Choclo and Adios Nonino to tango nuevo and Piazzolla. They daringly explored other genres, from jazz and opera to waltzes and Celtic jigs, in their own enthusiastic, merry style.
Niagara Food & Wine Expo April 15-17, Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls
Taking place April 15-17 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, the Niagara Food & Wine Expo returns again, featuring wine, beer and spirits from around the globe, as well as stunning regional wines straight from neighbouring vineyards. These delectable samples will be served alongside fresh and incredible local cuisine prepared by top chefs and restaurants.
"This year's Niagara Food & Wine Expo is already shaping up to be an incredible one. With favourite exhibitors returning and some exciting new additions to the lineup, we're preparing for one of our biggest and best experiences yet," said Melanie Klie, Show Manager of the Niagara Food & Wine Expo. "We truly do have something for everyone - from the beer and wine connoisseurs and food lovers of all kinds, to cooking gurus and home chefs looking to learn something new."
Twenty Valley Tourism Association celebrates 5th Annual Get Fresh in the Valley passport program
Spring is a time for farm fresh bites paired perfectly with premium Twenty Valley wines. Come celebrate spring April 9 & 10, 16 & 17 or 23 & 24 for Get Fresh in the Valley. This self-guided passport allows visitors to take in up to 24 wineries in Niagara's Twenty Valley wine country. It's one of the most brilliant ways to learn about and stock up on our VQA wines. Collect recipes from each winery to assemble your own 2016 Get Fresh in the Valley Cookbook.
A local favourite is the Sunday passport; it allows you to enjoy Get Fresh for all three Sundays. Note there are three locations closed on Sunday and all will honour your Sunday passport on any Get Fresh Saturday.
Matt Swan and partner Chris Pontsioen know how to brew great tasting beer. I discovered this firsthand at their Silversmith Brewing Company in Virgil, a small, ivy-covered former church that dates back to the 1890s, complete with country charm, composed of exposed beams and brick walls with a long bar that was handmade from reclaimed barn wood. It quickly fashions a kindred atmosphere that is sure to pack the place during the busy tourist season in Niagara on the Lake. And the Pie Plate is directly across the street!
I thought I'd best try their flagship beer, the Black Lager, but asked for a taster at first, not wanting to be stuck with a pint that I didn't enjoy. No worries. It's superb, and I was impressed by the smoothness and lack of a heavy after-taste.
Drones have radically changed how we view spectacular sights. For example, many people have visited Niagara Falls and enjoyed the view but when you see Niagara Falls from above you truly realize how spectacular it is filmed using DJI Phantom Quadcopter
ALL MY SONS at the Irish Classical Theatre Company
Hot on the heels of last year's successful run of DEATH OF A SALESMAN, the Irish Classical Theatre Company joins in the Centennial Celebration of the birth of Arthur Miller with its 25th Anniversary production of his American masterpiece, ALL MY SONS, which will be on stage at the Andrews Theatre, home of the Irish Classical Theatre Company, January 15 to February 7, 2016.
ALL MY SONS is a powerful and gripping study of honesty and guilt and the corrupting power of greed. Set in post World War II America, it is the story of Joe Keller, a successful businessman and a loving husband and father, struggling with the knowledge that, during the war, he allowed his factory to ship faulty airplane cylinders to the U.S. Armed Forces, resulting...
Shaw Festival Announces Principal Casting For Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell's Final Season
Festival Theatre Alice in Wonderland
Adapted for the stage by Peter Hinton
Music by Allen Cole
Based on the book by Lewis Carroll
Previews April 27 ÷ Opens May 14 ÷ Closes October 16
Created specifically for the Shaw Festival Acting Ensemble, this new adaptation of Lewis Carroll's beloved tale of a young woman's journey to adulthood stars Tara Rosling as Alice. On her journey to make sense of the wonderland of grown-up nonsense, Alice meets familiar characters played by Festival favourites: Moya O'Connell as the Queen of Hearts; Graeme Somerville as the Mad Hatter; Kyle Blair as the March Hare; Donna Belleville as the Duchess; Ben Sanders as the White Rabbit; and Jennifer Phipps as the Cheshire Cat. The 22-person cast, including Guy Bannerman, Neil Barclay, Patty Jamieson, Harveen Sandhu, Kiera Sangster, Jonathan Tan, Jacqueline Thair, Jay Turvey, and Kelly Wong, plays over 144 characters in this magical musical experience that will delight adults and children alike.
Directed by Peter Hinton, Musical direction by Allen Cole, Choreography by Denise Clarke, Set designed by Eo Sharp, Costumes designed by William Schmuck, Lighting designed by Kevin Lamotte, Projection designed by Beth Kates & Ben Chaisson, Sound designed by John Lott, Conducted by Paul Sportelli
Twenty Valley Winter Winefest Celebrates The Season
Join Niagara's Twenty Valley as it celebrates the 7th annual Winter WineFest January 15th - 17th, 2016!
This year, Twenty Valley will add a little more "sensational" to their annual Winter WineFest celebrations. Jordan Village will be transformed into a holiday market style destination, complete with over 100 premium VQA wines, gourmet bites, live entertainment and a magical new setting. The charm of Jordan Village will be enhanced by bonfires, quaint seating areas, ice and art installations and hundreds of strands of lights.
"We are inviting our guests to get outside and enjoy winter," said Sue-Ann Staff, Chairman of the Twenty Valley Tourism Association. "The new format of our Winter WineFest is inspired by the many popular Christmas markets around the world that host thousands of visitors each year.
The season that enables us to create world-renowned Icewine is one worth celebrating."
Twenty Valley is known for its premium, terroir-driven wines and focused food culture, both of which will be showcased at this year's event. Wineries will select from their favourite vintages featuring "sweet, sparkling and sensational" Icewines, sparkling wines and red and white wines. Featured Twenty Valley chefs will present special menus that celebrate the season and pair perfectly with the varietals of the region. Samples start at $2 each - a new token price to allow guests to explore more pairings.
Niagara College Teaching Winery takes home Best in Show - The Royal Wine Competition toasts 2015 winners
The judges in The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair's 7th annual wine competition are raising their glasses to the Niagara College Teaching Winery. The student-run winery at the college's Niagara-on-the-Lake campus took home Best in Show Red and Best in Show Overall prizes for its delicious 2012 Dean's List Merlot in The Royal's wine competition earlier this month.
"It is a real honour to be recognized for such a prestigious wine award, particularly with consideration to the wide field of extremely high-quality VQA wines from well-established Ontario wineries that this competition attracts," said Gavin Robertson, Winemaker at the Niagara College Teaching Winery.
Robertson said the warm 2012 growing season in Niagara helped produce spectacular later-ripening red Bordeaux varieties with a good balance of flavours and structure.
"I'm happy that we were able to carry this quality through to bottle, and it's wonderful that the end product of a great growing season in the vineyard and gentle handling in the winery should be recognized as it is now," he said.
The Twenty Valley Tourism Association's 9th Annual Wrapped Up in the Valley passport program
Choose a weekend - November 7 & 8, 14 & 15 or 21 & 22 and enjoy a culinary treat paired with a premium wine at your choice of more than 20 area wineries. Collect recipes from each winery to assemble your own 2015 Wrapped Up in the Valley Cookbook.
Can't take a whole weekend off, our Sunday passport is your ticket. It allows you to enjoy Wrapped Up for all three Sundays. Note there are three locations closed on Sunday and all will honour your Sunday passport on any Wrapped Up Saturday.
A single weekend passport or Sunday passport is $44.25 per person (+ HST) and may be purchased online at www.twentyvalley.ca or by phone at 905-562-3636 or at participating wineries.
For the optimal experience, we recommend visiting a maximum eight wineries per day.
It's back to school time, and Buffalo has the perfect lesson plan to round out your family's curriculum! First Period is History, starting with presidents. Theodore Roosevelt began his presidential journey here. And Millard Fillmore made Buffalo his home, as did Grover Cleveland. Buffalo is also rich with African American heritage, including the Underground Railroad and a legendary jazz club. And what student wouldn't be fascinated with the way the Erie Canal impacted American history? After History class, take...
Where to calm your male grandchildren?
Niagara Parks' Butterfly Conservatory
When three rambunctious grandchildren arrived from Vancouver along with their amazingly organized mother and her helpful sister, and they all stayed in Niagara on the Lake with us for a solid week, we needed all the help we could get - because we are talking here not of your more placid, able-to read-books-quietly- and-play-cooperatively girls, but the opposite work of art, namely highly competitive boys aged 7, 3.5 and 1.5, all aggressive and painfully articulate, at times reaching the incredible yet ear-piercing decibel level of a supersonic jet, and blessed with the unique "y" chromosome, which we all know is often used as evidence by prosecuting attorneys to ask compliant judges for the harshest punishment available.
After "pillow forts" indoors (our couches will never be the same) and water-based activities in the...
The house lights are dimming and the curtain is about to rise on the 2015-2016 Buffalo theater season! Each year a new season makes its dramatic entrance in three acts during the Curtain Up! celebration. In Act I, you'll enjoy a black-tie gala dinner on the stage at the beautifully restored Shea's Performing Arts Center or at one of the theater district's fine restaurants. In Act II, you'll visit one of Buffalo's 19 professional theaters to attend a live premiere. And for the final act, you'll attend a free...
Versatile Harry Connick Jr. Wows His Fans!
Avalon Ballroom, Niagara Fallsview Casino
Watching Harry Connick Jr. in action inside the 1,500 seat Avalon Ballroom Theatre at the Niagara Fallsview Casino, I decided that as soon as the show was over, I would book tickets to New Orleans. And stay there. And just listen to its enchanting music. For me, Harry represents Louisiana's best tourism draw. He should be on the state payroll!
In fact, during his long set, he talked about recently co-hosting with Branford Marsalis "New Orleans Honors" at the Saenger Theatre, an evening when musicians and celebrities came together to thank those who aided in New Orleans' recovery after Hurricane Katrina. Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked if he could sing and Harry joked that only in New Orleans would a mayor actually know what key to sing in, in this case B flat!
Throughout the evening, Connick and his remarkable band orchestrated tunes that kept the audience screaming for more. Besides singing, He played piano, electronic keyboard, electric guitar and...
The Irish Classical Theatre Company Announces its 2015-2016 Season
The Irish Classical Theatre Company, recently honoured with 16 ARTIE Award nominations in the 10 categories in which it was eligible, recognizing 5 different productions this year, announces its 25th Anniversary Season to be presented in its home, The Andrews Theatre.
ICTC celebrates 25 years of excellence with a Tony Award winning musical; a contemporary Irish play, fresh from the Broadway stage; a beloved American classic; a side-splitting one-man tour-de-force; a cutting-edge collaboration, and a delightful and witty comedy from the pen of Oscar Wilde.
The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide To Capitalism And Socialism With A Key To The Scriptures
I want to liquidate. And then vacate.
After the second intermission of the three-hour-and-fifty-minute Tony Kushner play, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide To Capitalism And Socialism With A Key To The Scriptures (iHO, the Shaw abbreviation), the lady beside me, looking exhausted, grins: "Round three!" She's right; instead of Shaw's Studio Theatre, I feel like I'm at the Roman Coliseum watching a large group of well-armed, co-ed gladiators battle across the field.
The combatants in this case are members of the Marcantonio clan, the head of the family, Gus (Jim Mezon), an aging King Lear about to divide his kingdom, the proceeds from the sale of his brownstone Brooklyn home, valued at up to $500,000 for each of his children, Phil, the older son (Steven Sutcliffe), M.T. (Maria Teresa) or Empty, his daughter (Kelli Fox), and Vito, his youngest son (Gray Powell)
Mezon (Augusto Giuseppe Garibaldi) is faultless as the 72-year-old patriarch, a life-long member of the Communist party that ultimately succumbed to the cancer of capitalism and its inherent greed, a fact along with his supposed Alzheimer's, has destroyed his desire to live any longer in its faux prison. We discover that the crux of his profound ennui centres really on what he calls his "greatest yet worst achievement," the successful longshoreman's collective agreement that included only those with...
Tim Carroll, the next Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival
Tim Carroll has been named the next Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival. As Artistic Director Designate, Carroll will work with current Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell during the 2016 season to familiarize himself with the complex workings of The Shaw and plan his first season.
A renowned theatre and opera director with international credits, Carroll has 25 years of experience, having begun his career with the English Shakespeare Company in 1990 before becoming the Associate Director at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter.
Carroll's extensive opera experience includes seven years as the Artistic Director of Kent Opera and...
The circus was never quite the same after Canadian Guy Laliberte invented Cirque du Soleil, a magical arrangement of ultra-modern light, sound, costume and gymnastic performers. Laliberte enjoyed a 31-year run, eventually placing his iconic brand in Las Vegas with all of the other high rollers, and he recently sold his rights for a reported $1.5 billion!
Now, a lighter version, Le Grand Cirque has capitalized on Laliberte's revolutionary circus evolution as I watch their magic act at the Fallsview Casino. 42 performers and six huge trucks of equipment translate into an exciting run at the Avalon Ballroom which has been transformed into an eclectic gymnastics facility where performers exhibit incredible feats of strength, balance, dexterity and courage, causing the audience to gasp several times throughout the fast-paced, 80-minute performance.
Like cotton candy served up at a fair...
Watching Shaw's production of Moss Hart's self-indulgent, solo (no George F. Kaufman), 1948 comedy, Light Up the Sky, is like being force-fed cotton candy, thin spun sugar that contains mostly air, the sort of fancy, vacuous fluff served up at fairs, circuses and carnivals and surely not fit for the Festival Theatre's main stage! Yet, under the direction of Blair Williams (A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur and Peace in Our Time last season), there it was, and as most dentists might predict, it led to discomfort during a painful, protracted first act. The second act was mercifully shorter, but upon leaving, I overheard a patron opine that it (the play) was good - good that is, because it was over.
The action centres on the principals involved in an opening night theatrical production which has trials in Boston, prior, it is hoped, to opening on Broadway. All of the stereotypes are represented in hyperbolic, farcical form - Sidney Black, the ultra-capitalist producer/financier (Thom Marriott), Carleton Fitzgerald, the neurotic, teary-eyed director (Steven Sutcliffe), Irene Livingston, the histrionic leading lady (Claire Jullien), Stella Livingston, the street-wise, wise-cracking mother (Laurie Paton), augmented by her side-kick, gin rummy-playing, nasal-voiced...
The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt - Royal George Theatre
"She has just arrived in our city. Nothing will ever be the same."
At intermission, I step outside the Royal George Theatre, greeted by several lush flower baskets hanging from above. The sweet sound of jazz sifts from the Epicurean courtyard across the street, and fellow patrons race and return with prized gelato from a nearby shop. A caleche saunters by, pulled easily by a powerful Percheron, a breed of draft horse with roots in France. The driver bends slightly for tourists to better hear her commentary amidst the steady clip-clop generated by the heavy hooves as they hit the Queen Street pavement. An enchanting Niagara on the Lake evening!
Inside the theatre, it's not so tranquil. I watch a brilliant new play by Québécois playwright Michel Marc Bouchard depicting the battle between celebrated actress Sarah Bernhardt and the Catholic Church...
Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell and the Shaw Festival are pleased to announce the 2016 playbill. Marking the Festival's 55th season and the end of Maxwell's 14-year tenure, the 2016 line-up of 10 diverse productions includes works from the heart of the mandate, contemporary Shavian pieces and the world premieres of two commissioned works.
Of her final season as artistic director, Maxwell says: "The 2016 season sums up the journey the Shaw Festival has taken during my time here. I arrived with a number of passions and priorities that focused on producing work that would showcase equality and diversity of plays and players. This season has newly realized pieces true to our mandate alongside work from brilliant contemporary Canadian and international voices, and an original production on the Festival Stage. These offerings are an excellent representation of the Shaw Festival today - a progressive, leading cultural and artistic voice in Canada and beyond."
The season's two commissioned works illustrate Maxwell's legacy at the Shaw Festival; expanding...
With a talented cast and a hilarious yet sardonic examination of pre-nuptial affairs, director Liza Balkan takes us on a merry romp written by Mark Crawford, his version of a small town, rural Stag and Doe in which "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
Bonnie (Katie Lawson) and Brad (Craig Pike) are setting up for their fundraiser at the 4H Hall, and on the same day, Mandy (Ferelith Young) and Rob (Andrew Fleming) are being wed, but a storm blows the wedding tent far away into a farmer's manure pile, so the 4H Hall becomes a prized venue (Bill Chesney's set, perfect for the behind-the-wedding-scene's action.) over which the two couples threaten various legal initiatives to gain exclusive access for the evening. Meanwhile, Dee (Lisa Norton), Bonnie's maid-of-honour and best friend (formerly left at the altar by Rob) and Jay (Iain Stewart), the caterer/cook arrive to discover that Jay's staff is in jail for reckless driving and substance abuse. It's a recipe for disaster and hilarious comedy and a brief look at the outlandish finances behind weddings that ultimately force Lawson and Pike to re-examine...
Elocution, elocution, elocution!
With Shaw's creative director Peter Hinton at the helm, you know that you will see something unique and well-researched. And after his brilliant interpretations of decadent Cabaret and insolent Lady Windermere's Fan, this season he zeroes in on the inequity of modern day wealth, not just class, with a gritty contemporary rendering of Pygmalion. Hinton offers current views of class and even race amidst the gargantuan economic divide that exists between the 1% who own most of the world and the rest of us poor souls.
The story remains the same, an unlikely pairing of lower class Eliza, a flower girl with dark Asian skin, who dreams of moving up in the world and linguistics professor, Henry Higgins, a world expert on speech, who records her horrific accent and afterwards accepts a bet by his friend and fellow linguist, Colonel...
Excellent dramatic and comic sleight of hand in a murder mystery
I recently took in Corpse at Port Colborne's Showboat Festival Theatre, great summer theatre with an impressive performance by Bruce Davies (see below) and a more than capable supporting cast which included Jonathan Ellul, Melanie Janzen and Phil McLaren. Congratulations to all for keeping this worthwhile, accessible theatre in Niagara.
The play is billed as Sleuth mixed with Deathtrap and farce, and it delivers unpredictable turns to the very end. Set in London in 1936, it tells the story of twin brothers, one of whom plots to murder the other in novel fashion. Evelyn, an unemployed actor, with theatrical flair and a penchant for dressing in myriad exotic costumes, including those of a lady, employs "Major" Powell, burdened with...
Sweet Dreams Are Not Made Of This
When moving to Niagara from Oakville in the 70s to teach in a local high school along with my equally qualified wife, in the staff room there was open speculation by a few Neanderthals ? whether it was appropriate that we both teach, and why should my wife take a good job from a man? Sadly, the church that I belonged to then also preferred her to be barefoot and pregnant, cooking in the kitchen. Caryl Churchill's play, Top Girls, examines the weighty issue of women in the workplace not long after our experience ? circa1982 when Maggie Thatcher, "The Iron Lady" was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990.
Top Girls is an opportunity for Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell, to strut the collective clout of her wonderfully adept female cast, and Julia Course, Tara Rosling, Claire Jullien, Fiona Byrne, Catherine McGregor, Laurie Paton and Tess Benger are more than up to the task, most playing multiple roles.
The opening restaurant scene, a surreal celebration of Marlene's (Fiona Byrne) promotion is worthy of a Salvador Dali painting, each invited female icon, real or imaginary, obsessed with her own success...
The typewriter, an instrument of liberation?
J. M. Barrie's Twelve-Pound Look is a brief, 35-minute vignette or character sketch of British male-female relations in the early1900s, appropriately produced by Shaw at the Court House Theatre, in its last season in Niagara on the Lake. The male dominance that is skewered by Barrie seems to be in its last season also as the play opens with Harry Sims (Patrick Galligan) and his wife, Lady Sims (Kate Besworth) rehearsing Harry's upcoming ceremonial knighthood.
Galligan is superb as Harry, a classic old order male dinosaur who is obsessed about appearance to the extent that both he and his wife practise repeatedly in their muscularly furnished home, featuring manly busts and black leather couches - thanks to designer William Schmuck. Everything must look just so, particularly the...
Between a rock and a hard place?
Ibsen's New Woman pushed the limits society imposed on women, preceding the notion of 1960s feminists. Gail Finney describes this woman as someone who "typically values self-fulfillment and independence rather than the stereotypically feminine ideal of self-sacrifice; believes in legal and sexual equality; often remains single because of the difficulty of combining such equality with marriage; is more open about her sexuality than the 'Old Woman'; is well-educated and reads a great deal; has a job; is athletic or otherwise physically vigorous and, accordingly, prefers comfortable clothes (sometimes male attire) to traditional female garb."
In Ibsen's notes for A Doll's House, he asserts, "A woman cannot be herself in contemporary society, it is an exclusively male society with laws drafted by men, and with counsel and judges who judge feminine conduct from the male point of view."
I don't ever want to grow up!
Kate Besworth in Peter and the Starcatcher Fascinating, brilliant, exhilarating - on but rare occasions is one fortunate to be part of an audience that delights and emotes with a marvelous cast. We magically fuse within the narrative, each reveling in powerful and joyous synergy. And at the end, one immediately jumps up from one's seat and heartily applauds the unique experience. Such is the case with Peter and the Starcatcher, directed by Jackie Maxwell at the Royal George Theatre. It is superb, must-see viewing at the Shaw Festival this season, a show for all ages especially those who refuse to grow up!
Yes, it's the prequel to Peter Pan and as Maxwell suggests, the Festival 'takes you on a journey...
On a sunny yet crisp Saturday afternoon in Niagara on the Lake, the Shaw Festival's Sweet Charity and its energetic star, Julie Martell, (Charity Hope Valentine), who belts out six songs, earned a standing ovation from the appreciative audience. Martell is centre stage in the program and exudes energy throughout the entire musical.
Long-legged Melanie Phillipson (Helene) and similarly-endowed Kimberley Rampersad (Nickie) frame the diminutive Martell for many song and dance numbers choreographed by Parker Esse, and Musical Director Paul Sportelli's excellent orchestra provides the musical get-up-and-go. Big Spender in Act One and The Rhythm of Life in Act Two keep us bouncing in our seats and Jeremy Carver-James as Daddy Brubeck in the latter tune is a wonderful mix of Rev. Jim Jones and Jimi Hendrix, the ensemble dressed in Charlotte Dean's eclectic hippie attire.
Kyle Blair's anxiety-prone Oscar Lindquist as Martell's would-be beau is remarkable - both stuck in an elevator and on a Coney Island ride frozen high up in the air. The sudden dénouement involving the two drew audible gasps from the crowd...
Shaw has opened its 54th season with the 1897 comedy, You Never Can Tell, its seventh production in Festival history. Directed by veteran Jim Mezon, it begins tellingly in a dentist's seaside office with Gray Powell (Valentine) pulling his first commercial tooth. For an extra five shillings, he employs gas on Patrick McManus (Fergus Crampton). Then, alas, the gas is turned on us, the audience.
After 18 years in Madeira, the Clandons - Tara Rosling (Mrs. Clandon), and her adult children, bizarre twins, Stephen Jackman-Torkoff (Philip Clandon) and Jennifer Dzialoszynski (Dolly Clandon) along with sallow-faced Julia Course (Gloria Clandon) return to England, holidaying serendipitously at the same seaside, wonderfully designed by Leslie Frankish, replete with nifty props.
Rosling is author of progressive parenting pamphlets, yet neglects to tell her three children who...
Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the U.S.A., established in 1885 as the Niagara Reservation, the first of several such reservations that eventually became the cornerstones to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Frederick Law Olmsted, landscape architect of Niagara Falls State Park, also designed Central Park in New York City.
In 1969, an earthen dam was built across the head of the American Rapids, dewatering the American Falls. For six months, geologists and engineers studied the rock face and the effects of erosion. It was determined that it would be too costly to remove rock at the...
The Niagara Falls are located on the border of Ontario, Canada and New York, USA.
The Niagara Falls are made up of 3 waterfalls, the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the Horseshoe Falls.
The Horseshoe Falls are the largest and the Bridal Veil Falls the smallest.
The 3 waterfalls combine to produce the highest flow rate of any waterfall on earth.
The largest vertical drop is over 165 feet (50 metres).
The Niagara Falls were created by glacier activity around 10000 years ago.
Shaw and Stratford's 2015 Musicals = money in the bank!
Ontario's two major theatre companies have geared up this season with new productions and hope to cash in on an influx of American money since our Loonie's fall promises to spark much greater tourism from the U.S. And when it comes to cash flow, Niagara on the Lake's Shaw Festival and the Stratford Festival regularly employ musicals to fill both seats and coffers which, of course, allows the artistic directors to run other productions that might not fare as well at the box office.
This season, Stratford's Antoni Cimolino offers two musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein - The Sound of Music and Carousel while Shaw's Jackie Maxwell counters with Sweet Charity, originally conceived, staged and choreographed by Bob Fosse...
Twenty Valley's Get Fresh in the Valley Passport Program
If winter got you down, pick yourself up with this year's "Get Fresh in the Valley Passport Program" on the weekends of April 11&12, 18&19 and 25&26, 2015 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The wineries of the Niagara's Twenty Valley have joined forces with local executive chefs to craft spring inspired recipes for the Get Fresh in the Valley Spring Cookbook. The cookbook is a special addition to the traditional passport program which invites wine lovers to sip new vintage and aromatic wines paired with spring inspired dishes at 22 wineries spanning from St. Catharines to Beamsville.
Passport holders will collect a recipe card at each stop along the Get Fresh route to complete...
Spring has arrived in Buffalo Niagara and, along with it, so have buds on the trees, beautiful bulbs and temperatures hovering around 50-perfect light jacket weather for touring the city, visiting the vineyards and grabbing a Beef on Wick to go! For something special, make plans to enjoy the boutiques and artsy vibe of Elmwood Village or the scenic beauty and history of Williamsville. Everything's coming alive, and the best place to be is in Buffalo's great outdoors!
If you are Polish, be sure to enjoy Buffalo's first spring festival - Dyngus Day! the annual post-Lenten bash, attracts tens of thousands to Buffalo, New York to celebrate spring, show Polish pride, flirt with pussy willows and listen to the best polka bands in the nation. Dyngus Day always falls...
Picasso. Matisse. Miró. Pollock. Warhol. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is known to have one of the most intimate, significant and impressive modern and contemporary art collections in the world. And when you've tired of masterworks from the 20th and 21st century (as if that's possible) you'll also find impressionist and post-impressionist works by Gauguin, Cezanne and Van Gogh to soothe your aesthetic soul.
Ice Bikes of Buffalo Kick Into High Gear - Made-in-Buffalo Ice Bicycles Receive National Attention
This waterfront city already famous for creating chicken wings has a new claim to fame: ice bikes. Ice Bikes of Buffalo have received national attention since their debut on Buffalo's resurgent waterfront in December. The bikes have a stainless steel frame with blades that allow riders to seamlessly glide and steer as they pedal on Buffalo's newest waterfront attraction, the 33,000 square foot Ice @ Canalside, one of the largest outdoor rinks in New York State.
Inventor Lisa Florczak said she believes she is the first entrepreneur in North America to rent out ice bicycles in a public space. The bikes have been a huge hit, with passengers of all ages, from 8 to over 80, giving them a try.
The Florczak family owns and operates another rental business, Water Bikes of Buffalo, which allows outdoor recreation enthusiasts to pedal up the Buffalo River and onto...
30th Annual Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival May 15-21 - Amherst Dipson Theatre, 3500 Main Street, and May 31 - June 7 - JCC Theatre In Getzville, NY
The 30th annual Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival - the third longest running festival of its kind in North America - will present 18 award winning and critically acclaimed films from around the world including Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Poland, South Africa, USA and Venezuela.
RUN BOY RUN - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2glYxp4jw0
Germany, France / 2014 / 107 minutes / Polish, German, Russian, Yiddish /
Director: Pepe Danquart
A superlative saga of courage and compassion, RUN BOY RUN tells the extraordinary true survival story of a Polish boy who seeks the kindness of others in his solitary struggle to outlast the Nazi occupation and keep alive his Jewish faith. An unforgettable cinematic experience featuring exceptional performances, arresting cinematography and transcendent musical score, RUN BOY RUN is directed by Oscar-winner Pepe Danquart and based on the bestselling Holocaust novel by...
Sue-Ann Staff's passion for wine has taken her around the globe, yet one truth became evident to her: she loves the farm! The sights, smells, sounds and most importantly, the lifestyle. A fifth generation farmer in the heart of Ontario's Niagara wine country, Sue-Ann has taken her passion for wine and blended it with her passion for the farm in the bottles of Fancy Farm Girl Wines.
"Fancy Farm Girl is more a state of mind than it is a wine," says Sue-Ann. "Every woman has a bit of a fancy farm girl in her, the girl who rides a Harley, the figure skater who becomes a hockey fan."
Having some fun with alliteration, Sue-Ann has produced four Fancy Farm Girl wines: Frivolous White, Flamboyant Red, Foxy Rose and Flirty Bubbles...
In a recent article on CBC News' British Columbia website, it was suggested that Canadian citizens are only allowed to spend 120 days in the US each year. Incorrect! The Canadian Snowbird Association reminds travellers to the US that this information is wrong.
"Under current policy, eligible Canadian citizens may spend up to six months less a day, in the United States, in any 12 month period," said Bob Slack, president of the Canadian Snowbird Association.
From a tax perspective, long-term visitors who typically spend four or more months in the US each...
Take Shakespeare's malevolent Richard II for the male lead (Vincent O'Neill); add ultra ambitious Lady Macbeth as his scheming wife (Josephine Hogan); set them in a relentless marital (and political) struggle à la Edward Albee in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf; throw in a touch of King Lear, and viola, you have James Goldman's 1966 play, The Lion in Winter, performed by the highly skilled Irish Classical Theatre Company cast, and ably directed by Brian Cavanagh.
This time, the play should be renamed The Lion and Lioness in Winter because Hogan's Eleanor of Aquitaine and O'Neill's Henry II are equally matched, like watching powerful heavyweights Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier box 15 brutal rounds. The play premiered on Broadway in 1966, and was adapted by Goldman into an Academy Award-winning 1968 film, starring Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn...
When snow accumulates on the ground, few travellers here in Niagara want to take road trips that are too far from home. Here are a few travel destination suggestions, two hours or less from home.
Buffalo, N.Y. Yes, shuffle off to Buffalo which has lots to offer including the new, massive 3,252 square metre (35,000 square foot) outdoor skating rink, the largest in New York State, called Ice@Canalside located at the former home of the Buffalo Sabres, Memorial Auditorium. It opened in December, 2014. Admission: $5.00 for 13 years and older. Nearby parking is free at the Erie Basin Marina at 329 Erie Street. Skate rental is $3.00. Try the nearby unique Tim Horton's HarbourCenter.
Another kid-friendly place to visit is the Buffalo Zoo at 300 Parkside Avenue, a 9.5 hectare (23.5 acre) zoo in the middle of beautiful Delaware Park, established in 1875 and open daily year round. It has...
Buffalo, New York, The Kavinoky Theatre - Family Furniture by A.R. Gurney
Family Furniture is yet another
A.R. Gurneyplay, premiered at Buffalo's Kavinoky Theatre, located just across the Peace Bridge at nearby
D'Youville College. Gurney is one of America's most productive playwrights, and this time, his play has geographic resonance with Canadians, set on Lake Erie's Niagara shoreline during the 1950s. All these years, we have been exposed to affluent Americans who have purchased prime properties along Lake Erie from Fort Erie to Port Colborne, to conveniently summer in idyllic cottage fashion upon the lakefront, content to employ family furniture as basic furnishings, a metaphor for their patrician heritage.
Gurney gets all the place names correct, citing Prospect Point, Shaw in NOTL, Ridgeway and other...
Twenty Valley Winter WineFest Expands with Friday Night Concert
The sixth annual Twenty Valley Winter WineFest invites visitors to sip, savour and celebrate world class Twenty Valley Icewines as well as red, white and sparkling selections January 9, 10 & 11, 2015 on Main St. in Jordan Village, ON, during the first weekend of the month-long Niagara Icewine Festival.
"This signature event provides a chance to taste the wide array of wines and styles that truly showcase the extreme talent, strength and variety in Twenty Valley wines," says Twenty Valley Tourism President and Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery proprietor, Sue-Ann Staff, of the festival.
Visitors to the Twenty Valley Winter WineFest are invited to enjoy cozy open fires, live music, stylish fashion shows as well as winemakers' challenges. Indulge in the best of local food with delicious...
Good news for film buffs; Shaw has announced its 2014-15 films. Film series ticket prices are as follows: Single ticket: $12, Film pass - all 12 for $129, Documentary pass - all 5 for $49, Stocking stuffer - 9 features for $99. You may also enjoy a bite to eat before Saturday films at the lunch market which will feature local food trucks and vendors. Doors open at 1:30pm. Saturday films @ 3pm in the Festival Theatre; Friday films @ 6pm in the Festival Theatre. Contact Shaw at: 1.800.511.7429 or www.shawfest.com/films...
The Irish Classical Theatre Company, recently honored as Best Theatre Company in Buffalo by ARTVOICE for the ninth consecutive year, continues its 2014-2015 Season with Arthur Miller's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning masterpiece Death of a Salesman at ICTC's Andrews Theatre Friday, November 7 - Sunday, November 30, 2014.
Willy Loman pursues his fading and elusive American dream. An exploration of failure and success; vulnerability and bravado, this poignant and moving story of love, friendship, pride and betrayal is not to be missed.
Directed by ICTC Associate Director Greg Natale, Death of a Salesman stars John Fredo as the iconic Willy Loman, and features Ellen Horst as Linda, Paschal Frisina III as Biff, Adam Rath as Happy, Joe Liolos as Bernard, Bethany Sparacio as The Woman, Gerry Maher as Charley, Mark Donahue as Uncle Ben, Doug Weyand as Howard Wagner, Jennifer Fitzery as...
Kick-off the Holiday Season with the Wrapped Up in the Valley Winery Passport Program
The Twenty Valley Tourism Association (TVTA) is pleased to announce that passports for
the eighth annual Wrapped Up in the Valley are now on sale. Join us for exceptional wine and food pairings at up to 24 of the area's premium wineries. Wrapped Up in the Valley showcases
VQA wines paired with gourmet appetizers at 24 of the Twenty Valley's wineries. Passport
holders choose a weekend in November 1& 2, 7 & 8, or 14 & 15 and may explore the Valley between 11am and 5 pm.
As an added bonus, assemble your own Wrapped Up Cookbook by collecting the wine and food pairing on recipe cards at each stop along the way. A single weekend passport is $40.00 per person (+ HST) and may be purchased online at www.twentyvalley.ca or by phone at 905-562-3636 and at...
The Jewish Repertory Theatre
Old Jews Telling Jokes
Jewish Comedians have excelled at their calling in seemingly large numbers from slapstick to stand-up to sketch to hosting and more forms of comedy delivery. My parents were fond of Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky), Milton Berle (Mendel Berlinger), Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar, Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx, Jackie Mason and Buddy Hackett (Leonard Hacker).
Canadian born Eugene Levy, Morton Lyon "Mort" Sahl and Frank and Wayne Shuster seemed to fare quite well. I graduated from Jerry Lewis to Sheldon "Shelley" Berman and Mel Brooks (Melvin James Kaminsky). I never cared much for Jerome Allen "Jerry" Seinfeld or Donald Jay "Don" Rickles. Peter Sellers (born Richard Henry Sellers) and Heywood "Woody" Allen (Allan Stewart Konigsberg) were my favourites in the movies.
The guy who currently helps to make my life sane on a daily basis (pun) is Jonathan Stewart Leibowitz host of The Daily Show. He used to showcase Lewis Niles Black who likes to rant. William Edward "Billy" Crystal is adept at movies and stand-up, and I haven't mentioned the ladies yet...
Ailey II - Exciting dance at Brock's Centre for the Arts!
In the talent-hungry professional sports world, rookies emerge from the minors. The parent Blue Jays summon their baseball hopefuls from the Buffalo Bisons; the hockey Leafs, from the Marlies. In dance, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has the luxury of Ailey II that performed to standing ovations recently at Brock University's Centre for the Arts during an international multi-city tour that takes them to France, Germany, Canada and throughout the U.S.
At the David S. Howes Theatre, I watched three pieces - breakthrough, Hissy Fits and Revelations. Breakthrough I enjoyed the most, the stunningly new choreography (2014) by Manuel Vignoulle with music and noises interplaying, the dancers agility, power and grace constantly tested. The 2006 Hissy Fits by choreographer Dwight Rhoden (a former Ailey star dancer) depicts the tumultuous and ambivalent nature of human relationships with J.S. Bach's piano music, a powerful backdrop to the high-voltage interplay of five couples, each of whom feels...
Buffalo, New York - The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
The Rachmaninoff Festival
With energetic JoAnn Falletta conducting, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra was in good form on a brisk October Sunday afternoon performing Part 2 of its Rachmaninoff Festival. The ominous "The Isle Of the Dead" opened the concert, based upon a gloomy painting by Swiss artist Arnold Bocklin of a boat carrying a coffin to an island. Beautiful and melancholy at the same time, an unhurried lament that gathered steam and led to Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op 1, with soloist, Gabriela Martinez from Caracas, Venezuela, exhibiting long, graceful arms - reminding me of Swan Lake as she dazzled us on the keyboards. A Julliard grad, she has performed as soloist and chamber musician in more than 50 concert halls throughout the world. Watching her at the piano and the first violin at her side, both tall, blonde and pony-tailed - was a thrill as...
Buffalo, New York - Irish Classical Theater
The Liar by David Ives
Historically, homo sapiens has heavily invested in untruth. Mythology, religion, politics...pick a Jeopardy category. Bernie Madoff, master of the Ponzi scheme, admitted that his investment firm was "just one big lie," having conned $50 billion from investors who trusted him with their savings.
My favourite liar is Bill Clinton who smoked them but did not inhale them and "did not have sexual relations with that woman," intern Monica Lewinsky. As Dorothy Parker noted above, sex is often the grounds for untruth. That's what satirist Pierre Corneille believed in 1643 France. Corneille, Racine and Moliere were careful in whom they skewered just as Edward Snowden has learned recently when speaking truth to power and in the process annoying the CIA and other clandestine operations. It seems that some people simply don't appreciate the truth as Jack Nicholson (Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, USMC) emphatically suggested to Tom Cruise (Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, USN, JAG Corps) in the movie, A Few Good Men - "You can't handle the truth!"
Niagara Falls - A Winter Vacationer's Dream: Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights set to shine from Nov. 15 to Jan. 12
Canada's foremost illuminations festival runs from November 15 to January 12, transforming the already breathtaking landscape of Niagara Falls into a palette of magnificent colour. A favourite winter attraction for local residents and visitors for more than 30 years, the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights helps people get in the spirit of the season by walking or driving the five-kilometre Niagara Parks Winter Wonderland lighting route and visiting other displays within the Fallsview Tourist District free of charge.
"Winter's deep freeze and snowy weather tends to discourage people from travelling too far from home," said Brian Crow, Co-Chair of the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights. "The Winter Festival of Lights encourages people to come together to appreciate how beautiful winter can be and to experience the wonder of the Falls as the area is transformed into..."
Next Season's Productions Announced - Shaw Festival
The Shaw Festival announced its 2015, 54th season playbill, which features 11 productions including the re-envisioning of two Shaw comedies and two newly commissioned Canadian works. The productions are: Sweet Charity, Pygmalion, Light Up the Sky, Peter and the Starcatcher, You Never Can Tell, The Divine, The Lady from the Sea, Top Girls, The Twelve-Pound Look, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism with a Key to the Scriptures (IHO) and The Next Whisky Bar - A Kurt Weill Cabaret.
Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell comments: "I am very excited by the mix of classic and contemporary plays in our 2015 season. Lauded Canadian playwrights Michel Marc Bouchard and Erin Shields will be presenting pieces from and about our original mandate, commissioned and developed here at The Shaw that will...
Opening Night: The Mountaintop, a depiction of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last night on earth is set in Room 306, the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee on the eve of his assassination, April 4, 1968. Gifted American playwright, Katori Hall, guides us through the 5 stages of loss and grief proposed by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying." King confronts each universal stage - denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and ultimately acceptance. In fact, his final words in this compelling drama are, "I accept," as his image fades into a dazzling array of celestial stars thanks to Shaw's magical designers, Judith Bowden (set), Kevin Lamotte (lighting), and Andrew Smith (projections).
Tonight, we are happily reunited with talented Director Philip Akin and dazzling actor, Kevin Hanchard both from Shaw's previous terrific production of Top Dog/Underdog. Add the other-worldly Alana Hibbert as Camae into the mix, and it's another must-see play at the Studio Theatre...
Opening night -Juno and the Paycock: For me, this is Shaw's strongest, best-acted play of the season with roles to-die-for, made-to-measure for the two principals, Mary Haney as Juno and Jim Mezon as Captain Jack Boyle, the Paycock (peacock). Haney and Mezon are superb along with Benedict Campbell as Joxer Daly, Mezon's crusty sidekick and Corrine Koslo, always brilliant as Maisie Madigan, another struggling lodger in the Boyle's dingy tenement building and Marla McLean and Charlie Gallant, the Boyle children, their sullen, glazed faces epitomizing shock and degradation along with a terrific supporting cast that includes the likes of Gord Rand (Charles Bentham), Jennifer Phipps (Mrs. Tancred), and Lorne Kennedy (Needle Nugent). Wow! What a cast and what a performance!
The Irish are an irascible breed indeed. They are sentimental and prone to anguish, stoked by drink, fanatically devout or worldly, moody and miserable or irresistibly merry with song and dance, and magically lyrical with their wonderful word choice, natural poets who speak expressively of the human condition - evoking an insatiable yearning that can never be quenched, no matter...
Aretha Franklin - an American music icon, the "Queen of Soul"
At the advanced age of 72, Aretha Franklin remains an American music icon, the "Queen of Soul" in the 60s, rated the top vocalist in Rolling Stone Magazine's "100 Greatest Singers of All Time," edging out another favourite, Ray Charles. Who can forget her performance, singing "Think" in The Blues Brothers movie starring Dan Aykroyd (Elwood) and John Belushi (Jake)? Up close in the "Front of Stage" section, with great glee, I watch her perform to a huge, appreciative, hand-clapping crowd at Artpark in Lewiston, New York, not far from where she spent a few years as a child in Buffalo.
She sings two sets, the second, a series of nondescript numbers and some rambling monologue about health issues, Buffalo etc., but the crowd doesn't care. Her encores includes the big hit, "Respect," appropriate and "Memories," which is not, because that song belongs solely to Barbra Streisand, and not even the Queen of Soul does it better...
Margaret MacMillan and Paul Gross headline first weekend event
The Speakers Series begins this weekend with The War to End All Wars?: Commemorating World War One featuring acclaimed historian Margaret MacMillan, author of Paris 1919, and actor/director/writer Paul Gross. The series continues with Thought for Food, a panel discussion led by celebrated food writer and cookbook author Lucy Waverman, on September 13 and At the Heart of the Matter with Lawrence Hill, insightful and accomplished author of the bestselling novel The Book of Negroes, on October 4.
Saturday, July 19, 2014, Royal George Theatre (85 Queen Street), 11 a.m.: a 45-minute intimate talk given by historian and author Margaret MacMillan and discussion of her latest book The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, followed by a Q&A session and book signing.
Sunday, July 20, 2014, Studio Theatre (10 Queen's Parade, behind the Festival Theatre), 11 a.m.: reading of The Accrington Pals, Peter Whelan's play set during the First World War and based on...
The post-card scenic streets and stylish Victorian architecture set amidst myriad dazzling floral displays helped gain this ultra-conservative abode the title of "prettiest town in Canada," normally a rather staid place indeed, where aging demographics (they just closed another school, yet a canine academy would flourish.) inspire the locals to jest brashly about a more suitable name, "Viagra on the Lake."
However, amidst this popular tourist sanctuary where Toronto's 1% enjoys weekend getaway homes and cottages, something is surely amiss. They are "doing it" in public. Not so much in the stunning parks like Queen's Royal Park with its terrific view of sailboats bobbing in the jaunty Niagara River waves just off Fort Niagara. More like on stage, at the celebrated Shaw Festival! My goodness, what is Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell trying to do? Get the defibrillators ready at all four theatres!
Yes, I know that even adolescents have ready access to graphic sexual content on the Internet, but classical theatre? One of this season's big hits, The Philanderer, starts off with two actors "doing it"...
As philander-in-chief, Leonard Charteris (Gord Rand) leads a troubled life. A thinker, not given to emotional whims, he is the philosopher-in-chief of the Ibsen Club (Shaw deeply admired Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet Henrik Ibsen) whose membership rules state that if a candidate is female, she cannot be womanly, and if male, not manly. In other words, traditional sex roles are obsolete. Or are they?
Randy Mr. Randís dilemma in the first act that opens with him making love on the floor to the widow, Grace Tranfield (Marla McLean) is that his outraged lover, Julia Craven, (Moya O'Connell) the spoiled elder daughter of a stuffy army officer (Ric Reid) arrives, demanding his ardor and determined to have it out with McLean who simply goes to bed.
The issue gets complicated further when Grace's father, Cuthbertson (Michael Ball), a drama critic, arrives with a long-lost school friend he has run into by chance at the theater - Julia's father, Colonel Craven. Shaw gets in some good shots at critics as Ball and Reid help up the ante as do Colonel Craven's sharp-tongued, assertive...
Standing amidst a pensive crowd gathered along Victoria above Clifton Hill, we peer at the top of the 10-storey Imperial Hotel. An object called The Wheel of Fate holds Texan, Enrique Valencia, his orange pants and shoes glittering in the sun. Several families visiting from Russia along with their children and another family from Brampton stare beside me. It's a long way up - and conversely down, and there is no safety net as the daredevil walks first inside a rotating steel circle, then ventures on top, performing myriad stunts.
The BIA has achieved its goal. The crowd is entranced. Tim Parker, its Chair, says that a new era of death-defying stunts has begun at Niagara Falls. He tells me that he has always admired the street action in Las Vegas. Slowly, he would like to transform Niagara Falls into a similar venue, luring tourists with exciting free events...
A Lovely Sunday For Creve Coeur at The Shaw Festival
Shaw's production of A Lovely Sunday For Creve Coeur reminds one, via Tennessee Williams, that life is indeed, replete with heartbreak, that we are all destined to experience its repeated anguish, but perhaps it's best to simply press on. Yes, as with The Sea performed in the same Court House Theatre, at the end there is optimism aka hope.
The name crève cur (heartbreak) supposedly derives from the sad tale of a lovelorn Indian girl whose broken heart led her to suicide. Creve Coeur is an area in west St. Louis County, Missouri, in Greater St. Louis, also headquarters of Monsanto, whose genetic farm products have caused heartbreak of their own, but Williams is concerned here with human frailty, people who dream away their lives with false hope and unrealistic expectations. And all four women in the play epitomize...
The Sea is a must-see at Shaw this season! Congratulations to Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell who introduces us to contemporary British playwright Edward Bond , a champion of social justice, not law and whom she regards as "without doubt one of the most uncompromising, radical writers produced by England in the late twentieth century and, like Shaw, his plays rocked the world when they were first produced. The Sea is one of Bond's most accessible works - combining high comedy with disturbing drama, set in an Edwardian England that we are familiar with here at The Shaw - or are we? I am thrilled to be presenting our first piece by this brilliant playwright."
The play is masterfully staged at tiny The Court House Theatre, thanks to brilliant directing by Eda Holmes who cleverly employs...
The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry - The Shaw Festival
Tracy Lord (Moya O'Connell) - sexy, seductive and sophisticated, is an attractive, desirable and a wealthy woman whose extravagant wedding plans to a pompous, self-made man, George Kittredge (Thom Marriott), are complicated by the disquieting presence of her ex-husband, CK Dexter Haven (Gray Powell), and upstart Mike Connor, (Patrick McManus) a sharp-witted journalist ostensibly there to write about the VIP wedding.
Tracy must ultimately choose between doors numbered - 1, 2, and 3, the old game show contest predated by William Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice...
When We Are Married by J.B. Priestley - The Shaw Festival
My parents loved the Jackie Gleason Show that featured "the Honeymooners," Ralph and Alice Kramden, who lived in a dreary Brooklyn apartment building. During their bickering, Ralph, a bus driver (Gleason), would inevitably threaten his long-suffering wife, Alice (Audrey Meadows), with "One of these days Alice, POW! Right in the kisser!"
Groucho Marx suggested that "Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?" and Rita Rudner concluded that "I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life." Socrates, the philosopher who drank hemlock...
Grab you Girlfriends for a Friday Night Out in the Jordan Village... with a little bit of retail therapy!
The good people at Twenty Valley Tourism think they are safe in saying that there are few things in life that women enjoy more than wine, food, shopping and gossip - and these four momentous items when combined - well that is precisely what "Go Sip Girls" is all about. From 5:30 - 10:00 PM on Friday, June 6 the Village will be a women only zone. No, not like Stepford! More like genuine fun!
Each shop in the Village will be outfitted with a different varietal of Cave Spring wine to sample, along with gourmet appetizers and their own unique offerings (with some special promos).
The Charity that Began at Home: A Comedy for Philanthropists
It seems not a week goes by without one being asked to donate to something or someone, ranging from youthful, uniformed cadets selling apples outside the beer store to persistent phone calls from the Diabetes Association to large lotteries run by Heart and Stroke and a never ending list of supplicants wedged in between such that when one inevitably passes a derelict panhandler sitting forlornly on the street with hand stretched out ("Spare some change?"), a donor fatigue sets in...
A Swiss chocolate soldier and a dim-witted cavalry charge
I saw Cabaret at the Festival Theatre and then Arms And The Man at the Royal George Theatre on the same weekend, and the combination was fitting, the former, a dark piece leading up to a world war set in Weimar Germany and the latter, a humorous piece at the very end of war set in Bulgaria.
Director Morris Panych has a star-studded cast to direct in Shaw's comedy about war and marriage (Is there much difference?) and the folklore that surround these often interchangeable items. (Watch "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?")
Welcome to our 2014 Season - Artistic Director's Message
All really good theatre contains an element of surprise. Be it large - say an unforeseen political upheaval - or small - perhaps a personal moment of discovery - the effect is the same. We entered the theatre with a set of expectations and suddenly they have shifted. We must now sit up in our seats, lean forward and follow a new idea - just like the characters onstage. In other words, we are now fully engaged - perfect!
This element of surprise appears in many guises in our 2014 Season. In Cabaret, the brilliant musical set in a glittering nightclub in late 1930s Berlin, we know that politics are in the air...
The Rites of Spring: Twenty Valley Wine-Tasting & Food Pairings
Last weekend on Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13, we took advantage of Twenty Valley's "Get Fresh" wine pairings passports, visiting a total of 11 vineyards out of 24 available, 5 & 6 per day respectively, just the right number (they suggest no more than 8) to enjoy two successive sunny spring days while meandering through lovely rolling countryside, meeting other like-minded samplers from as far away as Port Dover, the GTA, Hamilton and some American folks from both New York State and Pennsylvania. One automobile from Colorado was clearly on an epic journey.
Yes, spring is here in Niagara - with the Get Fresh in the Valley Winery Passport Program!
I don't know about you, but I have had it with this winter's climate that persists even as the Maple Leafs decline in nature each fall and in their sport's seasonal end. Twenty Valley Wineries to the rescue!
They celebrate the return of spring this April with the Get Fresh in the Valley winery passport program, inviting you to be the first to taste spring fresh wines released with their youthful nuances and flavours. It's like watching a newborn colt frolic about in front of his proud parents!
New Niagara on the Lake Outlet Mall Will Open in May
As you drive by on the QEW, you can't help notice that it's big. In fact, it will be Canada's largest open-air outlet mall, the "Outlet Collection" under construction by Ivanhoe Cambridge. It will feature 100 retail stores, including one of three Bass Pro Shops in Canada. Pro Bass will occupy 80,000 square feet of over 520,000 square total feet of space at Glendale Avenue and Taylor Road, across from White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa.
Another Great Winter Weekend Jan. 11-12 at Twenty Valley's Jordan Village
I don't know if I had more fun sampling the food or tasting the wine at this year's Twenty Valley Winter WineFest in Jordan Village. Portobello burgers, pizza from a wood-fired oven, a poutine truck, tacos, chili, soup, veggie Ciabatta, quinoa salad, kale chips, barbecued ribs, pork, beef, chicken and sausage and the pièce de resistance for moi - yes, I succumbed to a delicious icewine butter tart, truly decadent and quite runny, but yum!
Yes, it's time to get out your tuque, warm winter gloves and maybe your long johns (the way our weather is going), and get ready to help celebrate this year's 19th annual Niagara Icewine Festival from January 10-26.
As usual, weekend events are staged at Twenty Valley (Jordan Village) Jan 11-12 and at Niagara on the Lake, January 18-19.
You can savour great Icewine in tasting tours of some of the world's best Icewine producing wineries...
Next year, the War of 1812 will continue unabated in Niagara, but on water, it will be between two American entities, Hornblower Niagara Cruises from San Francisco and The Maid of the Mist Steamship Company owned by the Glynn family from Lewiston, NY. They will face off daily at the base of the Falls, each employing their own vessels to take tourists close to the brink.
The first of the two Hornblower catamarans has recently been completed and will soon be transported to Niagara Falls, Ontario. Hornblower will run its 700-passenger boats from the Canadian shoreline while the Maid of the Mist runs theirs from the American side.
Her logo, echoing that of the Brits, but in a funny fashion, states: "Keep calm and eat on!" That's just the kind of jingoism that food-lovers fancy. Lauren O'Malley Norris is Gathering Niagara.
"Gathering Niagara" was created out of love for bringing people together and making them happy. 'This joy, in my experience, tends to involve fine food, local wine, interesting activities, and live music more often than not,' she says. And based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, there is no shortage of all of the above!
Another season of top films arrives at the Shaw Festival this November and the schedule includes 12 feature films, screened on Saturdays at 3 p.m. in the Festival Theatre as follows:
Nov. 30 - Love is All You Need is directed by Golden Globe and Oscar winning filmmaker Susanne Bier, written by Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen and starring Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm. Philip (Brosnan), an Englishman living in Denmark, is a lonely, middle-aged widower and estranged single father. Ida (Dyrholm) is a Danish hairdresser, recuperating from...
In his uncluttered chocolate-making work area, Leonardo (Leo) Priore holds up a large plastic mould of a Christmas tree. "In the old days, we used to place a small toy inside the hollow there, but now it's a $100 bill or a gift certificate," he jokes. Along with partner, Giovanni Del Priore, Leo is co-owner of Criveller Cakes, "The Sweetest Place in Niagara," and after sampling a few delicious creations in their Niagara Falls patisserie near Five Corners, I readily agree.
They specialize in European-style wedding cakes (650 per year), custom specialty cakes, gourmet chocolates (all hand-dipped) truffles, pastries, delectable cookies and tasty favours for all occasions...
Oscar Wilde said, "Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Not so for Brock University which has acquired a $675,000 donation to its Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, projected to be open for Brock's fall 2015 semester and under construction at the former Canada Hair Cloth building.
$500,000 will go to that facility, and $175,000 to endow the school's Music@Noon recital series. Music performance rooms, labs and classrooms on the first floor of the building will be renamed...
On Friday, September 20, 2013, you're invited to the 32nd Annual Curtain Up! Theatre District Association of Western New York and M&T Bank invite you to Buffalo's historic Theatre District for the 32nd annual Curtain Up! Start the evening off with dinner at any one of the District's fine restaurants or join Honorary Chairperson, distinguished playwright and Buffalo native A. R. Gurney at the elegant Gala Dinner under a bright white tent set in the middle of Main Street just north of Tupper Street. After dinner, catch a show at one of over 20 of Buffalo's outstanding professional theatres When the curtains fall, the free Theatre District street party goes into full gear featuring...
Executive Chef Raymond Taylor's Fine Cuisine at the Fallsview Casino Resort
Energetic Executive Chef, Raymond Taylor, happily walks us through his robust kitchens and not one but two prized Four Diamond restaurants under his care at the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, noting the stylish Chef's Tables sequestered inside each kitchen which can command $200-$500 per plate from myriad high rollers and top notch entertainers who often drop by around 9 pm.
He introduces us to Chadi Khairallah, Chef de Cuisine at 21 Club and Claudio Marchese, Chef de Cuisine at Ponte Vecchio, his affable Four Diamond colleagues, and we are...
Hollywood & 'Vine' - Niagara on the Lake Movie Night in the Vineyard
If one can present the plays of Shakespeare in the vineyard, why not movies? The folks at Trius Winery at Hillebrand have accepted the challenge, and in September they will offer their 'wine country' version of a night at the drive-in with 'Trius Movie Night in the Vineyard!'
Each Thursday night, Trius will show a classic film favourite, ranging from action thrillers like 'Skyfall' to timeless comedies like, 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'. You get to watch each film in the scenic vineyard under a blanket of stars. Such romance! The bonus with Skyfall is that you also get to listen to...
Shaw's 2014 lineup for Court House, Royal George and Studio Theatres
Following its 2014 Festival Theatre playbill announcement, Cabaret, The Philadelphia Story and The Philanderer, the Shaw Festival revealed today the productions planned for the Court House, Royal George and Studio Theatres, as programmed by Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell who said that "Our upcoming season continues to explore a unique mix of works from both The Shaw's original mandate, and modern works that not only embody Bernard Shaw's spirited legacy, but look at the world through a Shavian lens."
It's not just about the water at Niagara Falls - check out the Floral Showhouse!
I'm immersed in a lush floral oasis of flowers, ferns and exotic tropical plants that include the world famous Titan Arum, the tallest flower. Colourful tropical birds cheerfully sing as they fly about the abundant greenery. I wander amidst attractive myriad collections of orchids, succulents and other tropical plant species that have thrilled visitors for over 60 years.
Niagara Falls is not just about large volumes of water. Especially during the summer months, don't miss the spectacular gardens surrounding the Floral Showhouse, including one of Niagara Parks' extensive rose gardens, ponds and...
As this magical play nears its wondrous end with four characters engaged on stage, waltzing in seemingly timeless starlight, someone from the audience shouts out, "Wonderful!" And it's deservedly so. Tom Stoppard's feast of ideas - conflict, humour and the vicissitudes of time is heady material that Shaw's brilliant ensemble expertly explores, including such myriad and esoteric topics as Newtonian physics, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, landscape gardening, entropy, chaos theory, academic posturing and more, so much more that the use of Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to The End Of Love" at the end is...
Niagara Parks Commission Re-Opens Falls Incline Railway
At 62 seconds, it's the quickest rail ride in the world, and at 59.8 metres (196 feet), it's probably the shortest, but for people like me with a mobility handicap, it's a welcome asset to enjoy on opening day.
At a ceremonial public launch, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Chan, Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor and Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) Chair Janice Thomson welcomed visitors to ride on the redeveloped Falls Incline Railway. It improves the links and service between Niagara Parks on the lower level and the Fallsview tourist area above.
The Shaw announces Festival Theatre's 2014 playbill
At Wimbledon, it's called Centre Court. That's the venue where the big matches are contested before the largest crowds to determine who is awarded the coveted prized tennis silverware. In Niagara-on-the-Lake at the Shaw Festival, that corresponding venue is the Festival Stage, the largest of the four theatres, and the venue where the "big plays" are usually staged, those special offerings that Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell hopes will draw the biggest crowds. Today, Shaw announced how it intends to repeat this year's impressive hat-trick of Guys and Dolls, Lady Windermere's Fan and Enchanted April in 2014 at the Festival Theatre.
Shaw's Enchanted April - truly captivating with an enchanting female cast!
When I interviewed Shaw's Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell for the Toronto Sun at the start of the season, she admitted (with great pleasure) that her company enjoys an incredible array of talented female actors. In Enchanted April, - Moya O'Connell, Tara Rosling, Marla McLean, Donna Belleville and Sharry Flett prove her right.
In Maxwell's Director's Notes, she explains "that Enchanted April was an enormous hit as a novel, once more as a movie and Matthew Barber's skilful and moving stage adaptation followed suit, playing successfully on Broadway and in many theatres thereafter. There is no doubt that..."
Queenston's Charm and Niagara Parks' Executive Chef Bill Greenan
Easing along the Niagara River Parkway from Niagara on the Lake's flower-laden Old Town towards the quaint village of Queenston, one encounters mature oaks, maples and a few firs for variety along with several appealing fruit stands that offer succulent cherries and peaches. With the wide Niagara River featuring jet boats and a bike path on one side, myriad wineries and gorgeous homes on the other and Parkway grounds meticulously maintained by Niagara Parks' Commission staff, one relishes what Winston Churchill in 1944 described as "The Prettiest Sunday Drive in the World..."
Saturday Sun, Fun, Wine, Chef Dodd's Treats and Jazz at Trius
"Summertime, and the livin' is easy. Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high"... as I listen to the easy, pastoral George Gershwin lyrics, sip Trius sparkling rosé wine, ensconced in my red canvas deck chair in front of a huge outdoor stage under the cerulean sky, enjoying Niagara on the Lake's lazy warm summer Saturday along with 1200 other jazz aficionados, and thinking this is certainly not hard to take.
The Trius Jazz & Blues festivals are highlights in Niagara during summer festival season, and for 24 years, Trius Jazz & Blues at the Winery has been offering premier Canadian talent to Niagara. Today, it's Ranee Lee, Michael Occhipinti, Ron Davis and Heillig Manoeuvre...
Shaw's Faith Healer, Irish drama at its brutish best!
According to the Vatican, two contemporary yet recently deceased Catholic popes are currently being considered for sainthood. Part of the exacting process involves proof of the performance of miracles. Do you believe in miracles? Well, with perfect timing, you can now take in a performance at Shaw to closer examine this controversial topic.
Brian Friel's play, Faith Healer, appropriately opens with an incantation in shadowy darkness, the lyrical repetition of odd place names that help chart the progress or lack of such by a strange trinity of co-conspirators. They reportedly travel about the remote countryside to obscure UK backwaters in search of...
Niagara Parks Commission Colour Codes Royal Birth!
Okay, we all know that pink is for female babies and blue is for male babies and chartreuse is for...well, never mind that, but rest assured that as the entire world, well maybe the Commonwealth countries in particular, awaits the birth of the newest member of the royal family, the Niagara Parks Commission and in particular, those folks who run the Niagara Falls Illumination Board are preparing a singular illumination of Niagara Falls to celebrate the historic birth date of the future sovereign.
Canal Days visitors can see (and save) the lighthouse!
Unfortunately, the federal government indicated that it will declare 1,000 Canadian lighthouses surplus, and locally, the Point Abino Light Station and Port Colborne Lighthouse are among the listed victims.
Nonetheless, Port Colborne is striving to maintain an important part of its marine heritage, and the lighthouse will be opened up for guests during Canal Days from Aug. 2-5. The tours will be a first step towards a business plan to...
Two 1812 replica vessels, Pride of Baltimore II and Lynx, along with the Unicorn, the only tall ship in the world with an all-female crew, docked at Port Dalhousie Harbour as part of the St. Catharines 1812 Tall Ships weekend celebration.
Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned in 1988 as a sailing memorial to her immediate predecessor, the original Pride of Baltimore, which was tragically sunk by a white squall off Puerto Rico in 1986, taking her captain and three crew members down with her...
A volley of ideas - Tom Stoppard's 20th Century Masterpiece - Shaw Festival's Production of Arcadia
Monday evening, the last in a series of co-sponsored Niagara on the Lake Public Library & Shaw Festival "In Conversations With..." featured Eda Holmes, Director of Arcadia playing at the
Studio Theatre from July 14 - September 7. A good sized crowd was treated to Eda's two guests, both actors in the play - Patrick McManus (Bernard Nightingale) and Diana Donnelly (Hannah Jarvis).
The evening featured a lively discussion of Tom Stoppard's work characterized by Jackie Maxwell as "a play that is set in the past and the present; a past that is..."
Tea for Two at the Prince of Wales - Afternoon Delight in Niagara-on-the-Lake - Guest Blog by Nora Quinn
"God is in the details," observed the celebrated Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, in an aphorism perfectly - if somewhat ironically - suited to Afternoon Tea in the luxurious Victorian Drawing Room at the Prince of Wales Hotel. While the food and the selection of teas do indeed appeal to our English palates, we appreciate even more the charming ambiance created by the antique furniture, the huge bouquets of roses, the perfect table settings (the white linens, the single rose in a slender crystal vase, the silver bowl filled with sugar cubes, the three tier cake stand, the Wedgewood china) and the servers in their...
Port Colborne's Showboat Festival Theatre is alive and well & kicking!
Derek Ritschel, Artistic Director of Port Colborne's Showboat Festival Theatre takes the stage to address the audience prior to the play. Young and enthusiastic, he is pleased with the good-sized crowd. Derek points out the importance of theatre throughout Canada and laments that when one company fails, it affects us all with its ripple effect. Showboat is one of only twenty-five professional summer theatres in the province, and is an integral part of the artistic fabric of Ontario. To save Showboat is to preserve our artistic culture here in our province.
Derek receives a warm round of applause. Showboat recently entered into a formal partnership with Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover and...
A Sensual Feast at Shaw - Peter Hinton's Lady Windermere's Fan
Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan now playing at Shaw's Festival stage is a must-see this season thanks to Director Peter Hinton who made his dramatic debut here in 2011 with Andrew Bovell's When the Rain Stops Falling. Aided and abetted by designers Teresa Przybylski (sets), William Schmuck (costume), Louise Guinand (lighting) and Richard Feren (sound), Hinton's inventive approach to Wilde's play is a delicious visual feast not to be missed.
The audience is immediately ensnared even as they sit before the play begins. We watch a human frieze slowly form in front of the drawn curtain...
What's a signature hole? Think Pebble Beach's 543-yards, crescent-shaped challenge along the Pacific's outcrop of jutting rocks, the sea swelling, boiling and tumbling into frothy waves. There are impressive signature holes also in Niagara, and here are favourites from local duffers surveyed for their top five picks:
1. Grand Niagara Golf Club, 4th hole, par 5: Designer Rees Jones offers a 7,425-yard course, mixing tall fescue grasses, sparkling ponds and trees that flank fairways composed of open, rolling terrain. The lush, green fairways with numerous lakes and myriad bunkers offer inspiring views, many greens reflecting his two-tiered trademark, gently sloped and contoured, rolling true but...
Fourteen Reasons - why to see Shaw's Peace in Our Time
Having read the mean-spirited review of Peace in Our Time in the Toronto Star, written by theatre critic, food critic, travel critic, you-name-it-critic, Richard Ouzounian, I was eager to see the play, and afterwards, it was obvious once again that we did not see the same play. In fact, my spouse and I and the rest of the appreciative audience assembled in Niagara on the Lake's tiny Court House Theatre thoroughly enjoyed Director Blair Williams' and playwright John Murrell's take on Shaw's original piece called Geneva. Over the years, I have come to highly value Mr. Ouzounian in similar inverse manner that I prize Jeff Simon, the movie critic for the Buffalo Evening News. Whatever is panned, I love; whatever is praised, I hate. There are my many reasons why you should see Peace in Our Time. Here are my top 14...
Shaw's Lunchtime "Trifles," Some Serious Matters to Digest
The Shaw program describes this season's lunchtime fare as "Two gripping marital mysteries by two playwrights who helped bring modern drama to America. In Trifles, (by Susan Glaspell) a man is found dead, but his wife can't explain the rope around his neck. In A Wife for a Life (Eugene O'Neill's first play), a husband seeks revenge for his wife's infidelity."
With a running time of 50 minutes, Glaspell and O'Neil don't have much time to develop their themes...
NOTL's Library Program Features Shaw Director Blair Williams
George Bernard Shaw lived until the ripe old age of 94 and amassed 50 plays and 5 novels in that period including Geneva which has been adapted at the Shaw Festival by Canadian playwright, John Murrell, this year into Peace in Our Time: A Comedy Shaw's look at international diplomacy and justice, directed by Blair Williams, who follows Peter Hinton at the NOTL Library Series, In Conversion with...
U.S. soldiers patrolled the Olde Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake this past weekend, flying their 15-stripe flag after the Battle of Fort George reenactment enjoyed by a huge crowd of spectators on a beautiful day. The outcome (as predicted) was the same as that of 200 years ago, but fortunately the Americans did not burn down the entire town again.
The town then was referred to as Niagara. In Upper Canada, Fort George was the westernmost of the British fortified posts on Lake Ontario.
Lyndesfarne's world premier of a George F. Walker play to open in Niagara Falls
Not bad for a small, local production company: Lyndesfarne will offer us a premier in only its second year in Niagara Falls! And Canadian playwright George F. Walker will also direct the production. Neat!
Walker's play is called The Ravine. It involves an odd, homeless woman who literally emerges from a ravine to complicate life for an ambitious politician. And you thought Toronto mayor Rob Ford has problems...
IlluminAqua's 7th season begins this week, a unique blend of music, fire, and fountains set on the waters of the Old Welland Canal. Live performances by award-winning artists take place on a floating stage surrounded by floating fire pods. Concert-goers gather round a waterside stone-stepped amphitheatre to take in the sights and sounds of Fire - Music - Water.
IlluminAqua is part of the "Waterways Arts and Culture Series" held at the Welland Amphitheatre in Merritt Park...
Lunch with Executive Chef, Frank Dodd, at Trius Winery Restaurant, Niagara on the Lake
Located conveniently on Stone Rd., (Highway 55) mid-way from the QEW to Niagara on the Lake, the sprawling Trius Winery at Hillebrand (owned by Peller Estates) is a convenient stop for both wine and food. Here, we soon learn that they are expert at pairing the two.
Executive Chef Frank Dodd lives close by in Virgil, and our gain is the UK's loss. Frank hails from Salford, just outside Manchester, and he learned early in school that he excelled at cooking and that the classes were predominantly female. With such encouragement, he eventually worked at some of the world's finest dining establishments including The Savoy and Dorchester Hotels in London as well as Cliveden Hotel, one of Britain's finest country houses...
Centre for the Arts director Debbie Slade has announced quite a lineup that includes
multiple Grammy Award winning jazz vocalist, Kurt Elling, The Manhattan Transfer, (Dec. 4), whose four-part vocals showcase everything from doo-wop to Broadway.
singer-songwriter and Grammy winner Rosanne Cash, daughter of Johnny Cash and St. Catharines native Ron Sexsmith.
A Nineteenth-Century Marriage Manual For Young American Ladies of the 1%
George Bernard Shaw in Man and Superman reminds us: "You can be as romantic as you please about love, but you mustn't be romantic about money."
Our Betters by Somerset Maugham currently playing at the Royal George Theatre in NOTL is frivolous, vacuous and at times, outright silly, but it is staged perfectly, and the audience loved it. Chalk up another hit this season for Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell.
Jackie Maxwell's Major Barbara or How to Make War on War
George Bernard Shaw was prescient; his plays stand the test of time and contemporary issues such as the Arab Spring, civil war in Syria, bombings in Boston, the world oblivious to the lessons of the Great Wars. That's why his tradition prevails here in Niagara on the Lake, and accordingly, Major Barbara at the Royal George is a play that pits idealism (Barbara) versus realism (her father, Andrew Undershaft) with the ultimate stake, the salvation of souls.
Director Jackie Maxwell adroitly opens the play, with Barbara (Nicole Underhay) centre stage...
The Niagara on the Lake Public Library Teams Up With Shaw Festival
Congratulations to Cathy Simpson, Executive Director of the Niagara on the Lake Public Library for more exceptional programming offered this spring and summer with three "In Conversations With..." Shaw Festival Directors, commencing with Peter Hinton (Lady Windermere's Fan).
Peter was the Artistic Director of English Theatre at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa from 2005 - 2012 and in 2009, was made an officer of the Order of Canada. At NAC, Peter was the first to offer...
Yes, Art Park turns 40 this season, the lovely setting in Lewiston, New York where we used to visit in its early days, walk around the open air art exhibits, and then in the evening, sit on the grass, sip wine and watch the National Ballet of Canada perform all for $6! What a deal!
The 40th celebrations will involve jazz, the Buffalo Philharmonic and ballet. You can view...
Experience Niagara's moisture this spring; get soaked!
This spring, there are two ways to get soaked in Niagara. No, not the kind of soaking that you might experience at the casino. Rather, the kind wherein you get wet like that shower scene in the movie, Psycho. Just kidding, but yes, as with the vessels that run through the Welland Canal, both the Whirlpool Jet Boats and the Maid of the Mist boat ride are now back in action, the former offering a complete immersive operation in which one gets totally soaked no matter what protective gear worn and the latter, a gentler, misty experience with plastic ponchos keeping one relatively dry except for your face, and if you wear glasses, well, good luck unless you have windshield washers installed.
So, you have purchased tickets to the Shaw Festival. Your first concern might be where will you sit and in what theatre? There are four. Each is located just on Queen St., Niagara on the Lake's main street that runs through the concentrated business area where one may shop or treat oneself to an ice-cream cone, although the Festival Theatre uses the street name, Queen's Parade. Niagara on the Lake does that a lot. A street might acquire three different names while it runs its course!
Coming off a successful 2012 season that emerged with a slight yet welcome profit margin despite harsh economic times, the Shaw Festival's winning formula is to serve up a sure-fire musical hit to help carry the day. On the heels of My Fair Lady and Ragtime, the new production of the Tony Award-winning musical Guys and Dolls will easily maintain that solid tradition. At an afternoon preview performance, with the ensemble gathered on stage during the last number, the appreciate crowd jumped to its feet with a loud, standing ovation that must have...
Lunch with Chef de Cuisine, Steve Sperling, at Niagara on the Lake's Charles Inn
It's a sunny, intoxicatingly warm day in Niagara on the Lake, and The Charles Inn, a refurbished, luxurious 1832 Manor House is well equipped to take advantage of the dazzling, welcome weather. I sit with Chef de Cuisine, Steve Sperling, in the wonderful window-panelled front veranda that transmits nature to our very table, as we watch people saunter along NOTL's main drag, Queen Street.
The Charles Inn backs on to the Niagara on the Lake Golf Club, North America's oldest golf course which is also a public course. Nearby, Lake Ontario at its juncture with the Niagara River provides...
The ideal day-trip or longer visit - Niagara on the Lake in May
May is a good time to visit the Prettiest Town in Canada, so named by Communities in Bloom, and it's a short drive from Toronto.
Protected by the Niagara Escarpment, the rich soil and temperate climate in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake create superb conditions for winemaking. "Making wine is not what we do, it's who we are," says Paul Bosc, a sixth generation vintner and head of Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard...
This year's twenty-fifth anniversary Cuvée held at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls allowed 40 winemakers to choose their favourite wine with one wine served at each table. Actually, it was one each of red and white. Also, there were 10 food stations. Proceeds from Cuvée went to the Niagara Community Foundation.
Want to know what's the best? For your personal Niagara purchasing decisions, here's what each winery favoured:
Support local Talent - Celebrate Country Singer Tim Hicks
It's always nice to support local talent, and in this case, it's singer/song writer Tim Hicks who attended A.N. Myer in Niagara Falls and was a valued member of our Model UN Club which competed at prestigious events held at major U.S. Universities such as Harvard, Yale and Chicago. I omit Buffalo's Canisius College and D'Youville because they may be closer, but the competition was a little keener at the other venues. Tim competed well and knew his foreign policy, which you can amply see in the accompanying YouTube video which explains the basic differences between Canada and our neighbour, the U.S.A.
Do you like to sip inspired Niagara wine and taste delicious Niagara morsels?
Well then get thee to Twenty Valley whose wineries and local executive chefs have joined to craft recipes for the "Get Fresh in the Valley Spring Cookbook," added value to the traditional passport program which invites wine lovers to sip new vintage and aromatic wines paired with spring inspired dishes at 24 wineries spanning St. Catharines to Beamsville.
Passport holders collect a recipe card at each stop along the "Get Fresh" route to complete the Get Fresh in the Valley Spring Cookbook...
Good News for Niagara readers from Dave Hunter, author/broadcaster and WTWS writer:
3rd Reading of the IDP bill by Florida's Senate passes unanimously
The bill to repeal the requirement for Canadians to require an IDP before driving legally in the State was read in the Florida Senate for the third time today and was immediately certified after a unanimous vote of 38 For and 0 Against.
It must now be signed into law by Governor Rick Scott before becoming effective...
So, you are interested in Niagara culture? Well, you have come to the right place...well, almost, but we can re-direct you to cNiagara.
What is cNiagara? It's an online event listing and information site for culture in Niagara. Material is focused on the arts, heritage and...
Enjoying Niagara's Bounty with Executive Chef Frank Romano at the On the Twenty Restaurant
The panoramic view through the dining room's wall of windows is extraordinary. We watch a turkey vulture then a red-tailed hawk on rising thermals - soar, dip and glide high above Niagara's Twenty Valley, the Niagara Escarpment thrusting air currents back against feathers that dance in the warm draughts.
My spouse sips Cave Spring Sauvignon Blanc and I enjoy the off-dry Riesling while we sample fois gras with affable Frank Romano, recently appointed Executive Chef of Jordan's Station fine dining establishment, the highly acclaimed On the Twenty restaurant.
After last year's inaugural run which attracted 1,184 participants from 7 provinces, 16 states, England and Australia, the 2nd annual Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon will take place Sunday, June 2nd.
Organizers predict that 3,000 women will register, and a feature of this half-marathon is that you run by the falls twice so there are two informal water breaks even if you do not ingest...
Niagara Falls International Sand Exhibition to Commemorate the War of 1812
Who has not built a sand castle at the beach? It brings out the child in all of us; however, when you watch the video after the fold, you will be amazed at the artistry involved by the many professional sand sculptors who patiently and methodically constructed the Niagara Falls International Sand Exhibition that commemorates the War of 1812.
A New St. Catharines' Hospital for Niagara patients
Thursday marks the opening of the new St. Catharines hospital located on Fourth Ave., which features new cancer, cardiac and mental health centers along with a revamped emergency room. Construction began in 2009 amidst great controversy in spread-out Niagara's 12 municipalities with hospitals on the fringes being either closed or...
While Niagara on the Lake is seeking a new town flag to help commemorate the War of 1812, St. Catharines will honour its citizens with special flags of their own, the type that you see in other municipalities flying above downtown streets. Brantford has Wayne Gretzky, but St. Catharines is soon to display Gerry Cheevers and Stan Mikita, two NHL stars who skated for Boston and Chicago respectively.
Music Invades Niagara on the Lake During War of 1812 Festivities
A second summer concert has just been announced for NOTL. The Grove Music Festival will be staged at Butler's Barracks Saturday, Aug. 3, and will feature Phoenix, Hot Chip and Girl Talk. The Grove Music Festival augments the previously announced concert in NOTL on June 29 featuring St. Catharines native Dallas Green performing as City and Colour alongside Metric, Jimmy Eat World, Serena Ryder and Yukon Blonde.
Brock University 2013 Film Society Season Winding Down
The BUFS 2013 Winter Season includes eleven films and runs Wednesdays from January 16 to April 3, with no screening on March 13. BUFS screens films on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Empire Theatre, Pen Centre. Tickets are available at the BUFS ticket table in the theatre lobby from 6:00 p.m. to 6:55 p.m. on screening nights. All tickets for all screenings are $10, tax included.
The second consecutive concert will be held at The Commons at Butlers Barracks in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Last year, it was Canadian rock icons, The Tragically Hip along with performances by Death Cab for Cutie, The New Pornographers and Rural Alberta Advantage performing in front of 20,000 people.
"Venom," no, it's not question period in the House, but a Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory exhibit!
The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory has announced a new "family friendly" educational exhibit named "Venom," created by Little Ray's Reptile Zoo of Ottawa. It will run from February 9 - May 12. The Venom exhibit includes tarantulas, scorpions, highly poisonous toads, rattlesnakes, vipers and one of only two king cobras on display in Canada. Unfortunately, Indiana Jones is not available.
Christmas Trees - from decorative display to magical mulch!
The good folks at Niagara Parks recently encouraged people to bring bag and shovel to collect FREE wood chip mulch, recycled from discarded Christmas trees. Winter is a special time at the grounds of the Botanical Gardens. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk to take in the winter form of plants, discover the student designed winter displays found throughout the gardens, visit the ornamental bird collection (aviary) or watch the many different species of birds as they fly in and out of the Niagara Gorge...
Niagara Icewine, so sweet it demands a festival or two or three!
To celebrate Niagara's winter, one must attend one of the many regional ice wine festivals. Last weekend in balmy Jordan Village, at one point, I confess that I cleansed my palate with a refreshing Steam Whistle beer served by a smiling young man dressed happily in a t-shirt. Not ideal for ice carving, but quite relaxing as mellow participants slowly sipped Niagara's best vintages and tapped their feet to lively outdoor music provided by the good folks at the Twenty Valley Tourism Association.
NOTL Library presents - "Beer & Books" at Irish Harp Pub
The kind folk who run the Niagara on the Lake Public Library have certainly placed "pub" into the word "public," producing a partnership worthy of any bibliophile and sipper of suds. Imagine discussing Joyce, Yeats, Shaw, Wilde and Swift at the Irish Pub. Brendan Behan is rolling over in his grave with his pickled liver.
The first meeting takes place Jan. 21, and the book selection is "Bared to You" by Sylvia Day. Beer pairings are offered with book selections, and one is encouraged...
Star Wars at Niagara Falls' Comic Con lineup, June 8-9!
If you love comic books as much as I did as a kid, get ready for Niagara Falls' Comic Con 2013, staged again at the Scotiabank Convention Centre. The event features comic book vendors, artists and movie celebrities such as Darth Vader. How cool is that? I can guess that many adults accompanied mini Darth Vaders during Halloween. Now you get to see the real deal.
Niagara Falls' Dollar Day Discounts at Local Museum and Attractions
Residents are once again invited save their loonies for "Dollar Day" at museums in and around Clifton Hill on Sunday, Jan. 13. In its 25th year, the event allows Niagara Falls residents entry into a selection of Clifton Hill museums and attractions for $1 with proceeds going to Cystic Fibrosis Canada to be used toward research. Last year, the take was $17,000.
Winter WineFest - U.S.S. will play free concert at Jordan Village Jan. 12-13
Toronto's Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, or USS, composed of Ashley Buchholz, aka Ash Boo-Schultz, and Jason "Human Kebab" Parsons, who certainly have a way with words, will headline this weekend's Winter WineFest in Jordan Village. One suspects that the duo will wear electrical cords with power strips and surge protectors. Their success dates back to their first single, Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole, went viral on Toronto rock station 102.1 The Edge in 2008.
Dinner with Milestones' Executive Chef, Abraham Garcia
"Food is an expression of love in the family," states Executive Chef, Abraham Garcia. He heads a kitchen crew of 30 associates at upscale Milestones Restaurant located inside the Marriott Gateway at the Falls Hotel.
We sit in a comfortable booth adjacent to a long glass wall, strategically located to provide patrons with a panoramic view of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Dressed in civvies, sincere and affable, he talks about his career and, of course...
In the Buffalo-Niagara region, over 100,000 NEXUS cards have now been issued to help speed up border crossings. NEXUS is a joint Canada-United States program designed to allow pre-approved, low-risk travelers to cross the Canada-U.S. border in much quicker fashion, thereby avoiding long waits at border entry points. One simply uses self-serve kiosks at airports, reserved lanes at land crossings or phones border officials when entering by water.
Eau de toilette is a lightly-scented perfume employed as a skin freshener, and toilet waters are often named after a principal ingredient. Examples are: Geranium Water, Lavender Water, Lilac Water, Violet Water, etc.
Recently, Ms Alayna D'Angelo, a 23-year-old Brock University graduate and owner of World Class Fragrance on Fallsview Blvd. has recently unveiled...
The Red Bull Crashed Ice Event - A Great Success In Niagara Falls
Given that Canadian fans have been without skaters for months now thanks to the impasse between the NHL owners and players, it was little wonder that thousands turned out to watch the fun and excitement of skaters competing in the recent Red Bull Crashed Ice Event on Saturday, Dec. 1.
The probable face-off between defending world champion, Canadian Kyle Croxall and his Finnish rival, Arttu Pihlainen was over in a flash...
Have You Noticed That There Are A Lot of Wineries in Niagara?
Well, it appears that some other businesses have, and they are actively engaged in unique partnerships throughout the peninsula. Hence, the Shaw Festival has teamed up with 28 Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries to offer an exclusive gift that showcases the best of what Niagara-on-the-Lake has to offer - live theatre and wine.
Yes, the popular Shaw Festival Season's Pass has returned. The Winemakers' Selections Tasting Pass can be used daily, anytime, all year round for...
Next season, the Maid of the Mist scenic tour boats will run from the New York side at Niagara Falls in a new license agreement with the state which receives $105 million over 30 years as host.
The Ontario contract belongs now to California-based Hornblower Canada Co., one of six operators that entered into the Niagara Parks bidding process. Hornblower operates ferries in San Francisco Bay and to the Statue of Liberty...
What's better than sipping good wine and chatting with a Canadian author? The Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library has teamed up with the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake to accomplish just that, presenting Wine & Words, a new author series featuring celebrated Canadian authors paired up with Niagara wines.
The program starts in January and runs monthly through June, each time at a different winery in town...
The Shaw Festival's 52nd season is approaching, and Guys and Dolls will be the big money-maker in 2013, so its casting was priority one for Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell.
Accordingly, Kyle Blair returns to play gambler Sky Masterson after a season at the Stratford Festival's wonderful, fun-filled production of The Pirates of Penzance and 42nd Street. (Stratford produced Guys and Dolls in 2004 with Scott Wentworth playing...
Don't forget that the Friday, November 30 Candlelight Stroll is always a good reason to meander about this historic town, accompanied by local choirs and seasonal entertainment! Why not arrive early and try one of many great restaurants prior to the stroll.
The stroll starts at the Court House on Queen Street...
Fallsview Casino celebrates the Christmas holidays with annual show
I was in the audience for a rousing "Spirit of Christmas" show which featured dozens of holiday tunes with a glittering cast of quick-changing singers and high-stepping dancers in gorgeous costumes, presenting a chorus line with shapely legs!
The dancing was well-choreographed, crisp and high-energy; the music spirited and lively; the sets and costumes sensational, and they included a skating rink and a real horse-drawn carriage for Santa!
Canada's largest FREE new year's eve extravaganza features Dragonette, Hedley and Nelly Furtado
The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC), Entertainment Tonight (ET) Canada and Niagara Falls New Year's Eve event partners have announced an electrifying roster of musical talent for Canada's largest televised New Year's Eve event featuring
ragonette, Hedley and Nelly Furtado.
This free show begins at 7:30 p.m. in Queen Victoria Park overlooking mighty Niagara Falls,
and it draws more than 40,000 people. Included are two spectacular fireworks displays during the evening as well as...
In Niagara, Santa Claus is coming to town...in fact, many towns!
Have you been naughty or nice? You can soon check out Santa and his reindeer all over Niagara, and here is a complete list of events in their chronological order:
Date: Saturday November 17, 2012 at 10:40am
Route: Parade will begin on Victoria Ave at Armoury St and then travels north on Victoria, east on Valley Way, east on Queen St., ending at City Hall on Queen St.
The 2013 Shaw Festival Film Series will again inspire us through the winter months while the Festival itself traditionally rests up temporarily and then revs up by building sets and preparing rehearsals for their new season.
The "Feature Films" begin on Saturdays at 3pm at the Festival Theatre with the schedule thus far decided as follows: Dec. 1, Beasts of The Southern Wild; Dec. 8, The Intouchables; Dec. 15, Bernie; Dec. 22 W.E.; Dec. 29, Salmon Fishing in The Yemen...
YAAAWNN! Yes, it's that time of the year for residents to sleep at frugal rates while helping out a number of charities. The ninth annual Sleep Cheap Charities event takes place again this November, but local hotels began taking reservations Monday, Oct. 22.
The event runs for five nights from Sunday, Nov. 11 to and including Thursday, Nov. 15 for Niagara Region residents only. Minimum donations for rooms remain the same as last year: $35 per night for a standard room, $45 for a Fallsview room, $65 for a whirlpool room, and $85 for a room with access to a water-park.
Over the last eight years, the event has raised more than $1,000,000 for local charities.
My goodness! It was just like being at an ABBA concert in the '70's. ABBA was a Swedish pop/rock/disco group formed in Stockholm in 1972, and their name is an acronym of the first letters of the band members' first names.
Having sold over 370 million records worldwide, they became one of the most commercially
successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts for a decade up to 1982
Located across from the new Niagara Falls Casino and with a gorgeous view of the Falls, the 23-story Marriott Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel & Spa has been named one of the best hotels in Niagara Falls by the travel website, Travelocity,
The hotel has been awarded the "Excellence Award," recognizing the outstanding services and performance of the hotel and...
News item! British defeat Americans on Queenston battlefield - again!
You might say that the fix was in. Las Vegas bookmakers would not touch our Canadian loonies. With no hockey in sight this season thanks to the lockout, approximately 15,000 fans arrived to watch a replay of the critical battle at Queenston Heights on Saturday, its 200th anniversary.
Kit Henry said, "The canon was SO LOUD! After the muskets fired, there was a mist of smoke drifting over the re-enactors. It was great! And at the end, the Americans...
Your Choice Of Browser
This article is for those users that run Microsoft Operating Systems, not MacIntosh or Linux, as it is the most commonly used OS. The previous article on Operating Systems discussed several different systems and this article will expand on the use of Windows XP, Windows 7 and the new Windows 8 coming out in the next few weeks:
When Windows was installed on your present computer it came bundled with the Microsoft Internet Browser and you very well may have adopteded its use because it was there and you did not know about any alternatives. In chatting with other computer users, going into web page forums and...
The Shaw Festival's Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell, has announced the 2013 season playbill for its upcoming 52nd season.
On the Festival Theatre stage, there are two premieres and an Oscar Wilde return - Lady Windermere's Fan directed by Peter Hinton, who also directed the critically acclaimed 2011 production of Andrew Bovell's When the Rain Stops Falling.
Guys and Dolls will be directed by Tadeusz Bradecki, and Enchanted April, the Tony Award-nominated stage adaptation by Matthew Barber of Elizabeth von Arnim's bestselling novel will be directed by...
Jack Frost, no friend to the Niagara apple industry!
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but the delicious tender fruit will not be plentiful this fall thanks to early April frosts. Harvest Ontario predicts a horrible harvest with a whopping 85% of the crop destroyed by sub-zero temperatures that killed vulnerable blossoms.
Mark Wright of Wright Brothers Produce in north St. Catharines thinks that Michigan and New York State will be similarly affected.
John Hozjan of Town and Country Farms on Canboro Road reports a 15-20% crop with...
68-years old, Jay Cochrane is not your average retiree. His avocation keeps him on top - literally of a passion that seems to animate him daily - tightrope walking! Over the past three months, he has walked approximately 12 miles on a tightrope constructed between the 520-foot-tall Skylon Tower and the 581-foot-tall Hilton Fallsview Hotel. His last performance is scheduled for Sunday.
The self-proclaimed "prince of the air" signs autographs after each...
It's the Shakespearian dilemma, as spoken long ago by Hamlet, the prince of Denmark.
I for one have zipped and lived to zip again. It was great fun and it allowed me to swing high up in the air along with the proper denizens of trees, those creatures that prior to zip lines, enjoyed the leafy canopy all to themselves. Now, us larger mammals have invaded their space or would like to - if the Niagara Parks Commission gets its way, seeking to introduce zip lines into their open natural areas like Dufferin Islands and Thompson Point.
Following up on the Wallenda walk, it appears that the parks people want to add more zip to their...
Selected over several cities, including Calgary, Niagara Falls has been awarded a multi-year contract to host the Red Bull Crashed Ice Tour, an X Games-style event involving downhill ice skating.
Crashed Ice (Red Bull Crashed Ice) is a world tour in the winter extreme sporting event, ice cross downhill (or downhill ice cross), which involves downhill skating in an urban environment, on a track which includes steep turns and high vertical drops. Sponsored by Red Bull, it is similar to ski cross and snowboard cross, except with ice skates on an ice track instead of skis or snowboards on a snow track.
Why drive to Toronto when you can watch the Blue Jays aka Buffalo Bisons lose (and hopefully win) in Buffalo?
If you are weary of driving to Toronto to watch the Blue Jays lose (66 wins & 81 defeats as of today) with no hope of reaching the playoffs, well, things have improved considerably as far as the driving and cost goes because the baby Jays have relocated to Buffalo.
The major league parent baseball team reached a two-year deal with the International League Buffalo Bisons, which means that the Blue Jays' top minor-league team will be only 100 miles from Toronto as opposed to Las Vegas. And to fill the gap...
What to do now with your computer operating system, especially older Windows programs
Guest blog by P. Keenan, Webmaster, What Travel Writers Say
We have received several emails asking for advice on certain "computer problems" our readers have encountered and these queries have been forwarded to our resident webmaster for his help.
The problems have been operating system related, browser related and other aspects of daily computer usage and while this blog cannot be the forum for these issues due to time and space, we feel that the odd blog entry here and there can help our readers deal with their "computer issues" that they come across on a daily basis.
The chart below concerns...
In Niagara on the Lake, angry municipal councillors try to remake Lord of the Rings but civility prevails
Lord knows we already have a plethora of Lords, so de we need yet another that seems just a tad superfluous in this modern day and age? We have Lord Voldemort, Lord Byron, Lord of the Flies, Lord of the Dance, Lord Ganesh, the Lord of the Rings to name a few and, of course, Lord Jesus.
However, in Niagara on the Lake, a councillor was taken to account for addressing David Eke simply as "Mayor" instead of Lord Mayor. Tsk. Tsk. Only in NOTL. In fact, Wikipedia tells us that in Canada, the only town with a Lord Mayor in the traditional sense is...
So, billionaire owners will soon lock out the millionaire NHL players. So, there will be no games on TV. Well, who cares? Soon, more than 100 teams and 800 players from across Canada will head to Niagara Falls (this month) to battle it out for the hockey Redwood Cup National Championship.
Yes, from September 27-29th, 11 rinks will be set up along Victoria Avenue, close to the Courtyard Niagara Falls, offering hotel deals in Niagara Falls. Winners take home the Redwood Cup and will be...
If you wonder sometimes about all of those cars parked at Niven Rd. and Hwy 55, why not join the crowd and enjoy the sixth season of "the Market," a delightful gathering place for locals and visitors alike, looking for good local food.
The vendors are from the Niagara Region as well as their produce - 100% Niagara. The market
features over 30 vendors with a broad range of products from organic fruit and vegetables to cold-process soaps, artisanal bread to wine jellies, cherry products to lavender, and yes, even soup to nuts.
At least two key players are on record stating that 2012 will produce a great crop of grapes to harvest, and in fact, the process has already begun. Paul Speck, Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery president, says that they were fortunate to get rain at just the right moments and that when you mix temperate days with cool nights, a superior vintage emerges.
The Pelham Road winery began its harvest last week, two full weeks ahead of last year's schedule, picking chardonnay and pinot noir. Baco noir is slated for over the weekend and...
Shaw's Hedda Gabler - Lady Macbeth, Maggie, the Cat and a pinch of Cleopatra thrown in!
If Henrik Ibsen's heroine, Hedda Gabler, played NFL football, she would be personified as a ferocious middle linebacker - like gruff Giants Sam Huff, nasty Packers Ray Nitschke and mean Bears Dick Butkus, a human dynamo - guided missile seeking and destroying any ball carrier, and woe indeed to those foolish enough to try and block the way!
The ball carrier in this case is Eilert Loevborg (Gray Powell). Rather than a ball, it's a manuscript. His surname itself cleverly resonates as a former lover, now taken up with Thea Elvsted (Claire Jullien) the wife of the local sheriff...
There are mini-buses, school buses, airport buses, transit buses, Duck tour buses, double-decker buses, coach buses, and now - WEGO buses draped strangely in U.S. colours - red, white and blue, perhaps to catch the election fever south of the border, but signaling the end of the road for the Niagara Parks Commission's green, black and white People Mover buses that have traditionally ferried tourists along the Niagara Parkway since 1985. Alas, like the dead parrot in the Monty Python skit, they have expired.
July 14-21, 2012: The 5th Annual Amazing End-to-End Cycling Holiday covering 720 km of Ontario's waterfront and 41 communities over 8 days.
It's a beautiful Saturday morning, and bicyclists are gathered in NOTL for an eight-day journey by 160 registered bikers along the Waterfront Trail. It's the 5th Annual GWTA or Great Waterfront Trail Adventure, initiated in July, 2008, an end-to-end cycling holiday from Niagara to the Quebec border with a true sense of pride and accomplishment for participants in traveling along the entire 730 km of the Waterfront Trail, a unique experience of southern Ontario!
Shaw's "Come Back Little Sheba" - Reid and Koslo at the top of their game!
Jackie Maxwell openly admires playwright William Inge, so when she became Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival in November, 2002, it was natural that her first directing credit was the celebrated production of Picnic in 2001. Inge enjoyed a string of Broadway hits through the 1950s including Come Back, Little Sheba (1950), Picnic (1953), Bus Stop (1955) and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1957). Picnic won a Pulitzer Prize, and his first screenplay, Splendor in the Grass...
If you want to enjoy an afternoon of frivolity, but desire something a little more amusing than simply watching children play in a park, then head for Shaw and devote slightly over two hours to Jim Mezon's production of His Girl Friday. Blessed with a cast to die for, but subject matter and dialogue that's actually dead, my guess is that the principal direction for the talented crew was to "have some fun out there on the stage," for that's pretty much what they do, rewarded at the end...
Booking Visits to Wine Country Made Easier Than Ever
Wine lovers from anywhere in North America are now able to quickly book online reservations for tastings and tours at wineries in the Ontario wine region with the VinoVisit reservation system.
Bob Iannetta, co-founder of VinoVisit, hopes that more wine regions will follow suit. "An important role of wine associations is to help build a vibrant wine tourism industry. Being committed to attracting new guests, streamlining the process of making reservations and capturing key contact information for future marketing efforts are all key elements..."
You thought that wine tasting was a simple exercise? Not so fast according to the experts at
VinoVisit who have broken down tastings to specific categories as follows:
Standard Tastings A standard wine tasting event is one that is offered to the public on a regular basis, with or without reservations. Typically, a winery will offer 3-5 options called a "flight" over which a Visitor will interact with a tasting room representative. Depending on the winery (and the day) it might be a part-time tasting room manager/wine lover...
Shaw Festival's Millionairess is money in the bank!
Shaw's comedy, The Millionairess, opened to well-earned applause at the tiny Court House Theatre in Niagara on the Lake, featuring Nicole Underhay, an iron lady with a velvet glove who earned a standing ovation for a tour de force as Epifania Ognisanti di Parerga, "the most interesting woman in England" she herself states. From a bombshell entrance to the last line, she totally dominates the stage in much the same fashion as Lorne Kennedy ruled in last year and 2008's The President.
And it's not fluff as with this year's companion pieces, Present Laughter and French Without Tears as Director Blair Williams utilizes a modern approach to...
New jet boat packages blast Niagara trips off to fast summer start
Industry partners are getting wiser in Niagara; why compete when you can augment? Accordingly, Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours has put together new packages for its 20th anniversary season, teaming up with some of Niagara's top attractions to offer visitors several cost-saving deals. Each package allows travellers to explore some of the region's best one-of-a-kind experiences after they've gone for a thrilling jet boat ride through one of the most powerful sections of whitewater in the world...
Blissful Boomers Enjoy the Big Band Sound in Fonthill
Last night I took in the season's third event at the 2012 Fonthill Bandshell Summer Concert Series. It featured one of the preeminent bands around, the Toronto All-Star Big Band, which revives the spirit, style and sound of 1930's and 40's, that golden age of the big bands. And the ironic plus amazing component is that all of the performers, both musicians and vocalists range in age from 15-22! Wow! What a talented crew!
They are well practiced with sparkling programming, smooth choreography and witty nostalgia, an awesome cast of young talented people that has...
Simon and Garfunkel's "America" is a classic song with poetic lyrics that evokes a haunting mood that they attribute to the United States and what it represents. On July 4th, we celebrate America with this memorable video...
I know, sometimes it gets annoying when one is travelling through Europe and is mis-identified as an American. When it happens to me, I always remind people that a Kiwi from New Zealand would not appreciated being called an Aussie.
What does it mean to be a Canadian? Here are three videos that help explain exactly what it is to be a Canadian, one by an established American journalist, and another by an Indian-Canadian humourist. The third video is...
U.S. Senator aims for cross border security efficiency aimed at air travel
With an estimated 7 million Canadians living within two hours of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York, Canadians already account for nearly 40 percent of the outbound passengers at Buffalo Niagara International Airport and up to 80 percent of Niagara Falls International Airport's outbound passengers.
With that in mind, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is lobbying the Transportation Security Administration to bring in a pre-check program for international travelers at both airports, and
Nexus card holders who belong to trusted-traveler programs between the U.S. and Canada...
Try Niagara Falls International Airport If Heading to Florida
Allegiant Airlines are offering more routes from Niagara Falls now that the airport's runway has been repaved and renovated this past spring. That's good news for Niagara residents fed up with Toronto's Pearson.
Allegiant Air will offer deep discounts on direct flights to Punta Gorda, Florida, twice a week beginning June 29.
When I studied high school French, my attention span might have peaked somewhat if Brigitte Bardot had sat in on the class! Or Italian with Sophia Loren. In Shaw's "French Without Tears," a similar fate involves young men in a villa on the west coast of France. They are there to learn French because some aspire to be diplomats while others merely try to please their parents.
The play features a blonde femme fatale, Diana Lake (Robin Evan Willis), in the mode of Bardot and Loren. She flaunts so much - let's call it joie de vivre, that those cursed with the y chromosome can't help falling desperately in love with her. And she's determined to bag them all...
All Niagara Mayors and Regional Council Members were invited to submit a guest blog to describe the favourite attribute in their jurisdiction. Niagara Falls Mayor, Jim Diodati, was first to accept the invitation. Here is what he likes about Niagara Falls:
There is a reason why Niagara Falls captivates people from all over the world. The feeling of standing at the brink of the Falls and admiring the rush of the waterfall makes you feel serene and invigorated all at once. The natural beauty juxtaposed with the hustle and bustle of Clifton Hill, the casinos and the dynamic attractions gives Niagara Falls the opportunity...
Wyndham Hotel Group has added the 152-room Wyndham Garden Fallsview Niagara Falls here in Ontario. The hotel recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation, which includes the addition of a new tower, floors and guestrooms.
Guestrooms feature modern decor, 37-in. flat-screen TVs, high-speed internet and WiFi. Bathrooms feature pearl gray quartz countertops and TrueBlue Spa amenities from Bath and Body Works. Guestrooms on the ninth floor offer wall-to-wall windows, while some rooms...
Toronto transit shelter invites consumers to Drink It All In
Wine Country Ontario has placed an actual glass of wine in a transit shelter in downtown Toronto to make a dramatic point about just how close Wine Country Ontario is to Torontonians.
The installation board, places the glass on a table behind plexiglass, with a headline that reads: "So close you can taste it".
It's part of an integrated communications campaign, "Drink It All In" that launched Monday, June 11th, 2012 with outdoor, print, an experiential tasting program and is also supported by promotional and social media activity across the province...
"Oh home! Parents! Family! Duty! How I loathe them! How I'd like to see them all blown to bits!"
A bored heiress to an underwear fortune is trapped in a miserable engagement, but a airplane suddenly crashes into the conservatory. A handsome pilot, Joey Percival (Wade Bogert-O'Brien) and wing-walker, Lina Szczepanowska (Tara Rosling) a female daredevil emerge, and all kinds of novel ideas immediately shake up an otherwise tranquil country weekend. Who will wind up with whom? Which alliance is a hit - or a miss?
Some teams are stronger than others; one merely reads the divorce stats for any given country. Then we have those delicate political unions (some refer to as unholy)...
Unlike "Present Laughter" which is a vehicle geared to one star, Stephen Sutcliffe, "A Man and Some Women" by Githa Sowerby includes stronger roles for several stars including Graeme Somerville, splendid as Richard Shannon, a long suffering husband and provider for his family and a formidable cast of women featuring Jenny L. Wright as Hilda, his passive-aggressive wife, Marla McLean as Jessica Hendred, who gallantly foreshadows emancipation, Sharry Flett as Elizabeth, a sister wisely reasonable and cooperative, and...
ABC ratings soar with Nik Wallenda's wire walk over Niagara Falls
ABC's "mega-stunt" viewership soared this past Friday, generally a slow night for viewership. During the last half hour, when Nik Wallenda was out there on the rope making his way across the misty falls, viewership peaked for ABC at nearly 16 million.
ABC averaged 8.3 million viewers for the week in the prime time (5.2 rating, 9 share), topping second-place NBC's 6.1 million (3.9, 7). CBS had 5.5 million (3.7, 6), Fox had 4 million (2.4, 4), ION Television had 1.1 million (0.8, 1) and the CW had 620,000 (0.4, 1). A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes...
RiverBrink Art Museum Lecture Series Presents Dr. Kristy Holmes on Sunday June 24th
On Sunday afternoon, June 24th at 2:00 pm, art historian Dr. Kristy Holmes will give a talk exploring the work of Canadian artist and filmmaker, Joyce Wieland, and her works from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In particular, Holmes will focus on Wieland's interest in Laura Secord as a so-called "heroine" of the War of 1812 and her artistic re-imaginings of the now-mythic story of Secord's historic walk. Through painting, quilting and performance, Wieland provides viewers with an alternative image and understanding of one of the War of 1812's most compelling...
"Present Laughter," Noel Coward's "charming" play at the Shaw Festival Theatre
Oxford defines charm as "fascinating, pleasing, and delightful behavior." One doesn't hear people these days often being accused of excessive charm, certainly not our current leaders, Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty, and those in waiting, Thomas Mulcaire and Tim Hudak. In fact, it's hard to believe that formerly some would even attend "charm school" as a vital preparation for social life.
Coward, one of the 20th century's first dazzling celebs, is author and protagonist in...
Mark Saturday, June 16, 2012 down on your calendar as a day in high wire history. Daredevil Nik Wallenda became the first person to walk on a tightrope across Niagara Falls, taking precise and steady steps for 549 metres (1,800 feet) on a wire strung across the widest part of the gorge containing the roaring falls separating the U.S. and Canada.
"I feel like I'm on cloud nine right now," cheerful Wallenda exclaimed after his feat, performed before an estimated 112,000 people who crowded the shores of both countries and millions more watching live on television.
Now that the government has buried the local racetrack, some academics are trying to dig up the past.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier archeology students are examining earthworks outside the fort, site of a bloody War of 1812 battle. The fort controlled access to the Niagara River. From British gun positions at the southeast bastion, Buffalo is clearly visible as Lake Erie merges with the Niagara River.
John Triggs, chair of the department of archeology at Wilfrid Laurier University is more concerned about westward parkland that holds buried secrets, for in the summer and fall of 1814, a long and nasty battle ensued with 1,500 casualties.
Canada's 115-year-old Fort Erie racetrack to close!
According to board members, the historic Fort Erie racetrack will close down this year primarily because of the loss of OLG slot machine revenue. The track closes Dec. 31.
Since 1959, The Prince of Wales Stakes has been Fort Erie's premier race as the second jewel in Canada's Triple Crown of Racing, a centrepiece to the Queen's Plate and The Breeders' Stakes, both contested at Woodbine. The Prince of Wales Stakes features Canada's top three year olds at...
It's time to stop and smell the roses, but first, a few facts: Brampton was once known as "The Flower Town of Canada," a title earned due to the city's large greenhouse industry. St. Catharines has long been known as "The Garden City." Ontario chose the trillium as its provincial flower in 1937. This white flower grows in the forest in the springtime. And Niagara Falls is regarded as "The Daffodil Capital of North America." Niagara River Parklands contain more daffodils than any other park in North America...
Long gone are the days when one could sit on the grass during a lovely evening, sipping wine while watching the National Ballet's Karen Kain in action for a mere $6, but Artpark remains an entertaining venue for its loyal fans. Check out the 2012 schedule which includes Sting.
Directions to Artpark: -
By car from the south (Buffalo and Rochester)
Take I-90 East (NYS Thruway) to Exit 50 (I-290 - Niagara Falls). Proceed to Niagara Falls/Grand Island Exit...
Yes, the hype has grown to silly heights (pardon the pun), but it's getting closer to the 470 metre (1,542 foot) tightrope walk on a two inch steel cable that's strung taut between Canada and the United States by aerialist Nik Wallenda's crew.
Deflating the intrigue like a quick prick of a swollen balloon is the announcement that Wallenda will be in a safety harness to avoid a serious injury, aka death. ABC is the culprit and since they are airing a three-hour special during the evening of the walk, it's...
Thanks to our dearly loved federal government, Canadians who visit the United States for more than 24 hours are now permitted to lug $200 in merchandise back across the border duty free, up considerably from the previous limit of $50, and those who stay more than 48 hours can return with $800 in merchandise without paying additional taxes compared to the previous $400 limit for staying one week and $750 for those remaining longer.
Niagara residents regularly venture across the river to purchase cheaper cigarettes and gasoline at outlets such as Smokin Joes on...
Ragtime is Shaw's Jackie Maxwell at her bold best - "Yes, we can" versus "No, we can't."
Introducing Ragtime to Shaw is not without risk. In fact, Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell, has repeatedly displayed her mettle regarding hazardous content over the past few seasons. She is a gutsy lady! And that's the way modern theatre should be. George Bernard is always a safe given. And My Fair Lady was uncomplicated to mark the 50th season, but to follow up with Ragtime... wow!
The appeal is visceral. The lady sitting beside me regularly emitted loud oohs and ahs, responding to mean language, and in a blazing gun scene, she screamed and almost jumped off her seat!
Cosmo Condina is a professional photographer who was born and continues to live in Niagara-on-the-Lake. He has just released "Niagara at War 1812," 132 pages of vivid photography that captures battle re-enactments and daily camp life at Niagara's forts.
This stunning collection of images is a bicentennial tribute to the Niagara Region - the epicenter of a war that helped define Canada's borders in North America and ultimately led to Canadian confederation in 1867. This elegant book also contains evocative essays, a timely testament to history as well as a poignant souvenir.
Who does not love strawberries with their characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness? Add a little ice-cream and yum! And, don't forget, strawberries have been affectionately recognized in both music and art.
"Strawberry Fields Forever" is a Beatles tune written by John Lennon and attributed to Lennon-McCartney, inspired by Lennon's memories of playing in the garden of...
Each Civic holiday weekend for a four-day celebration of history and heritage, the "Tall Ships" gather in Port Colborne. One may explore the decks, try one's hand at the wheel or merely enjoy the fresh spray on a cruise on Lake Erie.
Canuck rockers the Trews headline Friday night's concert at Market Square. On Saturday, Aug. 4, indie rockers Sloan share the stage with fan favourite David Wilcox...
Illuminaqua 2012 - Welland Recreational Canal Corporation announces festival lineup
Would you believe it's already the sixth season? And it gets better every year! The Welland Recreational Canal Corporation's (WRCC) lineup is set. Musicians will entertain crowds at the Merritt Park Amphitheater as pods of fire illuminate (or is that Illuminaqua?), sparkling on the dark evening surface of Welland's recreational canal.
WRCC executive director Stephen Fischer utilized a $50,000 budget to secure top-rated Canadian ...
You had better act fast! There are only 20 miles remaining between Niagara Falls and Lake Erie, so you had best see the mighty Horseshoe & American Falls before they totally disappear!
Yes, they continue to erode, however, the rate has been greatly reduced due to flow control and diversion for hydro-power generation. For at least the last 560 years, recession has been about 1-1.5 m/yr. The current rate is 1 foot per...
The Great Lakes are very sensitive to high-or-low precipitation years, and this can affect the flow from Lake Erie into the Niagara River, however the levels have been regulated by the International Joint Commission (USA and Canada) since 1910.
The basis for determining the amount of water that can be diverted for power generation is contained in a treaty between the Governments of Canada and the United States concerning the "Diversion of the Niagara River," dated 1950, and generally referred to as...
Niagara Falls 101: Why is the water so green and how is the water used?
The startling green colour of the Niagara River is a visible tribute to the erosive power of water. An estimated 60 tons of dissolved minerals are swept over Niagara Falls every minute. The colour comes from the dissolved salts and "rock flour," very finely ground rock, picked up primarily from the limestone bed but probably also from the shale and sandstone under the limestone cap at the Falls.
The waters of the Niagara River are used by a combined Canada/United States population of more than 1,000,000 people for a wide range of purposes...
Niagara Falls 101: What kind of Rock is in the Great Gorge?
The river is a young, freshwater system born of ice. But when the Falls tore through this section of river 4,500 years ago, it exposed rock layers laid down as sediments in tropical, saltwater seas approximately 400 to 440 million years ago. These layers of clays, muds, sands and shells were then "cooked" under pressure into ...
The Niagara River and the entire Great Lakes Basin of which it is a part, is a legacy of the last Ice Age. 18,000 years ago, southern Ontario was covered by ice sheets 2-3 kilometers thick. As the ice sheets advanced southward they gouged out the basins of the Great Lakes. Then as they melted northward for the last time they released vast quantities of melt water into these basins. Our water is "fossil water;" less than one percent ...
The huge volume of water rushing from the falls is compressed into the narrow Great Gorge, creating the Whirlpool Rapids that stretch for 1.6 km (1 mi). The water surface here drops 15 m (50 ft) and the rushing waters can reach speeds as high as 9 mps (30 fps). The Whirlpool is a basin 518 m (1,700 ft) long by 365 m (1,200 ft) wide with depths up to 38 m (125 ft). This is the elbow, where the river makes a sharp right-angled turn.
Niagara Falls 101: Where does the water come from?
The Great Lakes is the world's largest surface freshwater system in the world, comprising about 18% of the world's supply. Four Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron & Erie) drain into the Niagara River and flow to Lake Ontario.
These lakes are so massive, they are traversed by ships called "Lakers" that are often subjected to violent storms typical of the open seas, the most famous, The Edmund Fitzgerald, that met its doom in Lake Superior yet is immortalized in the haunting lyrics of...
Niagara Falls 101: What's the story on the Niagara River?
The Niagara River connects two Great Lakes - Erie and Ontario. Niagara Falls has receded 7 miles in the preceding 12,500 years, and may be the fastest moving waterfalls in the world. The Niagara River is 58 km (36 mi) in length and the natural outlet from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The elevation between the two lakes is about 99 m (326 ft), half occurring at the falls themselves. The total area drained by the Niagara River is approximately 684,000 sq km (264,000 sq mi).
The average fall from Lake Erie to the beginning of the upper Niagara Rapids is only 2.7 m (9 ft). Below the Chippawa-Grass Island Pool control structure, the river falls ...
Niagara Falls 101: Is Niagara the highest falls in the world?
Sorry! Far from it, for as many as 500 other waterfalls stand "taller" than Niagara. The Angel Falls in Venezuela sets the Guinness record as tallest at 979 m (3,212 ft). However, some of the tallest falls in the world have very little water flowing over them, and are therefore far less dramatic as Niagara for the combination of height and volume makes Niagara Falls quite beautiful. Approximately 168,000 cubic m (6 million cubic ft) of water race over the crest every minute during peak daytime tourist hours.
The Canadian Horseshoe Falls drops an average of 57 m (188 ft) into the Lower Niagara River. The crest line of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls is approximately...
The cult of Niagara Falls daredevils that risk their lives
Nik Wallenda's upcoming tightrope extravaganza over the Falls has stirred up memories of former daredevils who have deliberately sped over in barrels or other home-made craft. And of course, there have been those who merely jump. For example, on March 11, 2009, an unidentified man tried to commit suicide by jumping into the speedy water just above the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. He survived the plunge over jagged rocks and was rescued from the Niagara River by Reudi Hafen of Niagara Helicopters. The unidentified man became the third to survive without wearing protection. On July 9, 1960, seven-year-old Roger Woodward accidentally swept over Niagara Falls in a life jacket and survived. So far, 16 people, including two women, have intentionally tried to conquer Niagara Falls. Two-thirds have survived.
Brock's Monument is clearly seen from both sides of the border
Except perhaps for international hockey games, Canada and the United States share the longest peaceful border in the world, but two hundred years ago, many decisive battles of the War of 1812 occurred along both sides of the river.
On October 13, 1812, shortly before dawn, American troops crossed the Niagara River and inched their way up to a concealed path on the Niagara escarpment. Major-General Isaac Brock, Commander-in-Chief of British forces in Upper Canada was stationed at Fort George in Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake)...
You have finally arrived with your image on a postage stamp!
Yes, they have arrived, but they are also long gone: British general Sir Isaac Brock and aboriginal chief Tecumseh. Thanks to these two heroes, Upper Canada eventually morphed into just plain Canada.
And nearly two centuries after they died as allies while thwarting an American invasion of Canada, our War of 1812 battlefield heroes have been reunited in a set of commemorative stamps to be issued next month by Canada Post.
The stamps are the first in a series of souvenir issues to be unveiled over the next three years to...
Flower lovers and Niagara gardeners take note: the rare Amorphophallus titanum has opened. The rare what?
Those who have not studied Latin in their formative years may be forgiven. This unusually large flower, a native of Sumatra in Indonesia, whose name means "misshapen phallus," has bloomed in a botanical garden only 21 times. And this might be a good thing because the flower actually stinks. The tallest flower species in the world gives off a unique smell most often compared to rotting meat. How romantic!
You may imagine the frenzy amongst local botanists to race to the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse in Niagara Falls where the massive, suggestively-shaped flower more than two metres high, currently is...
If you visit Niagara this summer, why not let someone else do the driving? GO Transit has announced that it will again offer seasonal GO Train service between Niagara Falls and Toronto during the Victoria Day long weekend, May 18 - 21, then weekends and holidays from June 23 until September 3.
The train trips will run Friday to Sunday evenings, allowing travellers to maximize their weekends away.
Every trip will accommodate passengers at Union, Exhibition, Port Credit, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls stations.
Mark June 15 on your calendar - not 1859, but 2012!
It is finally official - tightrope walker Nik Wallenda will walk across Niagara Falls on Friday, June 15. "The walk should take 35-40 minutes, but if the wire feels solid and the weather is good, I might spend more time out there," he said. "Late evening is what we're thinking, but we don't have a set time yet," he added. "That's part of the network negotiations." However, on its website promoting the event, the Niagara Parks Commission said the walk will start at 9 p.m.
Nik Wallenda's walk on a tightrope across Niagara Falls is rapidly becoming such a huge media event that wily tourism partners in Niagara anticipate an infusion of millions of dollars from those eager to watch the daring feat. 10,000 extra hotel rooms alone are expected, and with this marketing gem at their disposal, Niagara tourism wants to parlay this event with similar experiences throughout the region. Enter Mr. Jay Cochrane, aka Sky Walker.
Of course, there's Stevie Wonder, and then there's the Tourism Partnership of Niagara
What do the two have in common? "Wonder" is the operant concept. And these wonders come in both large and small sizes, for example, Niagara Falls and old Fort Erie. On May 1, I was in attendance as Niagara's tourism industry stakeholders gathered at the Fallsview Casino for the unveiling of the Tourism Partnership of Niagara's (TPN) new destination brand identity and 2012 campaign, including the first in a series of television spots, a travel magazine featuring editorial from some of the country's leading travel writers, and a completely new website.
The single portrait of General Isaac Brock created during his lifetime is now residing in Niagara on the Lake's RiverBrink Art Museum. The Portrait of Isaac Brock will be a key feature in RiverBrink's War of 1812 exhibition which opens on May 19th, 2012 (Victoria Day Weekend) and runs seven days a week from 10 am to 5 pm through October 28, 2012.
Members of the 135-year-old Niagara-on-the-Lake Lawn Bowling Club met at the Community Centre for the 2012 grand opening event, the second season in the club's new facility on Anderson Lane.
Club vice president Bob Findlay, says, "Now we're playing on a regulation size lawn. It's a fabulous facility." He said the club was able to host provincial championships last season and look to host a similar event in the future.
The club has grown to 88 members and ...
This June, take advantage of multiple celebrations throughout Bi-national Niagara - the 10th anniversary of Doors Open Niagara, the launch of the 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden Trail, and the official start of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 Commemorations.
For a complete list of special events occurring from June 8 to 17 and participating Doors Open weekend sites, visit www.doorsopenniagara.com or contact...
Niagara-on-the-Lake's Queen St. was announced as a finalist in the Greatest Places in Canada contest on April 12 sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Planners.
Queen St. is described as being "postcard pretty." Those who live here know that NOTL annually attracts up to six million tourists with its shopping and historical buildings, a favourite destination for Torontonians on the weekend, and theatre goers at the Shaw Festival. Add several wineries, some with their own entertainment, and you have...
This year's lineup has just been announced, and you are invited to attend under the stars this summer to see and hear superb entertainment while sipping red or white.
Sam Roberts Band: June 16 -
Sam Roberts is a Juno Award-winning Canadian rock singer-songwriter, whose 2001 debut release, The Inhuman Condition, became one of the bestselling independent releases in Quebec and Canadian music history. He was born in 1974 in Westmount three weeks after his parents immigrated to Montreal from South Africa. Sam Roberts is trilingual, speaking English, French, and Spanish. He married his...
Those interested in Niagara during this war might find these events of interest both in Niagara and beyond. (Please note that events are subject to change.)
Victoria Long Weekend at Fort Wellington National Historic Site, Prescott, May 18-20. Garrison Weekend and grand opening of the new visitor reception centre featuring the remains of a War of 1812-era Gunboat! There will be a large scale event in support the opening of the visitor reception centre, with over 200 re-enactors doing...
As 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of The War of 1812 and 200 years of peace between Canada and the United States, below is a sampling of special events happening in the Niagara Region to commemorate the War of 1812. (Please note that events are subject to change.)
1. Experience Fort George - the flagship historic site related to the War of 1812. Feel the power of artillery fire or enjoy the sounds of the renowned Fife and Drum Corps while passionate Parks Canada staff bring the fort to life.
2. Take the challenge - Climb to the top of Brock's Monument and take in the spectacular view of...
Despite the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs are long gone (as usual) at this time of the year in the NHL playoff season which has just started, hockey remains here in Niagara.
In Junior B, three teams represent their respective conferences in the Sutherland Cup round robin series: St. Catharines Falcons (Golden Horseshoe Conference), Brantford Golden Eagles (Midwestern Conference) and London Nationals (Western Conference). They all won three previous rounds to get to this point.
The Falcons boast an explosive club with the highest scoring team of the three with 83 goals in the first three rounds. With 39 goals against, their defense and goaltending has been excellent.
The Welland Canal has re-opened with the Peter R. Cresswell, the first up-bound vessel through the waterway linking Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Peter Schultz, captain of the 730-foot-long ship, received the symbolic "top hat" at a brief ceremony in St. Catharines.
This marks the St. Lawrence Seaway's 53rd navigational season and the Welland Canal's 182nd season. The opening was among the earliest in the history of the 27-mile-long canal.
The Cresswell is owned by St. Catharines-based Algoma Central Corp...
Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant Travel Co. president has announced nonstop service twice-a-week from Niagara Falls to Punta Gorda, Fla., beginning June 29, and claiming it will introduce the new service with a number of one-way fares as low as $74.99 plus fees, including $35 for a carry-on bag.
Henry M. Sloma, acting chairman of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which operates the Niagara Falls International Airport, said, "This destination is popular with our customers, and I'm confident they will find favor with Allegiant's low fares and efficient, friendly service."
The Shaw Festivals 51st season - a test of troubled times
11 plays on 4 stages: Niagara on the Lake's prestigious Shaw Festival is asked this season to do more with less. Even with a 9% increase in attendance over 2010 to 275,000 and a 12% increase in fundraising revenues, the celebrated 50th anniversary 2011 season incurred a striking deficit of $1.5 million, and Executive Director, Colleen Blake, has since retired.
The big money maker, Molly Smith's production of My Fair Lady, broke all previous attendance records at 95,000, the top selling show in the Festival's history, but unfortunately, Shaw's irresistible star, Debra Hay, has joined husband Ben Carlson at Stratford this season in Much Ado About Nothing.
A futuristic dialogue with a customs officer at the border:
Officer: "Purpose of your visit?"
Driver: "Well, I get these urges."
Officer: "How long away?"
Driver: "Sadly, only a half hour."
Officer: "Receive or purchase anything in Canada?"
Driver: "I'm not going to kiss and tell."
Officer: "Pull over for inspection."
Niagara area residents and even those farther afield from Oakville and environs will be happy to know that the Niagara Falls International Airport is enhancing services. Congresswoman Kathy Hochul recently joined Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority officials at the airport to announce funds for the facility.
The airport will receive nearly $12 million from the FAA for rehab of its main runway. NFIA generates $158 million annually for the region and impacts 2,000 jobs.
Spring Awakenings in the Marvelous Month of May Guest Blog by George Bailey
A sampling of events and festivals within a few hundred kilometres of Niagara:
Pageant of Bands occurs in Springville, N.Y. on Saturday, May 19th at 1:30 in the afternoon. This is the 50th anniversary of this event and has attracted over 20 marching high school bands hoping to capture the Best in Class trophy.
Check out the first Super Car Cruise on Sunday, May 29th between 1 and 4 pm in the quaint tiny village of Olcott N.Y. on the edge of Lake Ontario. Carousel Park opens same weekend for the season. It's a vintage kiddie park where all rides are 25 cents.
Horatio Hornblower was a fictional Royal Navy officer, the protagonist of a series of novels by C. S. Forester and later, subject of films and television programs. He should not be confused with Hornblower Cruises & Events, the San Francisco business that successfully bid to begin operating boat tours at Niagara Falls. Yup, in 2014, say goodbye to the iconic Maid of the Mist. Say hello to Hornblower.
Some awfully strange things happening in Niagara...
Good grief! What's going on here in Niagara? Maybe we should rename it Vegas North! First, the Niagara Parks reverse their decision, and cave into the carnival atmosphere by allowing a circus-act tightrope walker to saunter across the 'Falls. You would think that might be enough exhilaration for the year. Nope. It spreads like a virus. Now, the staid, ultra-conservative, tiny town of aging retirees in Niagara on the Lake will open up their gates and welcome evil pornographers. What's next? Public beheadings of convicted robo-callers outside the Courthouse Theatre?
The 2012 Cuvée awards, chosen by the winemakers for best Ontario wines, were decided in Niagara Falls at the Fallsview Casino with Fielding Estate, a Beamsville Bench winery, capturing three first place prizes for owner Curtis Fielding and winemaker Richie Roberts, celebrating their Viognier, Cabernet Franc and the signature Pinot Gris.
Peller Estates was awarded top prizes for Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Hillebrand's Trius won for top LCBO White wine with its Sauvignon Blanc.
Follow the money: "Walk Across the Gorge" is now on again!
I thought that pugilist Mohammed Ali, aka Cassius Clay, was once adept at the rope-a-dope trick, but aerialist Nick Wallenda has successfully played the Niagara Parks Commission off against the Province, which appears in such need of hard cash, that presto - all that negative rhetoric from chair, Janet Thompson regarding the integrity of the parks, etc., etc. is now so much smoke and mirrors. Thompson was opposed to such "stunts" as the proposed tightrope walk across Niagara Falls.
The street scene shifts to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the second weekend of Niagara's Annual Icewine Festival with multiple wineries setting up white tents and ice sculptures along inviting Queen Street for visitors to meander about and sample a few alluring wines.
Several local restaurants are set up on the street with tasty munchies to complement the wines.
I try several delicious morsels and yes, a few golden distillations from the 28 participating wineries.
This January, I venture to the always quaint village of Jordan to "Sip, Savour and Celebrate" Twenty Valley's many award-winning wineries during the Annual Niagara Icewine Festival which you should all mark on the calendar for next year. Sweet Icewine, festive sparkling wines and sensational VQA red and white wines are offered to a good-sized, appreciative crowd, and the inviting liquids are paired with yummy food.
Organizers shuttle us in from ample parking areas on the town's fringe, buses running regularly without much delay, and the weather cooperates, offering us a brisk but sunny winter's day...
To become an ice wine aficionado, one must first learn the terminology, like having a program which lists the players at a sporting event. Here are some key terms:
Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA): a regulatory and appellation system for quality and authenticity of origin of Canadian wines made under that system in British Columbia and Ontario. Cellared in Canada is a completely separate category.
Must: is freshly pressed fruit juice, usually grape juice, containing the skins, seeds and stems of the fruit. The solid portion of the must is called pomace and typically makes up 7%-23% of the total weight of the must. It's the first step in winemaking, and because of its high glucose content, 10-15%, must is also used as a sweetener in a variety of cuisines. Unlike commercially sold grape juice, which is filtered and pasteurized, must is thick with particulate matter, opaque, and comes in various shades of...
Movie Stars and a local Writer/Producer Spotted on Clifton Hill
Actors Matt Dillon and Kurt Russell are filming scenes around Clifton Hill and other sites in Niagara Falls, which serves as the backdrop for the movie "The Black Mark." The movie, directed by Jonathan Sobol, is due to be released next year. Clifton Hill and Niagara Falls served as the backdrop for other movies including "Superman II" and "Camilla."
I'm proud that Jonathan, or as we called him then, Jon, was a member of my Council on World Affairs team at A. N. Myer S.S. in Niagara Falls where he competed successfully as a debater at Harvard, New York City and at other venues...
If you require information concerning Niagara that involves community data, volunteer opportunities, events, links, businesses, organizations, etc., then Information Niagara is here to assist.
To help you find the information you're looking for - whether it's a municipal, regional, provincial, or federal government program, service or department or any one of hundreds of groups, organizations and associations across the region, check out...
The Canadian colonies believed that this was an unwanted war. In Lower Canada, (Quebec), the French-speaking majority had little use for the British overlords, who had governed since the defeat of New France, fifty years earlier. However, Britain guaranteed freedom of language and religion; therefore, French Canadians served willingly in British regiments and militia, and fought in the successful repulse of American forces.
In Upper Canada, (Ontario), British administration was less sure that the people would fight to defend the colony. There was a core of American Loyalists who nurtured animosity toward their former countrymen who had dispossessed them of all they had and driven them out. But they were...
The Niagara Peninsula forms a bridge across the lakes and into both the heartland of New York and Upper Canada. Both sides understood that whoever controlled it would likely win the war in the West. The border was strongly defended by a string of forts and military posts. On the British side, Fort Erie guarded the river entrance at the northeastern end of Lake Erie while a couple of days' march to the north Fort George kept watch over the mouth of the river near the southwestern end of Lake Ontario. On the American bank of the river, across from Fort George, U.S. troops garrisoned Fort Niagara, the oldest and sturdiest of the Niagara fortifications. All...
In June 1812, the U.S. Navy was 18-years-old with a dozen ships. The British Royal Navy had been operating for centuries, with 500 warships, 85 sailing American waters when war broke out.
In the age of sail, oceangoing vessels were classified by structural characteristics: a sloop has one mast and one deck; a brig, two masts and one deck; a frigate three masts and two decks. A man-of-war, or ship of the line, has multiple masts and decks. The U.S. had no ships of the line, and just three frigates ready for...
Before war, the U.S. wanted to expand its territories, fueling the invasion of native homelands. Tribal nations of the lower Great Lakes, including the Shawnee, Potawatomi, Ojibwa, and others saw their homelands at risk. The same was true for the Muscogee Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, Cherokee and Chickasaw in the south.
Some sided with the Americans - Red Jacket and Farmer's Brother led a Seneca splinter group at the Battles of Fort George and Chippewa; but most sided with the British, believing a British victory would end U.S. expansion. In addition to...
Americans are vaguely aware of this conflict, most likely to remember only a few dramatic moments, such as the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," the burning of Washington and the Battle of New Orleans. Also a war fought to protect maritime rights by invading Canada strikes many people as curious.
Far from bringing the enemy to terms, the U.S. was lucky to escape without making extensive concessions itself. The Treaty of Ghent (which ended the conflict) said nothing about the maritime issues that had caused the war. It merely provided a return to...
The War of 1812 is often used to define Canadian identity, but it was far off the radar for the British who were more concerned with Napoleon's European hegemony, and 1812 was the year that Napoleon marched to Moscow. Conflict with America was an irritating sideshow, and the American war was fought with no more than 7% of the total British military effort.
Trouble began when Britain employed a maritime economic blockade against France, not allowing American merchants to remain neutral. Britain introduced...
Fort Erie begins its bicentennial celebrations with the play, The Lion and the Eagle, Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout January in the new Welcome Centre at Old Fort Erie. Performed by members of Dominion Repertory Theatre, the play is the first of many events in Fort Erie throughout the three-year long commemoration of 200 years of peace between Canada and the United States.
Written by Brian Coatsworth, artistic director, with guidance from Canadian playwright Sharon Pollock, the play is based at...
If you want to see what the Welland Canal looks like when it's empty, now is your chance, as it has been drained. Of course, now is also the time to recover bicycles, autos or any other material that has been disposed of in the murky water. Insurance companies must enjoy this time of year!
This ship canal extends 42 km (26 mi) from Port Weller, Ontario on Lake Ontario to Port Colborne, Ontario on Lake Erie. As a part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, it enables ships to ascend and descend the Niagara Escarpment and to bypass Niagara Falls.
Pride Niagara is pleased to announce a new logo: "The classic look of our new logo reflects how we want to be perceived by both the Niagara LGBT community and the remainder of the local community. It also reflects how Pride Niagara has grown during the past 12 months," states Justin Pitney designer of the new logo and Treasurer of Pride Niagara. "Pride events for the Niagara Region in 2012 will be held between June 1 - 9 starting with the flag raising at St. Catharines City Hall and finishing with..."
Are you soon to cross the border? The Canada/US border stretches across land and water for 8,891 km. Here are more numerical stats compiled by the CBC:
-Kilometres of border shared with Alaska alone: 2,477
-Number of border crossings: 119
-Total Canada-U.S. trade (2010): $501 billion CDN
-Amount of daily Canada-U.S. trade (2010): More than $1 billion CDN
-Share of total exports from Canada going to the U.S. alone (2009): 73%
-Share of total imports to Canada coming from U.S. alone (2009): 63%
The CAA Winter Festival of Lights attracts more than one million people annually to Niagara Falls, Ontario, and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Internationally Known Events in North America by the American Bus Association.
The CAA Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, Ontario includes over 125 animated lighting displays and 3 million tree and ground lights which can be seen within the Niagara Parks Winter Wonderland, including the world-famous Enchantment of Disney® displays and the world's largest illuminated Canadian-American Flag.
Time to get the skates sharpened and head to Niagara Falls, specifically adjacent to Table Rock Centre, near the brink of the Horseshoe Falls. Take note that "TD Free Skate Days" are listed as December 12 & 19, January 9, 16, & 30 and February 13 when the TD "Comfort Crew" will be in attendance to provide complementary hot chocolate and a souvenir photo.
The Rink is located just a few steps north of the Falls Parking Lot, which is operated by The Niagara Parks Commission. Everyone can park in this lot for free as follows:
December 1 to December 24 - Free after 5:30pm Sunday thru Friday and after 6:30pm on Saturdays
The Festival Theatre through its partnership with The Film Circuit, a branch of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), announces its sixth annual Festival Film Series line-up and will launch with the screening of Mao's Last Dancer on December 4 at 3 p.m. (I've seen it; it's terrific!) Eleven films have been confirmed to date, with one additional title pending. A six film documentary series begins January 14 with Joan Rivers - A Piece of Work.
Feature films: Saturdays at 3 p.m. and documentaries: Fridays at 5:30 p.m. All films will be screened at the Festival Theatre; seating is general admission. Tickets are $11 per film. A twelve-film Festival Film Pass is available for $115 per person, or a...
Escape Niagara? "Go" to Toronto Guest Blog by George Bailey
I don't like to drive in heavy traffic to large cities and pay large parking fees. Therefore, my lady friend Ellen and I took the Go Transit bus for the day from the corner of Highway 420 and Stanley Avenue in Niagara Falls, into Union Station in downtown Toronto. It was a breeze, and it didn't cost much. Round trip fare for Ellen, still a kid, was under $40.00 and for the old guy, I'm over 65, even cheaper, under $20.00. It costs even less if you board the bus at St. Catharines, Grimsby or Stoney Creek.
We boarded a Go Bus at 7:34 on a weekday morning. Once on the GO Bus, we paid the driver and were on our way to Burlington to connect with a Go Train, at no additional cost, to downtown Toronto. The wait for the train was under ten minutes. Connecting with the train was easy...
VisitRochester has launched a campaign to attract Canadian travelers beyond Buffalo and into Rochester, the Finger Lakes and the Genesee Valley. The campaign features a new interactive website created specifically for Canadian travelers coming to the Rochester area. The cooperative program titled, "A Welcome Surprise," continues through December. Rochester and neighboring partners are a brief 90-minute drive from the border.
Free VIP Coupon Book for Waterloo Premium Outlets:
Waterloo, NY-Mention A Welcome Surprise! at the Information Center located in the food court and receive your Free VIP Coupon Book.
Planning 2012 vacations and visits to Niagara on the Lake and wish to take in some theatre?
Here's information on the upcoming season:
For the first time since opening in 1973, the main theatre will not have a play by Bernard Shaw!
The musical Ragtime, along with Noel Coward's Present Laughter and John Guare's adaptation of
The Front Page, called His Girl Fridayl make up the programming.
Thom Allison and Kate Hennig return to lead strong cast in Ragtime. After a successful run on Broadway in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Allison plays Coalhouse Walker Jr. in the Terrence McNally/Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty musical epic.
Niagarans may soon see a Flying Wallenda again cheat death with a daring tightrope walk across mighty Niagara Falls. New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation which permits Nik Wallenda to walk 1,800 feet across the Falls on a two-inch-wide steel cable. Wallenda is a member of a seven-generation circus family; earlier, he performed the same high-wire act with his mother in Puerto Rico that killed his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda in 1978. He hopes to walk across the Falls in June.
Allegiant Airlines to fly to Niagara Falls from St. Pete
Direct Air which currently operates out of Niagara Falls International Airport, will get some competition this winter for its Florida flights, as low cost airline Allegiant Air plans to begin flights on December 15 from St. Petersburg, Florida to Niagara Falls.
On Sunday, September 25, I was one of several hundred Canadian and Americans invited to Brock University's David S. Howes Theatre to first screen the new two-hour WNED documentary film, "The War of 1812," which airs on PBS stations nationwide, October 10, 2011, at 9:00 p.m.
Former Regional Chair, Brian Merrett, now CEO of the Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council, was in period dress to chair the event and introduced David Rotterman, executive producer. Rotterman reported that the "film took six years to produce, far longer than to fight the war."
Viewers of When the Rain Stops Falling, at Saturday's opening night at Shaw might have found the play's apocalyptic long-range weather forecast appropriate given the recent earthquake and hurricane that afflicted North America in the past few days. Indeed, the setting, Australia, known for draught, is on the verge of submersion - as is our hope in this gloomy family drama by Andrew Bovell. His stormy weather with "nights that can sink a ship" mirrors the fractured marriages, accidental...
This blog is intended to help The Niagara Blog readers deal with daily computer maintenance issues - at no cost! All suggestions by our webmaster involve freeware.
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If you want bang for your buck, (parking is really the only cost) take advantage of the Niagara Parks Commission and Canada's longest running Fireworks Series staged every Friday, Sunday & Holiday from June 3 to September 4 at 10 p.m. Holidays covered are: Canada Day, July 1, Independence Day, July 4, & Civic Holiday, August 1.
There are bonus displays Fridays from September 9 to October 7 at 9 p.m. along with
free concerts (check listings) before the fireworks at 8 p.m. every Friday, Sunday & Holiday until September 4 on the Illumination Tower Stage in Queen Victoria Park, directly across from the Falls. Concert goers will enjoy...
Fonthill's Bandshell Concert Series celebrates its sixth season this year, and along with friends from Welland, we listened to Bernie Jessom perform his high-pitched Roy Orbison tribute amidst a huge, appreciative crowd gathered (packed) in Fonthill's town centre.
The 7-9 pm Thursday concert has become a popular three-month event for both Fonthill residents and Niagara visitors. More than 1,000 spectators regularly surround the bandshell with their lawn chairs that inevitably spill out onto Pelham Town Square sidewalks, to enjoy a wide range of musical styles and performances.
Tasty Jackson-Triggs wine, a moonlit summer Niagara on the Lake night and the hypnotic, foot-stomping charm of Spirit of the West
Lead guitarist, vocalist, head shaven, broad smiling, volcanic erupting vegetarian, John Mann, exudes kinetic energy at the Jackson-Triggs amphitheatre on an appropriately full-mooned summer evening, much to the delight of another sell-out audience as he imitates Rudolf Nureyev performing grand jetés or famed NFL wide receiver, Jerry Rice, launching himself into the air, it seems for the pure joy of it, landing sprightly, bouncing and not missing a beat.
Beside him, a less animated Geoffrey Kelly, flute, whistles, bodhran, and guitar player extraordinaire, alternates with the...
Running of the Brides event to benefit Wellspring Niagara
Kathy White of Niagara Falls and Kim Cartmell of Stevensville noticed they were answering more and more questions from women considering getting married in Niagara. Thus, in 2009 they formed www.Elopeniagara.com, a website offering a wealth of information for soon-to-be brides planning weddings. Based on a similar event in 2009 in the Netherlands, when 99 women in gowns chased down one 'groom,' the Niagara event is the brainchild of the wedding photographers.
The inaugural Running of the Brides event Aug. 14 will see dozens of women...
"Watch the black card. The black card is the winner"... and other American lies
Topdog vs. Underdog is a phrase coined by Fritz Perls, the father of Gestalt Therapy, to describe a self-torture game that people play with themselves to avoid anxiety in their shaky environment.
Topdog makes demands characterized by "shoulds" and "oughts," and Underdog makes excuses why these demands should not be met. Gestalt therapists often guide patients through an exercise to take on both of these roles. Perls' Gestalt prayer was: "I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, And you are not in this world to live up...
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
~Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name
Two prostitutes, one Brazilian, the other Portuguese, a conflicted, handsome bullfighter, a portly people's priest, politically compromised by an uber-sized control freak of an aristocratic mother, sexy, suggestive music, a brief but nasty knife fight! Mix them all together, and you have the world premiere of Maria Severa, based upon Lisbon's chanteuse from its sordid, seamy side, credited with establishing a new genre of plaintiff music, which inspired Shaw's Jay Turvey and Paul Sportelli to compose an original score and compelling musical of the same name, but let me allow them (via the wonderfully detailed program notes) to explain how...
Because life is short, running is hard, and chocolate tastes damn good! Fresh air, exercise and chocolate - really, what else do you need?
When I was into serious jogging, the thought of a frosty cool drink at the end of my 5-10 km runs was sufficient motivation to keep me going. But that's so retro I have discovered. Now, joggers can look forward to chocolate! Does it get any better? Well yes, they could add peanut butter, but that's a tad avante-garde. Maybe in another decade when running gets liberalized.
Next month at the annual Chocolate Race, one can combine the enjoyment of fresh Niagara air, a brisk walk...
Gord Downie has them screaming for more at Jackson-Triggs!
Rob Richardson (founder of Marquis Entertainment) describes to me the heavy-duty logistics of producing Railway Children in Toronto, transporting a huge train engine across the pond.
Tonight, his task seems easier, staging the Jackson-Triggs Twilight in the Vineyard music series in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the past 11 seasons. "I just need to get Gord on stage, and then I can sip some wine."
Gord is Gord Downie, Canada's foremost tragically hip rock musician and lyricist, who arrives at the jammed amphitheatre in a...
A look back at some of Shaw's biggest milestones and achievements:
1962: "Salute to Shaw" opens at the Court House Theatre on June 29 with four staged readings of the Don
Juan in Hell scene from Shaw's Man and Superman, followed on July 27 by four performances of Shaw's
Candida. The all-amateur season is produced by Brian Doherty, and directed by Maynard Burgess.
1963: "Salute to Shaw" turns professional and becomes the Shaw Festival, with Andrew AlIan as the first artistic director. The all-Shaw season runs from July 10 to July 28.
1965: The season includes the...
On the Rocks is Jackie Maxwell's "first of a series where contemporary writers will give us their singular take on some of Shaw's less performed plays" and first at bat is "one of Canada's finest and funniest political playwrights, Michael Healey. Michael's original plays include Courageous - which won the Dora award for Best New Play in 2010 - Generous, The Drawer Boy and Plan B. We gave Michael no restrictions or directions and he has retained much of the original storyline. The setting remains, the year is still 1933, but the play has been re-ordered and re-thought in a way which makes it accessible and contemporary and retains its Shavian spirit."
Shaw's Admirable Crichton, the perennial argument - nature vs. nurture
Once a month, aging Lord Loam (David Schurmann) invites his many servants to tea, treats them (temporarily) as equals and shares his utopian dream of a society without class distinctions. His perfect butler, Crichton (Steven Sutcliffe), must play along unwillingly, but ultimately, the aristocrat has his theories severely put to the test when he and his family take a yacht trip and are shipwrecked on a desert island. Of course, Crichton takes complete charge while the aristocrats shiver and flounder, and soon...
This CEO is well worth the money and far, far more!
In Shaw's 50th anniversary season, Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell revives a sure thing, The President, a homerun from 2008. She explains, "The dazzling combo of Morwyn Brebner's fizzing adaptation, Lorne Kennedy's tarantella-like performance, surrounded by ensemble members changing hats on a dime under Blair William's direction was perfection that simply demanded to be seen again!"
Perfection for sure! For Kennedy, it's a one-man tour de force, and he dazzles as he did in 2008. The play hinges on the fact that he is...
Absorbing soulful jazz, sipping wine and dancing on the grass in Niagara on the Lake - Hillebrand Jazz & Blues at the Winery
Towards the end of her gig at Niagara on the Lake's celebrated Hillebrand Jazz & Blues at the Winery, Canadian jazz vocalist, Kellylee Evans, descends from the elevated stage, microphone in hand. She playfully saunters through receptive fans as she sings Nina Simone's So Good. The appreciative crowd warmly responds, rising to its feet. Rhetorically, she repeatedly sings, "How do you feel?" "So good!" is the loud answer, shouted from up to 800 patrons, enjoying a cloudless, warm day in sunny Niagara, listening to jazz while sipping tasty wines.
So good indeed... the final act, Lily Frost and The Debonairs, sparks ad hoc dancing upon the lawn in front of the mammoth stage.
The quintessential summer play - Midsummer Night's Dream, but this time - in a vineyard at Henry of Pelham!
Shakespeare would be pleased to have his work produced in a vineyard, particularly A Midsummer Night's Dream, light, frivolous and accessible to anyone, even the two ladies sitting behind me rustling their bags of potato chips throughout the night and crunching every audible bite. Soon, they appeared as comical as Henry of Pelham's Shakespeare in the Vineyard, produced by Laura Moffat of the Niagara Falls Music Theatre Society (Firehall Theatre) and directed by Michael Madden.
Feeling Hungry? In Niagara, there are lots of places to grab a bite to eat. Here are food quotes and some favourite patios.
Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn. (Garrison Keillor)
Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it. (Author Unknown)
As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it. (Buddy Hackett)
The belly rules the mind. (Spanish Proverb)
My favorite animal is steak. (Fran Lebowitz)
It's bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children's health than...
Artistry by the Lake, Niagara on the Lake's annual Canada Day celebration in Queen's Royal Park
The setting couldn't be more perfect: Queen's Royal Park in Niagara on the Lake, set on the banks of the intersection of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, where sailboats and pleasure craft leisurely venture past Fort Niagara, still figuratively guarding the deep, blue entrance that once facilitated an attack on Fort George during the War of 1812.
Today is Canada Day and the occasion for NOTL's annual Artistry by the Lake, a juried arts and craft show in the park, filled with people wandering through the rows of tent-like structures where 75 artisans' booths display intricate jewelry, stunning photography and myriad art as well as...
Elia Kazan directed many Tennessee Williams's plays, describing the spine of his characters as being formed by the dynamic tension between "the mind's despair and the heart's hope."
In Shaw's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Director Eda Holmes skilfully does Williams poetic justice - as each character, superbly played by her gifted ensemble, cuts straight to the bone. Wondering how deeply each may sink, one is transfixed by their steady stoop to primeval slime. Cat won Williams the 1955 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, featuring recurring motifs of Southern social mores, greed and superficiality summed up in Brick's term, "mendacity," as well as decay, sexual desire, and death. The play was adapted as a movie in 1958, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman...
The Shaw Festival's Heartbreak House is not an easy play to digest, but it's worth the challenge. Everything appears Tempest-tossed, upside down, the characters inauthentic, the actual house built in the form of a ship, a hollow vessel, perhaps the Titanic, clearly adrift (as was England at the time before WWI), and as it flounders, it embodies an inscription written in large letters across the top of the set: "Voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone" borrowed from Wordsworth's Prelude.
One of the great Romantic poets, Wordsworth wrote the Prelude as an autobiographical and philosophical poem when he was only 28, but...
A shallow archaeological dig at Shaw's Court House Theatre
Remember the good, old days when - We were all more or less happy and comfortable, good tempered and jolly - until these plays began to put ideas into our heads. This is not an ancient Greek citizen grumbling about a troublesome playwright named Sophocles. Rather, it's a character in Shaw Festival's Drama At Inish, A Comedy. Of course, that's precisely the idea behind the performing arts from Greeks onward - creating vital experiences causing us to question narrow, pre-ordained ideas, forcing minds to open and think critically such that...
In high school geometry, I learned facts about the properties of various triangles - isosceles, equilateral and right-angled triangles, none of which I really enjoyed. Shaw's comedy, Candida, revived by the Festival from its 1962 debut, and not often performed since, (thank goodness), is the story of a love triangle, and although the acting is superb, the sets and costumes are terrific and the concept should embody great merriment, I didn't much enjoy this triangle either. In fact, often during the play, I lamented the fate of the talent present on stage and how it was being wasted on this silly, preachy play.
Shaw's 50th season - it doesn't get much better than My Fair Lady!
On opening night, with VIPS attired in tuxedos and fine dresses, it's simply money in the bank, a sure winner, a musical that everyone enjoys, a performance that generates a standing ovation and curtain call. It's My Fair Lady and Shaw has spared no expense. The costumes are spectacular; the sets are inspiring as are the special effects, particularly at the Ascot horse races. And the music is wonderful!
It's also the quintessential alchemical test. Can Henry Higgins, a haughty professor of...
RiverBrink, Niagara on the Lake's petite, attractive art gallery
RiverBrink, Niagara on the Lake's petite, attractive art gallery run by the Weir Foundation opened its doors last Friday to celebrate a special showing of art on loan from local residents. From the outside, the unassuming building is deceiving, an easy drive by; however, its commanding view of the Niagara River below and Art Park in Lewiston is prelude to a terrific collection inside.
I talked to contributing locals such as Bob Knight and Joan Draper, collectors and historians in ...
Located at the entrance to Niagara on the Lake's Old Town (Hwy. 54/Stone Rd.) and now celebrating its 11th year, the Summer Series is packed with impressive Canadian performers as well as the third annual Rootstock, a songwriter's circle of highly acclaimed musicians sharing stories and songs together.
The Jackson Triggs Amphitheatre concert series offers a unique and relaxed way to enjoy wine country at its best while catching some of Canada's premiere talent under the stars...
Once Niagara on the Lake's Shaw Festival reverts to live theatre in March-April after their winter film series, it's difficult for us in Niagara to access foreign and independent films of any worth; however, if you enjoy good movies, the kind that one encounters each season at TIFF, the acclaimed Toronto International Film Festival, (but don't care to drive all the way to Toronto), I suggest two nearby Buffalo-area theatres that will save you time and money.
Niagara Parks Appreciation kicks off the 2011 Tourism Season
The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) is kicking off the 2011 tourism season with a Niagara Parks Appreciation Day on Sunday May 1 featuring deep discounts on admission to attractions, parking, food and other services. A portion of the proceeds raised this day will go to support the GNGH Foundation & future Walker Family Cancer Centre's It's Our Time campaign.
A Spring Fling In Niagara:
Packages and Perks Offers Available Online for Travel through May 31st
Niagara Tourism operators and accommodations are offering over 200 packages and 88 perks offers online at www.niagaraspringflings.com, for travel from the beginning of April through May 31st. With these limited time offers and travel tools available at www.niagaraspringflings.com, there really is no better time to enjoy a fling in Niagara.
Here comes the judge! (Wine Q&A) What's Vintners Quality Assurance (VQA)?
Think of VQA as a set of Olympic judges but preferably not for skating where hanky panky often reigns. The VQA sets production, appellation and quality standards and regulations for fine wines in Canada. VQA is to Canada what AOC is to France, DOC is to Italy and QMP is to Germany - quality control from the vineyard to the glass.
What's in a name, and how does Lake Ontario act as a hot water bottle? (Wine Q&A) What is the specific advantage of the Niagara VA? (Viticultural Area)
The Niagara Peninsula is the largest Viticultural Area in Canada, accounting for 80 percent of Canada's grape-growing volume. The climate during the growing season is comparable to that of Burgundy, France. Wines grown in such temperate climates can produce superior fruit, with better aromas and more intense flavours than in warmer climates.
The Academy Awards for grapes! (Wine Q&A) What varieties excel in the Niagara Region?
Over 60 varieties of classic European grapes can be grown in Niagara, including several that are emerging as capable of creating wines of great distinction.
Among the main white vinifera varieties are: Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc.
Cold but sweet and often pricey. (Wine Q&A) What is Icewine?
It's rare. It's treasured. No, it's not an honest politician. It's luscious and intensely flavoured. Lucky Ontario is the only wine-producing region with a winter cold enough to guarantee an Icewine crop each year. No other wine-growing region in the world produces Icewine with such consistency and quality. Take that Napa and Sonoma!
How long and not always in metric please? (Wine Q&A) What is the length of wine growing season?
The Great Lakes help to provide a temperate continental climate that has contributed to creating a zone in Niagara called the Carolinian Forest, named after the same habitat found as far south as the Carolinas in the United States. It is considered a Canadian national treasure with...
Grape Real Estate (Wine Q&A) Why is location so important for wine making?
The vineyards of Niagara lie in the centre of the world's wine belt, between 41° - 44°N. While the area does not have a climate identical to other cool climate growing areas of the world within the same band, such as Burgundy or Bordeaux, it shares many aspects with these regions that are crucial to...
A pro boxer works on both a good left and right. (Wine Q&A) Why is the Niagara Region home to winemaking excellence?
As with boxing, Niagara enjoys a great combination. First, the climate in the Niagara wine region is perfect for grape growing: geographically, Niagara's vineyards lie at the centre of the world's wine belt located between the 41degrees and 44 degrees North about the same latitudinal band as the famous wine regions in southern France, Italy, California and Spain. Lake Erie and in particular, Lake Niagara, provide a unique microclimate, moderating both summer heat and winter cold...
You have probably heard of the two famous Californian wine areas, Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley. Well, here in Niagara, we also have some geography to brag about, our Niagara Peninsula, the largest viticultural or wine grape-growing area in both Ontario and Canada. It accounts for three-quarters of Canada's grape-growing volume, thanks to approximately 11,000 acres of wine grapes in hundreds of vineyards.
We are strategically situated at approximately N43° latitude, the growing season...
They poured; I drank. There was a lot of pouring, but I was careful to employ the handy spittoon located at each table. Otherwise, I would certainly require a taxi to ferry me
back home. I stuck to white wines sampling Niagara Chardonnay and Riesling, and
after sampling, I heartily agree with the St. Catharine's Standard wine writer, Monique Beech - Niagara Rieslings are splendid.
The 23rd annual awards night celebration recognizes the very best in Ontario's wine industry, the so-called Oscars of the Ontario wine world. Held at the glitzy Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, 62 provincial wineries submitted 270 wines for judging...
Forget the ice cream and chocolates; Laura Secord - our first spy!
It's not often one gets to meet a direct descendant of Canadian heroine, Laura Secord. Laura might be partly responsible for us remaining Canadian. My opportunity arrived Thursday at Niagara on the Lake's Historical Museum when introduced to Caroline McCormick, President of Friends of Laura Secord. Like her predecessor, Caroline lives in NOTL after moving from Vancouver.
On tap in the War of 1812 Lecture Series was David Hemmings, local historian, author and guest speaker. David has written ...
In Niagara skies, there will soon be far more raptors available than those who get regularly throttled on Toronto's professional basketball court. Each spring provides an annual migration of hawks, eagles, falcons and vultures, and the celestial show is free. However, with a pair of binoculars, you can get a much better view of our feathered friends.
Kim Frohlich, an ecologist with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, advises that the best place to view these powerful specimens is at Beamer Memorial Conservation Area. The Hawkwatch season runs from March 1 to May 15 as birds of prey make their spring migration from South and Central America, the Caribbean and the United States to ...
How to purchase a car in Niagara...or anywhere else!
Most of my travel is conducted via car, and over the years, I have owned many models. In the past, purchasing a new car was often worse than quadruple by-pass heart surgery, a tedious and painful ordeal. That's suddenly changed - thanks to modern technology!
Allow me to digress. In my 20's, my first car was a Dodge that passed later to my brother. Then came...
A Perfect Valentine's Day Solution For Men: take your honey to Beamsville
If you really want to impress your "honey" on February 14, drive her to Beamsville' s Rosewood Estates Winery to sample their mead! You might have to be quick because when I checked their stock online, most mead products were labelled, "Sold Out." Mead is not for sissies. Their 2006 Ambrosia boasts a 16% alcohol content, close to the alcohol content of fortified wine.
I talked to Karen LaVigne, Sales Manager, aka Buzzy Bee, and besides being a human encyclopedia of wine knowledge, she...
War of 1812 Lecture Series at the Niagara on the Lake Historical Museum
Last Thursday, Feb. 3, Sarah Maloney, Managing Director, introduced Dave Webb, Military Curator, Parks Ontario to an audience of 85 people who filled the museum's hall. The lecture series is to supplement activities that lead to the celebration of next year's bicentennial of the War of 1812. Dave Webb proved to have a good sense of humour, indicating that he was "heavily armed" (he brought several muskets and swords).
Lectures take place at 10 a.m. every other Thursday morning until May 12, at the museum, located at 43 Castlereagh St. Remaining lectures include...
At Niagara-on-the-Lake's Fort George, author, Kyle Upton, leads ghost walks. First stop is the Soldiers Barracks, the most haunted building in the fort. People lived, married, raised children and died there while
war was fought and cannonballs literally flew through the roof. At night, a mysterious old man walks the upper floor, and a young girl sits atop the stairwell.
"I wasn't a believer until I started working at the Fort," Upton maintains. "Now, I've seen ghosts, and, in fact, I work for them! Victims of gunshot, bayonet, and fiery cannonballs were quickly buried in unmarked graves. There's scores of remains to be unearthed." With a tiny population of 14,000, Niagara-on-the-Lake boasts that it's the most haunted town per capita in Canada.
The town's population of 14,000, including a sizeable Mennonite community in Virgil, swells each summer as millions visit, particularly Torontonians to escape on weekends. They crowd the streets, filling restaurants and making parking a challenge. Don't be discouraged; a day-trip is great fun and much easier if you adopt a few tactics employed by locals.
Tasty food is always a must, and yes, a restaurant such as the Epicurean on Queen Street set amidst the crowds is fine albeit busy; however, if you take Niagara Stone Road (Highway 55) a very short jaunt west to Mary St., you arrive at a small strip mall at the SW corner that offers delicious surprises.
The Old Stone Grille provides home-baked breads, fresh local produce and artisanal cheeses. It's a Niagara culinary treasure disguised by a sign reading only...
Ben Campbell on Shaw musicals: "God, this is fun!"
Benedict Campbell (he prefers Ben), a vegetarian, casually picks through his Caesar salad while I sip coffee in Shaw's expansive new "Green Room," replete with thick-cushioned couches to help relax harried actors until rehearsal call summons their talent. Ben is a Shaw star of the first magnitude here in Niagara on the Lake, this season appearing in My Fair Lady and Heartbreak House.
Ben's father, Douglas, born in Glasgow, Scotland is richly admired by diehard Stratford Festival patrons dating back to Tyrone Guthrie's 1955 Oedipus Rex, portrayed later by Ben whose Stratford credits include Marc Antony in Julius Caesar and the Earl of Kent in Christopher Plummer's King Lear.
At first glance, one wonders why, in freezing -7 C weather, these strange people have invaded Niagara on the Lake's downtown, filling Queen St. and mulling about in front of the Court House as if it was a warm summer day. And - why are they are all smiling? Then, one notices that they are sipping ice wine, and it all makes sense. I have just returned home to the warmth of my fireplace, but I must admit - it was fun participating in the Old Town annual Icewine Festival along with hundreds of other kindred souls. January in Niagara means festivals of the liquid variety, staged throughout the Region, and here, 25 wineries are at it both Saturday and Sunday (January 22-23) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Now Welland is famous for more than its canal. It was a unique Christmas treat and also a terrific manner in which to celebrate community through song. So remarkable that it has inspired large scale imitation throughout the world as well as a heavy-duty number of hits on YouTube.
More than 80 Chorus Niagara singers who had previously blended into the crowd at Welland's busy Seaway Mall food court, systematically started to rise up from their seats one by one...
Niagara attracts excellent writers, and since 1983, the Canadian Authors
Association of Niagara has assisted writers by offering a mix of
workshops, guest speakers, writing groups, publications, networking opportunities and friendship.
Regular meetings at the St. Catharines Public Library feature
guest speakers from industry who discuss areas of interest to writers - manuscript editing, journalism, scriptwriting, self-publishing, etc.
The Shaw Festival Theatre, through its partnership with The Film Circuit, a branch of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), has announced its sixth annual Festival Film Series line-up.
This year's Festival Film Series launches with...
Niagara Falls, NY: Bargains Abound at Niagara Falls International Airport
If you live within an hour or so of Niagara Falls, NY, you might like to take advantage of some real deals on
flights to Florida and Myrtle Beach.
On Nov. 19, 2010, I was on the inaugural Direct Air non-stop flight from Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG), Niagara Falls, New York
to Palm Beach International Airport which leaves Friday, Saturday and Monday. Pricing starts at $99 per flight which includes taxes. With me were a couple from Oakville who boasted ...
2011 marks the 50th anniversary of Niagara on the Lake's Shaw Festival which has transformed the once sleepy town into a must-go-to destination, particularly for most of Toronto.
Inside her compact office, just past the Green Room, where the actors hang out and snack in the Donald & Elaine Triggs Production Centre, Jackie Maxwell, Shaw Festival Artistic Director for the past eight years, smiles broadly and says, "You know, sometimes there's one too many meetings about roads and passports, but really it's a great gig!"
I ask about her role here as 'dramaturge.' "Sounds weighty," I suggest. "How do you apply it here in Niagara on the Lake?"
There's only one way that you can challenge the mighty fury of the Niagara River as it rips through the steep gorge below The Falls - and be laughing at the same time. You gotta ride in a Whirlpool Jet Boat!
That's the surprise that my wife had in store for me on how to break free from Toronto's big heat. And there were more delightful surprises ahead because she had purchased two "break free" Niagara Escape Packages so we could visit some of Niagara's other famous venues - with great savings.
Africa's has its "Big Five" - lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo, but I think Niagara enjoys
a similar "Big Five" - the American and Canadian Falls, the Jet Boat, Whirlpool Aero Car,
Butterfly Conservatory and Niagara Helicopter Tour. I sampled each, included in the Break-
Free Niagara Parks promotional package available online for $79.95.
Breaking free happened long ago for me. Born & raised in Toronto, I live in Niagara on the Lake, and have discovered some special scenic outlooks and picnic spots to share - along the attractive Parkway, easy to navigate by car or bicycle.
This time, I'm well-prepared, wearing swim trunks, a t-shirt, sandals and accompanied by
nothing else that
would inevitably get soaked. A hot day, I welcome the soon-to-come baptism in sheets of Niagara's powerful white-water.
Erin, our Jet Boat tour leader, describes the choice of seats: "The first three rows, we call 'tsunami;' the next three, 'oh my God;' and the rear rows are regarded as the safest."
Excited, I stand in the pre-board wait line at Niagara Helicopters Limited on Victoria Ave. along the Niagara Parkway and across from the Whirlpool Rapids and Spanish Aerocar. In the cerulean sky, I make out two whirling-dervish objects reminding me of the butterflies that I encountered in the Conservatory. These hovering insects are much larger, and as one approaches to land, I am amazed at the force of the blades which create intense turbulence. My baseball cap zooms backwards off my head - 20 metres, and I retreat to retrieve it.
North of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls along the Niagara Parkway, I pull into the parking lot at the Spanish Aero Car attraction. Soon, ticket in hand I climb aboard the bright yellow and red car (Spanish colours) with a friendly French Canadian family from Quebec City. Their first time aboard, they all tote cameras like me.
We cover the distance of one kilometre (3,600 feet), and the smooth journey takes 10 minutes. An optical illusion, we appear to visit the U.S.A., but actually
journey between two different points on the Canadian shore above the spectacular whirlpool.
It's a dramatic contrast to the wild kinetic thrill of a jet boat and helicopter, but another break-free option arrives on delicate wings in the Zen-like form of tranquility, personified by the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory.
Immediately, my spirit is soothed by the tranquil surroundings, the calming sound of a waterfall amidst a tropical oasis that forms the relaxing habitat for 2,000 dainty creatures wrapped in their brilliant and myriad colour schemes that emulate a living kaleidoscope of changing shape and colour.
A city friend recommended the "Niagara Break Free" program. "For 80 bucks, you get admission to five major attractions including other perks." I remembered that there's GO Train service from Toronto and back. Inspired, I called the GO Transit toll-free number 1.888.GET ON GO (438.6646) to learn that until September 26, the train service offers weekend direct rail trips to Niagara Falls from Union Station with a weekly train/bus service for those inclined to depart mid-week.
Tudor Creek Bed and Breakfast
Brunlea House B&B
Cedar Suite Bed & Breakfast
Heritage House Bed and Breakfast
Inn on the Henley
Omi's Haus B&B
Rheinhessen Estate B&B
Springbank House B&B
The Fairview at Rockway
Wine Country Manor B&B
Wooton House on the Water
Bed And Breakfasts
Atherton House Bed & Breakfast
Black Walnut Manor
Bullfrog Pond B&B
A Touch Of Spice Guest House
Canadian citizens travelling to the United States require proper documents which are explained at the
Canada Border Services Agency website. Border Wait Times are detailed here. To ensure a trouble-free trip you should visit their
Planning A Trip page to ensure that you enjoy safe and hassle free travel.
Effective June 1, 2009, all travelers, including citizens of the United States, Canada and Bermuda, entering or re-entering the United States will be required to have a passport, passport card or WHTI-compliant document. For more information about entry into the United States, visit US Customs/Border Security at
www.getyouhome.gov. The US Department of State website at
www.travel.state.gov and the US Department of Homeland Security website at
www.dhs.gov have further information.