Monthly Archives: February 2013

Hit the Runway at the Burlington Women's Show | Adventure #12

Sunday was the annual Burlington Women’s Show, described as “a day out for women to enjoy fashion, food & fun with their friends.” This year was it’s sixteenth season, and what a Sweet 16 it was! The show held it’s coming of age party at a new venue — the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. This change of location combined with new additions to the event lineup and more publicity resulted in attendance doubling over last year’s show.

When Mrs Burlington saw a call for volunteer fashion show models and decided to sign-up, I knew this would be something I had to see!

Mrs Burlington hits the runway at the Burlington Women's Show

Cosimo’s Salon provided glamour treatment to every model — they all looked stunning! Clothes were provided by the stores of Mapleview Centre and the selections were coordinated by Slice Network’s Nicole Manek.

Burlington Women's Show models

There were two fashion shows during the event. The first highlighted fresh daytime looks

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for spring and the second showcased evening fashions. Here is a peak at the daytime fashion show featuring Mrs Burlington’s runway debut:

Dozens of shopping, dining and service exhibitors were arranged throughout the gorgeous 5000 square foot lobby of the Performing Arts Centre. This area features a glass roof and is encircled by a balcony level lobby above, creating a unique social setting that is perfect for this type of event. The sunlight streaming in from all directions provides a cure for the winter blues (while the free samples of food and wine help too)! Throughout the day, a variety of personalities spoke about nutrition myths, house renovation tips and other topics of interest.

Browsing the vendor displays at the Burlington Women's Show

Thanks to Burlington Events, all the sponsors, and — of course — to the beautiful volunteer models for making the 2013 Burlington Women’s Show a great day out for women (and the occasional Mr. like myself too). If you attended, you can help the organizers plan an even better event next year by filling out the official event survey.

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Make a Double Date with Mini Golf and a Movie | Adventure #11

It’s a classic first date duo — mini-golf and a movie. I remembered this as my go-to date idea from high school and decided to plan a mid-winter family adventure around it.

We arrived at Putting Edge Mini Golf in Burlington just as they opened one blustery Saturday morning at 10am. Putting Edge is located on Brant Street in the Burlington Power Centre right next to SilverCity Burlington (which we’d be visiting later in the day).

I used a 2-for-1 coupon that I had picked up at the Burlington New Year’s Day Celebration and we got our game in gear. The great thing about being there at opening was that we had the whole place to ourselves.

The Burlington Putting Edge course features 18 holes of outlandish, glow-in-the-dark creatures from sand and sea. One moment we were battling a serpent underwater and the next we were putting amongst tropical palm trees. There were also lush rain forests, Aztec jungles, and medieval castles that set the scene for our family showdown.

While staff busily prepared for a day of birthday parties, we took advantage of being the only golfers that morning and moved at a leisurely pace. Baby Burlington toddled all over the place chasing our golf balls. It became a challenge to sink each putt before he could get to it.

Putting Edge proved to be an entertaining indoor activity on a cold winter’s day. Their website proclaims, “Live Life, Don’t Watch It” which nicely summarizes the motive behind our 100 adventures challenge.

We wrapped up mini golf about 15 minutes before our matinee was set to begin and then headed next door to SilverCity. The Burlington SilverCity is one of 71 Cineplex locations across the country that offers the Family Favourites series every Saturday morning at 11am for only $2.50! What a bargain.

The movies featured each week cover a broad range of former hits from Shrek to Charlotte’s Web to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. When I saw that one of the movies was Elmo in Grouchland, I knew that it would be the perfect “first movie” for our youngest. We wouldn’t normally think to take a 1-year old to the movie theatre, but he often sits in awe of Elmo so we gave it a shot.

With the movie about to begin, we picked up a kids popcorn combo to share and got settled in our seats. Elmo soon appeared on the big screen and our normally wiggly child was transfixed… at least for the first 20 minutes until he fell asleep.

In addition to Family Favourites, Cineplex also offers a Classic Film Series on Sundays and Wednesdays. Films like The Ten Commandments, Sunset Boulevard, and Lawrence of Arabia are presented for the first time in digital format on the big screen. Perhaps the most popular, recurring film in this series is The Wizard of Oz which is playing Sunday, April 14 and Wednesday, April 17.

In November and December, Cineplex turns it’s attention to the holiday season when they show classic Christmas movies as part of both the Family Favourites and Classic Film series. This past season we enjoyed Home Alone, A Christmas Story and Elf on the big screen!

If you could choose a favourite classic movie to watch on the big screen, what would it be? Let me know by commenting below while I nibble on some popcorn.

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Roar with the Dinosaurs at the Royal Botanical Gardens | Adventure #10

I recently posted about our snow and ice adventures at Bronte Creek Provincial Park, a natural oasis on the eastern border of Burlington. Across the city, on our western border, is another impressive nature centre — the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG).

First constructed in the 1930s during the Great Depression, the Royal Botanical Gardens has grown to become the largest botanical garden in Canada, a National Historic Site, and a charitable organization dedicated to bringing people, plants and nature together.

Junior Burlington is a major dinosaur fan. When he was four, he introduced himself to

a friend of mine by saying, “I’m not a paleontologist but I know a LOT about dinosaurs.” This was shortly before his first visit to the Royal Ontario Museum where he corrected a staff member viagra cialis levitra online on the pronunciation of “quetzalcoatlus.”

When he heard that the Royal Botanical Gardens would be hosting its own dinosaur exhibit — Battle of the Titans — he was majorly excited! On the day of our visit, both boys dressed in their finest dinosaur wear and we headed out to the RBG on Plains Road West.

The main atrium hosts most of the interactive dinosaur exhibits and is the perfect place to be cialis kullanımı on a cold winter’s day. This space was unveiled in 2009 and features a cutting-edge design constructed almost entirely of glass that allows natural light to filter in. The two-level room is filled cialis online canadian with fascinating dinosaur displays that work on many levels — being both entertaining and educational for children and adults alike.

These Dino-Vision Skulls allow brave viewers to see life through the eyes of a T-Rex or Triceratops (the titans for which the exhibit is named).

Weekends at the RBG feature an extra bit of special dinosaur programming. The day we were there, the special session was a Dino Dig in which kids received their own rock and a set of tools they had to use to uncover the hidden fossil inside.

For families with younger kids, the story time and puppet show were a big draw. There is a cool craft area too that brings a dinosaur to life out of an ordinary paper bag.

The boys were especially fascinated by the live dinosaur creatures carried about by RBG staffers. These little guys sure love to nip at stray fingers.

Perhaps the biggest hit viagra for less of the day was the Digital Dig Pit. This giant iPad-like table allows kids to uncover dinosaur bones that are buried below digital dirt! Once the pieces are uncovered, they are assembled into place to form the skeleton. Once finished, the dead dino promptly walks off the screen so that the kids can start all over again.

Battle of the Titans at the Royal Botanical Gardens runs daily until April 7th. There are a number mens health viagra online of special dinosaur themed programs for adults, teens and children scheduled in conjunction with the exhibit. For example, there are dino sculpting and drawing classes, Dino-Snores Sleepovers, dinosaur themed meals, presentations by famous paleontologists and a week-long March Break Discovery camp.

Besides the dinosaurs, there’s more to explore in the winter at the Gardens including the beautiful Mediterranean garden “under glass” that brings together plants from the world’s five Mediterranean climate zones.

If you’re ready to face a showdown between Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops, head out to Battle of the Titans as these prehistoric giants thrill and educate budding palaeontologists of all ages.

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Make Tracks on the River and Ruin Trail | Adventure #9

The day after the snowstorm of the year, we figured it was time for something we had always wanted to try… snowshoeing. We settled on one of our favourite Burlington hiking spots — the River and Ruin trail — and ventured off to Mountain Equipment Co-op

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(MEC) to rent snowshoes.

As we entered the MEC parking lot we were surprised to find our friends from Milton on their way out. They were planning to go tobogganing but agreed to postpone cialis and niacin that and join us on our snowshoeing adventure instead. Our first special guests on a Mr Burlington adventure!

Mountain Equipment Co-op is perhaps Canada’s most-loved outdoor retailer. They focus on all kinds of self-powered recreation (including running, hiking, camping, cycling, canoeing, climbing and snowsports).

The staff at loestrin 24 fe canadian pharmacy MEC were kind enough to suggest an appropriate model and size of snowshoe for each of us and also helped us try them on to get comfortable. For $12 a day — and free rentals for the kids — I thought this service was a bargain.

We drove up to Lowville and parked at the intersection of Britannia and Blind Line where the trail starts. River & Ruin why does viagra cause headaches is one of our favorite walks, providing varied terrain, views, and (in the summer) a canadian pharmacy manitoba beautiful river to wade in. It is part of the Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest foot path. I’ll be sharing more about the Bruce Trail as part of

an upcoming adventure.

After strapping on the snowshoes, I was surprised to find that we would be the first to break the snow on this popular section of trail. Walking through the woods with a thick, untouched cover of snow was beautiful and serene — well as much as it can be with three kids under 7 in tow!

We ventured off into the woods with only the white Bruce Trail blazes marked on the trees to serve as our guide since the path was buried. We found it exhilarating and not nearly as challenging as we thought it might be.

With so much snow, three small boys and more hills than I remembered, our pace was slow. It took us half an hour to travel half a kilometer. The kids were starting to wear down so we decided to turn back while we were all still having fun. I was disappointed how does cialis work after ejaculation we didn’t make it to either the “river” or the “ruin” for which the loop is named but I knew that going any further would be pushing our luck.

I later realized I could include photos from our Fall hike as part of this post to provide a sense of cialis and bph treatment the sights to be seen on the trail.

Along the side trail (marked with blue tree blazes), you’ll find the “ruin” element of the trail. This abandoned farmhouse from the early to mid-1800’s used to be adorned with a wrap-around porch facing the river below. The lower field (below the trail) was a horse pasture while the upper portions were used for crops.

To this day, many apples and pear trees remain in the area. The side-trail used to be the farmer’s dirt road leading them by horse & buggy to Guelph Line, where they ran errands at the General Store (now The Lowville Bistro).

After passing the “ruin,” the trail curves back along Bronte Creek — the “river” part of the trail’s name. Huge willow trees line the water’s edge and impressive bridges have been built by Bruce Trail volunteers to provide easy passage.

When we arrived back at the car we still had enough energy left for one last group photo.

Do you want to try hiking or snowshoeing Burlington’s “River and Ruin” trail for yourself? You can get the official trail map by consulting the printed Bruce Trail Reference Guide or downloading Map #10 as a PDF for $3.00. There is also this free map with accompanying photos on the site.

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Dig Into Decorating Seasonal Sweets | Adventure #8

Be it Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween or Christmas, it seems every holiday comes accompanied by all manner of sweets and treats.

Some Burlington businesses enhance the holiday countdown by offering opportunities to create special desserts that celebrate the season.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, our weekend adventure saw us icing Valentine cookies at Mollycake one day and then crafting Valentine cupcakes at Fortinos the next.

Mollycake is a Burlington bakery specializing in custom celebration cakes that you can’t buy at the grocery store. Owner Christine makes fantastic cakes, party favours, sweets and gift baskets. She bakes everything from scratch and uses only the best ingredients like real butter, farm fresh eggs, top quality chocolate and Madagascar vanilla bean paste.

Mollycake regularly hosts tasty classes and events throughout the year. While our adventure was kid focused, Mollycake offers adult sessions too. For example, this Tuesday, Mollycake is offering a Girls Night Out cake decorating party with a “conversation hearts” theme. There are a few spots for this event still available.

Jr Burlington attended the Mollycake Junior Decorators event where kids were invited to demonstrate their artistic talents on three Valentine sugar cookies using icing and all the trimmings.

From birthdays & baby showers to weddings & Wednesdays, Christine promises to make your day sweeter. Mollycake is located in the Times Square complex on Upper Middle Road & Sutton Drive (between Appleby and Burloak).

The following morning brought us to the gorgeous new Fortinos at Appleby Line and Dundas Street. This “next generation” store opened in December 2011 as the pride of the Fortinos chain and a model for future stores to come.

The Fortinos Community Room hosts community groups, birthday parties, private get-togethers and cooking classes. Non-profit groups can use the room at no charge!

Community Room coordinator, Jane, was the host of the day’s cupcake decorating session enjoyed by over 20 kids from 6-10 years old. The Community Room is not just for kids though–it regularly hosts adult-only culinary classes and recently featured a Valentine’s chocolate class for adults called Tuxedo Junction.

When we signed up for the hour and a half program, we imagined a free-form session but Jane offered something much more. She came prepared with plans and fixings for six different creations including a pink coconut polar bear, a rose, a duck, a monster and two flowers.

While Jr Burlington decorated, we grabbed our weekly groceries and enjoyed a coffee in the large seating area that offers a diner-inspired look and free Wi-Fi.

At the end of the event, each child had a half dozen imaginative cupcakes to take home. Every child

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showed off their creations with pride.

If you haven’t visited this Fortinos yet, stop in to see why this store is the talk of the town and the grocery industry. Be sure to check the Community Room events calendar to discover upcoming sessions that interest you. Another cupcake decorating event–this time with a Spring theme–is scheduled for May 4th with a price of $8 per child (ages 4-12). Contact Community Room Coordinator Jane Berry at (905) 319-1690 ext. 314 or email her at

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Go Gliding on Snow and Ice at Bronte Creek Provincial Park | Adventure #7

Ontario, Yours to Discover.

This phrase has been our provincial tagline since it debuted in 1981 in a bid to compete with the “I Love New York” ads. We really do have a lot to discover across our expansive province and one of the best ways to do this is by exploring our 334 Ontario Provincial Parks. Put together, these parks cover an area approximately the size of Nova Scotia.

Burlington is lucky enough to have one of the few urban provincial parks right at our own back door.  Bronte Creek sits on the Burlington/Oakville border along the fittingly named Burloak Drive. Twice the size of New York City’s Central Park, Bronte Creek opened in 1975 and offers 1690 acres of natural landscape alongside the stunning Bronte Creek ravine.

On a snowy but pleasant Saturday morning, we arrived at Bronte creek to enjoy their Olympic size outdoor skating rink and locally famous tobogganing hill. There is no admission charge but rather a parking fee of $16 (the same price at every provincial park). Because of the parking fee, it makes sense to try to fit in as much as you can do in a day. In addition to skating and sledding, Bronte Creek offers a kids Play Barn, hiking trails and much more that we’ll be experiencing later this year.

A lot of people think that the park’s giant-size swimming pool transforms into the skating rink in the winter. It’s actually three basketball courts just behind the pool that host the ice surface. There are pipes below the asphalt that are cooled by a nearby refrigeration plant. At the start of the season, a fire hose is used to flood the surface and, with the help of a Zamboni, a skating rink is born!

After 20 minutes or so of skating, we decided it was time for a halftime break and made our way to the nearby Park Store store for some hot chocolate and a treat from the snack bar. We noticed that Bronte Creek offers a large selection of rental skates for visitors who don’t bring their own.

Skating at Bronte Creek combines the joys of outdoor skating with the amenities of an arena. A large indoor change room next to the rink allowed us to put our skates on without our hands feeling the bite of the winter wind. Long stretches of rubber mats extend from the change room to the rink and store.

After an hour or so we decided to pack up and head home for lunch. We returned later in the afternoon with toboggans in tow to brave the dizzying heights of Bronte’s snow capped peak.

Bronte Creek features a fantastic double-sided hill with a good run off at the bottom and no trees. There’s great tobogganing on both sides with a steeper slope on the east end that affords long, fast runs. Jr Burlington came to call this carved path “Rapid Run” because it offered the most thrills of any hill he’d ever been on!

Surprisingly, given the nice weather, there were only a handful of other families out that afternoon. We tried the runs on both sides of the hill over and over (and over) again. I always forget how much exercise one gets walking back up the hill after the quick ride down.

Baby Burlington was happy to stay at the top of the hill in a miniature sled that I bought just that morning on Kijiji.

After an hour or so of fun, we packed up for home. A chili dinner with garlic bread was the perfect way to cap off a day spent playing on ice and snow.

Does this all sound like fun? It is! Resist the urge to hibernate this winter and get outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. But you better hurry, the ice rink at Bronte Creek remains open only until the last Sunday of February and the tobogganing hill transforms back into simple scenery with the melting of the snow.

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Come to the Fair for a Celebration of Burlington Heritage | Adventure #6

Throughout the year, there are many dedicated community groups that work to remember, preserve and celebrate the shared history of our city. Each February marks Heritage Month in Burlington and, to kick things off, over 20 groups converge annually to present a joint Heritage Fair for residents to enjoy. This special day, hosted by the Central Library, features a number of insightful demonstrations and presentations that highlight the history that has shaped our city.

As soon as we walked through the front doors into Centennial Hall, our Heritage Fair adventure started with a flair as a period surgeon regaled us with tales of the medical profession in the early 19th century. He demonstrated how leeches were used to drain inflamed wound areas because they can suck in up to 10

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times their own body weight in blood until they become engorged and fall off!

The Heritage Fair is a trade show of sorts. Each group hosts a booth showcasing their work while educating and entertaining visitors.

I enjoyed how the booths seemed to be arranged in a somewhat eclectic way. Right next to the wartime surgeon was the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Burlington who call the Burlington Art Centre home. This Guild is a “dynamic community of local fibre enthusiasts who work, play, and create with fibre to make beautiful things.”

The volunteer here took the time (and patience) to show Jr Burlington how a miniature loom works. He was quite proud of the small section of fabric he was able to weave by himself.

The surgeon and the soldier (below) were just the first of many costumed characters we’d meet this day. It was fun to see so many volunteers dressed up in period clothing seeking to make the day memorable. Even the library staff working the checkout desk were in the spirit and sporting their finest heritage wear.

Kids were invited to play dress-up too as part of an interactive display where they could try on militia costumes and perform some military drills.

A craft area allowed for the creation of a “stovepipe” shako with plume to replicate the regulation headgear of an 1812 era British soldier. Another craft re-created the silver gorget (a piece of armour for the throat) presented to Burlington founding father, Joseph Brant, by King George III.

Further down the way, we came across the Friends of Freeman Station. This group is the epitome of determination as evidenced by their dogged

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pursuit of saving Burlington’s 1906 heritage railway station for future generations to enjoy.

By talking to the gentlemen representing this group, I discovered more about their challenges and successes to-date and learned that the station will finally be restored and moved to its new home later this year. Funds are still being raised for the move so our family chipped in $20 to help move the station the distance of one railway tie!

While Jr Burlington paused to do a craft with the Museums of Burlington, I paged through books chock full of local vintage photos at the North Shore Publishing table. We chit chatted with a number of other groups as we made our way to the exit.

On the way out, I made one last stop to hear about efforts to restore and open the 1850s Beach Canal lighthouse and keeper’s dwelling. This important initiative would help preserve the two oldest heritage structures remaining on Hamilton Beach.

I left the library impressed by the breadth of this event and inspired to continue publishing bits and bites of our heritage on Facebook in an easy-to-digest daily format.

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