Monthly Archives: May 2013

Saddle Up in the Lids 4 Kids Bike Rodeo | Adventure #34

Attending a bicycle safety rodeo every spring is a part of growing up. I remember navigating traffic cones in the school yard, working hard to impress the

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police officers who were instructing us.

We practiced things like mounting and dismounting the bicycle, changing direction and turning in circles, weaving, and stopping quickly.

This childhood tradition lives on here in Burlington every May thanks to the Burlington Mall and the Halton Regional Police. The primary focus here, however, is something we never even considered as kids — properly fitted bicycle helmets. Burlington Mall donates up to 300 CSA-approved helmets to children participating in this event every year.

Hemlet Fitting at Burlington Mall Lids 4 Kids

As a parent, I’ve found that fitting and adjusting bike helmets on kids who don’t like to stand still can be kind of tricky. When I first heard that someone was willing to do this for me — and provide the helmet for free — I was ready to sign up! Halton Police Services and their team of volunteers makes sure that each helmet is fitted properly.

In past years, this event was known for long lineups. But no more! As one volunteer told me, “we got smart.” This year, parents were asked to reserve the correct size helmet for each child, in the week prior to the event, by visiting Guest Services inside Burlington Mall. The result of this voucher system was that, even though we arrived after it started, there was no line!

McGruff the Crime Dog - Take a Bite Out of Crime

After being fitted for their helmets, the boys got to meet McGruff the Crime Dog and learned that we all have to work together to “Take a Bite Out of Crime!” If only Elmer the Safety Elephant and Smokey the Bear could have been there too, we could have met the trifecta of kids safety ambassadors.

At the Starting Line Lids 4 Kids Bike Rally

The next stop was the start line of the bike safety rodeo where kids were reminded of the proper hand signals.

I was interested to learn that they no longer try to have kids remember that to turn right you need to bend your left arm like a capital ‘L’. How much sense does that make to a kid? Now they simply teach kids to “point in the direction you are going to turn.”

Baby Burlington at Halton Regional Police Lids 4 Kids

Friendly Halton police officers were positioned throughout the course to cheer the kids on, provide direction, and answer questions (not to mention picking up stray safety cones).

Pausing to Pose with a Police Officer

At the end of the course, every child received an award certificate and was provided with a complimentary bike safety inspection completed by the mall’s SportChek store.

When Jr Burlington’s bike was “up on the hoist” for service, the technician spent a considerable amount of time adjusting the brakes and checking tire pressure and seat height.

Bicycle Safety Check by Sport Chek

As we exited the event, I was pleased to meet Heidi from the Burlington Cycling Committee. This group of volunteers has the role of assisting and advising City Council in matters pertaining to cycling in the City of Burlington.

Heidi told me about the upcoming Car Free Sunday events on June 9 (Appleby Line) and June 23 (Palladium Way in the Alton Community). A fun new addition this year is a “bicycle train” that will lead people from all over town to the Appleby Line event.

One Bicycle Train will start at City Hall and proceed along the Centennial Bikeway and Lakeshore Road to Appleby Line. Another Bicycle Train will start at the Tansley Woods Community Centre and proceed along Upper Middle Road and through the Orchard community before heading south on Burloak and back west on the Centennial Bikeway to Appleby Line. The “train” will stop at meeting points along the way and will get longer as more riders join in the procession.

Mr Burlington and Family will be joining the Ward 5 Bike Train at Orchard Community Park (12:45). Come join us, all you need is a bike and a helmet!

Burlington Cycling Committee

Our last stop was a visit with Daffy Dill the Clown who made the

boys neat balloon animals. Daffy Dill has supported my efforts on the Mr Burlington Facebook page from the very start so I was quite pleased to meet and thank her.

Balloons with Daffy Dill the Clown

I’ll be featuring more cycling related adventures in Burlington later this summer. In the meantime, check out this Tourism Burlington blog post for more ideas on getting into gear. Burlington has some phenomenal bike paths… enjoy them with your family this summer and ride safe!

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Celebrate Spring Time on the Farm at Bronte Creek Provincial Park | Adventure #33

Spring has sprung at Bronte compare staxyn to viagra Creek Provincial Park and their two farms have come alive with new baby animals! We visited on Victoria Day to canadian universities pharmacy programs visit the babies, enjoy the playbarn and take part in their annual celebration of what life was like on a farm in the 1890s.

Bronte Creek specializes in the Late Victorian Era so there is no better place to celebrate Victoria Day. Every year on the holiday Monday, Spruce Lane Farm hosts a Spring Time on the Farm event giving visitors a sense of early farming heritage.

Our first stop was to make a unique souvenir necklace. The boys filled an old film canister with potting soil and selected a seed to plant (bean or sunflower). The canisters were then watered, capped and hung around the neck for transport home. They now sit open on our windowsill as we wait for the seedlings to emerge.

Planting Seeds at Springtime on the Farm, Bronte Creek

Nearby, a young lady was demonstrating a few different Victorian games. Jr Burlington learned that children of the time enjoyed using a stick to roll a hoop as they walked to school. It was not nearly as easy as it looked — I know, because I tried too!

My favourite aspect of events and festivals at Bronte Creek is that their tour guides dress in period correct attire. This may seem like a small thing, but it really makes a big difference in immersing guests into the Victorian era.

Playing Pioneer Games at Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Next, we visited the back of Spruce Lane Farmhouse where the boys were asked to help “Mom” by doing three traditional farm chores.

First, water was pumped into a bucket and delivered to the back door so that Mom could use it in the kitchen. Then, pieces of firewood were carried from the woodshed to the back door for use in the oven.

Doing Chores for Mom at Bronte Creek Spring Tyme on the Farm

Finally, it was explained how ice was harvested from Lake Ontario before we delivered an ice block to the back door. We learned that ice blocks were cut perfectly square in order to make them easier to load and haul. After delivery to the farm, sawdust was used as an insulator in the icehouse. The sawdust was so effective that a harvest of ice put in place in cold weather and properly packed with sawdust could last several years.


Every year, the activities at Spring Time on the Farm are a bit different. Last year, Jr Burlington was enlisted to help plant strawberries in the field.

Planting Strawberries at Bronte Creek Spruce Lane Farm

One of the games in 2012 was a timed challenge for how fast kids could clean old hay out of a barn stall and put new hay back in. They were stunned to learn that kids on the farm would be expected to do viagra hearing loss this chore every morning!

Moving the Hay in the Barn at Bronte Creek

The Breckon family, who originally lived at Spruce Lane Farm until the 1950s, made their living as apple farmers. There are still signs of this throughout the park including apple and pear trees, vineyards cialis 4467 and a number of silos still standing that are more than 100 years old.

Spruce Lane Farm at Bronte Creek is loved by many for its idyllic spring time farmyard scenes like this one.

Bronte Creek Cows in Pasture

The second farm that families can experience is the Bronte Creek Children’s Farm. This is the most popular attraction at the park and is open year around.

Generations of kids have enjoyed this 150-year-old barn that now offers a huge children’s play loft for climbing, jumping and having fun.

Bronte Creek Provincial Park Children's Farm

Entrance to the playbarn is through a white picket gate. Only children 10 years of age and under are permitted to play.

Welcome to the Playbarn at Bronte Creek

Photo stand ins are always fun! Here, Baby Burlington plays scarecrow while hosting two familiar looking crows.

The Three Scarecrows

The barn offers two levels of fun including bridges, hidden mazes, slides, tunnels and a Hayloft for jumping!

Jumping in the Hayloft at the Bronte Creek Play BarnNo farm is complete without a tire swing.

Swinging on the Tire Swing

The Children’s Farm is home to a variety of barnyard animals including rabbits, pigs, cows, chickens, roosters, and peacocks.

Bronte Creek Children's Farm

We watched this proud peacock strutting his stuff for the ladies, spreading his colorful fantail during a courtship ritual.

Peacock Strutting his Stuff

Every spring, visitors to the park are greeted by a variety of baby farm animals. This year we got to meet little ducklings, piglets and kid goats. I just read on the Bronte Creek Facebook page that baby turkeys have now hatched!

Little Baby Chicks at Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Mamma pig had just given birth to four babies a few weeks back and, with her piglets asleep, came out into the farmyard for a break and some fresh air.

Mamma Pig Comes Out for Sun

Inside, we saw the piggies in their stall curled up and resting after a good feeding.

Little Baby Piggies at Bronte Creek

Nearby, the kid goats were playful as always. We picked some of the long grass and they enjoyed a nibble.

Feeding the Goats at the Children's Play Barn

All programs and facilities mentioned in this post are included in the regular Daily Vehicle rate ($16.00 per vehicle). Seasonal and annual vehicle passes are available.

Bronte Creek does a stellar job with social media and is always posting updates, photos and park information along viagra free samples packs with quick replies to questions. Be sure to “Like” Bronte Creek on Facebook and follow Bronte Creek Park Ranger on Twitter to stay in touch with this fantastic local treasure.

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Find it Fresh at the Burlington Mall Farmer's Market | Adventure #32

In 1968, the Burlington Mall opened its doors for the first time. Residents and visitors flocked to the new mall and the Burlington Lions Club took notice. By that time, the Lions had operated a Farmers Market in town for almost a decade. After seeing the mall’s success, the Lions decided to capitalize on the new concentration of shoppers by moving their market to the mall parking lot.

Today, the market is still thriving at the mall thanks in part to some vendors who

have been setting up their stalls, three days a week, for decades.

On our market adventure, we met Paul Hanson who helps manage the market for the Burlington Lions Club. “This market has been around so long because of the support we get from the people of Burlington,” he told me. “The variety of items available here is tremendous. Local produce, meat and baking are all available in one place, direct from the source.”

Burlington Mall Farmer's Market Sponsored by Burlington Lions Club

In this video, I speak with just a few of the many vendors at the Burlington Mall Farmers Market and get to know what makes each of them unique.

We were pleased to see a few familiar faces at the market! Sweet Potato Johnny, Smokeville and Lauray Farms were among the vendors we had met previously on Adventure 13 at the Terra Winter Market back in February.

Smokeville has the most amazing smoked salmon, trout, chicken, beef and pork you have ever tasted. Smokeville claims that their smoked fish products have turned more non-fish people into “fish fans” than they can count!

Sweet Potato Johnny‘s products are delicious. Perhaps you may raise an eyebrow at the thought of sweet potatoes in baked goods (I did too). But the incredible taste and moistness of his sweet potato waffles, brownies or bread will have you convinced!

Sweet Potato Johnny

Of course, as we do on every adventure, we met many new friends too!

Brian from J&G Meats filled me in on his family business that has been part of the Burlington community for 48 years. They have a full service retail location on Plains Road in Aldershot but keep up their market presence as a way of introducing themselves to Burlington residents who haven’t discovered the store yet. Brian does this by grilling up samples of his sausages for market shoppers to try.

J&G Meats supplies a number of legendary local restaurants including Hutches on the Beach and Easterbrooks.

Burlington's J&G Meats

The largest vendor at the market is Dilly’s.

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This longtime vendor offers a vast array of produce under a giant tent ranging from tomatoes and corn to potatoes and cabbage. The stream of people at this booth seemingly never ends which is not surprising considering its size and variety plus the fact that Dilly’s has been a fixture at the Burlington market for over 43 years.

Dilly’s is based in Simcoe and gets most of its food from the Simcoe and Beamsville area. Most everything is Ontario-grown with items from elsewhere indicated as such.

Beef Steak Tomatoes

I was pleased to speak with Ray Korten from Lauray Farms who underscored that they are, indeed, “real farmers.” Ray described his farm as being “almost organic” in that they will only treat their crops if there is a danger of losing them. I found this level of honesty comforting as I sometimes wonder about claims of being 100% organic. “We enjoy speaking with our customers and explaining how our food is grown and what’s in it,” said Roy.

Lauray Farms is a vendor at the Burlington Mall Farmer's Market

The vendors at the market pay fees to the Burlington Lions club which are distributed back to the community through the group’s many charitable programs. The market has become one of the most successful farmers’ markets in Southern Ontario.

“Over the years the market has become a meeting place for Burlingtonians,” Hanson says. “So many people run into neighbours and friends and use it as an opportunity to catch up.”

Geraniums from Hutchinson Farms

By speaking with many of the vendors during our visit, we learned about the benefits that the market brings to the community:

  • Even though grocery stores carry local and organic products, shopping at the Farmer’s Market ensures a fair price to the farmer and that more of the money spent stays in the community
  • Prices of produce are often lower at the Market compared with the grocery store
  • In addition to the money spent at the market itself, a recent study conducted for the Lions’ Market showed that it brings about $5,000,000 into our community
  • There are almost 200 people employed by the market, either through working the stalls or in the field getting the produce ready for the market

Burlington Mall Farmers Market Produce

Come on out to the market for the best of the fresh!

The market is located on the Prospect Street side of the mall and is open from May to October: Wednesdays 8 – 2, Fridays 8 – 4, Saturdays 8 – 2.

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Swing Into Some of Burlington's Best Parks | Adventure #31

Did you know there are over 100 parks and parkettes in Burlington — 26 of them considered “major”? That’s a lot to explore! In this adventure, we visit four of the best parks our city has to offer. We’ll explore more parks in future adventures.

We begin by visiting the city’s newest recreation area, City View Park. At 150 acres, this place is huge! When complete, it will be Burlington’s largest park.

Located at Dundas Street and Kerns Road, over half of the park used to be farmer’s fields. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested to extensively reforest the site with native plantings along the brow of the escarpment.

City View Park Sign in Burlington, Ontario

The new sign marking the entrance to City View Park

City View Park currently includes two artificial turf soccer fields (with a third on the way), a state-of-the-art playground, a naturalized pond area with boardwalks and parking for 650 vehicles. A system of trails, including the Bruce Trail, runs through the site.

City View Park Sports Fields

In addition, City View Park will ultimately include:

  • five multi-use sports fields
  • two baseball diamonds
  • two open space areas
  • a pavilion with washroom/changeroom facilities

The playground at City View Park is definitely a destination playground. The structure has accessible flooring — this allows children of different ages to play together on most of the equipment, just in different ways.

Lots of Room to Play at Burlington's City View Park

Ladybug in Motion

After visiting City View Park, we check out the adjoining Kerncliff Park next.

Thirty years ago, Kerncliff Park was a barren quarry. Today, it’s a beautiful passive park located on the Niagara Escarpment with magnificent views of

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the City and Lake Ontario. There are no playgrounds here. Instead, this environmentally based park has been developed to emphasize its natural beauty for all the people of Burlington to enjoy.

Kerncliff Park Sign in Burlington, Ontario

To transform this land into a park, a tremendous amount of rehabilitation had to be undertaken by the City over many years including: stabilizing the quarry walls, building boardwalks across wetlands, constructing washrooms, a parking lot and a pavilion, replanting native species and developing ten trails through the forest linking with the Bruce Trail. The Bruce Trail runs through the park, at many points running along the edge of the cliffs.

Kerncliff Park Trail Map

The three main trails offer the choice of a 60, 30 or 15 minute walk. The shorter walk along the Wetland Trail is the perfect spot for relaxing amongst marshes, bullrushes, boardwalks, escarpment cliffs and lots of birds!

Hiking the Kerncliff Park Boardwalk

Viewing the Birds in the Marsh at Kerncliff Park

Woodland Trail is the longest hike at 1.5 km on a mulch path with some moderate hills. The shorter Red Oak Trail offers a similar landscape but at half the length.

Lots of Trails at Kerncliff Park

On the other side of Kerns Road, across from the main Kerncliff Park entrance and parking lot, is a small pull-off area providing a clear overlook of Burlington, the Burlington Bay Skyway, Hamilton, and Oakville. On a clear day, one can see the CN Tower in Toronto, approximately 50 kilometres away.

A great view of Burlington at Kerncliff Park

The next stop on our Burlington Parks adventure is Brant Hills Park. This park is another of the largest parks in the city with three baseball diamonds, three soccer fields and tennis courts.

Brank Hills Park Sign in Burlington, Ontario

This park features an Evos playground by Landscape Structures (as do a few others in Burlington). We always refer to Brant Hills as the “Disney playground” since these systems are featured at Walt Disney World’s annual Flower and Garden Festival (this year’s themed play area at Epcot was the “Land of Oz“).

The spherical design of Evos “opens up a fascinating world for kids where play is possible in every direction and dimension.” Unlike other playsystems, this one has no defined entry or exit points — the company maintains that this helps stimulate kids’ imaginations and sense of adventure.

The Playground at Brant Hills Park

Every component of this playground seems inventive and unexpected and begs to be explored — mentally, physically and through countless new games.

Below, Jr Burlington navigates the Hemisphere Climber which challenges kids with limitless climbing routes and angles. On the other side of the web is the O-Zone Climber. These unique hanging monkey bar rings challenge kids mentally and physically as they maneuver through, over and around the structure.

Climbing the Web at Brant Hills Park in Burlington, Ontario

The RingTangle Climber that Jr Burlington is walking on below, is a tangle of ascending and descending loops that keep kids thinking as they climb on top, or cross hand-over-hand underneath. This helps build total body strength and develop spatial awareness. The entire playground is really a workout disguised as fun.

Walking Across the Brant Hills Park Monkey Bars

Our last stop on this adventure is the Burloak Waterfront Park located on Lakeshore Road at the foot of Burloak Drive. This park actually straddles the border of Burlington and Oakville and is a trail head for the Waterfront Trail.

An interesting feature of this park is the significant Queenston shale cliff formation that is home to one of the largest nesting colonies of bank swallows in the western basin of Lake Ontario.

Burloak Waterfront Park Sign in Burlington, Ontario

Ask any kid about this park, and they’ll remember it for the unique sea serpent inspired playground.

Sea Serpent at Burloak Waterfront Park

Burloak Waterfront Park Playground

Burloak Park has over 800 meters of shoreline with the ability to access the water’s edge for a walk or skipping stones.

Walk Along the Shoreline at Burload Waterfront Park

Views include the Shell working pier (where large ships refuel) and, on clear days and nights, the Toronto skyline and the Niagara Peninsula.

Waterfront Path at Burloak Waterfront Park

Watching Wildlife

Get out and explore the many parks that Burlington has to offer. The variety of sights among them is incredible. We plan to discover more parks this summer as we picnic in the park, visit outdoor pools and splashpads, and cycle the Waterfront Trail and Centennial Bikeway!

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Eat Cheap and Have a Ball at IKEA | Adventure #30

Sometimes you just want to get out of the house and go somewhere. Somewhere to do something that doesn’t cost much. But what exactly?

If you’re a family with young kids in Burlington, IKEA can be a great local getaway — especially on a rainy day.

This was our adventure of choice one recent sunny Sunday morning. On the scale of mild to wild adventures, this one is on the tamer better cialis or viagra side to be sure. But it’s still viagra dosage sizes better than sitting at home in front of a screen.

Ikea Burlington $1 Breakfast Special

We’re lucky we don’t have drive far to get to IKEA. Surprisingly, Tourism Burlington says that IKEA is the No. 1 tourist attraction in Halton. People drive up from all over the Golden Horseshoe (and as far as northwest New York state) to visit this haven for inexpensive, stylish home goods.

We weren’t exactly in search of anything to buy. For us, the two main draws at IKEA this day were the cheap eats and the complimentary kids playroom.

Our first stop was for their $1 breakfast. Each meal includes a scoop of scrambled eggs, two breakfast sausage and home fries. Certainly not fancy but it hits the spot and the price is right. We splurged on an order of pancakes for an extra dollar and split them between us. If you arrive in the 30 minutes before store opening, they’ll even throw in a free coffee. Baby food is another freebie (with the purchase of an adult meal).

Ikea Cafeteria

The sunny sitting area is open and bright. Combined with their famous Swedish design sense and the bustle of other similares al viagra bargain “hungry” shoppers, this makes for a cheerful environment.

Ikea Burilington Family Breakfast

If you’re looking for something healthier than french fries in disguise, the $3.99 yogurt and fruit cup is a sweet treat at a nice price.

Later in the day, the $1.99 plate of pasta with tomato sauce is the best bargain while the ten piece Swedish meatball platter (with mashed potatoes and lingonberries) for $4.99 is the family favourite.

Ikea Breakfast Menu

With our bellies full, we headed downstairs to the Ikea playroom. This large fun centre is a controlled access, safe environment for children to spend up naion and cialis to one hour. Children must be between 37″ and 54″ in height and must be wearing socks and potty trained (no pull-ups or diapers).

The check in process seems very secure: taking viagra and cialis together kids are outfitted with a large number and parents leave with a pager and a filled-out form that is needed for child retrieval. Jr Burlington was a bit too tall for the popular ball pit but he was still able to enjoy the other activities including crafts, putting on puppet shows, picture colouring and playing with toys.

Ikea Burlington Ballroom / Playroom

Baby Burlington is still too small for the playroom so we took him up to the children’s department where kids can test out the fun things

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for sale. There are other play spots strategically placed all throughout the store.

In addition to kids meals and play areas, Ikea has thought of a number of other family friendly services to make things easier for those shopping with children.

  • Baby Care Room: a quiet spot to change or nurse your baby
  • Family Parking: for families with small children and expectant mothers
  • Strollers: shopping cart with baby seat and safetybelt

Ikea Burlington Play Date

Before long, the one hour limit was up and we made our way back to the playroom.

On the way I had to make a detour to the “As-Is” section of the store. This area — in a bit of a secret corner near the exit — is stocked with returned furniture that has already been assembled as well as discontinued products, floor models and scratch ‘n dent items. Everything here is discounted up to 50-60%. About a decade ago, I found the perfect glass-door cabinet here that was half how much does viagra cost in canada price because of a barely noticeable scratch. Ever since, I make a beeline for this area in search of another perfect deal but haven’t yet had a second success story.

Ikea As Is section

Burlington is the national headquarters for IKEA Canada and they are getting ready to start building an enormous new 428,500-square-foot store on 10 hectares of land at the northwest corner of Walkers Line and the QEW. viagra trial pack This new store will be 71 per cent bigger than the current store, on a parcel of land about twice the size — Copps Coliseum could fit inside 3.5 times!

Hopefully with the new IKEA location facing the QEW, it will attract even more shoppers to Burlington where they’ll be inspired to stay and shop.

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It's Fun to Play at the YMCA | Adventure #29

This post is a flashback to an adventure we had on Family Day, 2013.

For the last few years, the Ron Edwards Family YMCA in Burlington has opened to the public for free on the Family Day holiday in February. We jumped at this opportunity to discover this fine facility for the first time.

Like most YMCA facilities in Canada, the Burlington YMCA is a membership based organization — it currently serves over 6,100 members and participants of all ages. The most popular facilities are the pool, fitness centre and gymnasiums. Every month new fitness calendars are released for both kids and adults filled with a variety of classes, programs and other activities led by Certified Wellness Coaches and Fitness Instructors.

On Family Day, the YMCA introduced a new activity for families that has become quite popular across North America, Drums Alive! This unique fitness program combines traditional aerobic movements with the powerful beat and rhythms of the drums — using exercise balls for the percussion!

The theme for the Family Day open house was a beach party. The gym was decorated for the occasion and many participants came dressed accordingly.

We started aurochem cialis with a warm-up that got us moving to simple rhythms using the stability side effects viagra levitra cialis ball and sticks and learning different beats. As we moved into the workout, we tried a variety of beats as well as choreography and dance exercises can cialis be split that incorporated the use of the ball and drumming.

This was such a fun activity for the wide range of ages participating and a great start to our YMCA experience.

After the Drums Alive program, it was pool time! The Ron Edwards Family YMCA has a great 30 mg cialis pool with an adjacent sauna and whirlpool. Throughout the month there are scheduled times for open and lane swims as well as a variety of aquatic fitness classes.

Of course, the YMCA also offers a full range of swimming lessons. What makes swimming lessons at the Y unique from lessons at municipal pools is that all children within a family can take their lesson at the same time, regardless cialis doses daily of their swim level. Also, once a family has registered for a lesson time, that time remains constant as students progress, unless there is a need to switch.

After finishing our swim, we moved to the community room for face painting, family games and tattoos. The beach party theme continued here with fishing, palm tree bowling and other tropical games.

One of the many benefits of YMCA membership is that it includes a child minding program that gives infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers and school age children the chance to play together in a

play area while parents participate in YMCA activities.


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Splatter Paint Like Pollock at 4Cats Burlington | Adventure #28

Over the past four months, as we’ve traveled around Burlington on our 100 adventures quest, a common question has been: “Have you visited 4Cats yet?” Admittedly, at first, we didn’t know what 4Cats was.

A visit to their website revealed that 4Cats is “The Best, Most Fun Art Studio Ever.” It’s named after a place where Picasso once hung out — the 4Cats Cafe in Barcelona, Spain.

After Jr Burlington came home from school one day telling us that all his friends were talking about 4Cats too, we knew we had to make it one of our adventures.

Beautifully decorated walls of art at 4Cats

When we stepped through the front door of 4Cats for the first time, we were surrounded by bright, vibrant art covering every inch of every wall. We had left a dreary April day behind us and had entered a world of sunshine, happiness and peace.

At 4Cats, kids get to work in different mediums, taking inspiration from the works of famous artists. If the topic of the day is Andy Warhol, the group will silk screen and make ink blot paintings. If they are studying Picasso, they’ll create cubist paintings and ceramics, and if artist Frida Kahlo is in the spotlight, the class makes paper-mache and paints acrylic on canvas self-portraits.

For our adventure, we chose 4Cat’s popular Family Splatter Painting workshop. When Jr Burlington entered the Splatter Room for the first time, he was in awe of what he saw! (I think he was thinking, “wow, look at the mess I can make!”)

Splatter Room amazement at 4Cats Burlington

Taking inspiration from abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock, we got to take over the 4Cats Splatter Room and drip, splatter and throw paint to our heart’s content!

First we had to decide the colour combinations we wanted for our painting. Owner Christine, helped us to decide on a selection of blues, greens and purples.

Mixing Paint at 4Cats Burlington

The paints were mixed in small jars and I was surprised at one of the unconventional tools we’d be painting with — syringes.

Colourful Pots of 4Cats Burlington Paint

Christine then asked us to think up an inscription or dedication we wished to write on the back of the canvas. Hmmm…

Thinking of a Canvas Dedication

Our first chance to get messy came as we painted a background “wash” on our canvas in a rich shade of blue.

Painting the background of the splatter painting at 4Cats Burlington

Before long, we squirted our first stream of purple paint through a syringe. We started off a bit cautious with our paint and brushes but Christine advised us to let loose!

The first splatter at 4Cats Burlington

As we painted, I realized something I had once known long ago. Art is a great “escape” from everyday worries — career, to-do lists, problems, etc. While we were painting, we didn’t think about any of these things!

We tackled the work from all sides with each of us using a different colour. Throughout the session we rotated around the canvas and switched colours in an effort to achieve balance.

4Cats Burlington Family Splatter Painting in ProgressChristine suggested we finish off our splatter art with some white and black paint. She was right, it really helped make the other colours pop!

At some point we all stood back and agreed — “it’s perfect!” — we decided to not add anything more.

The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. ~ Jackson Pollock

Close Up of our 4Cats Splatter Painting

Christine told us that the she’s always amazed at how every splatter painting project is a bit different in colour, style and mood. She showed us some photos of other families splatter painting and we were amazed at just how different each one was. But, what they each had in common, were the bright smiles of happy families having fun together!

4Cats Burlington Splatter Paint Collage

On the way out of 4Cats, I was impressed again at the vibrant decor and spoke with Christine about the possibility of having a birthday party for Jr Burlington there. She explained that 4Cats birthdays are quite popular and often book up months in advance. There are many different party themes ranging from a splatter party to a pop art party to a party inspired by Star Wars.

We also discovered that 4Cats hosts week-long Summer Camp programs in June, July and August. Each week, students focus on creating art in the style of a particular artist or in keeping with a given theme. Degas, Monet, Van Gogh and Klimt are some of the featured artists in the summer sessions while Stop Motion, Abstract Expressionist and Mixed Media are some of the broader themes.

So much colour at 4Cats Burlington

A week later, we returned to 4Cats to pickup the stretched and varnished canvas. It looks fantastic!  As soon as we got home, I hung it up in a prime spot. Usually the splatter painting projects are made on a rectangular 6′ x 3′ canvas but we liked the idea of a square piece of art so we chose that instead.

Finished 4Cats Burlington Painting

Splatter painting workshops are by appointment only and are $150 for an hour of splattering (including the stretched and finished canvas).  In addition to the Splatter Painting workshop, there are other scheduled family events as well. For example, in the Spring Family Portrait workshop, participants sculpt a Family Portrait using polymer clay against a painted background.

Introduce your family to 4Cats Arts Studio where “art is good.” Go on, express your creative side!

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Tiptoe Through the Tulips in the RBG Rock Garden | Adventure #27

In 1930, the Royal Botanical Garden’s first major display garden came to life. The Rock Garden was part of a make-work beautification project during the Depression that saw billboards and old shacks removed from an abandoned gravel pit and replaced by tons of weathered limestone rocks. Today, the rock staircases, bridges, waterfalls and viagra on craigslist ponds look like they have been here forever.

We visited the Rock Garden during the annual Celebrate Tulips event which sees the sheltered bowl erupt into a vibrant display of colour as more than 100,000 cialis and grapefruit juice side effects flowering bulbs burst from the ground.

Standing Out in his Field of Tulips

This is not your average tulip garden! New bulbs are brought in from growers in Holland annually and are planted every fall. After blooming, the bulbs will be lifted out and sold at the upcoming bulb sale hosted by the RBG auxiliary in June.

RBG Tulips Festival

The colours and varieties of tulips are stunning — truly a feast for the eyes.

Piggyback Ride at the RBG Rock Garden

In addition to tulips, the Rock garden houses many original plantings from 1930. The hillside is lush with groundcover, flowering shrubs, evergreens, small trees and tiny perennials tucked into nook and crannies.

With a network of paths leading every which way, it is easy to take two steps off the main walkway and feel like you’ve escaped to a hidden oasis.

Waterfalls at the Rock Garden

It seems like there are medicament cialis fields of flowers in bloom everywhere you look.

Tulips blooming at RBG

We visited how does cialis work in the body on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. As I tried to take a few photos of Mom in the idyllic setting, Baby Burlington attempted an escape.

Mothers Day at the Royal Botanical Gardens

The RBG always has fun activities for kids and today was no exception. There were two event tents setup with challenges for children. The staff at this table explained all about bulbs and provided Jr Burlington with a Tulip scavenger hunt that challenged him to find many different types of tulips.

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Kids Activity Tent at RBG

This activity really got him (and us too) to pay closer attention to what we were seeing around us. For example, we learned that the Green Star tulip resembles a Lilly in shape (with long, pointed petals) and looks like a six-pointed star from above.

Tulip Festival Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Along the way, there were some garden games to play such as this giant Tic Tac Toe game. We brought our own picnic and ate it at one of the nearby tables. There are two other dining options — the Rock Garden Tea House offers

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light snacks plus, on special weekends, there is an outdoor BBQ featuring hot dogs and other picnic favourites.

Garden Games at the Royal Botanical Gardens RBG Rock Garden

The safe place to buy cialis online RBG Celebrate Tulips event runs through Sunday, May 19 from 10am to 5pm each day. On Mother’s Day, enjoy the music of Soul Town performing at noon to 3pm. Admission is free for RBG members. Public admission is:

  • Adult: $12.50
  • Senior (65+): $10.50
  • Student/youth*: $10.50
  • Child age 5 to 12: $7.50
  • Child under age 5: FREE
  • Family (2 adults, 2 children under age 18): $30.50

Field of Tulips

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Strike Up a Chord with the Burlington Teen Tour Band | Adventure #26

Before moving to Burlington a decade ago, about the only things we knew of the city was that it was home to the Burlington Skyway and the Burlington Teen Tour Band. Growing can i take viagra and cialis together up as a kid in Niagara, I was always fascinated by the massive sea of red as the Teen Tour Band marched past me on the parade route.

Now that we live in Burlington, there are countless opportunities to see the band in action. This year, we decided to catch their annual spring concert at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. On the Sunday afternoon before the big concert, we stopped by the Burlington Music Centre (next to Central Library) to watch the band rehearse — all practices are open to the public.

Meeting Drum Major Chris from the Burlington Teen Tour Band

The first thing we noticed is that the Band’s home is a mini-museum of sorts. There are a number of displays showcasing treasures from travels around the world. As we browsed walls covered from top to bottom with decades como comprar viagra worth of plaques and photos, we met Senior Drum Major, Chris Harrison. Chris agreed to show us around.

We were incredibly impressed by Chris who seemingly has the entire 65+ year history of the band at the tip of his tongue. The band brands itself as “Canada’s Musical Ambassadors” and, in turn, Chris is a fantastic ambassador for the band. He talked to us about where the band has traveled through the years, changes in compare viagra vs cialis their uniform over time and highlights from different decades.

In the Loading Room, we found many large cases ready to be packed with instruments and uniforms. Jr Burlington tried on a “shako” for size — a bit big still!

Trying on the Burlington Teen Tour Band Uniform

We were impressed to learn that the Burlington Teen Tour Band is Canada’s oldest and largest youth marching band and that Burlington has the largest municipal music program in the country. A lot of residents don’t realize that our City also offers private instruction programs at the Music Centre for a wide range of instruments: Flute, French Horn, Clarinet, Trombone, Saxophone, Tuba, Trumpet, and Drum.

One wall honours the band’s past and present managing directors and music directors. In 1947, Elgin Corlett came to Burlington with a vision of forming a boys’ and girls’ community band. From that day on, Burlington has been cheering them on.

Past Leaders of the Band

Chris told us that perhaps the biggest misconception about the Teen Tour Band is the notion that only the best players are accepted to become a member. Actually, everyone is welcome to join regardless of ability! After all, how do you become a better player and marcher if you do not have a venue to work on those skills?

Preteen youth, ages 9-13, are invited to join the Junior Redcoats which is the “feeder band” to the Burlington Teen Tour Band. For the first time this year, the Junior Redcoats are hosting an Open House, Concert and BBQ at the Burlington Music Centre on Saturday, May 11 from 10am – 12:30pm.

Teen Tour Band Historical Uniform Pieces

The Burlington Teen Tour Band’s first international engagement was an Ohio football game in 1947. Over the years, the band has gone on to visit a number of European nations, five different provinces and at least 15 U.S. states.

In recent years, the group has similar to viagra had the honour of taking part in multiple worldwide events such as the 65th anniversary of Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, the famous Rose Bowl Parade in California, the 20th anniversary of the twinning of Burlington and Itabashi in Japan, and most recently, they had the privilege of visiting Ireland to participate in the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

One of the many gifts they received from their hosts in Ireland was a stick and ball used watermelon or viagra to play Ireland’s how cialis daily works national sport of Hurling. This game is over 3,000 years old and is believed to be the world’s oldest field game.

Memories of the Ireland Tour

On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, my family was excited to watch live streaming footage on the Internet of the band marching. After a long parade, they were judged to be the Best Youth Band in this prestigious parade!

The next day, after a performance in Limerick, Ireland, the band received the top award of the entire competition. They were named the All Ireland International Band Champions! The teens marched out after a celebratory concert with pride in their eyes and excitement in their hearts.

Championship Trophies

After a visit to the Uniform Room (where some 250 uniforms are kept and maintained), Chris was summoned to rehearsal so we tagged along.

What an impressive sight to see Chris strike up the band as they practiced in what is the largest rehearsal hall in Canada.

Burlington Teen Tour Band Concert Rehearsal

Fast forward a week, and this same group of teens is now seated in the same formation on the stage of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. But this time they are dressed in their famous red coats!

The Band in Fine Form

As the band marched down the aisles and up to the stage, we spotted our new friend Chris leading the way. Jr Burlington gave a wave.

Burlington Teen Tour Band Drum Major

At intermission, we took a moment to look at the collage of photos from the Ireland trip as well as all the awards they brought home.

Memories of the Ireland Tour

Teen Tour Band Trophies from Ireland

Here’s a glimpse of the band performing in a 2011 promotional video.

This summer you can catch the band perform in the Sound of Music Grande Festival Parade, kick off the Concerts in the Park series and march down our waterfront promenade on Canada Day.

Along the way, you may see the Burlington Teen Tour Band Boosters supporting the band. This group of parents and supporters regularly hosts BBQs, golf tournaments, bingos, spaghetti dinners, raffles, and more. If you see this amazing group of volunteers cialis 5mg daily in the community, please lend your support!


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