15 + children enjoyed travelling to Ancient Egypt at the East Gwillimbury Library (Holland Landing Branch) today. The children created their own papyrus paper and visited different stations where they could practice their hieroglyphic handwriting, build a pyramid out of lego, or colour a picture of Tutankhamun. For a full list of summer programs, click here or visit your local branch.
The story plays like a good movie. The drive-in is taken away. A town mourns, such is the emotional response. And then -when no one expects it – it comes back. Let the good times roll!
North York Drive-In will now be named Stardust Drive-In Newmarket (the land, sold to developers, has reportedly been leased so that a new season of drive-in movie-going can be enjoyed). New digital projectors arrive Friday, followed by installation. No word yet on the opening date, expected to be imminent.
Stay tuned at EG Shines for updates.
Photo credits: your neighborhood librarian (photo on flickr), CDeep, Toasty Treat (photo on flickr)
Summer’s here. That pervading sense of wanting to make the most of it is haunting you… Have no fear! Here are the next “10 things to do with your kids this summer” in this exclusive two-part series – with an emphasis on local.
Hit the classic Toronto spots. The CN Tower, The Ontario Science Centre , Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, a professional sports game (Toronto Blue Jays, Argonauts, Raptors, Toronto FC Soccer, Pro Tennis Rogers Cup), Mirvish Productions. Wild Water Kingdom, the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Islands/Centreville, Centre Island Beach, Harbourfront Centre, the Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool in the Beaches, Canadian National Exhibition, Riverdale Farm, Casa Loma, Edwards Gardens, Hockey Hall of Fame, Art Gallery of Ontario, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Black Creek Pioneer Village, Rainforest Cafe at Yorkdale Shopping Centre, a double-decker tour bus to get an overview of the city.
Kids’ CBC Days is a free day full of events and kid-character celeb sightings.
Go dowtown in style – it’s convenient and fun to ride the Go Train or Bus from the East Gwillimbury station. Alternately, you can park in the huge parking lot at Finch and take the subway in.
Remember the Toronto CityPASS for savings.
Toronto CityPASS is a booklet of admission tickets to 5 of Toronto’s attractions at 43% off the combined admission price. So, if you plan to go on a bunch of family field trips over the course of nine consecutive days (the time frame in which a Toronto CityPASS operates), it is well worth it. The five attractions covered by CityPASS are: the CN Tower, the Science Centre, Casa Loma, the Toronto Zoo and the ROM.
In “Give me Five More Minutes, Kids” author Karen Green dishes about having to come up with a “new game plan” now that the kids are out of school for the summer and she still has to put in work hours from home.
Whether you are working from home, full-time staying-at-home, working outside home, or some other kind of arrangement, parents need to get their stuff done. In some cases, there may only be 2 or 3 hours a day in which things can get done “sans enfants.” That’s not very much time. Kids benefit from devising their own ideas of what to do during independent play…however, helping to launch a project or challenge from time to time that they might not otherwise have participated in can be very valuable too. How much the parent does get involved/needs to supervise “beyond launching it” really depends on the age of the child among other factors.
Green is enthusiastic and hopeful about the “Project Idea.” She offers:
“Last year, I gave them the Lego challenge — they had all summer to create a universe using every single piece of Lego that we have. And we have a lot. On rainy days, on really hot days and on days when I was otherwise occupied for a bit, the girls went down to the playroom and went to town on the Lego. By time school began again, we could see the bottom of the 60 litre bin that the Lego had been stored in. The challenge had been a success, on many levels.”
What would seem to work best is that the project is something the adult is genuinely enthusiastic about as well (think Phil on Modern Family and his desire to share his love of magic with his son). So release your inner geek, your inner ham. You didn’t make the high school play, but you can now freely shout out, “hey kids, why don’t you find some friends on the street and put on a play by the end of the week!” Then watch the results in vicarious delight.
Other possible “projects:” filming a you-tube-style cooking video using the family video camera; writing heads of state to see what responses come in the mail; gardening a small plot of land or window box that the child can call his or her own; becoming a mother’s helper, babysitter, grass-cutter or junior handyperson and making some cash; starting a business (suggest reading Gordon Korman’s No Coins, Please as ultimate inspiration); an addictive craft like yarn spooling or gimp and embroidery-thread bracelet-making, finding four-leaf clovers, spending a day in French; putting on afternoon tea in the garden; creating a very elaborate obstacle course and using a stop watch to try to improve times; creating a treasure hunt; cards, board games; damning a stream; trying to create the longest hopscotch in the world (one that extends around the block); penpals; beginning training for the Olympics; creating a museum or library; building a fort or writing a book.
Side-by-side “getting jobs done” is another avenue to take this summer (again depending on the age – you’re not going to get too many fifteen-year-old boys seated on the floor beside you, folding laundry, for any length of time). Even with the younger ones, Playgound Confidential‘s Rebecca Cuneo Keenan is humorously realistic about such prospects: Read 13 Parenting Tips That Can Bite Me and Cooking with Kids Sucks.
But still, cooking and cleaning is a big part of life. There can be a spiritual possibility here – a time to connect in a moving-meditation kind of way. Particularly if you don’t mind how long it takes.
Living Well, Spending Less‘ Ruth Soukup writes, “I just started including [my two children] in whatever I was doing, whether it was cooking or cleaning or crafting”…”We simply began enjoying our time together.”
That drive or bike to the icecream parlour after dinner or the big game could be the one thing that puts a smile on everyone’s face all week. It may even be because it’s the simplest, purest, original-summer activity of all.
14. Random Destination
Pick a random street or destination on the map. Bike or drive or walk there. Look around at that random destination with fresh eyes like it was your destiny to go to that particular square foot on earth. Better yet, board the York Region Transit bus with no idea of where you are going to go (though some pre-planning and a transit schedule will be necessary to avoid getting lost or stranded at the end of the line!!)
Practice a random act of kindness together. Place a potted plant on some neighbour’s porch – pay the previous car order in the Tim Horton’s drive-through. Throw an informal birthday party for the kid on the street who doesn’t seem to have any birthday plans. Volunteer together.
Go camping at the Yogi Bear Jellystone campground in Bradford West Gwillimbury or Santa’s Village in Bracebridge. Head to Algonquin Provincial Park. Sing songs around the campfire. Roast marshmallows. Feel alive! Go to a cottage- Your cottage, your friend’s cottage, your brother’s cottage, your mom and dad’s, a rented cottage, any cottage will do. A permit can be obtained from the Town of East Gwillimbury for a bonfire in your backyard for a nominal fee.
Festival and fair season is summer season:
Schomberg Fair (late May): Mount Albert Sports Day & Spring Fair (early June) Georgina Highland Gathering, Sutton (mid-June) Music in the Streets Festival, Keswick (mid-late June) Oak Ridges Fair (mid-late June); Stouffville Strawberry Festival (late June); Canada Day at the Sharon Temple (early July); Purple Turtle Arts Festival, Georgina (mid-July); Around the World Multicultural Tour, Newmarket (mid-late July); Nin Os Kom Tin Aboriginal Festival, Newmarket (late July); Carrot Fest, Bradford West Gwillimbury (mid-August); Garlic is Great Festival, Newmarket (mid-August); Splash Water Festival, Georgina (mid July-mid August); Barrielicious Festival (mid July-early Aug); Newmarket Jazz + Festival (early Aug); Sutton Fair and Horse Show (early-mid August); Weaving Words: Sharon Temple StoryTelling Festival (September); Magna Hoedown, Aurora (September)and Special events at Canada’s Wonderland (throughout the summer).
Create a “bike route” by outlining in crayon the set of bike-friendly streets you would like to take with your child on an EG map. Give it a name like a national park trail. “The Diamond” “The Canyon Pass.” Then follow that route. Bike it in the very early morning hours if you can manage it – just to feel the day before everyone else.
19. Photo Contest
Enter the EG Shines Photo Contest (coming soon, details to follow!)
20. High-voltage Fun
Throw educational wholesomeness out the window for the day and go to Chuck E Cheese. The photo-booth-style pictures you’ll get from the various rides are probably the ones you’ll keep and weep over with nostalgia when you’re eighty more than any other, and they’re actually a good deal. Play Laser Tag. Experience Mount Albert’s new wakeboarding park. Play paint ball. Go trampolining, jetskiing, geocaching. Long live summer!
Image Sources (Foter.com/photos on flickr):strawberries (Sharon Mollerus), bucket of dandelions (gfpeck), four-leaf clover (cygnus921), roasting marshmallow (designsbykari), lemonade stand (Conlawprof), little helper (Rob, Joyce, Alex & Nova), father and daughter (Linh H Nguyen), fair (RDeep)
East Gwillimbury’s Danielle Perry is only four years old, about to be five. While most kids her age would eagerly look forward to unwrapping presents on their birthday- bubble-making machines, Rapunzel dolls, giant craft kits and colouring books – Danielle has decided to forego gifts altogether.
She has instead asked her friends to donate money to Get RecD, a Newmarket-based charity which raises funds to support cancer patients. This is Danielle’s second year in a row doing so – last year she raised $152 and presented the cheque at Get RecD’s Annual Golf and Dinner Event. This year again, money will also be raised through raffle ticket purchases, and personal and corporate donations. The goal this time is $300.
Danielle’s party (organized by Danielle and her mother, Erin Perry of You’re So Crafty) will have all the fun imaginable for the tiny guests – beanbag toss, 10 meter dash, obstacle course through trees, soccer shoot out – but without the material fuss that can characterize some parties today. Danielle and her mother, attendees and those donating will also have the satisfaction of knowing that they have assisted cancer patients who are in need of financial, emotional or psychological help. Get RecD has helped many people including Cameron, a young cancer patient, who was able to enjoy a stay at a resort in Blue Mountain with his family which they could not have otherwise afforded. Cameron’s mother writes on the testimonial page of Get RecD,
I just wanted to thank you and Get Rec’d for an incredible stay at Blue Mountain. Cameron and Austin had a great time exploring the resort and of course, the water park. I wish you could have heard Cameron’s giddy laughter going down the Ridge Ride. It’s sort of like a roller coaster down the side of the mountain. I have to admit, I had my own permanent grin on the way down. Thank you again for the wonderful break!”
Hopefully, this party will inspire other families in a small but growing movement to consider making a difference in the lives of others through fundraiser birthday parties.
Please join Danielle, the little girl with the big heart, in her cause by contacting Erin Perry at aeperry @ rogers.com or 905-895-0363. 905-895-0363.
Residents of East Gwillimbury who have travelled down Second Concession Road, or who have taken the Nokiida trail close to the Rogers Reservoir, will have noticed construction underway.
The construction is the beginning of the building of a sewage pumping station. The station is part of a larger plan to accommodate developments which will see the area’s population increase from the current 22,473 to 88,000 by 2031 (2011 Census, Planning for Tomorrow: York Region Growth Management).
Summer is, and has always been, the firefly-lit, scraped-knee, chalk-fingered magical domain of kids…Here are our first 10 kid-friendly ideas to kickstart the summer.
For many residents of East Gwillimbury who live in the country, experiencing farm life is “daily life”. For all others, there’s Brooks Farm! Here you’ll find strawberry picking, train rides, zip lining, a giant “jumping pillow,” a cute market store…Bring sun hats- it can get hot. (Try also: Strawberry Creek Farm and Forsythe Family Farms.) To continue with the farm theme, pick up some fresh treats at the EG Farmer’s Market every Thursday from 3 to 8pm and Newmarket Farmer’s Markets every Saturday morning!
What kid wouldn’t value and remember the quiet words of wisdom imparted by their parent as they rounded eighteen holes of a golf course together? If mini-putt’s more your game, imagine chuckling over the ball that kept on missing the hole over and over again. For years you’ll recall the triumphant hole-in-one that even the youngest might obtain (in miniature golf)! Try Northern Greens Golf & Family Fun Centre (for its friendly staff and proximity) and Cardinal Golf Club’s Northern Adventure Mini-Putt (for its deluxe design).
The classiest place to go on any given summer day may well be the McMichael Art Gallery in Kleinburg. Introduce your children to the Group of Seven, First Nations, Inuit, and contemporary artists. Wander through the magical Sculpture Garden. Discover the grounds. Play in the kids’s area. Have fun selecting your own documentary about a Canadian artist to watch in the mini-auditorium. The McMichael is open literally every single day of the summer, even on holidays. Closer to home, the possibilities of creating art together are endless. One popular idea is painting your own pottery at Whatnots Craft and Ceramics Studio in Newmarket. A perfect cozy, rainy day activity.
There is really nothing like the zoo for the ultimate in animal experiences. Interactive activities and animal sight-seeing inspire kids to care about wildlife and protect habitats. Other zoos to consider besides the Toronto Zoo (and its amazing splash pad – bring your bathing suit!) is the Elmvale Jungle Zoo, close to Barrie (with lots of “hands-on” fun) and the Bomanville Zoo where you can actually ride an elephant! Short of the zoo, opportunities abound in the area to see reptiles in all their scaly splendour – There’s Reptilia in Vaughan, and that crazy, huge, 100-plus-year-old turtle who sometimes emerges from Oak Bank Pond in Thornill. Zoo to You visits the Mount Albert Sports Day Fair and other local fairs each year. Reptilia brings reptiles to you as part of various events in EG. On a regular day when you are driving the kids home from daycare/daycamp/errands/Grandma’s, pull out some carrots. Feed some horses at the side of the road. They’ll love it.
The incredible, open-bay vista at Barrie is a sight to behold. A day at the beach is well-spent here. Plus, the playground at the Barrie waterfront is huge and fun – with really, really cool equipment. Check out the Town of Georgina’s waterfont areas too. Swim at the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex , the outdoor Gorman Pool or Magna Centre in Newmarket. Bonus marks go to the Magna Centre for the fun bucket that tips over and splashes unsuspecting swimmers from up high! Try Bradford West Gwillimbury’s Leisure Centre (beautiful and new – plus the pool is salt water!) East Gwillimbury now has four splash pads! Splash pads: the best thing to ever be invented since parents were kids! (So, too, are sprinklers, slip-n-slides, wading pools, and backyard pools amazing inventions!) Finally, EG is now home to an exciting new wakeboarding park in Mount Albert (more about this in 20 Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer, Part II).
Did you know that LM Montgomery wrote 11 of her 22 novels in Leaksdale, north of Uxbridge, where she lived most of her life? Take a drive to nearby Uxbridge and retrace the life steps of LM Montgomery. While the manse where she lived with her husband and sons is not yet open to the public (its restoration is a work-in-progress), one can nonetheless see a commemorative plaque and imagine Canada’s most beloved authoress penning the tales of Anne of Green Gables inside. One can also visit the Uxbridge-Scott Museum. Read the classics this summer with your child –the Ramona Quimby series, Danny the Champion of the World, The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be, From Anna, Harry Potter, Tales of a Forth Grade Nothing, Stuart Little, Little House on the Prairie – or watch as your child disappears into a tent in the backyard with his or her own stack of books. While your son or daughter is at it, they might as well get credit in the EGPL TD Summer Reading Club contest.
Call to action for all EG kids! The EGPL Library Summer program is where it’s at. Last year’s roster of crafts, tween events, lego, summer movies with popcorn, and Grande Finale Season-Ending Sundae-Making Party are sure to be repeated. Adults can pick up a book or DVD for the weekend while they’re there!
Find a kid-friendly show at the Newmarket Theatre, Queensville Players, Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, Stephen Leacock Theatre and Theatre Aurora. Silvercity Newmarket offers reduced-fare family movies on Saturdays “Family Favourites”). Some venues host outdoor movie nights.
The park is a mainstay, a bread-and-butter option. So mix it up. Optimize the park. Work its many applications! There’s the day the kids might enjoy a picnic at the park. Then the day they might figure out that pulling the baby in the wagon is fun, or riding their bikes to the park is fun. The “Tennis Court Hang-Out.”. The “Park Playdate” (where a playdate’s base of operations is at the park rather than at someone’s home). The Basketball Match. Splash Pad Balloon Fun. Hopscotch. School parks and other alternate parks. Dusk visits. Fitting in exercise for you, the parent or caregiver, at the same time as caring for kids can sometimes be challenging. It is made amazingly possible at the All Our Kids “Dinosaur” Playpark in Newmarket . Here one finds an impressive array of outdoor, all-weather fitness equipment ready for use. Meetups at Anchor Park and Fairy Lakes with the Ontario Early Years Centre are also something fun to consider. The Early Years’ summer schedule offers many park-based programs. Sometimes you may learn more about parenting from talking with other parents/caregivers on such occasions than you can from reading any parenting book. Both parent/caregiver and child gain.
For every mall or plaza, there’s usually one or two “value-added” kid features associated with it. Knowing about these features can turn a regular mall visit into a super experience. Like the soft foam play park at Upper Canada Mall. Family Washrooms at UC Mall are geared towards tiny tots for whom potty training is such a big part of their world. Forever XXI may be a draw for your teen/tween at UC Mall. Sears Department Stores almost always have nursing rooms. Tangers Outlets in Cookstown offers a small park near the parking lot. Vaughan Mills‘ draw is the giant bear and fish wall at Bass Pro plus tables made from actual cars in the food court (along with tiny table-and-chair sets in the middle of the food court). The Newmarket Plaza boasts an actual shark at Big Al’s Aquarium Supercentre (be sure to time your visit with feeding time the “Shark Feeding Frenzy” – Tuesdays at 7pm – for an even better experience!) Kids at Sea is a stone’s throw away from the Newmarket Plaza – kids will have fun dressing up, playing on a giant pirate ship and parents can sip coffee from a large selection of Timothy’s coffee.
Stay tuned for the next ten “things to do with your kids this summer”! Coming soon…
Photo Credits: clockwise, from top left- Croixboy, limaoscarjuliet, Yatmandu, RDeep, theyedropper’s world, wladyslaw, CDeep, John Morgan
Yet we can slow down sometimes, can’t we? (We fear that we won’t get everything done in the day that we need to. We may not. But maybe not every item on that to-do list had to be done today, or was as important as we thought.)
Where else better to take that moment of quiet (or that wrong turn down a country lane or a quiet, tidy street) than here in East Gwillimbury?
The beauty is breathtaking.
Do it for yourself: for your mind, body, soul. Do it for the community.
The Mount Albert Sports Day 5km Run/Walk is almost here – June 1, 2013. It is in its eleventh year.
An exciting feature of this year’s race is that “we are introducing technical t-shirts for the first time and the timing system is the same system used in Boston and Paris at those marathons!” notes Race Director Jen Mark (Dynamic Living). Also, many sponsors have stepped up this year with more money. Exciting prizes can be won. Proceeds from the race go towards Mount Albert (part of East Gwillimbury)’s parks and facilities.
Personal fitness trainer Annette Papa remarks, “Run (or walk) because it makes you feel free, because you love it. When this is the case it feels like less of a chore and more of a pleasure, and you’re more likely to actually do it.”
Participating in the Mount Albert Sports Day 5km can be exhilarating. Held amid the festivities of the Mount Albert Sports Day Fair, it’s always fun! A sponsor named Carole commented about her experience last year,”[ We] all agreed that the atmosphere was so fun and that everyone was watching out for everyone else and having a good time and everyone was mixing in, little kids, kids, families, and runners. In summary, [we] loved the community spirit in a country atmosphere. [We] want everyone in the team to know what a great experience [we] had!!” (Testimonials, Mount Albert Sports Day 5km)
The Mount Albert Sports Day 5km…what a great way to feel good about yourself and to give back to the community!
Photo Credit: Sangudo
There are only 414 drive in theatres left in North America. Now, with the closing of the North York Drive In in East Gwillimbury –only 413 remain. The response to the closing of the Drive In after 58 years has been overwhelming. At last count, nearly four thousand Likes, Comments and Shares have filled the North York Drive in Facebook page. Impassioned Letters to the Editors have been written. Neighbours informed neighbours of the news, and so on…. The main sentiment in all this: an aching sadness and bittersweet remembrance of things past…
After all, the North York Drive In wasn’t just a drive in. It was where thousands experienced their first kiss, where teenagers were dropped off for their first summer job, where kids ran loose and played on creaky, old-school equipment in their pjs, where concession snacks were sold with a smile, where the late John Candy, local resident, reportedly sailed in after dark to enjoy the movies in peace, where residents of a small town could escape, where friends and acquaintances met, pulling out their lawn chairs, sighing with a happy summer feeling of being in the moment, in a wide, open field…
East Gwillimbury experienced the goodness of the drive-in long past many other towns. Its continued existence was emblematic of a “holdout innocence” and quirky beauty that is unique to the area.
The change occurred because it had to. Many factors were at work. The march of development. The cost of new technology. The decline of movie theatre attendance in general. A husband-and-wife duo, Cliff and Nancy Murrell (owners), who simply wanted to retire after years of late nights/ hard work, are some of the reasons why. (“Show’s Over for North York Drive In”). But the magic and memories from those spring and summer nights will live on forever.
Time to find those shin pads from last year, buy new cleats for growing feet, and wait for the phone call from your soccer coach!
East Gwillimbury soccer season is almost upon us. House League Practice begins the week of May 20.
The East Gwillimbury Soccer Club was established in 1975. After a four-year interruption, it was brought back to life in 1983. Ready for the new season, the EGSC continues to provide the
“opportunity for any person, to play organized soccer at recreational and competitive levels and to assist all participants in reaching their potential and a sense of fair play and sportsmanship through the development of players, coaches, referees and administrators” (Mission Statement, EGSC Constitution).
One of the happiest scenes on any given summer night in East Gwillimbury is to see Brenner Park and Mt. Albert Lions Park fields alive with brightly-coloured dots of multi-coloured uniforms as kids and their coaches (as well as adults in the adult league) play and laugh hard. For more information, visit www.egsc.ca.