Upper Canada Village near Morrisburg, Ontario

Upper Canada Village near Morrisburg, Ontario (Location)

We had some visitors from the U.S earlier this week so spent some time visiting the Upper Canada Village located between Cornwall, Ontario and Morrisburg, Ontario. I have been there a few times in recent years photographing the seasonal lights but this was the first time in quite a while that I had visited the village in daylight hours without snow on the ground. (Previous Upper Canada Village posts)

In the past year, the new entrance has been completed and provides access to the Village properties as well as to a new museum-style group of displays. This year, the displays focus heavily on the events of the war of 1812-14 which impacted this area directly when the Americans crossed the St. Lawrence River and battled with the locals, the natives and the British at Crysler Farm. The village itself reflects a period of time closer to the mid 1800’s but with this being the bicentennial of the War of 1812-14  Canada and with the Fall of 1813 marking the bicentennial of the actual battles at Crysler Farm, there is more than a normal emphasis on the events of the 1812-14 period. Continue reading

An Evening of Live Theatre at Perth, Ontario

An Evening of Live Theatre at Perth , Ontario (Location)

Perth is an active community in Lanark County and a place that I visit from time to time to photograph snakes and other wildlife at the Perth Wildlife Preserve. In fact, one of our most active blogs is the blog showing the Northern Water Snakes and Garter Snakes at the Perth Wildlife Centre early in the Spring when they are sunning themselves on the banks of the Tay River after coming out of hibernation. Each Spring, Perth, Ontario is also an important water station and staging point in the annual Rideau Lakes Cycling Tour (OBC RLCT 2009 blog entry and OBC RLCT 2011 blog entry).

One of the monuments on the banks of the Tay River celebrates the important role of the Dairy farmers and cheese makers in the area, specifically the making, in 1892, of the world’s largest cheese weighing 22,000 lbs.

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The Cloyne Pioneer Museum and Archives, Cloyne, Ontario

The Cloyne Pioneer Museum and Archives, Cloyne, Ontario (Location)

The events surrounding the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812 have begun in earnest in Canada and the USA but although I have been able to get to reenactments of the French and Indian War of the 1760’s and have a Civil War reenactment on my agenda, I didn’t expect to find anything relating to any of these wars in the Cloyne Pioneer Museum. Rather surprised, therefore to find this cannonball.

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Fort Wellington National Historic Site, Prescott, Ontario

Fort Wellington National Historic Site, Prescott, Ontario (Location)

I arrived at Fort Wellington today after being a spectator at the re-enactment of the French and Indian War at the former site of Fort de la Presentation on the opposite shore of the St. Lawrence River. It was late in the day, so I decided to just take some shots of the perimeter of Fort Wellington and save a visit inside the fort for a later date. Continue reading

Fletcher Wildlife Garden/Jardin Écologique Fletcher, Ottawa Ontario

Fletcher Wildlife Garden/Jardin Écologique Fletcher, Ottawa Ontario (Location)

This AM, I had started off before sunrise driving to the airport so that my wife could catch a flight to Winnipeg. On the way home, I stopped first at Hogs Back Falls and then headed over to Fletcher Wildlife Garden to stretch my legs a bit and see what wildlife might want to come out to pose for my camera. Continue reading

Bicentennial of the War of 1812

In my previous post, I indicated how there are seasonal changes to what people are thinking about based on the frequency of visits to certain of our blog entries. In similar fashion, the celebration of historical events can trigger increases in the number of hits (web hits, that is!).

A bullet finds its spot - Plains of Abraham Re-Enactment, Founders Day 2009, Ogdensburg, New York

This coming weekend, there is an important War of 1812 Bicentennial Symposium occurring in Guelph, Ontario (location). Whether it is the nearness of that conference or just an increased interest in re-enactment s due to it being the bicentennial year or whether it’s just re-enactment hobbiests getting their gear together and ready and polished for another wonderful summer of re-enactments is anyone’s guess. Whatever the reason, the impact is noticeable on our website, as an increased number of visitors arrive each day to take a look at the many images that we have in our past blogs about the reenactments that we have photographed at Ogdensburg, New York and some of the historic forts that we have visited and commented on such as Fort Niagara in New York State, Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Fort York in Toronto and the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida.

Clicking on the images will get you to the related blog entry:

July 2011 – Land Battle Re-enactment – Ogdensburg, New York
July 2011 – Water Battle Re-enactment – Ogdensburg, New York
July 2010 – Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemorative

Land Battle
July 2010 – Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemorative

Water Battle
July 2009 – Re-enactment of the Plains of Abraham Battle of 1759


Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York

Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Fort York in Toronto, Ontario

Castillo De San Marcos, St. Augustine, Florida



Happy Ground Hog Day – Feb 2nd

Happy Ground Hog Day – February 2nd, 2012

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Casa Loma, Toronto, Ontario

Casa Loma, Toronto, Ontario (Location)

Casa Loma is a major tourist attraction in Toronto. The present day attraction is in two sections. The main living area of Casa Loma was constructed between 1911 and 1913 and is connected to the Hunting Lodge/Potting She/Greenhouse/Garage/Stables complex via an underground tunnel. The owner, Sir Henry Pellatt, and his wife lived in the Hunting Lodge complex while the main house was being constructed. The Hunting Lodge and stables were constructed in 1905.

The day that we were visiting, the temperature outside was hovering just around the freezing mark and a combination of fog and freezing drizzle combined to give an eery feeling to the visit. Inside was warm and cozy. We began our visit in the basement restaurant facility which offers a good choice of tasty foods. Tourist-style pricing applies but the food was tastier than one finds in many tourist-type locations.

After a quick snack we headed through the tunnel to look at the stables, garage and potting sheds.

The Carriage Room and the Stable area was used in the filming of the 1996 production of “Maximum Risk” and in 2000 the carriage room and stables, as well as the Oak Room, Dining Room, Great Hall, Peacock Alley, Library and Conservatory were used in the filming of X-MEN.

Mahogany stalls and Spanish tile flooring are two of the distinctive features of the carriage area and stable area.


Once we had a look around this area of the complex of buildings, we had to return to the tunnel to get back to the main Casa Loma building since there are only emergency exits from the stable and garage area.

Before heading up out of the basement, we stopped to take a look at the indoor pool and the wine cellar. In 2004, Casa Loma’s pool area was used in the filming of the movie “Pacifier”.

A number of other areas of Casa Loma have been used by the film industry, including Lady Mary’s Suite in the filming of “Cocktail”; the Oak Room and Library in the 2000 filming of “Caveman’s Valentine”; the 2nd floor hallway and the billiard room in the filming of the 1999 production of “Skulls”.

Compared to the last time that I visited Casa Loma, it appears that there is more restoration that has been completed and there appear to be more rooms than before that are open for public viewing.

Although the plumbing would have been very modern for its time in history, it is certainly different than what we would consider modern in today’s age of plastics.

The Grand Hall was completely decked out for the Holiday Season with a large Christmas tree occupying a prominent spot.

During our visit, some of the larger rooms on the main floor were being used for children’s programs such as a magic show and a puppet show. On a previous visit some of the upper floor rooms were being similarly used for other programs. This is somewhat unfortunate if you can only visit once and would like to see those rooms but, the children’s programs bring many adults and children in to see the Casa Loma, so do have their benefits. 

Other films that have been shot in part in Casa Loma include the Jackie Chan thriller “Tuxedo” which used the Oak Room, Garden Room, Library and Upper Terrace; the 1996 film “Extreme Measures” which used the main floor Conservatory; and the 2002 production of “Chicago” which used the Oak Room, the Library and the Conservatory.

As mentioned at the outset, the weather outside on the day of our visit was rather overcast and foggy and this was pretty easy to see when I got to the top of the tower and gazed out over the roof structure.

Climbing up to the top was a challenge but getting back down was even more of a challenge since there were people coming up the stairs and only one way back down.

For my next visit, I hope that it is summer and the weather is better so that I can spend some time exploring the gardens that surround Casa Loma.

One section of the upper floor of Casa Loma houses a museum exhibit for The Queen’s Own Rifles and also provides insight into the role that Casa Loma played in the war years and the secret operations surrounding the manufacture of ASDIC sonar devices in the stables.

The Museum comprises five rooms with separate themes: The Formation Room 1860-1900; The Pellatt Room 1910 Trip & Pellatt items; The World War One Room 1914-1918; The World War II Room 1939-1945; the Post WWII – Korea to The Present Day. Artifacts and display items are arranged to reflect the period and the room.

Military Cross – Officer’s Bravery Decoration
WW1 War Medal
WW1 Victory Medal
Colonial Auxiliary Long Service Decoration (Officers)

Queen’s South Africa
King’s South Africa
14 – 15 War Medal
WW1 War Medal
WW1 Victory Medal

Overall, a visit to Casa Loma is an interesting way to spend a few hours or more and each time that I visit, there are other interesting things to see that I might have missed on previous visits.

Next stop: The Guild, Scarborough, Ontario



Toronto Christmas Lights 2011 – 165 Benjamin Boake Trail, North York

Toronto Christmas Lights 2011 – 165 Benjamin Boake Trail, North York

I had first seen the DeSario House a few years ago. (December 2007 images)

On my current trip to Toronto, the DeSario Christmas lights were again on my ‘try-to-visit” list. I began the evening by photographing the view from the 33rd floor of Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. The moon was full, the winds were brisk and the temperature was at or just below the freezing point as I left the hotel and drove to Toronto’s Historic Distillery District where I photographed the lights and the stage performance of Maritimer, David Myles. Then I was off on my way to the DeSario house. The location: 165 Benjamin Boake Trail, North York, Toronto, Ontario (LOCATION)

I hadn’t traveled very far when the spectacular chandelier hanging in the archway of the Exhibition grounds caught my attention. This image is of a 22 foot long chandelier about the height of a two storey building containing 32,000 LEDS. It was designed for Toronto’s Festival of Lights by Blechere Illumination Canada and is suspended from the Prince’s Gate archway that marks the east entrance to Toronto’s Exhibition Place, home of the Canadian National Exhibition. (Location)

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