Category Archives: Country life

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JOIN ME FOR A TRIP TO PORT HOPE

What a beautiful Sunday morning, blue skies, warm sun and the open road ahead of us. My best friend, Erena, picked me up in her fab ’85 Corvette (below) and we headed East to the town of Port Hope, an historical little gem about an hour east of Toronto.

20150517_181323We found Port Hope just like the touristy photos showed us online….quaint, turn-of-the-last-century buildings, a riverside haven for weekend fishermen and people like us seeking to escape the big city noise and pollution. So charming and quaint.

20150517_114641The town really welcomes visitors and this is reflected in their free parking lot behind the municipal offices (below). Tons of space, surrounded by lots of trees and chirping birds.

20150517_113854Our first port of call was a charming little tea room called Queenie’s (the grey building below) where we enjoyed lattes and a light lunch. It was recommended to me by my Facebook friend, Sharon, who knows relatives of the previous owners. Good call, Sharon. It was great.

20150517_114818The girls working there were friendly and offered some suggestions for boutiques to visit. Nothing like a little retail therapy to go with the sunshine, eh? We sat outside and watched the cars drive by – here’s our view…

20150517_121542A couple of doors down from Queenie’s was the fabulous Kenneth Bell bling boutique….I was in sparkle heaven!

20150517_123453 20150517_123501 20150517_123515 20150517_123527Never come between ladies and their bling!  Ken helped Erena and me try on all sorts of necklaces, bracelets, scarves……

20150517_123449 20150517_131450…and the King of Glitz himself let me try on a tiara. I was having a flash-back to one of my favourite episodes of Big Bang Theory when Sheldon presents Amy with a tiara so I was doing my best impression of Amy (below)

20150517_125754Then before I knew it, my bestie did a deal with Ken and…I got my tiara!!

20150517_130648(0)If you visit Port Hope you simply must drop in on Ken – we had so much fun and he’s definitely the town’s #1 goodwill ambassador.  http://kennethbell.com/

Next stop, Engine Gallery.  You may recognize the name as owner Steven Schwartz (pics 2 & 3) used to have an art gallery in Toronto’s Distillery District before moving to Port Hope. What a gorgeous (and very big) space he has there. His colleague, Marilyn, showed us around and I was thrilled to recognize some familiar names and work (incl. Kelly Grace – see earlier blog). The gallery offers stunning large format paintings, modern sculptures and some fun retro images. Check out their collections here: http://enginegallery.ca/

20150517_133504 20150517_133824 20150517_134249 20150517_134355 20150517_134358Our next stop was G. Facey, a grand old-fashioned ladies’ and men’s clothing store that carried high quality designer duds and of course, Miss Erena went to town on the racks. We can always find groovy clothes for her…me, not so much. I really must make an effort to loose this damned weight :>(

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IMG_0115 She shops…she scores! Erena found a ton of cute tops and while she tried them all on, I chatted with Teri-Jo (above at cash register) who told me about the wonderful arts community around Port Hope. This talented lady is also a theatre director so we chatted about potential projects as I wandered around the store…creaky original wooden floors and lots of vintage fixtures…a great located for a “murder-mystery” play perhaps…hmmm?  http://www.gfaceys.com/about/

Just around the corner from G. Facey was the Capitol Theatre, a stunning early 20th century theatre space that presents concerts, plays, all sorts of entertainment. What a treasure. There was an event going on when I stepped inside so I wasn’t able to see inside but I betcha it’s glorious. I found an old B&W vintage picture showing the town and theatre in their heyday…cool, eh?  http://capitoltheatre.com/ 

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th (6)It was soon time to bid aloha to Port Hope…but we’ll be back. We never made it to the beach so next trip, we hit the sand! Yes, there’s a beautiful picturesque beach on Lake Ontario just 5 minutes from the historical old town so…I’m bringing my bikini and sunscreen next time..LOL!  We walked back along the river and found more fishermen casting lines for trout and lots of spring lilac shrubs.

20150517_16420620150517_164422And when I got home, I tried on my new Port Hope tiara and voila…I was a princess!!

Princess2Thanks to all the friendly folks of Port Hope. Erena and I had a wonderful visit and I’m sure we stimulated the local economy a little, too. LOL!

 

 

 

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IN PERFORMANCE WITH INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED CANADIAN FLUTIST RON KORB

Last night, St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Newmarket presented a wonderful evening of musical entertainment performed by internationally renowned flutist RON KORB [ www.ronkorb.comaccompanied by cellist WENDY SOLOMON and pianist LOU POMANTI.

DSC00427gg-1-sOn this warm spring Friday afternoon, I accompanied Ron and his charming wife, Jade (who kindly shot some of these photos), up to Newmarket, a town just North of Toronto, where Ron was performing for the St. Paul’s audience.

20150508_161423 20150508_162305The 19th century church (above) was charming and welcoming, surrounded by trees in full blossom and chirping birds…what a nice respite from the downtown hub-bub of Toronto. Ron was joined by Gemini Award winning composer, producer and pianist Lou Pomanti  [ www.loupomanti.com ] and Wendy Solomon [ lushcellos.com ], a classical recitalist who tours the world with her beautiful cello. While they set up and rehearsed with local sound man Phil Claxton, I wandered around the church capturing some the stunning stained glass windows and iconography (below)

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20150508_201653The kind happy band of church volunteers prepared refreshments for the audience as well as a lovely light dinner for the musicians (and me, too). Thank you to Dorothy Bugden, chef extraordinaire, for the fine soup and salad. We gratefully devoured everything !

20150508_181559The crowd poured into the church around 7pm, ready for an evening of music from around the world….

20150508_185929Ron, Wendy and Lou took to the stage and for over 2 hours the audience was mesmerized by the soulful, spiritually evocative tunes Ron has composed to reflect his travels around the world and his love of all music.

20150508_193349 20150508_202405 20150508_203603Some of his tunes were very danceable and I caught soundman Phil at the back of the church sharing a quick salsa with wife Dawn during one of Ron’s Latin inspired pieces. They were a whirlwind of exuberance….

20150508_205849Jade took lots of wonderful action shots of the stage (below)

DSC00372ggcrop-1 DSC00335gg-1-s DSC00338gg-1-s DSC00427gg-1-s After the concert, the crowd retired to the reception where Ron signed copies of his CDs – I’m glad he brought lots with him as they were selling like hotcakes!!

20150508_211300 20150508_211429 20150508_211641Even Wendy met a fan and obliged with an autographed CD. (above). Lou seemed very pleased with the response (below) as he, too, met with fans after the show.

20150508_212805Ron and Wendy posed with The Rev. Gordon Sheppard (below) who, along with the church events committee, had  graciously invited Ron to perform.

20150508_213408 20150508_213414A big THANK YOU to all the volunteers and church officials who made this event possible, and thank you to the very appreciative Newmarket audience – Ron hopes to return for another concert soon.  Do visit St. Paul’s new website and Facebook page to support their upcoming events and concerts [ www.stpaulsnewmarket.org ]…and here are some more photos you may enjoy:

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I TURN INTO “MUSTANG SALLY” AT HOTDOCS SCREENING OF “UNBRANDED”

I always wanted to be a cowgirl, ever since I watched my first Roy Rogers tv show. And I love it when I get a chance to live out my fantasies…like when I pretended to be Annie Oakley as a 5yr old, getting my first pony, or my visit to Fort Worth, TX in the 90’s where I hung out with rodeo cowboys and the real Texas Rangers (below).

Li'l sharp shooter Riding on her pony Texas Ranger in Ft.WorthOne of the joys of writing for The Rider, a Canadian equine newspaper is that I get to read books, listen to music and watch movies all about cowboys! Today I watched a brand new horsey documentary called UNBRANDED that was having its world premiere at the HotDocs Festival.   Talk about serious cowboy overload!

home-slider-slide-2This gloriously shot film features four young Texas cowboys: Jonny Fitzsimons, Tom Glover, Ben Thamer, and Ben Masters whose idea the mega-ride was and the leader of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure through several States starting at the US/Mexican border all the way up to the Canadian border.

“Unbranded” started with cheap tequila and greasy enchiladas in one of the few places in the world where you can find people crazy enough to ride a horse for thousands of miles—Texas A&M University. Ben Masters.

A camera crew mounted on horseback themselves followed the guys  through every laugh, every disagreement, every runaway horse incident and the occasional tear or two. Director & cinematographer Phill Baribeau (below) has delivered a superb piece of filmmaking, employing dynamic camera angles and overhead shots via drones that show the vast expanse of prairies & deserts, mountain pastures, cliff faces, rivers….and the Grand Canyon in ways few of us have or will ever see. And the mustangs made it over all of these!

home-slider-slide-5The long-standing conflict between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), private ranchers, wild horse preservation societies and animal rights activists threads through the documentary, and the issues are dealt with by the filmmakers in a very balanced presentation. All sides of the argument for wild horse open ranges vs. cattle/sheep grazing rights, public access and recreational use of the land the cowboys ride through are shared. We learn about wild horse population stats, we hear intelligent opinions and logical options for land mgmn’t & usage via sympathetically inserted interviews, never losing the main storyline of the ride as we get to know the cowboys and each of their horses….and one cute little burro called Donquita.

UNBRANDED is currently looking for a North American theatrical distribution deal but those in Toronto can attend the final HotDocs screening on Sat. May 3rd @ 10:30am (see the HotDocs website for tickets) but you can see the trailer and meet the cowboys and their horses on the official website: http://unbrandedthefilm.com/

In the interim, here are some great pics I grabbed from today’s screening and watch for my film review in next month’s www.TheRider.com

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20150426_152801Above: the fimmakers were treated like rockstars after the screening with lots of new fans flocking to the front of the theatre, wanting to say howdy and get an autograph.

20150426_153916Above LtoR: director Baribeau, producer Dennis Aig and horse wrangler & cowboy poet Val Geissler pose for post-screening photo opps.  and below, are joined by cowboy star Ben Masters to frame their poster.

20150426_154004Below, I get hog-tied by Val as Ben, Phill and Dennis look on nervously, and Ben’s dad records the event for the family photo album.

20150426_153941 20150426_154139Follow UNBRANDED’s Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/unbrandedthefilm/