Entries in Ontario (6)
Frank and I arrived back from our short trip to Toronto last night. Due to me not feeling well and being out of town a lot I didn't do much decorating in my home this year for the holidays but I thought I would share a few pictures of the decorations in Toronto that inspired me.
The first thing that you notice wandering around town is the way that all of the outdoor planters are done up for the holidays. The basic theme was to have tall birch logs in the center of the planter for height with an arrangement of greens around the base. I saw tons of variations on this with curly willow, magnolia leaves, seed pods, pinecones and ornaments included in the mix. They were all really pretty and looked quite festive.
My favorite variation that I saw was swapping out the birch logs for bamboo painted a bright, cheery red color. It was so striking to look at.
Moving indoors, I thought that this line-up of Christmas trees each decorated in its own color scheme was really fun and pretty.
Our hotel lobby was beautiful with all of the decorations done in white and silver to complement the dusky blue color scheme of the furniture.
The part I loved best were the flower arrangements. They had huge bouquets of white football mums in glass vases with a few silver pinecones tucked in to make it festive. It was so simple yet so elegant and beautiful.
Have you been inspired by any decorations that you have seen this year? Do you do any decorating around your home for the holidays?
I've been in Woodstock, Ontario for the past two days for work. It was just my luck to get my comfy new couch on Sunday and then have to wake up on Monday at 4:30 in the morning to drive to Ontario and have no time to enjoy it. Ah, well, so goes life...
While in Canada I snuck in a few of my rituals there, particularly grabbing coffee and doughnuts at Tim Horton's and eating a Coffee Crisp. We have Tim Horton's in Michigan but somehow it is necessary for me to go at least once whenever I am in Canada. As for Coffee Crisp, it is a Canadian candy bar with crisp wafers and coffee cream covered in milk chocolate. If you are visiting Canada I recommend trying one if you have never had one before. Very tasty!
When I was in Woodstock for work back in July the only touristy thing I was able to see was the Springbank Snow Countess Monument. I was quite busy on this trip as well but I did manage to sneak in an hour after work one day to check out downtown Woodstock which is full of historic buildings dating back a hundred years or more. Some of downtown looks like it has seen better days, but there are many lovely buildings and I really enjoyed wandering around looking at the architecture.
Built in 1895, the building below was erected as Woodstock Market. In more recent times it was renovated into a theater and has been home to the Woodstock Little Theatre since 1997.
The lovely building is home to the Church of the Epiphany. It was originally constructed as New St. Paul's Church in 1879. The red brick is beautiful but in my opinion the star of the show is the slate roof with the intricate pattern. I also liked that they had decorated the doorways with corn stalks for fall.
The old post office was built in 1901. It is now the "new" City Hall since the city government moved there in 1968 after it outgrew its old home.
This building was empty but it appears to have once been a lovely church.
In addition to the government buildings and churches the many of the store fronts along Dundas Street were also beautiful to see.
I particularly liked this row of buildings with the vibrant, warm colors of the brick contrasting with the blue sky.
Unfortunately my time was short and I didn't have a chance to go in the Woodstock Museum, once the old Town Hall. I also wasn't able to visit Old St. Paul's Church or the Oxford County Courthouse which are other notable buildings in Woodstock. It leaves me a little something to look forward to if I am back in the area again...
Yesterday evening I returned from a short business trip to Woodstock, Ontario. The city's website describes it thus, "We have much to offer in our city of 38,000 including tree lined streets, century old homes, abundant parkland and friendly citizens. Woodstock's history is preserved not only in our Museum and County Courthouse, but in our downtown buildings and beautiful Victorian heritage homes."
It sounds like a quant small town and a nice place to wander around after finishing work for a day, right? Yeah, well that didn't happen. Over the first three days of this week I have managed to put in just over forty hours of work so in the limited time I wasn't working I was exhausted and trying to get a little sleep. Speaking of sleeping, the hotel I was staying at, The Woodstock Holiday Inn Express, apparently hosted Donny Osmond at some point. In the lobby next to the elevator was a photocopy of his portrait which he had signed expressing his thanks to the hotel staff. In my exhausted stupor this picture caused me no end of amusement every time I passed by it.
On the food front, I managed to squeeze in a few distinctly Canadian things to eat. Monday night we had finally arrived in town at eleven at night. We were starving since we had driven straight from work and hadn't eaten anything. Actually, that is not quite true. I ate a bag of Cheetos and drank a Coke that I bought from the work vending machine before we took off. Unfortunately I have Coke and Cheetos way too often for dinner. I digress. It was late, we were hungry and everything was closed but the lights at Tim Horton's were still on. We drove by and luckily enough the drive through was open. I got my go to Timmy's meal: egg salad sandwich, soda and a honey crueller. After I checked into my room I quickly devoured it and passed out asleep. We have Tim Horton's in Michigan but I tend to only go there when I am in Canada. I think that somehow being in Canada makes it taste better.
On Tuesday I was up at 5:30 and didn't finish work until nearly 9:30 that night. My colleagues and I opted to eat at Montana's Cookhouse solely because it was across the street from our hotel. It is a Canadian restaurant chain and the food was pretty good. I ordered a chipotle firecracker burger which was topped with bacon, colby cheese, fried jalapenos, crispy onions and chipotle honey BBQ sauce. Being in Canada, of course I had gravy with my fries. I don't normally drink on weeknights, but after the day I had I thought something was in order so I got a Caeser to drink. A Caesar is a classic Canadian mixed drink and is kind of like a Bloody Mary but with clamato juice instead of spicy tomato juice. It's pretty fantastic.
Wednesday after we finished for the day we decided to get a little something to eat before driving back to Michigan. A quick option was needed since we wanted to get on the road as soon as possible. We spotted a little roadside shop called Great Greek Souvlaki. It had a walk up window decorating with signs proclaiming the food's excellence and picnic table seating with umbrellas out front. I got an excellent lamb and beef gyro and couldn't resist a small order of poutine as well. Poutine is French-Canadian in origin and consists of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. The version I ate had shredded cheese instead of curds, but it was still pretty good and hit the spot before we hit the road.
On the way out of town I did manage to see one sight: the Springbank Snow Countess Monument. As we were driving toward the highway I spotted it on the side of the road and convinced my co-worker to stop for five minutes so I could check it out. The Countess was a famous cow in her day, earning the world record for producing more butterfat over her lifetime than any other cow in the world. She held the record from 1933 through 1954 and the life-size statue was erected in her honor in 1937. No wonder Woodstock is known as the Dairy Capitol of Canada!
Do you have any favorite (or favourite) Canadian foods or drinks? Have you ever stayed at a hotel that Donny Osmond stayed at? Would you make your co-worker stop the car to take a picture of a cow statue?