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Cover Story: Ken Welsh

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Cover Story: Ken Welsh

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Acting is in his blood.

Just as I am about to knock on the white door of Ken Welsh’s country home, my eyes spot a sign that epitomizes his wry sense of humour – Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

Photography by Jake Martella

At the age of 75, Welsh’s career has spanned a half century. He’s played countless roles, onstage and on screen, and is the recipient of many awards, including fi ve Geminis, a Genie for the best supporting actor in Margaret’s Museum, the Earle Grey Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2004 Welsh received the Order of Canada.

Photography by Jake Martella

Born and raised in Edmonton, Welsh graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in drama, and then attended Montreal’s National Theatre School. Not many actors can claim that they spent the first seven years of their career at the Stratford Festival. Following this stint, Welsh left in 1973 and went on to appear at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and then spent many years on Broadway.

At the age of 26, while at Stratford, Welsh was cast as Hamlet. Other plum roles include starring in Piaf on Broadway, and the 1987 production of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune with Kathy Bates.

Touted as one of the hardest working actors in Canada, Welsh wrote and performed the celebrated off-Broadway cabaret musical Standup Shakespeare. “My favourite characters are ones that have heart and play to a complicated range of emotions. I like to find the soul of the character, where the sensitivities lie,” says Welsh. “Humour is definitely an important element in any role I play. If you can’t have a good laugh, what’s the point? I laugh out loud to myself all the time – of course that could be senility.”

In 1989, Welsh’s performance in Love and Hate: The Story of Colin and Joanne Thatcher, about a former Alberta rancher and politician who is convicted of killing his wife, won him a Gemini.

Welsh’s favourite Hollywood movies were all made in Canada, and include Loyalties, 1987; Margaret’s Museum with Helena Bonham Carter in 1995; and a hilarious flick about opera and hockey with Robbie Coltrane called Perfectly Normal, 1991. A compilation of Welsh’s work wouldn’t be complete without highlighting one of his favourite parts, the villainous Windom Earle in the 1980s hit series Twin Peaks. “Windom was one of my favourite television roles,” says Welsh. “People remember the character because he was so evil.”

(CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) Corrine Farago, (Devon’s mother), Ken and Devon, 1988. -Cyrano de Bergerac, 1980, Goodman Theatre, Chicago. -Paul Benedict, Ken Welsh, Kathy Bates, Terrence McNally, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, 1988. – Doctor Watson in The Hound of the Baskervilles, TV movie, 2000.

During his illustrious career, Welsh has performed alongside many well-known actors, but especially enjoyed working with Stockard Channing, Kathy Bates, Olympia Dukakis, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep and the late Ron Silver.

In his 50s and 60s Welsh says that he was still in top form when it came to memorizing his lines, but concedes that he’s finding it a bit more challenging in his 70s. When it comes to physical endurance on stage, he says that it hasn’t been a problem, because the audience’s energy gives him the adrenaline charge that he thrives on to outperform himself.

“There aren’t as many roles available for actors my age, and what roles do come up are being filled quickly. Guys my age are dying off, but not quick enough,” says Welsh drolly. “Whenever I am asked, I will act. I just did an episode of The Blacklist in New York. It really only took me a couple of days to learn the lines.”

Welsh is also committed to helping out young directors, and those who are up and coming – often appearing in independent films for very little gratuity.

The pride and joy of Welsh’s life is his son Devon, now 28. With his then wife, Corinne Farago, they moved to the rural Ontario property where he has lived for the last 28 years. It was here that he brought up his son, often on his own.

After living in New York for 12 years, a small community appealed to Welsh. “My neighbours are all really great people. I like watching the kids play as the generations roll out. Certainly, I enjoy being a part of it all. I read poetry with the choir and sometimes I perform Shakespeare,” says Welsh. “In fact, ever since 1974 when I was in Chicago, I’ve done exclusive Shakespearean performances. I have a big sign that has 30 characters on it and I let the audience choose. Sometimes I do a soliloquy. Sometimes I do the entire first scene with all the characters in it.”

Welsh is an avid gardener and has planted more than one hundred trees of assorted varieties on his pastoral property. This year, his vegetable garden is expected to yield beans, potatoes tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli and herbs. “I have always loved gardening,” says Welsh. “I need to have things growing around me.”

Welsh has no plans on slowing down. Part of his ongoing regime includes going to the gym on a regular basis, walking 5,000 steps a day, practicing yoga, eating properly and meditating. “I’m in pretty good shape for a guy my age. I don’t ever plan to quit.”

He also has a few things that he still wants to check off of his bucket list, which have to do with singing and playing the trumpet. “When people have a birthday, I play Happy Birthday on my trumpet. It’s become a tradition,” says Welsh with that mischievous twinkle in his eye.

Photo By Jake Martella

The minute I got on stage and got a few laughs, I knew that acting was my destiny. – Ken Welsh

Welsh would love to make an album of jazz songs that feature the melodies of his favourite musical icons like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney. At the top of his list would be the opportunity to sing the anthems at a major league baseball game. “I love sports and I go to the batting cage. And, yes, I hit the ball. I’ve still got it.”

Good health, good friends and, in particular, his son, Devon, are the things that Welsh cherishes. Devon is a musician and currently lives in Montreal. His hit song, Downtown, won him a Juno. Regular visits, which include the odd Raptors’ game, keep them connected. “I love my son very much. We maintain close contact and I see him as often as I can. He has a beautiful voice and works very hard. He is a lovely man,” says Welsh in his melodious Shakespearean cadence.

(LEFT) Standup Shakespeare, created by Ken Welsh and Ray Leslee at Theatre 890, NY, 1987. Photo by Jake Martella (RIGHT) Ken and his dog Zoltan. Photo by Charles Dennis.

Welsh appreciates all that life has bestowed upon him and spends no time bemoaning his youth. “I don’t miss anything about my youth – youth was youth. I did a lot when I was young, so there is nothing to regret. My youth was fabulous, but I certainly enjoy what I do now.”

In one of his more serious moments, Welsh says that spirituality is a key component in his life. “It gives a great respect as to why we are here. I’m not a philosopher – I just live life.”

And with that he turns to the photographer and agrees that a photo shoot in the backyard would definitely work. “It’s breezy out there, and my hair looks good blowing in the wind.”


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Body & Soul: Grief Counselling for Kids and Teens

Body & Soul: Grief Counselling for Kids and Teens

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Body & Soul: Grief Counselling for Kids and Teens

Written & Photography by Cece M. Scott (cecescott.com)

Nothing tugs at our heart strings quite like seeing a child in physical, or emotional, pain. It was an unbearable parenting philosophy, but generations ago the feelings of children were often dismissed – they were to be seen and not heard.

All it takes is something to trigger our own memory to take us back to childhood, and to what may have been a tragic event. It’s difficult not to be affected by the commercial where the young boy drops his glass of milk in slow-motion at the realization that his father isn’t coming home. Perhaps you lost a loved one to illness or an accident, and as a shy child you didn’t know how to express yourself. Living with emotional pain is something that many of us never get over.


In honour of Erin Metcalf, major league baseball pitcher, Jamie Moyer, and his wife Karen, founded Camp Erin – a bereavement camp for kids and teens. The Moyers met Erin when she was 15 through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They were so inspired by Erin’s courage and her passion to help other children, that they supported the grief camp as a tribute to Erin after her passing at the age of 17.

Camp Erin Toronto is fully funded by sponsors and donations, and is open to children between the ages of six to 17 who have lost an immediate family member or a custodial caregiver through death. At no cost to the family, kids are referred to the program and chosen from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds.


Of the 54 Camp Erin’s, four of them are located in Canada. As part of the therapeutic portion of the programming, the camp embraces grief rituals, such as creating a memory board compiled of pictures of the person who died. The campers choose a grief activity during grief rotation – providing them an opportunity to help process grief. During ‘Ask the Doctor’ sessions, campers can ask anonymous questions about what they are experiencing as a result of their loss. During the camp luminary ceremony, campers light a candle and spend time in remembrance.


At Camp Erin, they want the children to know that they are not alone in their grief, and that their feelings are perfectly normal. For some campers, it’s their first out-of-the-city experience. Over three days they get to be with, and relate to, other kids. Often strong bonds are formed as a result of their losses. Most importantly, these young people are equipped with a tool box to help them to cope with their grief and to work through their emotions. “We strongly believe that the Camp Erin experience is life-changing,” says Lysa Toye, clinical director Camp Erin Toronto, Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre.

Post-camp care, counselling and support services are provided by Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre, The Moyer Foundation and community partner agencies.

If you know of a child who’s suffering, and would like information on how to send a kid to camp, visit drjaychildrensgriefcentre.ca.


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Destination Ontario: Hamilton & Burlington

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Destination Ontario: Hamilton & Burlington

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Golden Horseshoe Port Cities


Founded in 1816, Hamilton has experienced an epoch-making revitalization over the past few years. The city is becoming known for its vibrant arts community, tasty culinary destinations and still affordable housing. An equidistant hour’s drive from Toronto or Niagara Falls, Hamilton is Canada’s ninth largest municipality, and Ontario’s third. With leafy streets and epic architecture, Hamilton offers quirky neighbourhoods and historical charm.


James Street North is at the centre of Hamilton’s developing arts’ scene, along with King William Street, Locke Street and King Street. James Street North has a wide selection of new eateries to choose from, including Jack & Lois, which was mentioned on You Gotta Eat Here, E-Talk and in The Huffington Post, plus Charred, Mesa and the health-conscious Green Bar. Funky boutiques offer everything from party ware to jewellery and fashions from local designers. Nearby Ottawa Street captures Hamilton’s eclectic spirit with dozens and dozens of storefronts that include D.Y.I. shops, fabrics, antiques, collectibles and restaurants.

James Street art crawl

For great shopping and dining, visit Gore Park in the city’s downtown core. Take some time out on a park bench to smell the roses while admiring the stately statues of Queen Victoria and Sir John A. Macdonald.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton has been an epicentre for the arts for more than 100 years, and is Ontario’s third largest public gallery. The McMaster Museum of Art (MMA) was founded in 1967 at McMaster University, and houses more than 7,000 pieces of art.

Hamilton’s live theatre scene offers diverse performances at Theatre Aquarius, and at smaller companies like the Players’ Guild of Hamilton and Hamilton Theatre Inc.


Hamilton’s historical attractions include the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, the HMCS Haida National Historic Site (Canada’s most famous Tribal Class warship) and Dundurn – a National Historic Site built in 1835. Now a museum, the castle was the former residence of Sir Allan Napier MacNab, Prime Minister of Upper Canada, 1854 to 1856. The current Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, is the museum’s patron, and is the great, great, great granddaughter of MacNab.

Other noted attractions include the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, (Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons is a member), the African Lion Safari Park and the Cathedral of Christ the King.

Canadian War Plane Museum


Residents and visitors can cycle along Hamilton’s 7.5 kilometres of waterfront trails through the 40-acre Bayfront Park, which includes an outdoor skating rink and soon-tobe- refurbished public marina, and connects to the Royal Botanical Gardens. The Hamilton Escarpment offers spectacular views of the city and of the Hamilton Harbour.

Webster’s Falls

Hamilton, and the surrounding area, boasts more than 100 waterfalls. Webster’s Falls is located in the Spencer George/Webster’s Falls Conservation Area, and is considered Hamilton’s gem. Enjoy a self-guided walk along the well-maintained trails that provide access to a host of waterfalls along the Niagara Escarpment and Bruce Trail. Trekkers can also hike the King’s Forest Waterfall Walk to Albion Falls, the Devil’s Punchbowl Battlefield Creek Walk and the scenic Iroquoia Walk, among others. Picturesque cycling routes include the Escarpment Rail Trail, Dofasco Trail Loop, the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail and the Chedoke Rail Trail.


The picturesque town of Dundas is located close by, and features 19th century buildings, sophisticated boutiques and food emporiums. Nicknamed the Valley Town because of its location at the bottom of the Niagara Escarpment on the western edge of Lake Ontario, Dundas is a short 20-minute drive from Hamilton.


At the centre of the Golden Horseshoe is Burlington. This city is ideally situated between Toronto and Niagara, and offers the best of all worlds. It’s home to 115 parks and 200 annual events. For five years in a row, Burlington was named the best mid-sized city in Canada, as well as Ontario’s second best city to live in by MoneySense, 2017.

Rock Climbing at Rattlesnake


Seasonal changes in Burlington are celebrated with flair. In the early spring, Maple Festivals are popular at the Bronte Creek Provincial Park and Conservation Halton. Tulips and lilacs are the first to bloom at the Royal Botanical Gardens, and the return of the cherry blossoms are always a highlight at Spencer Smith Park.

Come summer, there are a plethora of ways to stay active, including hiking on the many trails, cycling along the waterfront, or casting a line and picnicking at one of the many parks in the area. Farmers’ markets are plentiful as are open-air patios for dining al fresco. In June, the Sound of Music Festival kicks off and continues throughout the summer months. Canada’s Largest Ribfest is held on Labour Day weekend at Spencer Smith Park, and is a great way to close out the summer.

Fall into Nature celebrates the changing colours along the escarpment and throughout the region. Autumn festivals include the Pumpkins to Pastries Trail and the Harvest Festival.

Winter activities in Burlington include outdoor skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and hiking. Closer to the holidays, long-standing events like Holiday Traditions at the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Candlelit Stroll and the Festival of Lights in downtown Burlington are delightful destinations.


A National Historic Site of Canada, The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is a four-season experience. The RBG boasts the world’s largest lilac collection, and includes 2,700 acres of gardens, nature sanctuaries, on-site restaurants, a gift shop and yearly festivals.


Each year, The Burlington Performing Arts Centre includes an impressive lineup of music, theatre, dance and comedy. The Art Gallery of Burlington hosts a variety of exhibitions throughout the year, including the Soup Bowl and Arts Burlington Christmas Show & Sale. There are many small galleries and studios to explore, and the Art in Action Studio Tour is scheduled for the weekend of November 4th and 5th. To learn more about early life in Burlington, the Ireland House Museum offers a guided tour. Doors Open Burlington is on September 30, 2017.

Owl at Raptor Centre

Photography : Tourism and Culture, City of Hamilton; Webster’s Falls, bigstockphoto.com, Tourism Burlington; (rock climbing and Raptor Centre) Conservation Halton


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Cover Story : Jamie Kennedy – There is Life After Restaurants

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Cover Story : Jamie Kennedy – There is Life After Restaurants

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Touted as one of Canada’s first celebrity chefs, Jamie Kennedy is also a member of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of the 2010 Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table.

Kennedy’s appetite for gastronomy was sparked some 50 years ago at the age of 10 when his father moved his family to Connecticut. In his senior year, Kennedy was the the president of the cooking club.

Photo, Jo Dickins

Following his high school graduation, and the family’s return to Canada, Kennedy was at a crossroads. He hadn’t applied for post-secondary education, so decided to work in order to fund his desire to travel. Cooking was something that he was genuinely interested in, so it might be said that it wasn’t a coincidence that he wandered into the legendary Windsor Arms Hotel at exactly the right time on that specific day. “I was fortunate to have arrived at the hotel between the lunch and dinner service,” says Kennedy. “Had I arrived closer to noon or the dinner service, it would have been a different reception. There was time to look at a young candidate. Ultimately I accepted a job offer as apprentice cook, which determined my life for the next three years.”

Photos courtesy Jamie Kennedy

Once Kennedy earned his certificate as a cook through his apprenticeship and in-school training at George Brown College, he pursued his dream and travelled throughout Asia and Europe. After returning to Toronto, Kennedy started working at Scaramouche in 1980 with partner chef, Michael Stadtländer. “It was an incredible experience for one so young,” says Kennedy. “It was the foundation for my career in Toronto.”

Kennedy’s entrepreneurial trajectory began in earnest after he left Scaramouche in 1982. He opened a series of eating establishments that Torontonians from every walk of life enjoyed for decades.

One of Kennedy’s greatest fans, Toronto criminal lawyer Clayton Ruby, once stated that Kennedy was the heart of Canada’s food movement – a nod to Kennedy’s dedication to the sourcing of local and sustainable ingredients. It was Ruby who successfully nominated Kennedy for the Order of Canada in 2010. “It has been my life’s work to create regional dishes and encourage others to do the same thing in their areas,” says Kennedy.

Serving at the Summer Dinner Series in PEC – Photo, Jo Dickins

Known for his culinary innovation, Kennedy’s creativity flourished. He opened a series of restaurants, which included Jamie Kennedy Menus Gastronomiques, as owner and chef. He did two stints as a partner and chef at Palmerston Restaurant, and was the Chef de Cuisine at the Founder’s Club. At J.K. ROM he was the owner and executive chef, and the owner and president of Jamie Kennedy Kitchens. He was also the owner and executive chef of Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner, as well as the owner and executive chef at Gilead Cafe & Wine Bar.

During this period Kennedy was also authoring several cookbooks, which included Jamie Kennedy’s Seasons, Whitecap Books, 2000; Great Soup Empty Bowls, Whitecap Books, 2002; J. K. The Jamie Kennedy Cookbook, HarperCollins, 2014. Kennedy also dedicated his time to many causes within the industry, including co-founding Slow Food Toronto, 2003. In 2011, Kennedy received the Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Gold Award from the Ontario Hostelry Institute.

I approach each day with an attitude of – what am I going to achieve today? -Jamie Kennedy

Kennedy’s culinary stardom rose to such a height that at one time he had three active restaurants, a booming catering business and 100 people on the payroll – all of which were pulling him in a myriad of directions. “It didn’t really work for me,” says Kennedy. “It was a tough go. I made a couple of classic entrepreneurial mistakes and it threw me into a tailspin.”

Photography by Jo Dickins

In 2014, Kennedy handed over control of Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner. “It took a lot out of me, but I was determined to keep going,” says Kennedy. “And I did. The solution for me was to get back to a business model that I was comfortable with.”

Jamie Kennedy’s Summer Dinner Series Photography by Jo Dickins

For Kennedy, it wasn’t that he lost his passion for his craft, it was more about the financial challenges that he was facing. After a quiet year of recovery, Kennedy was back with a more reasonable framework that included a small restaurant and a catering sideline. “I really strove to find a comfortable work model – one, in which, I didn’t feel overwhelmed or drained by – rather, that I could flourish in.”

After 40 years in business and a lifestyle that had come to define him, Kennedy closed the Gilead Cafe & Wine Bar on March 31st, 2015 and transitioned to his 115-acre rural property in Prince Edward County. “After Gilead closed, I moved all of my pots and pans to the farm,” says Kennedy. “Having this property has helped me to decompress and relax. My farm projects keep me busy and happy, and give me more balance.”

Photography by Jo Dickins

That balanced lifestyle includes more hobbies. Kennedy planted an acre of vines to familiarize himself with the process of growing grapes and making wine. “Taking the grapes and transforming them into wine through fermentation is a magical process. I have a whole other appreciation for wine now because I know what it took to grow the grapes. It is something that occupies my time and gives me physical work. I get right in there and cultivate the vines. I would encourage others to find something that turns them on.”

Retirement is not attached to an arbitrary age for Kennedy. He recognizes the struggles and limitations that other people have, and appreciates that he’s in good health. “I don’t regret not being young, but I do understand the expression – youth is wasted on the young – more than I did when I was young,” says Kennedy. “At this age, what we yearn for the most is that level of energy and flexibility that youth had.”

When the work week is over, Kennedy enjoys returning to the city of Toronto with his Aussie Shepherd/Border Collie, and taking in cultural events that have nothing to do with cooking. “I want to stay working as long as possible,” says Kennedy. “It’s good for your mind and your sense of self and well-being. And, because there is a physicality to cooking, like any craftsman, the longer you do it, the better you become. I have a more confident approach and calmness about my cooking now, as opposed to 20 years ago.”

Kennedy admits that his biggest challenge was finding a balance between his work and his private life. These days he spends more time with his children who range from 21 to 33. One daughter lives in Los Angeles, and the other three are within reasonable proximity.

As an avid supporter of environmental issues and involved in a wide variety of community work, Kennedy was a pioneer in the nationwide farm-to-table movement. Once again, he will be hosting his five-course Summer Dinner Series at Hillier Farm, which is held in a rustic barn setting and features a feast of local organic delights. “I look around and I see a future here,” says Kennedy. “I feel incredibly lucky to have stewardship of this place.”

Niçoise-Style Salad with Local Smoked Whitefish

Photography by Jo Dickins

Giving classic French dishes a new regional Canadian flavour is something that has interested me for many years. Salade niçoise is a beautiful creation, full of sunny reminders of the south of France, where it originated in the sun-drenched city of Nice. Although the dish itself is arguably already perfect and I have great respect for tradition, in the interest of creating a local version that reflects our terroir, I have used the original to inspire this version. It uses one of my favourite ingredients, local smoked whitefish. It is especially delicious using fresh eggs, tomatoes, herbs and greens from my farm.


  • 1 head of butter lettuce
  • 100 grams fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 4 new potatoes
  • 4 small field tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 30 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into thin rounds
  • 20 niçoise-style onions
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 350 – 400 grams of smoked whitefish, skin removed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 60 ml fine olive oil


  • Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Cook the beans in a pot of boiling water until tender. Remove the beans, refresh under cold water, drain and reserve. Add salt to the water and cook the potatoes until just tender; drain and cut into slices.
  • Cut the tomatoes into quarters and season with salt and pepper. Stir together the shallots and white wine vinegar.
  • Divide the lettuce among four plates. Arrange the prepared vegetables, onion slices, olives and eggs in a pleasing pattern on the plates. Top with the smoked whitefish. Sprinkle each plate with the shallot vinegar mixture and basil. Drizzle the olive oil over each plate. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.




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Destination Ontario – The Heart Of Georgian Bay

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Destination Ontario – The Heart Of Georgian Bay

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Photography, courtesy of North Simcoe Tourism

Midland and Penetanguishene

Midland and Penetanguishene in Simcoe County are the gateway to 30,000 Islands. Simcoe Country also includes the townships of Tay (Port McNicoll) and Tiny (Balm Beach), which offer a charm bracelet of historical sites, wildlife centres, provincial parks, live theatre venues, cycling, boating and the shimmering blue waters of Georgian Bay.

Awenda Provincial Park

Ontario’s History

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was home to the French Jesuit missionaries who ministered to the Huron Wendant people from 1639 to 1648. This site was the first to be settled by Europeans in Ontario, and offers a glimpse into Canadian pioneer life. After a visit to the Interpretative Museum, you can enjoy a meal at Restaurant Sainte-Marie.

Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, is one of two of Canada’s national shrines to Canadian martyrs, (the other is in Quebec). In its 91st year (2017), the shrine, which welcomes pilgrims of all faiths and cultures, honours eight saints who lived, worked and died in the area.

Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene is a military and navy outpost established as a base for the British in the War of 1812. Along with the opportunity to board replicas of the H.M.S Tecumseth and the H.M.S. Bee naval ships, there are themed guided tours about the War of 1812, facilitated by authentically costumed staff.

Nature lovers’ havens

The Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, located on 3,000 acres of wetlands and forest, is a trumpeter swan sanctuary. A hot-spot connection for nature lovers, visitors can take advantage of the observation tower to decide on the best route for their hiking, biking or cross country skiing adventure. In September, the marsh’s Get Outdoors Festival is a great way to celebrate all things indigenous that this nature reserve has to offer.

Awenda Provincial Park is a spectacular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering camping, biking, canoeing and swimming. Sunbathers flock to the sandy Georgian Bay shores and beaches during the summer months. Consisting of 63 small islands, Georgian Bay Islands National Park also has camping and cabin rental availability.

With more than 230 kilometres of trails, cyclists of all abilities can enjoy the beautiful paths that run along the bay’s coastine. The routes are jampacked with historical highlights, as well as cycle-friendly support businesses, such as eateries, cosy accommodations and bike shops.

This water corridor is celebrated for its sparkling azure qualities, and is the Gateway to the 30,000 Islands – an outsized boaters’ paradise. There are multiple anchorages for boaters, and a good selection of places to gas-up and stock up on supplies. One of the many jewels in the chain, Beckwith Island is an Ojibwa reserve that allows boaters to spend the day on the beach or tour the dunes. Overnight camping is available with prior permission.

Martyrs’ Shrine

H.M.S. Tecumseth at Discovery Harbour

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

King’s Wharf Theatre

Cultural cravings

You can get your live performance fix at two of the area’s arts venues, King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene and the Midland Cultural Centre.

King’s Wharf Theatre, an intimate 385-seat venue, is situated at the end of a long, water-kissed boardwalk. This year’s playbill includes the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope musical, the Million Dollar Quartet, and the ever-popular Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Intermission at any of these performances can be enjoyed by sipping a cold libation or savouring a sweet treat while taking in the sights of Discovery Harbour’s replica ships, as well as the spendour of Georgian Bay.

The Midland Cultural Centre celebrates the arts with classical, folk, country and bluegrass concerts, in addition to live theatre and literary events by well-known authors.

Stroll the streets

Shopping in the area is an eclectic, small-town experience offering up everything from fashion to furniture. A stroll along Midland’s downtown King Street affords views of the bay as you make your way from store to store. A well-worth-thewalk excursion should include the outdoor gallery of murals (North America’s longest historic outdoor mural), painted along the sides of buildings in the downtown/ waterfront area. Inspired by the murals of Chemanius, B. C., the outdoor gallery of 35 murals depicts the poignant pioneer history of the area.

The Queen of Tarts

Celebrating all things butter tarts, Midland is home to Ontario’s Best Butter Tarts Festival. In 2016, the festival attracted 50,000 visitors and sold more than 127,000 tarts. This year’s festival takes place on June 10th. Arriving early is the key to grabbing a dozen – or maybe three.



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Cover Story: Rosemary Dunsmore

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Cover Story: Rosemary Dunsmore

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Rosemary Dunsmore, award-winning actress of stage, film and the small screen, was frazzled and stressed out when I met up with her. After living in her funky Rose Cottage that overlooks a beautiful, forested ravine for the past 27 years, Dunsmore was on the move – literally and figuratively. Initially, when she made the decision to sell her home, a range of emotions, which involved her self-worth and self-esteem, all seemed to be tied up in the very thing that she was separating from.

Photo, Chris Frampton

“Selling the house was a hasty decision,” says Dunsmore. “I made the decision and then was quite frightened. My identity was wrapped up in this house – it was my personal sense of cool. I brought up my son, Rob, now 23, in this house. And I have been through two marriages here as well.”

Once Dunsmore recognized that her angst was separation anxiety, she was able to embrace the act of cleansing and decluttering – a ritual that she likens to ageing, as well as to the anticipation of the next chapter. “Every time I get rid of a load, I feel lighter – not so bound to my stuff. I remembered that old adage, do you possess your possessions or do they possess you?”

Character Development

Dunsmore, who has been acting since the age of 21, describes herself as a Pollyanna, and admits to being a fan of Pippi Lonstocking. She identifies most with characters who change during the course of the story, and whose moral compasses are challenged. At a young age, Dunsmore auditioned for the Stratford Festival’s then-artistic director, Christopher Newton, who said to her, ‘You are the sort of actress who won’t start working until you are 28.”

Having fun with her son, Rob, on a trip to Galapagos in 2008. Photography, courtesy of Rosemary Dunsmore

Dunsmore says that Newton’s prediction was bang on. She was never the wounded deer who needed to be helped. She inherently wanted more depth and complexity to the roles that she performed. “Acting is an inside/out job,” says Dunsmore. “In developing a character, I concern myself with what they see. And with a bigger push to tell women’s stories, roles for women are getting incrementally better. There are certainly more women writing stories and more women directors.”

For many actors, especially women, finding decent parts are harder to come by. In fact, there was a period of about six years when Dunsmore, who is now 64, felt sidelined – that her acting career was over. The 40s and 50s didn’t rattle her so much, but turning 60 did. “It was a wakeup call – 60 sounded so old,” says Dunsmore. “I couldn’t relate to it. But, it also focused me – made me think about doing things in the now. It became liberating. My whole paradigm of thinking shifted. There was a bit of a slump after turning 60, but since then my life has been fantastic.”

With her father, Bob, in Montserrat (where he has a house) in 2012. Bob is now 97. Photography, courtesy of Rosemary Dunsmore

The Role of Aging

Acting roles have been moving along an innovative clip for Dunsmore over the past few years. She currently plays a recurring role in the Canadian science fiction television series, Orphan Black. For the very first time, Dunsmore took on a singing role in the Stratford Festival’s 2016 adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical, A Little Night Music. “I had to go on stage every night holding my fear in my hand,” says Dunsmore. “I was terrified. For the first five months I just learned bad habits, but, from there on in, I learned how to sing. I was thrilled with the opportunity and also the fact that I was able to do it – not just at some small theatre, but at the Stratford Festival.”

Dunsmore loves working in films and television, but her favourite discipline is live theatre. She admits that she’s noticed a change in the process of learning her lines now that she’s in her sixth decade. “I learn them quickly and they are gone just as quickly,” says Dunsmore. “They don’t seem to stick.”

The physicality around acting has not been a problem in the least for Dunsmore, who insists on performing her own energetic stunts. “In the Stratford show I did this past summer (2016), The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, I was jumping around a lot with one of my students from theatre school. A lot of the young people [actors] came up to me and asked if I had a particular exercise regime.” says Dunsmore with a delighted laugh. “They kind of marvelled at me. I was not what they thought an actor of my age should be acting like. I was enlivened by that. It felt fantastic. Here I am 45 years later and I can still do all this stuff. Bring it on.”

“The older I get, the more full of wonder I am.”
– Rosemary Dunsmore

Moving Forward

On a personal level, Dunsmore found that the maternal letting go of her son into adulthood a difficult rite of passage. During this transition, Dunsmore had some great acting roles, including one where she played a distraught mother of a distressed young man. “These are great parts, because they are born of enormous love – the love of a mother for a son,” says Dunsmore. “They [the roles] are full of the bewilderment and helplessness around your child approaching young adulthood, and, as a parent, not having any power anymore.”

Along with her yearly getaway to the family home in Montserrat, Dunsmore enjoys cooking and dinner parties. Meditation, yoga, walking and a consistent exercise routine are all wellness practices that she is committed to. Meditation, in particular, provides Dunsmore with the spiritual opportunity to create, and to, ultimately, observe the gap between her thoughts and her feelings. “I am not as concerned about consequences. I feel lighter,” says Dunsmore. “I try to turn everything into an opportunity, rather than stressing about why things are happening as they are. It’s a grand adventure, and I have been extremely fortunate to be able to pursue curiosity. As the great 6th Century B.C. philosopher, Lao Tzu, says, “You have to give up who you are in order to find out who you can be.”’

In 2017, Dunsmore is performing in the Stratford Festival’s adaptation of Bakkhai, as well as playing Mme Pernelle in the dark comedy, Tartuffe. She is the recipient of a bevy of prestigious acting awards, including an Actra (2009) for Best Actress in The Baby Formula; a Dora nominee for Single, Straight Ahead, Blind Dancers, as well as Tom At The Farm; Best Performer at the Edinburgh Fringe, London Daily Telegraph; Private Lives to Fallen Angels; The Glass Menagerie; and The Beauty Queen of Leenane; a Masque Award for her interpretation feminine performance in WIT; and a MECCA award for Best Actress in Glorious! (Montreal). In her television roles she’s received an Earl Grey Award for Best Performance in a Leading Role, as well as four Gemini nominations, and has appeared in many television series including Anne of Green Gables – the Sequel; Mom P.I.; and Murdoch Mysteries.

“I look at things as opportunities,” says Dunsmore. “If I don’t like a situation, I look to see how I can change it. I find a person gets what they expect. It is very easy to fall into the victim role, particularly as an actor, which, in turn, makes you powerless.”

Since this interview, Dunsmore has bought a house in Stratford, Ontario. She hadn’t been in a rush to purchase, but five days after she connected with a real estate agent, she was made aware of a rare Ontario cottage on a nice property. “I drove up the next morning and bought it on the spot,” says Dunsmore. “I’m really excited – time for a change.”


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Destination Ontario – London Calling!

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Destination Ontario – London Calling!

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Britain and Canada unite with shared namesakes

Incorporated in 1855, London is the largest municipality in southwestern Ontario and the 11th largest in Canada. Situated halfway between Toronto and Detroit, in the Windsor- Quebec City corridor, this trendy metropolis is positioned at the juncture of the Forks of the Thames. Home to many wonderful parks, including Victoria Park, Harris Park, and Fanshawe Conservation Area (Fanshawe Pioneer Village), London is also a regional hub for healthcare, education and the prestigious Western University.

Get your London on

If eclectic activities are high on your list, London is the place to be. Voted the sixth happiest city in Canada, (Jetpac City Guides, 2015), the city is also ranked the fourth best, large city to live in (MoneySense, 2016).

More than 160 years old, London is packed full of cultural experiences and fun things to do. In fact, the see-it, do-it, interactive music festivals, fairs, theatre, museums, and outdoor experiences – places London among the top summer destinations in North America.

It’s all about the beat

Summer in London is an extravaganza of music festivals, many of them centrally located in Victoria Park. TD Sunfest (July 6 to 9) is one of Canada’s largest music festivals, and embraces a cross cultural spectrum of music, dance and visual arts.

The popular Home County Music and Art Festival (July 14 to 16), with roots dating back to the 70s, features Canadian musicians and juried artisans showcasing original pottery, glass, jewelry, fine art, textiles and photography. A diversity of cuisine is served up by 30 featured food vendors.

The London Blues Fest (August 25 to 27) brings it home with megawatt talent. Last year’s performers included Sass Jordan and Downchild Blues Band.

Historical Legacies

The Banting House National Historic Site of Canada was home to Frederick Banting, the facilitator for the discovery of insulin (1920). Banting’s discovery continues to help millions of diabetics worldwide to live better, and more active, lives.

Afternoon tea at Eldon House

Eldon House, London’s oldest residence, is a prime example of Georgian and Regency architecture. Savour one of their special tea events while enjoying their gardens, considered some of London’s most beautiful.

Things to do and see

Outdoor enthusiasts should check out Boler Mountain, home of the London Ski Club and Boler Bike Centre. Skiing, tubing, biking and zip lining are all great seasonal options.

Museum London houses southwestern Ontario’s leading collection and presentation of visual arts. The permanent installation includes works by the Group of Seven, Paul Peel and Jack Chambers.

Zip lining at Boler Mountain

The Grand Theatre, opened in 1901, was built by Toronto entrepreneur Ambrose Small, whose ghost reputedly still haunts the theatre. The Grand’s illustrious list of performers include W C Fields, Sarah Bernhardt, Sidney Poitier and Leonard Nimoy.

London, known as the Forest City, has a reputation for loving trees, so it is only natural that they host the Tree Trunk Tour. Carvers create wooden sculptures carved from chain saws, chisels and power rotary tools, which are then varnished and displayed on public streets.

Grand Theatre


If name dropping is your thing, author Emma Donoghue, whose novel, Room, won a 2015 Academy Award for its screen adaptation, lives here; as well as Scotiabank Giller nominee Joan Barfoot (Luck), and Man Brooker prize winner, Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries). For those old enough to remember, Guy Lombardo of big band fame, was also born here. And, for the youngin’s, The Biebs (yes Justin Bieber) was born in London.

Photos, courtesy londontourism.ca


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Destination Ontario: Collingwood

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Destination Ontario: Collingwood

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

A whole lot of shakin’ going on

Collingwood, named one of the 35 most beautiful destinations in Canada (Expedia.ca 2016), is known for its bon vivant spirit, spectacular scenery, fine dining, great shopping and hospitality, in addition to a wide range of naturecentric, four seasons’ activities.

Mill pond dock in summer at Blue Mountain Village

Things to see and do

Collingwood is part of the South Georgian Bay Triangle, and is situated on Nottawasaga Bay – within the shores of Georgian Bay. The area encompasses some touristy hotspots, including Blue Mountain Village and Wasaga Beach – the longest freshwater beach in the world. With sweeping views of the Niagara Escarpment, the Wasaga area is known for great hiking, cycling, swimming and SUP (stand-up paddle boarding). Golf enthusiasts tee off at well-known courses, including Blue Mountain Golf & Country Club, Atoka at Cranberry, and OsterBrook Golf & Country Club.

Elvis Festival – Photo By : Isis Photography

One of the most popular events, is The Collingwood Elvis Festival (the largest Elvis celebration in the world). Now in its 23rd year, the festival (endorsed by both Priscilla Presley and Graceland) draws upwards of 30,000 attendees who sing and groove with more than 100 Elvis impersonators. This year, the festival runs from Friday, July 28th to Sunday, July 30th. The weekend has become such a favourite with Torontonians that they can now hitch a ride to the festival on the Rock & Roll Express from six different Toronto locations.

Blue Mountain, Ontario’s largest mountain village resort, was envisioned as a skiing paradise by Jozo Weider in 1941. Today, skiers can access 42 trails over 364 skiable acres. In the summer, the mountain becomes a bike park with a flowing singletrack and technical downhill descents.

The Scenic Caves, originally home to the Deer Tribe of the Petun First Nations people, are a staple of the Triangle. The caves, some 70 feet deep, were at one time a spiritual Native oasis. Ekarenniondi is a sacred rock at the caves, and was believed to have marked the pathway to the Village of the Souls. Located in one of Canada’s sixteen designated UNESCO biospheres, Scenic Caves Nature Adventures offers a host of other eco adventures, including tree-top canopy walks, 1,000-foot escarpment zip lining, a 420-foot suspension bridge, and 10,000-square-kilometre panoramic views.

Scandinave Spa offers a variety of relaxing treatments. Photo By JoAnn McHardy

Feed your soul

The Triangle offers up some excellent fine dining, both in, and out of, town. Wasaga’s Catch 22 features fresh fish caught in the nearby Georgian Bay waters. The renowned Oliver & Bonancini Cafe Grill, with fire-side tables for cozy après ski and pondside terrace seating for après golf, is located at Blue Mountain Village. Magnone’s Italian Kitchen captures the heart and soul of Italy, and the trendy Copper Blues Bar & Grill has has a more relaxed menu. Fallicious is a great time to visit the village, when many retailers and restaurants offer incentive shopping and dining specials.

Copper Blues Bar & Grill

The Scandinave Spa at Blue is nestled on 25 acres amongst birch, maple and pine trees. Soak in the therapeutic baths and saunas, and enjoy outdoor fires, hammocks and relaxing areas to wile away the day, while taking in the panoramic views of the escarpment.

Walk it off

The Georgian Trail, with magnificent views of the bay and Blue Mountain, runs along the shores of Georgian Bay, through Collingwood, Thornbury and Meaford. With 35 kilometres of trails, its the perfect destination for cross-country skiers, hikers, bikers and walking enthusiasts.

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures – Photo By Image Ontario

Highlights of the four distinctive heritage walking tours revolve around the architectural stylings mastered by local Collingwood architects. The Collingwood Museum features 150 years of marine heritage. A vibrant downtown core serves up unique shops, boutiques and fine dining establishments – all within walking distance in the town of Collingwood.


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