Niagara Falls

2009 August 26

Day two of our mini vacation. Todays destination: Niagara Falls.

They were calling for rain in the morning with sun in the afternoon. Since we were going to get wet, the forecast of rain didn’t deter us. We left Brantford shortly after 8 am and arrived in Niagara Falls about an hour later. We parked in the Falls Parking Lot and were able to get a space close to the entrance of Table Rock.

I got the Niagara Falls & Great Gorge Adventure Pass for all five of us through Air Miles. The pass includes admission to Maid of the Mist, Journey Behind the Falls, White Water Walk and Niagara’s Fury. Also included was two day’s rides on the PeopleMover and the Incline Railway and reduced admission to other Niagara attractions.

At Table Rock I got our tickets for Niagara’s Fury and Journey Behind the Falls. Niagara’s Fury is a four-dimensional show with a 360 screen, a shaking floor and real water and snow. When it was winter in the show, the theatre was cold. It was amusing. Journey Behind the Falls was next. You descend 150 underground and walk into tunnels that take you behind the falls where you can feel and hear the power the Falls. An outdoor observation deck at the base of the falls gets you close to the action.

It was still drizzling, so we had some coffee and donuts from the Tim Hortons in Table Rock. Then it was off to the  Maid of the Mist via the PeopleMover. We  began the walk down to the elevators, descended down in the elevator and walked along to the waiting area before getting on one of the Maid of the Mist boats. We were able to get a spot at the front of the boat on the top deck. The boys were excited. Corbin could barely handle the roar of the Falls. Jeremy couldn’t believe his eyes. We wandered around the gift shop at street level before catching the PeopleMover to go to White Water Walk.

White Water Walk is about 4 or so minutes north of the Maid of the Mist via PeopleMover. The elevator is located within a gift shop. Yet another descent down to the bottom of the gorge. By now, the sun was coming out, so we removed our complimentary rain ponchos. The walk takes you along the edge of the Niagara River in the Great Gorge. It’s amazing how fast the water moves and high the waves get.

The group was getting hungry so we took the PeopleMover to Edgewaters Tap & Grill for lunch. We sat in the outdoor dining area and had a great view of the American Falls, Horseshoe Falls and the Maid of the Mist boats. The food was good. Excellent portions. Nobody was hungry when we were done.

We crossed the Niagara Parkway and walked along the gorge towards the gift shops at Table Rock.  I got a Niagara Falls ball cap. Jeremy got a t-shirt and a few other trinkets. Corbin got a diary and some gems. We stopped at the Candy Shop and filled up on sweets.

My mom mentioned the Butterfly Conservatory, so we headed to the minivan and drove up to the Botanical Gardens. Our ticket package include half-price admission to the Conservatory. As we entered, butterflies of all kinds were everywhere. There are over 2,000 butterflies. I had a few land on my hat and back. I took a lot of pictures. My mom was overwhelmed.

The boys got a few more trinkets in the gift shop. Then it was time to go back to Brantford.

We all had a great time and the weather turned sunny when it needed to be. Jeremy wants to return during the winter to see the ice and snow and the light show.


Lets Go To The Ex

2009 August 25

Tina and I decided to give the boys a taste of our childhood of growing in or near Toronto and the summer ritual know as the Canadian National Exhibition or the “Ex” as the locals call it. It has been 15 or 16 years since Tina and I went to the Ex and some things have changed while others have not.

My mom came along and we left Brantford shortly about 10:15 am. We arrived at the Oakville GO Train station just after 11:00 am. I dropped everyone off at the main door and then looked for a parking spot. There were a few empty spots at the extreme western end of the lot, probably half a kilometre or so from the station. I walked back to the station and bought our tickets (a family day pass for the four of us and a senior’s day pass from my mom for a grand total of $31.25).

During all of this, Jeremy complained about a sore stomach. ‘Great’ Tina thought. She took Jeremy to the bathroom, but didn’t seem to help. Then Jeremy asked for some crackers. Well, that ‘pain’ he was feeling was hunger. Yes, it seems that Jeremy has never experienced hunger before. A container of fishy crackers later, Jeremy was back to normal.

Our trained arrived at 11:30. We headed up to the upper level and enjoyed the 30 minute trip to the Ex. It was a lovely sunny day with a nice breeze off the lake. We arrived at the Ex at noon and proceeded to the kiddie ride area.

Tina bought the boys unlimited ride passes and 20 tickets for us. And then the boys were off. Jeremy went on two ‘scary’ rides with Corbin and that was the last time he would go on a ‘real scary’ ride that day. Instead, he focused on the fun houses and slide rides. Corbin enjoyed some of the kiddie rides.

It was time for lunch. Off to the Food Building. Think of a mall food court and multiply it by five. This place was packed full of food vendors, including the Ex classic, Tiny Tom Donuts. The Food Building has changed since I was a child. Back in the day, companies such as Hersheys and Billy Bee, would offer free samples and products at big discounts. There were a few hot-food vendors. Today, the building is almost completely food kiosks. Choosing is difficult. But we all managed to find something to eat. My mom had sausage and salad. Tina had fries and pop. Jeremy a corn dog. I had a sausage in a bun and pop.

Headed over to the ‘adult’ midway so that Corbin could enjoy some ‘big kid’ rides. Jeremy went in every funhouse, and in some cases went two, three even four times. Somewhere between the bumper cars and the tilt-a-whirl (Corbin and I had a ball on that ride) I lost my cellphone. I got Tina’s phone and immediately cancelled that phone. No worries since I was going to get a new phone later this week.

Walked over to the Farm exhibit where the boys got to see llamas, bees, goats, cows, horses and sheep. Before the Ex, Jeremy mentioned to Tina that he wanted to see a cow up close. Well, finally saw his  cow up close and wasn’t too impressed when it decided to take a pee. Corbin and Jeremy didn’t like the smell too much. Back to kiddie land for some rides and then off to the food building for a quick supper.

Before heading home, we tried our luck at a few games on the midway. Tina did win a prize on Roller Ball. Corbin won a prize or two and got a chance to shoot out a target with a BB gun. Jeremy did the best of us all. On our way out, I went to buy some of those Tiny Tom Donuts, managing to get them just before our train arrived.

The train ride back was a good way to unwind and appreciate the excellent day we had. We didn’t do everything at the Ex, but the feedback from the boys was positive. That means we will be back next year and put in a full day including some shows, other exhibits and some night time fun.


Summer Vacation 2009

2009 August 24

With the municipal strike throwing a wrench into our vacation plans, I decided to take the last week of August off. Tina wasn’t working so our plans were flexible.

Originally, we were thinking of going to a hotel in the Greater Toronto Area and visiting various attractions. Wanting to minimize our spending and not seeing my mother in almost all summer, Tina and I decided to stay in Brantford and visit the Canadian National Exhibition (“CNE” or “the Ex”) one day and Niagara Falls another day.

I checked the Air Miles website and sure enough, I could tickets to both using my air miles. I got five admissions to the Ex and four Adventure Passes to Niagara Falls (Jeremy being five-years old was free). I didn’t know if mom would be coming with us so I made sure to get a pass for her.

We headed up to Brantford this afternoon after getting some errands done during the day. The drive was uneventful.

Upon arriving in Brantford, we had dinner at Boston Pizza due a refrigerator problems at my mom’s.

At my mom’s house the boys immediately went into “Babcia” mode, asking her to play with them.

Let the vacation begin.


Jeremy Scores A Goal

2009 August 20

Unlike the game this past Saturday, the team was much more into the game.  They were running, they were kicking, they were attacking. Even Jeremy was showing more energy.

The team was down 3 – nil when Jeremy took the ball up the field and kicked in their first (and only) goal of the game. Jeremy raised his arms in the air and his Coach gave him a big high five. Jeremy gave me the thumbs up.

In another point of the game, the opposing team got the ball and were about to break away to the net. But Jeremy ran the player down and was able to kick the ball away from the opposing player just before they were to take a kick on the net. Good hussle.

Jeremy has three games this weekend at an annual tournament before calling it quits for the season. We have no idea if he wants to play soccer next season. If he does, it won’t be with the Windsor Soccer Club (see the previous post for the details).


No More Soccer For Corbin

2009 August 15

Corbin has been suspended from the Windsor Soccer Club (WSC).

The decision to suspend Corbin was based on hearsay evidence via email to a friend of Corbin’s now former coach. The friend is the Secretary of the WSC. He forwarded the email to the President of the WSC, who decided unilaterally and without hearing from us, to suspend Corbin.

No formal protest or complaint was filed. No hearing of the Discipline Committee was held. We were never asked for our side of the story. The Constitution and Rules and Regulations of the Windsor Soccer Club have been completely ignored.

We have not been told how long the suspension is for or the nature of the allegations that lead to the suspension. We have asked the President to provide evidence that he has authority to suspend any member of the WSC without holding a hearing of the discipline committee. We have yet to be provided any of this information.

We are appealing this ‘decision’ if only for our voice to be finally heard.

If you have children who wish to play recreational or competitive soccer, we recommend that you avoid the Windsor Soccer Club.


Jeremy Gem #1259

2009 August 11

‘It’s okay if mom or dad come in now and use the computer because I’m sleeping’ – Jeremy

Of course, if he was really sleeping, he wouldn’t be getting up to tell us it’s okay to use the computer.


Rain? Humidity? Heat? Must Be Summer Finally

2009 August 9

Saturday began with rain, as promised by the various weather experts. It rained from about 8 am to mid afternoon.

With Bev and Gerry coming for the weekend, I decided to tidy the garage so that one of the vehicles could be put inside to free up room on the driveway. It took about an hour, but the garage was tidied and swept. It needs a good cleaning though.

Tina had “fun” sitting in the rain watching Jeremy play soccer. No thunder means the game must go on. Jeremy commented to Tina about “it’s not right having five year-olds play soccer in the rain”.  I’m not sure what Tina’s answer was, but mine would have been “Suck it up”.

In the meantime, Bev & Gerry arrived for a visit. Jeremy and Tina arrived not too much later.

Jeremy was soaked. Tina took off his soccer uniform and wrapped him up in a blanket. Arriving home, he quickly ran to the bathroom for a ‘hot shower’.

Tina went out and grabbed a family fish deal from Pat & Hanks. Ten pieces of Cod, a bunch of fries, two coleslaws, lemon wedges, vinegar and tartar sauce for a grand total of $34 tax included. Not bad.

I was happy that it rained. The flowers (and flower beds) desperately needed it. I also wanted the ground to soften up so that I could dig some of the grass up to relocate the patio.

Sunday began with sun, humidity and heat. The AC rain most of the day. Even the breeze was hot. This was going to be an inside day.

Jerry left mid-morning.  Bev was spending the week with us.

I took Corbin to his soccer game. I was able to find a spot in the shade. Wasn’t too bad. Corbin played the entire game. He played forward, defence, and finally, goalie. He enjoyed himself and played a good game. He just needs to pay attention to where the ball is and keep up with his line mates. I took him to McDonald’s for a much-deserved lunch.

The rest of day was spent doing various things around the house. I did load after load after load of laundry. Tina cleaned up the kitchen and made fresh meatballs and played some games with the boys and her mom. The boys chilled out by playing on the computer and getting some time on the PS2.