Wednesday, June 23

July Events in Muskoka & Almaguin

What's happening in and around Muskoka and the Almaguin Highlands this summer? Lots! 

Check back often; I add events as I hear about them. Do you know of an event I missed? Tell me and I'll add it, too.

Blue Rodeo at the Summit Centre
Kicking off the summer season in Canadian style, Blue Rodeo performs at Huntsville's new Summit Centre. Tickets are $40 when you stay at one of the accommodation partners (such as Fern Glen Inn!) or $45 at the door. Click for info on the Blue Rodeo concert or Blue Rodeo packages.
June 30, 8pm

Canada Day Celebrations
All-day festivities, all around town. Start the day at River Mill Park in downtown Huntsville with cake, O Canada, and the Muskoka Concert Band. The Trillium Jazz Band will be outside the Town Hall. The Legion is hosting a tractor pull, bbq lunch and roast beef dinner. Fireworks over Hunters Bay from dusk till 10pm.
July 1, 10am - 10pm

Muskoka Heritage Place Strawberry Social
Entertainment, demonstrations, costumed narrators, strolling minstrels, Portage Flyer train. Strawberry scones while supplies last. Step back in time at this museum & pioneer village. Free admission for this Canada Day event. Visit Muskoka Heritage Place for details about this and other events.
July 1, 10am - 4pm

First Friday in July
The first Friday of the month features a cultural walking tour through downtown Huntsville. In July, the spotlight is on the art and images of the Huntsville Festival of the Arts. Various artwork will be on display, often accompanied by the artists. Events include culinary, visual and performing arts. More about First Friday in July here.
July 2, beginning 6pm

Used Book Sale
Hosted by the Muskoka Literacy Council, avid readers and book lovers are sure to find plenty of gems. Most books sell for $1 or $2. At Trinity United Church.
July 9, 10am - 7pm

Edge of the Woods Theatre Festival
Enjoy a summer evening of unforgettable, exhilarating entertainment. The outdoor performances include breakdancers, stilt walking, beat boxers, comedy, and high-energy tap. Tasty treats and free art activities for all ages. Admission is by donation ($10 suggested). Touring four evenings in three local towns. Read more about the shows and the Edge of the Woods Theatre Festival.
July 7, Burk's Falls Stan Darling Park, 6:30pm
July 8, Sundridge Lions Park, 6:30pm
July 9 & 10, Huntsville town docks, 6:30pm

Creative Changes Art Show & Sale
Paintings, pottery, woodcarvings, jewelery and much more. Friday evening wine and cheese reception for $5/person. Free admission Saturday and Sunday. Everyone welcome.
July 9, 7pm - 9:30pm
July 10, 10am - 5pm
July 11, 10am - 3pm

Grady's Paddle
Raise money for SickKids Critical Care Unit with a great day paddling down the Magnetawan River. Free transportation for paddlers and their canoes/kayaks, discounts on rentals, barbecue, entertainment and lots of great prizes up for offer. Get details and download your registration form from Grady's Paddle. Stay at Fern glen Inn for the event and we'll sponsor your pledge sheet.
Burk's Falls
July 10

Jazz in the Garden
Smooth jazz will fill the air in the beautiful gardens at Spencer's Tall Trees. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy light snacks and refreshments. Tickets $15.
July 11, 2pm - 4pm

Huntsville Firefly Festival
Downtown Huntsville presents a night of performances, sales, live music and more.
July 16, 6pm - midnight

Second Chance Charity Sale
Find new, almost-new and not-so-new items at great prices. Silent auction, tea leaf readings, live entertainment and more. Hosted by Robinson's Independant. All proceeds to the Canadian Cancer Society to help fund the costs for patient transportation to chemotherapy.
July 17, 8am - 3pm

The Limberlost Challenge
Ultra trail running race through the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve. 14km, 28km and 56km races, part of the Ontario Ultra Series. Visit the Limberlost Challenge for details and registration.
Lake of Bays Township
July 17

Hawksley Workman
Juno award winner Hawksley Workman returns to his hometown stage for a live performance showcasing his two new CD's, Meat and Milk. The 400-seat Algonquin Theatre provides a perfect venue to experience this prolific and critically-acclaimed musician. Tickets $40. Visit the Huntsville Festival of the Arts website for details and ticket information.
July 17, 8pm

Labour of Love - Cycle Doc
Feature length documentary follows ultra cyclist Caroline van den Bulk as she races to be the first Canadian woman to complete the world's hardest endurance cycle race. Following the screening at the Algonquin Theatre, join Caroline, producer/director Virginia Hastings and members of the race team for a Q&A session. 90 minutes. Rated R. Tickets $15. For details and ordering info, see Labour of Love at the Algonquin Theatre.
July 19, 7:30pm

Loggers Day
The Algonquin Park Logging Museum, located at the east end of the park, will be brought to life with demonstrations and interpreters. Learn about life in the early lumber camps. Admission is $1 in addition to your valid park permit. Hosted by Friends of Algonquin Park.
Algonquin Park
July 24, 9am - 3pm

Daylily Festival
Two day festival celebrating daylilies and all things gardening. Stroll the daylily fields at of the local garden centre and choose from thousands of blooms to come home with you, dug to order. Marketplace, crafts, art, face painting, charity barbecue and candy floss. Northern Lights Steel Band play on Sunday, filling the air with their Caribbean beat. Free admission, everyone welcome. Visit Fern Glen Garden Centre for details.
July 24 & 25

Huntsville Western Rodeo Royale
Watch exciting performances, including bull riding, bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing breakaway roping and more. covered licensed bar, dance Saturday evening, vendors and food. At the Huntsville Fairgrounds. Ticket information at Huntsville Western Rodeo.
July 24 & 25

Muskoka Triathlon and Duathlon
Sprint triathlon, long course triathlon and long course duathlon. Post-race party and awards. Enter the race or cheer on the athletes as they swim, bike and run through some lovely Muskoka scenery. Visit Tri Sport Canada for course and registration details.
July 24 & 25

Meet the Researcher Day
Drop in to the East Beach Picnic Pavillion at KM35.4 in Algonquin Park for a look at some of the topics and results of current research being conducted in the park area. Meet the people behind the work. Charity barbecue from noon to 2pm. Free admission with valid park permit. Hosted by the Friends of Algonquin Park.
Algonquin Park
July 29, 10am - 3pm

En Plein Air
Cheer on renowned local artists and dignitaries as they create masterpiece works of art, outdoors in downtown Huntsville, in just four hours. After watching the creative process in progress, you can bid for your favourite piece in the live auction at 3pm on the Town Hall steps. Proceeds support Muskoka-Wide Art Scholarships. Hosted by the Shutterbug Gallery and the Huntsville Festival of the Arts.
July 29, 11am - 4pm

Alex Cuba 
This Cuban-Canadian has taken the Canadian world music scene by storm with his cross-cultural stylings of jazz, sweet melodies, pop-soul and rock. Catch him live at Huntsville's Algonquin Theatre as part of the Festival of the Arts. Tickets $32.
July 30, 8pm

Summer Ski & Snowboard Sale
Once again, Algonquin Outfitters is offering great savings on winter clothing, gear and outerwear; as well as deals on snowboards, skis, mountain and road bikes. Up to 70% off last winter's stock. Visit Algonquin Outfitters.
July 30 - Aug 2

Creative Art Day Camp for Adults
Art teacher Diane Finlayson will direct adults who want to recapture the fun of play. The major project of the day will be to make a dream catcher from natural objects found around the workshop site. Hosted by Fern Glen Garden. $20/person includes materials and coffee or tea at Lily's Place Cafe.
July 31, 10am - 4pm

Thursday, June 17

Un-Gardener on a Rescue Mission

Fern Glen Inn •
Reading though this blog, it's easy to see some themes emerge. I write often about food and cooking; hiking and other outdoor activities; local wildlife of both the animal and plant variety. I write about these things so often because I enjoy them immensely. One thing I don't write about is gardening.

The reason, quite simply, is that I don't like to garden. I wish I did. I was born into a family of green-thumbs, a family well-populated with hearty growers of produce gardens, fruit trees, flower beds and house plants. Somehow I missed that gene.

I'm not an anti-gardener (I admire gardens and gardeners too much for that); I consider myself an un-gardener. I follow a strategy of benign neglect and will happily eat or admire most anything that chooses to put down roots and make a go of it here.

I love the grasses, flowers and plants that grow naturally and abundantly of their own accord. Contained—just barely—by rock borders in the lawn or at the edge of the woods, they create height, texture and colour as lovely as it is unplanned. They add their own brushstroke to the canvas that is this property. I like that. I try not to mess with it too much. Whatever grows, grows. Whatever doesn't, well, maybe it wasn't meant to.

Or so it was until the wild rose bush that runs like a hedge at the front of the Coach House became sickly. Ever since our first year here, I've love that bush. Its vibrant green leaves and brilliant magenta flowers put on a showy display non-stop from June through September. Now, though still blooming, many of the leaves have turned mottled and brown. It did this last year and I thought it was due to the unusually cool and wet summer we had. But here it is mid-June and it's started again.

So I decided I would have to take action and try to save it. Mount a rescue mission. I know, theoretically, that cutting back a plant will encourage denser, bushier, healthier growth. Armed with shears and clippers, I started cutting away. Under the top layer of foliage, most of the branches (canes?) were horizontal from growing outward toward the open side, and many of them brittle and dead. I cut away all the dead stuff and cut back the sickly stuff. I removed more than I left, by the looks of it, and now there are bald patches in the bed amid nearly-bare stalks of shrubs. I really hope this is one of those situations where things have to get worse before they get better. And that the "better" comes soon!

We've had a day and a half of rain since operation Rose Rescue, plus gorgeous sunshine today. Most of the leaves that do remain look perky and well. I'm feeling optimistic that this wild rose hedge will survive my "helping" it. Any words of wisdom or advice from real gardeners out there are most welcome!

Oh, and for the record: wading chest-high through prickly branches and hauling out thorny canes has done NOTHING to convince me to expand my gardening efforts. An un-gardener I remain.

Thursday, June 10

Blue Rodeo kicks off summer in Huntsville

 Fern Glen Inn • 

Iconic Canadian band Blue Rodeo will be kicking off the summer season with a live performance at the new Summit Centre in Huntsville on June 30th.

Huntsville is proud to welcome the group just days after hosting the world leaders at the G8 Summit.

Seven-time Juno award winners, Blue Rodeo's countrified rock/pop style has won fans across genres and generations for the past 25 years. Recently inducted with a star on Canada's Walk of Fame, they are a band both well-loved and critically acclaimed—and sure to put on a high-energy show!

There are lots of other events happening in the days after the show, all part of Huntsville's Summer Kick Off:
  • Canada Day celebrations
  • Canada Day fireworks
  • First Friday art scene
  • Group of Seven Mural Festival
  • Muskoka Heritage Place Strawberry Social 
With a tip of our hats to Blue Rodeo, we'll also help you and your travel mate get lost together with a day of self-guided paddling on our local waterways. Now what could be more Canadian than that?

Stay at Fern Glen Inn June 30th and get Blue Rodeo tickets for an additional $40/person. Or choose from three Summer Kick Off Packages:
: :     : :     : :

Blue Rodeo & Canada Day
Wednesday June 30 - Friday July 2
Package includes:
  • 2 nights accommodation & breakfast
  • ticket to Blue Rodeo live at the Summit Centre
  • itinerary for Canada Day celebrations
  • Canada Day souvenir
Price: $140/person, based on double occupancy
Add a third night for $45/person 
: :     : :     : :
Blue Rodeo and the Lost Together Getaway
Wednesday June 30 - Saturday July 3
Package includes:
  • 3 nights accommodation & breakfast
  • ticket to Blue Rodeo live at the Summit Centre
  • itinerary for Canada Day celebrations
  • Canada Day souvenir
  • one-day canoe rental from a local outfitter 
Price: $199/person, based on double occupancy
: :     : :     : :

Canada Day Long Weekend
Thursday July 1 - Sunday July 4
Package includes:
  • 3 nights accommodation & breakfast
  • itinerary for Canada Day & Summer Kick Off events
  • Canada Day souvenir  
Price: $155/person, based on double occupancy
Add a one-day canoe rental from a local outfitter for $25/canoe
: :     : :     : :

Applicable taxes are extra. Call, email or reserve online for your Blue Rodeo and Summer Kick Off getaway.