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    A Field Trip for Grown Ups at Black Creek Pioneer Village – Part I

    field trip for grown ups at black creek pioneer village toronto hosted by peter and pauls hospitality and entertainment group

    Black Creek Pioneer Village holds an enduring spot on my "Places to Go" list -- while I've been there before, it's somewhere that I'll always be interested in going again. So, it took me about a nanosecond to accept the invitation from Peter and Paul's Hospitality and Entertainment Group, to a "Field Trip for Grown Ups" that they were hosting there.

    The event was organized to showcase all the ways that adults can enjoy themselves at a place that is generally thought to be geared toward the education and entertainment of children. It is a popular destination for grade-school field trips, but on this special evening, it was adults only.

    Nick and I had such a good time and were very happy to be included.

    ↑ Here's a short video we made of the event. The song is called "Cheer Up Old Hag" and was performed by the music historian we met there. (This is the first video like this that we've attempted and it doesn't nearly include all that we got up to, but being new to video making, we forgot to film things. Anyway, it's short and sweet like the song and I hope you enjoy it.) ↑

    A Canada Day and Birthday Celebration Combined – 2019

    me a and l

    Hello! I hope that Canadian readers had a great holiday weekend, and that American friends are enjoying July 4th.

    We had a little "double-duty" get-together on Monday afternoon, to celebrate our much loved longtime friend Leslie, whose birthday falls this week, and also to commemorate Canada Day. The birthday part was a complete surprise to Leslie, which made it more fun. She's such a caring and lovely person, who deserved to be fêted.

    The group was Leslie and her man Niall, our buddy Andrea (who has also become friends with Leslie) and her boyfriend G, and me and Nick.

    Some of my favourite stories and photos to see online are ones featuring get-togethers and parties, so, if are are like minded, here are some photos of our gathering.

    Nick rolled his eyes when I told him all the serving pieces had to be red and white, to stick to the Canadiana theme, but he's such a good guy who understands how I feel about things looking a certain way.

    We used a combination of thrifted (detailed in this post, this one and this one), vintage and new things.

    The solid white Corelle plates are our everyday ones. They're the first dishes I got for my own home just after finishing university, filled in with thrifted replacements along the way. So, it seems I've always collected Corelle. I still pick up the white ones when I find them, but the real thrifted treasures are the printed ones from the 60s and 70s, such as the "Butterfly Gold" side plates we used on Monday.

    While all of our more recently acquired tablecloths are from the thrift-store, I just had to have the round cotton red and black buffalo plaid one I spotted on Amazon, so I used some gift money to get it. I'm very happy with it and can envision using it at Christmas and Valentine's Day, as well, so it's a new textile that will get a lot of use.

    Another new item on the table was the large ceramic soup mug that looks like it has an enamelware finish. It came with a lid and I found it amoungst the regular dishes at Marshalls.

    The third new item was the Canada flag tea towel, which I got in Kensington Market, at Eurolins on Baldwin Street. When Leslie saw it she proclaimed her state of "tea-towel envy"!

    I also got Leslie's gift there (seen below) and my maple leaf bandanna, which was an impulse purchase at the register.

    So, with the addition of a handmade decoration (made following the how-to in this post), a vintage (Made in Canada!) jar filled with wild flowers and maple leaves from our garden, and some pine-cones I found scattered on the ground under a massive tree the other day, I think we nicely pulled off the Canada Day theme.

    How to Make a Decoration for Canada Day

    how to make a canada day decoration handmade diy toronto blog canadian blogger

    While I'm a fan of decorations for all holidays, and although I like our flag, there's something about the usual red and white Canada Day decor look that doesn't really appeal. However, change the white to a softer cream colour and add some black to the mix and I'm in!

    Here's a simple table-top item I made following the technique used to make this Valentine's Day decoration, which just happens to be in the same colour scheme.

    It takes supplies that I found at Michael's (I shopped at the Richmond Street and John location, in Toronto) and at Dollarama.

    Also, it calls for a couple of pieces of re-purposed trash, specifically the wooden corner pieces from those boxes that mandarin oranges come in. I've seen the oranges offered in those boxes year around here, however, they are typically found at Christmas -- If you can't fine some now, you can either save this idea for next year, after you've gathered the corner pieces at Christmas, or, if you have some quarter-round wall trim, that can be used, as well. Just cut a couple of pieces to fit along the bottom of your plaque.

    Comedy : The SiriusXm Top Comic Auditions in Toronto

    SiriusXm Top Comic Auditions Twenty Nineteen Toronto Yuk Yuks

    Earlier this year, funny people from across Canada were invited to vie for the chance to become 2019's SiriusXm Top Comic, by submitting a link to footage of their best performance. Then, from the hundreds who registered, 60 were brought in for an audition -- 30 in Vancouver and 30 in Toronto.

    There were three nights of auditions in both cities, with ten comics each. Nick and I were invited to be part of the audience for the one held at Yuk Yuk's on Richmond Street last week.

    Pool with Pals? Billiards with Buddies?

    discussing strategy at the raq pool hall queen street west toronto

    Please pardon the corny alliterations in the title, but when writing about a pool hall which was originally called "Rack 'n Whack", I think a little wordplay is acceptable.

    Having opened quite some time ago, in 1997, my memory might be off and I could have the spelling wrong -- it may have been "Raq n Wak", but I'm sure about the implied premise : first you rack them and then you whack them!

    The neighbourhood in which it's located, on Queen Street west, a block west of Bathurst, has changed a lot since they first opened, and so has the place. Their name is now "The Raq" and while they still have seven beautiful pool tables, they've expanded from being primarily a pool hall by adding a dance floor, djs on the weekend, a patio and lots of comfortable seats for lounging.

    I recently wrote (here) about how Nick and I have gotten back into playing pool regularly. It's something we did quite a bit when we first got together nearly 21 years ago, but stopped for one reason or another. One of the places we used to go was, in deed, this one.

    When I mentioned our newly rekindled interest to our friend Andrea, she said she played, too. So, we organized a Saturday Night Pool Party for four at The Raq.