Posts Tagged ‘Durham Region’

It seems like it was just my last post I was complaining about February never ending and all of a sudden it’s September. Oh, wait…that was my last post. Shame on me. I won’t insult you with a long list of excuses. I’m pretty sure we have all been there done that. It just seems that I have become quite consistent in abandoning my writing. Truth be told I don’t abandon it entirely. I do continue to write. It’s just that I write for other people.  Most of my day is spent in front of the computer writing blog posts, web content, brochures and social media posts for clients. Much like the cobbler’s children not having any shoes, my personal blog tends to be the last thing that gets written.

Some of you may recall a couple of my posts about the area I live. Picking Pickering and Living Next Door To William H. Macey tell you about a couple of my favourite places in the Durham Region. There is, however, so much more. Most of my clients are all over Canada and the US, but I have one, The Stacee-Free Team from Mincom New Choice Realty Ltd., who is local. There is no one in the Durham Region who knows more about their community than these people and they make it their business to be the go-to people about it. Their blog is called “Discovering Durham” and that’s exactly what I get to do for them. Since my last post I have gone to a Maple Syrup Festival, witnessed people Floating Their Fanny Down The Ganny, participated in a Run To Remember, celebrated at a Pow Wow, laughed my butt off at people using a Marshmallow for a Golf Ball and wrote about a family that has made Tree Top Zip Lining a family affair. Granted, I usually end up burnt to a crisp, dehydrated and sore but I have a blast gathering what I need to write about this stuff.

On a personal note, I broke a couple of toes and lost a dear cousin and a lovely sister. None of which I felt like writing about. I also had quite a few visitors this summer. My always whining about no one coming to visit kind of backfired on me this year and I almost installed a revolving door. Truth be told, I loved every minute of it. As you may have gathered, there is no lack of places to go and things to do when company is here. There are beaches and trails to explore, butter tarts to sample and race horses to bet on, but the number one place everyone wants to go is “Primitive Designs“. It’s not easy describing this place. From the second you drive in every one of your senses goes into overdrive. They tell us,

“Our 8000 square foot gallery (as well as numerous outdoor tents), can occupy your time for hours! Our marketplace atmosphere, complete with music from around the globe, takes you on a journey from Bali, Thailand, & Nepal, to Morocco, India, & Vietnam! Everything in the gallery is hand-made, and the company owners handpick every item. In fact it’s rated #1 on Trip Advisor amongst Canada’s Top Roadside Attractions.”

It can be overwhelming, especially when this is one of the first things you see.



This guy is over 20 feet high, 40 feet long and made entirely out of recycled motor vehicle parts. If a T-Rex doesn’t do it for you…how do you feel about giant robots?


Keep in mind we haven’t yet ventured inside. This place is a feast of colour, textures and things made out of other things you would never have imagined.

outside horse

outside tiki hut

outside welcome

Ok, I’ll put you out of your misery. Let’s go inside.

inside 1

inside 2

Let’s face it. There is no way I can show you everything. I’ve been there several times and still haven’t seen everything. You can’t just look at what’s in front of you. You have to look up and down and all around. Here’s a sampling.


A recent news story has proclaimed Primitive Designs definitely a selfie-worthy stop.

Believe it or not I saw Theresa Caputo (The Long Island Medium) here locally, attended “The Queen’s Plate” (picture Kentucky Derby but Canadian) and drove to Connecticut for a few days, where I fell in love with Mystick ( of Julie Roberts’ Mystic Pizza fame). I guess you could say I have managed to keep myself occupied.

So, how was your summer?

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Nov. 1st, 2014. It is grey, wet and cold. Really cold. The last reported temperature was 2° C.  Looking around at the people gathered at Cullen Central Park in Whitby, it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. There is a sizable crowd of people of all ages. Everyone is bundled up appropriately with one common adornment — a poppy. A piper begins to play his bagpipes and a brigade band joins in. Everyone stands as we watch a procession of representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces, Ontario’s First Responder community (Police, Fire, EMS) and government officials enter the area. We are all here on behalf of The Wounded Warriors of Canada to witness the unveiling of the Park of Reflections.


The Park of Reflections is “a living Tribute to all of Canada’s uniformed service personnel and their families who have served internationally or domestically, and as a result of their service, became ill or were injured in the line of duty. The park’s design symbolizes and augments their journey back to health. It represents the sacrifice of those in uniform and of their families, made in the cause of Peace and Freedom. The Park of Reflection is a place for Canadians to reflect and remember the cost of service for all of Canada’s uniformed service members — serving or retired — and their families.”

The Park of Reflection is the creation of Daimian Boyne – a Canadian Armed Forces Veteran and Whitby resident.

BILL BLAIR DAMIAN BOYNEThe people of the Durham Region support and are honoured to have this beautiful park located in the heart of Whitby.  Historically, the Durham Region has played a big part in supporting Canada’s Service men and women.  In Oshawa, on Stevenson Road North, The Ontario Regiment Museum  is located. There you will find Canada’s largest collection of operational military vehicles. On Simcoe Street, the The R.S. McLaughlin Armoury celebrated 100 years of history in Oshawa earlier this year.

Did you know about Camp X? Right here in The Durham Region. Camp X stood in the area we now know as  Intrepid Park in Whitby. Created in 1941 by Sir William Stephenson, also known as “A Man Called Intrepid”, this place became the training ground for real “Secret Agents” from around the world.  In fact, Ian Flemming, the creator of the “007” franchise based his stories on research he did at Camp X.  A recent documentary called, “About Camp X: Secret Agent School“, on the History Channel did a remarkable job of unfolding the importance of Camp X in training agents. It is well worth the watch.  Perhaps one of the most knowledgeable people about Camp X  is Lynn Philip Hodgson who wrote the book, “Inside Camp X” and he actually gives walking tours of the property.

Lynn can also enlighten us on many other contributions that The Durham Region made to the war effort…

– Bowmanville was home to a prisoner of war camp that housed 800 senior German Officers.

– DIL (Defense Industry Limited) in Ajax, had 9,000 women filling shells around the clock.

– The GM plant assembly line was producing military vehicles.

– The Oshawa Airport was the #20 EFTS (Elementary Flight Training School). Two thousand pilots were trained at this EFTS. Half of them did not return home.

It’s humbling to think how much was given by all these men and women so that we could live with the freedoms we have today. It is fitting that the path of the “Highway of Heroes” runs the full length of the Durham Region. This uniquely Canadian phenomenon that is known as “The Highway of Heroes” brings thousands of ordinary Canadians to line the sides and bridges of Highway 401 from Trenton to Toronto every time one of our fallen soldiers comes home for the last time.

Highway of HeroesThe Durham Region is proud of their men and women who have served this country in whatever way they could. Sometimes that is just by reflecting and remembering. As Howard Osterkamp, commander of Chapter 3620 and a Korean War veteran said, “All gave some, some gave all”.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, please stop and join us for two (2) minutes of silence to reflect and remember all those who have given so much.

Lest we forget


For more pictures of the Opening Ceremonies of the “Park of Reflection” please have a look at this gallery.

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There is nothing so delectable as curling up with a good book. I can think of no better way to wind up a long weekend than to leisurely finish off a good book. He-Who and I are readers. We love books. We have bookcases full of them. They are piled up in corners throughout the house. I confess a Kindle has invaded our home but there is still nothing to compare with the feel, smell or excitement of flipping the page on a real page-turner. We share books…swapping them back and forth, then forward them to my niece who in turn passes them to her friend who reads it and hands it off to her sister and so on. This is something you can’t do with a Kindle.

So, when a recent run into Bowmanville had us parked out front of 185 Church St. we leapt at the chance to walk through the violet-coloured door of the 140 year-old former church. As it says on their website, “Violet Door Books is home to a most eclectic and spirited collection of books, curios and gifts that will fire your imagination and nourish your soul.” The experience actually begins before you even enter the building. To the left of the door are bins with a generous selection of $1 books. To the right of the door are bins with books that are …wait for it…free! It can be quite a while before you finally enter the building, already laden with books.

185 Church St., Bowmanville

When you eventually make it inside, either Bryan or Joanne (sometimes both) will be there to welcome you warmly and help you empty your arms so you can continue on your treasure hunt. Don’t be surprised if this delightful couple (the owners) offer you a cup of tea while you browse.

Books, books and more books take up the right half of the store. These are previously enjoyed books and can be yours for the princely sum of $2.

The left side of the store is quite eclectic. Here you will find bright, shiny new books, jewelry, dolls, boxes, music, candles, crystals, wind chimes, soaps, instruments, bags, clothing, ornaments, baby items and even juggling equipment — and that’s just at first glance! The second look reveals even more. A word of advice: plan for enough time to explore. There are handmade items from Canada, India, Africa and Indonesia. Local authors and creations are featured throughout. My favourite section is the one that holds the children’s books. These are no ordinary children’s books. These are adventures you will want to share with the wee ones in your life. They are books full of learning and magic and fantasy and imagination that your children will treasure all their lives and go on to share with their children.

A few other things you may find interesting…Bryan and Joanne will special-order a book for you…They have an up to date calendar of events on their website…They have created a space that can be made available for meetings or workshops…They have special “Save the Tax” days.

Why are you still reading this? You should be on your way to the “Violet Door” 185 Church Street, Bowmanville, ON, L1C 1T8.

As for me, I am off to finish my book.

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