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3, 2, 1…
Happy New Year!

That’s right, we have reached the tail end of 2012. December 21st, be darned. We won’t see the end of the world, just the end of the year in a few day’s time. And what are your plans to ring in the New Year this year; noise makers with friends or family at home? Will you be heading out to one of London’s hot spots to sing out the countdown with a crowd? Or does 2012 end when you tuck yourself into bed at 9 pm and the new year begin with the sun rising the next day? Whatever you have planned, I hope you enjoy every last-minute of 2012 and cherish the new year to come.

If you are still undecided about how to ring in the new year and set on heading out to do something, why not consider these options right here in London, Ontario;

RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR IN LONDON

I am always a fan of free events, so let’s start with a Rockin New Year’s Eve at Victoria Park. Activities begin at 5 pm with free skating until 8 pm. Hot chocolate and coffee will also be available from 5 pm to midnight. Get the party started with hats, party favours and balloon creations between 6 to 9 pm. Children’s entertainment kicks off at 7:15 pm with My Perfect Princess Party, followed by Cassandra Hodgins at 8 pm. To add a little pizzazz to the evening for the younger set, who might not make it til midnight, fireworks will be lit at 9 pm (weather permitting).

That isn’t the end of the evening for all by a long shot though. At 9:15 pm, U-Turn takes the stage, followed by Spirit of the West at 10:40 pm. Any adults that show up after the kids head to bed won’t be disappointed at missing the earlier fireworks, as there will be more fire in the sky at midnight once the countdown reaches the pinnacle of 2013. I’m sure it will be an evening to remember for all who attend, so keep it in mind for your new year’s gathering!

 

New Year's at Noon

New Year’s at Noon

If your little ones couldn’t possible make it to midnight and 9 pm is stretching their bounds as well, don’t let them get bent out of shape that they will miss out on all the fun. How does New Year’s at Noon at the Children’s Museum sound? Pretty good for the youngest set, I’d bet. There will be live entertainment, dancing, face painting, noise makers, hats and a balloon drop at noon to ring in the New Year for kids and their families. There is a $3 surcharge on top of normal entrance fees. Also note that the museum will close at 2 pm on December 31st, so get your playing in early!

 

If you are into the bar scene, December 31st has to be the best night to get out all year. Every bar imaginable will have some kind of festivities going on. The London Music Club will be rocking with Yuri Pool (of the McCartney years) and the LMC All-Star Band, plus buffet, champagne toast and dancing the night away. Jump on a party bus at Jim Bob Ray’s and go on a club crawl for a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza! With no cover or line-ups and entrance to four of London’s hottest clubs, you are guaranteed a fabulous New Year’s party. Another New Year’s Eve 2013 Club Crawl starts at the London Tap House and takes in Lavish Nightclub and Up On Carling. Forget your car keys and jump on the bus for all the fun you can handle.

Yuk Yuk's Logo.

Even the Hilton Hotel is getting in on the New Year’s action. They are teaming up with Fresh FM for their 8th Annual New Year’s bash, including a chocolate lover’s dessert and coffee bar, plus party favours of course. Doors open at 8:30 and the party goes late! For those looking to grab a bite to eat beforehand, you can take in their New Year’s Eve buffet (think seafood, beef, pork, salmon, salad, fruit, and more) at 5pm for $39.95. Don’t forget the annual New Year’s parties at the Western Fair District. If you are lucky enough to have bought your tickets early to the 60s/70s Dance party or Top of the Fair Dinner and Live Racing, good for you, as they are now sold out, but for those that aren’t as organized, you can still buy tickets to the Yuk Yuk’s Dinner and Show, Family Skate, Buckin in the New Year Rodeo or Live Music at the OLG Slots. That’s a whole lot of fun to choose from and all at one great venue.

 

Wherever you end up, I hope that you have a fabulous time ringing in 2013. Happy New Year!

That’s it! This weekend is the last hurrah. Labour Day weekend is upon us and with it a new school year is heralded in. Summer fun gets relegated back to memories, as we usher in schedules and routines once more. Parents might be anticipating sending bored youngsters back to school to get them out from underneath their feet, but kids everywhere are still desperately counting the minutes left of freedom.

 

LABOUR DAY WEEKEND IN LONDON

But wait! Is there not something we can do to celebrate the last golden rays of summer before they depart for yet another year? What is a fitting way to celebrate the summer that was in London, Ontario 2012? Well, there is Fall Fest, as I mentioned last week, where you can ride the rides, check out crafts and pet an animal or two. East Park will be open all weekend long for folks wanting to soak up the forecasted sunshine at their waterpark, or over a round of golf or even zipping along in a Go Kart.  For a special treat, Storybook Gardens will be hosting some fabulous children’s storytellers all weekend. Plus of course, the kids can splash in the waterpark, get their faces painted by Dotsy or wander through the Enchanted Forest to their heart’s content.

There’s got to be more than that on offer though, isn’t there? How about a Back 2 School Bash for the kids at Children’s Museum! They won’t be able to resist face painting, cookie decorating, parachute games and more. Head over for the fun on Monday, September 3, 2012 from 10am-5pm and be part of the fun. It sounds like an excellent way for the younger set to usher in a new school year!

6th Annual Pooch Plunge!

I would be remiss if I didn’t share another fun, animal-friendly event. The Pooch Plunge is back for its 6th year of swimming and splashing, this year at Stronach Pool (1221 Sanford St) on September 2, 2012. There will be three sessions for your pooch to jump in and get wet;

1st Session:  1:00 – 1:50pm

2nd Session:  2:10 – 3:00pm

3rd Session:  3:20 – 4:10pm

For $6 per session, your dog will have the opportunity to run, swim, chase tennis balls and generally have a great time with plenty of other dogs and their owners. The best part is that the event raises money for Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, which is a family run haven for abused and neglected farm animals. No one deserves to be abused and that includes even the weakest among us. The Poole’s take in everything from chickens, to goats and pigs to donkeys, all without financial support, other than the donations received from events like the Pooch Plunge. The animals they care for deserve as much compassion as you and I, so letting your dog swim a lap or two makes a difference not only in your life, but in other animals that have seen hardship in their lives.

Tea Time at Eldon House

If your tastes lean more towards a more refined event, then what about signing up for a spot of tea on the lawns of Eldon House?  This weekend will mark the end of their Summer Teas, so if you haven’t tried their delicious scones, you better hurry downtown now. Tea is served between 2-4pm from Tuesday to Sunday until September 2nd. Call for a reservation and make sure you leave enough time to get a tour of the historic house while you are there. It is London’s oldest residence, built in 1834 and is well worth exploring.

Survivorman Live in London!

If tea is too tame for your tastes, what would you say to an evening spent with “Survivorman” Les Stroud? Stroud will be serving up a selection of stories of survival at the London Music Club on Friday, August 31, 2012 at 8pm. He will be accompanied by The Campfire Kings, as they entertain the audience with ‘Songs & Stories – The Earth Music Tour’. Survivorman in London, Ontario? How cool is that! With his musical skill, as well as his storytelling prowess, this is an evening not to be missed.

 

What are your plans this Labour Day weekend Londoners?

Well, mixed blessings this week. We got the first long weekend under our belts before water restrictions kicked in. Not exactly a great way to head into another hot weekend, but it seems it can’t be helped. Hope you got the pool filled and ready to go, as until the City of London fixes that broken water main out near Mount Carmel, there won’t be any water to play in. Well, not much anyway, as the city is asking everyone to conserve their water use and is doing their part by shutting down all the splash pads in London.

So how else can one stay cool when the weather man is suggesting more temperatures in the high 20s? Don’t worry. There are lots of ways to keep cool in London, Ontario this weekend!

 

Keeping Cool in the City

GRICKLE GRASS FESTIVAL

If you have an interest in sustainability, you like good food, local beer and spirits, plus you enjoy live music and local art, then this is an event not to be missed. On Saturday, May 26, 2012, the Children’s Museum will host the third annual Grickle Grass Festival. As you might guess by the venue, the festival is a family affair with daytime fun for everyone and adult entertainment after dark.

And how does the Festival promote sustainability you wonder? Well, daytime programming revolves around green transportation, growing your own food, arts & crafts made from recyclable materials and an overall focus on physical activity and wellness. ReForest London will be on hand selling trees outside all day too! Plus, there will be face painting, cooking demos, book giveaways by City Lights Bookstore and so much more.

The daytime activities wrap up at 5pm, but the fun doesn’t stop there. At 8pm the doors to the Children’s Museum open up again, but this time it’s for the adults to enjoy. There will be live music on all floors and dancing just might happen. Work up a sweat to the likes of Skeletones Four, The Allens, Thesis Sahib, Indian Handcrafts and a whole slew of other artists that will be playing throughout the night. If you work up an appetite, don’t fret, as Growing Chefs Ontario will have food on hand, served with reusable plates and cutlery. All proceeds go to Growing Chefs Ontario and the Children’s Museum, so stop by and support this local event!

 

HOMES OF DISTINCTION

How about a little self-guided tour of six beautiful and distinct area homes all in the name of feeding children and nourishing hope? That is the mandate of the May Court of London during their annual Homes of Distinction Tour, and they are hoping that you will support them in this worthy cause. From 10am-4pm on May 26-27, the participating homes will open their doors for you to explore. The Carolinian Winery is also participating this year, with food and refreshments being served throughout the day. All money raised goes towards the May Court School Nutrition program, which provides food to over 90 schools for children in need.

As a real estate agent, I have a natural inclination to want to peek into people’s homes, so you just might find me somewhere along the route this weekend!

 

LABATT BREWERY TOUR

If that all sounds nice, but air conditioning is what you are really seeking, then a tour of the Labatt’s Brewery just might be the ticket! For $10, you get a two-hour tour of the hometown brewery where John Kinder Labatt began his beer empire over 160 years ago. You have to book your tour in advance and wear closed toe shoes, but that is a small price to pay for a souvenir t-shirt, product sampling and the chance to explore the facility that produces over 1 billion bottles of beer annually. That is a far cry from the almost 1,000 bottles that were put out in its first year of production! I am feeling hometown proud just at the thought of all those frothy suds being created just down the street. I just might have to book me a tour today!

Cheers, to another great weekend in London!

The week is winding down, but your tolerance level might be too. March Break can be lots of fun in theory, but I bet there are a few parents out there that are struggling to keep their little angels occupied until school lets back in on Monday. Did you need a few suggestions to get you through to the end of the week? I’ve got you covered!

Have you been to the sugar bush yet? There’s still time for that and the pancakes that go with it. For the younger set, the Children’s Museum is always a great place to go and they are featuring March Break Madness all week long. So is Kidscape, up at the North end of the city, where they have a 3-storey climbing structure, plasma cars, a soft toddler weescape, as well as a glass and ceramic studio where your child can paint their very own artwork that will be professionally fired and ready for display before you know it. Your kids will love it!

Wait, I have another suggestion! How about a place where “the sun shines every day”, so the saying goes anyway. That right my friends. East Park is open for March Break fun! From March 10th through to the 18th, their indoor activities are open from 11am-9pm in the Intencity. For the sanity saving low price of $20 per person, you get 2 hours of non-stop fun (regardless of the weather outside). If you haven’t been to East Park before, prepare to have a blast in their bumper cars, jungle gym (don’t forget your socks!) and on their 40 foot high rock wall that covers 2000 square feet! Once the adrenalin has worn off, you can hit their arcade as well, as you get 16 tokens with this March Break Special. While you are there, you can even plan ahead by purchasing a season pass to enjoy all the indoor activities whenever you want, plus the fun of Wally World’s water park. Don’t forget about the batting cages, go-Karts, mini-golf and driving range. East Park offers fun for the whole family and it is right here in London!

Of course there is always a trip to the movies, bowling or the public pool too. Dr. Seuss’ book, turned movie, “The Lorax” is out in theatres and getting rave reviews. You can even enjoy the movie in 3-D! If live theatre is more your scene, then the Original Kids Theatre Company is probably more your cup of tea. During March Break they are presenting both “The Pirates of Penzance Jr: Comic Operetta” and “Willy Wonka: The Musical”. Both shows are presented from March 14th-17th, with times and tickets available on their website. For a little more action, Fleetway has glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, a rock wall, plus bowling to enjoy. You can still catch the tale end of their March Break special by clicking here as well. A splash in the pool is always a nice treat too though and the City of London knows it. All of their indoor pools have a special March Break schedule to accommodate lots of swimming fun this week.

So even though the hours might seem to drag, you still should be able to find something to do with the kids this March Break. Get out there and enjoy the fun with your family, before the Break is done!

Halloween is mere days away. You can feel it in the crisp night air. You can see it in the cobwebs and gravestones that litter neighbourhood streets. There are pumpkins on doorsteps from far and wide. Eerie ghosts flit on the damp breeze from lonely trees. Even ghastly goblins poke out from behind grassy knolls down the street.

And my children cannot wait!

If you are looking for some spooktacular fun in the Frightful Forest City this weekend, you are in luck! Halloween festivities can be found in every creepy nook and cranny around. Here are just a few of the horrifying event over the next few days in and around London, Ontario;

 

FOR FRIGHTFUL FAMILY FUN:

LONDON CHILDREN’S MUSEUM: Night at the Boo-seum (Oct 27th) – 5:00pm-8:00pm Explore our haunted caves, trick-or-treat in our Street Where You Live, and make gooey slime. There will be lots of hands on crafts, activities and special treats! Don’t forget to wear your costume, parents too! *The Children’s Museum will close at 4pm today

FANSHAWE PIONEER VILLAGE: A Haunting We Will Go! – On Saturday, October 29th come out and celebrate a historic Halloween! Trick or treat in the Village, bob for apples, hear a ghost story and participate in many other ghoulish activities.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village will be open from 12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WORTLEY VILLAGE: Halloween Parade and Fair in Wortley Village (Oct 29th) – Join in the revelry of what is surely the most imaginative and magical time of year when we honour the Cycle of Life by embracing the Darkness which surrounds it. Come celebrate our grassroots, community driven, spine tingling march down the heart of Wortley Village in beautiful London, Ontario. Astound and amaze your neighbours with your wildly creative non-motorized Halloween floats, outlandish costumes or fiendishly clever tricks or treats. All are welcome. This is a family friendly event. Think spooky, not gruesome! If you love Halloween and want everyone to know it…this is your chance. Join us!! You won’t it regret it. Sponsored by: Old South Community Organization (OSCO)

 

AWFUL ADULT ANTICS:

FANSHAWE PIONEER VILLAGE: Haunted Village Hayrides (Oct 27-29th) – The Cultured Criminal: A Play by Robyn Israel

How did a dashing British aristocrat get charged with the murder of a young Englishman in Oxford County, Ontario? Join us as we revisit the 1890 Birchall-Benwell Affair, one of the most sensational cases in Canadian history. From a gruesome discovery in Blenheim Swamp to the trial in Woodstock’s Old Town Hall, this year’s Haunted Hayride promises a thrilling ride! (Not recommended for youth under 10)

SPRINGBANK PARK: Halloween Haunting 10K & 5K Run & 3K Fun Run/Walk (Oct 30th) – The 11th Annual London X-Ray Associates Halloween Haunting 10K & 5K Run & 3K Fun Run/Walk on Sunday, October 30th, 2011. All pledges from this event will go to The London Track 3 Ski School.

DOWNTOWN LONDON: Lost Soul Stroll (Oct 25-29th) – Join us for the 7th annual Lost Soul Stroll, London’s only haunted ghost walk. True tales of murders, disasters and mystery are dramatically conveyed by ghostly guides and a host of creepy characters from London’s past. Bring your friends — you’re going to need someone to cling on to.

And this year another annual celebration on October 30 & 31st The Kennedy’s Pumpkins 2011 – See over 606 lit pumpkins! Come out and view exciting carvings by friends and neighbours in the Northridge Community. Many carvings are done by students from local schools. Every pumpkin will be candle lit. Please bring your non-perishable food items for the London Food Bank. Cash donations accepted for the food bank.

 

But if you want a real horror show, check out the latest happenings at our FOLLOW THE FLIP site. BOO! Scary, isn’t it! From a mountain of junk disposed at TryRecycling (I think I gave them all heart attacks with the load of stuff I dropped off!),

 

 

 

 

to the eerie working of electricity back at Charlotte St. Well, that isn’t THAT scary, but it certainly was before the boys got wiring!

 

Wishing you a very safe and scary Halloween weekend! If you are looking for me, I will be haunting the neighbourhood this weekend!

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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