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Well then, that’s it. We’ve got a little better than two weeks left of official Summer, but as soon as Labour Day hit, Fall was in the air. The kids went back to school this week with coats or sweaters on. Spray pads, wading pools and city-run outdoor pools are all closed for the season. But the weather reports still have plenty of sunshine in them, with temperatures in the mid 20s this weekend. If you have a heater in your pool, or no pool at all, how are you going to cool down?

Never fear my fellow Londoners. There are still plenty of ways to enjoy the outside world in London, Ontario this weekend. Why not check out one of these options;

Wet and Wild Fun In Your Neighbourhood

Slippery’s Great Escape is still OPEN for play

Storybook Gardens saves the day! While the rides and concessions are closed weekdays, they are still open weekends until October 14th, 2013. The splash pad however remains open during the week and on weekends until further notice. Once you are done at the splash pad, why not wander through the Enchanted Forest, stop to pet the animals in Old McDonald’s Farm, stop for a minute or two in the Village and Backwoods, explore the Frog Pond, or find adventure at Pirate’s Island. You’ll find family fun in every corner of Storybook Gardens this weekend.

 

Last weekend to enjoy East Park’s Water Park

Get to East Park while you can! This is the last weekend that East Park’s Wally World Water Park will be open for the season. They’ve got the 55′ Wally Tower with 5 amazing slides, Intencity Tower with two awesome flume water slides, plus a new splash pad for kids that opened this year. In addition to that, there is also Go-Karts, a Batting Cage, Driving Range, Minigolf, Intencity indoor play (rock walls, bumper cars, climbers and more), and even an 18-hole Golf Course. You’ll be in for plenty of fun for all ages, both indoors and out.

 

Drive right up to Ipperwash Beach

And of course all of our area beaches are still open for business as well. While you might not find life guards monitoring the waters after Labour Day, the waters of Lake Erie and Lake Huron are still a welcome attraction for anyone willing to dip their toes into the Great Lakes. The good news is that after Labour Day paid parking is no longer being enforced at Port Stanley Beaches. For those wanting to head to Ipperwash Beach, there is bad news on the horizon though. Perhaps taking a nod from Port Stanley’s decision to charge for parking, West Ipperwash Beach Property owners are looking at adding parking fees to their beach. The fees will be used towards adding permanent washrooms, garbage cans, gates, better security, and providing employment opportunities for area band members. The plan has not been authorized as of yet, but the Kettle and Stony Point First Nations band and area homeowners are hopeful that a plan can be put in place by next Victoria Day. If you want to spend the day at the beach, I guess we have to pay to play, but this weekend you can enjoy all the area beaches for free!

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Easter weekend has arrived. It’s time to get together with family, paint brightly coloured eggs, find chocolate ones left behind by the Easter bunny or step into church for a little of the gospel and a whole lot of thankfulness for the life you have. There are still celebrations for those who do not celebrate Easter though, as Passover is still going on for those of Jewish faith, with the holidays winding down on Tuesday. And the best reason to celebrate of all is that we are expected to have sunshine on both Friday and Saturday this weekend, with temperatures finally climbing above 0°C! Now that is a reason to celebrate!

For those that will be celebrating Spring, Easter, Passover or  just the glory of “the long weekend” in London, Ontario this weekend, here is a sampling of things that you can do to entertain yourself and the family.

Long Weekend Fun In Your Neighbourhood

Fun for the whole family, regardless of your faith, will be had at East Park this weekend. While most places will be closed during the holidays, East Park is opening their doors from 1-9 pm on Good Friday and Easter Monday. On Saturday and Sunday, their hours are 11 am – 9 pm. Don’t get too excited by the sunshine though. The splash park won’t be open for a while yet, but there is still plenty of fun to be had inside at Intencity. Think rock walls, bumper cars, a jungle gym and arcade area, all for $20 per person for a 2-hour pass. Now how is that for a deal!

 

If you would rather get outside to enjoy some fresh air this weekend, how about a trip out to Hensall to take in the Iceculture Experience Tour? I can guarantee this is an adventure you have never experienced before. They will be open Easter Monday from 10 am – 4 pm and the cost is $14 per person. You can learn how clear ice is made, watch an ice sculptor in action, see precision instruments that can carve through ice to create unique pieces, chill in the ice lounge and of course take a ride on their 50 ft ice slide. The tour lasts 90 minutes and I have heard rave reviews from anyone that has gone, so set your GPS to 81 Brock St in Hensall and don’t forget to shoot me a picture to share your day.

 

Of course you might want to schedule an Easter egg hunt or two into the fun as well. You are in luck, as I know of at least two places that will be holding Easter Egg hunts over the weekend. The first will be on Good Friday, March 29th, 2013, from 9:30 am – 1 pm at Fleetwood Farms (Middlesex Agility Club 9282 Elviage Dr). It is the 2013 Annual Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs and their Families as sponsored by the National Service Dogs. This great event raises money for the National Service Dogs and their work with people with Autism and/or special needs. Registration costs $25 per family.  You can even donate Canadian Tire money or your lowly pennies that are now being phased out. The hunt begins at 11 am and goes on rain or shine. So bring your pooch to sniff out some of the plastic eggs that will be scattered about and filled with treats for both you and Fido – a milk bone and a sticker with the potential to win you one of hundreds of great prizes. Doesn’t this look like fun? I think your kids and Rover will agree, so register now (on the day of the hunt is ok too)!

 

One last event is the Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Citi Plaza (355 Wellington St) on Saturday, March 30th from 10 am -12 pm. Meet the Easter Bunny, do a craft, take part in a scavenger hunt and most importantly, have FUN at this free event. There will be goody bags for the kids, music, prizes, discounts and more.

Whatever you get up to this weekend, I hope you enjoy the long weekend!

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?

Hello Summer!

This weekend we roll into the first long weekend of summer by celebrating Victoria Day on Monday. Canadians itch for the feel of sunshine on their faces after a long winter and this weekend is shaping up to offer lots of it, according to the Weather Network.  I for one hope the weather man is correct this weekend, as many of the local seasonal attractions will be opening their doors for the start of summer fun. I know many of you will be headed out-of-town to open cottages, trailers or looking forward to the first camping trip of the season, but if you are sticking around London, here are a few options of where to go for summer fun this Victoria Day weekend.


LOCAL ACTIVITIES FOR LONG WEEKEND FUN

East Park

Race into summer this weekend with a trip to East Park! You know summer has arrived, when the Go-Karts hit full speed ahead in the east end of London. That’s right, this weekend you can hit the driving range, play a round of golf or mini golf, practice your swing in the batting cages, and of course enjoy everything that the indoor attractions have to offer in the INTENCITY, after spinning around the Go-Kart track. Unless you can convince the powers that be to open up the waterpark, you will have to wait until May 26th, but there is still plenty to keep you busy in the interim. FYI; a season’s pass will get you access to the park anytime you want all summer long. Just saying!

Fanshawe Pioneer Village

As of May 19th, Fanshawe Pioneer Village will also open its doors for their 53rd season. You can wander through the village on a self-guided tour, through an example of rural living in this area from about 1820-1920. You can peek through the schoolhouse or church, watch people dressed in period costume tend the garden or work at the sawmill, or even stop into the general store or cafe to purchase handmade treats, gifts or snacks. On Monday, May 21st celebrate her royal majesty the Queen the old-fashioned way. There will be historical games, speeches and a vintage game of baseball all in celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday.

Storybook Gardens

The park itself may not close during the off-season, but certain sections of it does. With all the sunshine that is forecasted for this weekend, the re-opening of the splash pad will be a welcome thing to area children and parents alike. Along with the splash pad, the ferris wheel will begin spinning again on May 19th for another season. The train, carousel, swings, elephant ride and super slide are all open for fun in the sun as well. Don’t forget to check out Pirate Island, Old McDonald’s Farm and the maze. If you go, make sure that you stop by to say goodbye to the harbour seals too, as their last weekend at the park is May 26-27, before being relocated to the St Louis Zoo.

Play On!

If you are looking for something a little different this weekend, how does Canada’s favourite pastime of hockey sound? On May 19-20, 2012, all across Canada there will be a street hockey tournament to beat all games. And right here in London, Ontario, players will be grabbing their sticks for London’s 6th annual weekend hockey game. This year, Victoria Park  will host Canada’s largest Sports Festival, with divisions for all ages, genders and skill levels. If  London’s own hockey league, the London Knights, will be there, maybe you should be too! See you there!

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!

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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