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It’s the weekend before Halloween. That means that ghosts and goblins will be alive and well across the city attending eerie events and creepy costume parties galore. Did you get invited to Dave’s Devil Dance? Me neither, but I know of a few other places you can go to scare the wits out of yourself. Or have a laugh with your family Frankensteins.

Halloween Hyjinxs In Your Neighbourhood This Weekend

Halloween in the Village:

Wortley Village; October 26 from 4-7 pm. Parade at 7 pm.

The 3rd Annual Halloween in the Village will be held on Saturday, October 26th, 2013. There will be food, drinks, BBQ, Sweet Treats and more! Don’t miss the crafts and games for the kids. And of course join the parade! Make sure to dress up in your most creative costumes for this family fun event. There will be prizes for best costume, group and non-motorized float.

Haunted Mansion:

Grosvenor Lodge (1017 Western Rd); October 25-27 from 7-9 pm. Cost $5 per person

Are you up for an exorcism? Do you feel brave enough to walk with the undead at one of London, Ontario’s oldest homes? The folks from Heritage London Foundation are betting that you’ll be scared witless when you encounter the ghosts, ghouls and witches coven that have taken over Grosvenor Lodge this Halloween. So what do you think? Will you cast your money in the devil’s hat to prove your bravery, or run screaming from the Haunted Mansion this fall?

Beware Count Dracula’s Farm at Fanshawe Pioneer Village this fall

Haunted Village Hayrides:

Fanshawe Pioneer Village (1424 Clarke Rd); October 24-27, 29, 30. Performances at 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm on Thursday and Sunday, 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm on Friday and Saturday. Cost $11 per person. Not recommended for children under 8 years.

We’ve all heard of Count Dracula. You may know that he resided in Transylvania, where he terrorized the locals mercilessly. Well, it would seem that the Old Country is too Oldschool for Drac, so he’s headed to Middlesex county to lie low and take on the personae of a simple farmer. But his bloodthirsty ways haven’t been left behind and the poor peasants around these parts are in danger! Jump aboard the Haunted Village Hayride this Fall at Pioneer Village for Jason Rip’s latest spooky play. If you DARE!

Storybook Gardens Storyspook Village:

Storybook Gardens (1958 Storybook Lane); October 24, 27-30 from 6-8 pm. Cost $12 per child (children under 2 free)

Bring your flashlight and a costume for spooky fun for the younger set. Enter through the haunted castle. Trick or treat around Storyspook Village and spy 20 costumed storybook characters. Dance at the Fairy Scary Dance Party. Listen to tales of the deep dark ocean at the Pirate’s creepy ship. Take a ride on the spotlight train. Discover other spooky nooks and corners around the grounds of Storyspook Village. Don’t forget your treat bags!

Storybook Gardens Trick or Treat Spooktacular

The Storyspook Village isn’t the only fun to be had at Storybook Gardens this Halloween. Head to Storybook Gardens on October 25-26 between 6-8:30 pm for even more Spooktacular fun. There will be a camp fire, roasting of ghost droppings over the fire, scary story time, spooky crafts, a puppet show and more. You must pre-register for the event through Spectrum. Cost is $13, children under 2 free.

Who needs Dave anyway, when there is this much spooky fun to be had in London, Ontario this weekend?!

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!

This weekend is the unofficial start of summer. Mother Nature even seems to be willing to cooperate, as the forecast is calling for sun and temperatures in the low 20s all weekend long. As it is Victoria Day on Monday, that means for the first long weekend of the summer! I for one can’t wait. So get ready to have a great weekend, as there is plenty to do in London, Ontario this weekend.

Victoria Day Weekend In Your Neighbourhood

For starters, City of London splash pads will be back in business starting on Saturday, May 18th. Just in time for the long weekend Londoners! Hours run daily from 9 am – 9 pm. There are twelve public splash pads to enjoy, as noted here;

  • Bonaventure Meadows – 141 Bonaventure Drive (next to Bonaventure Meadows Public School) – Note: Open restricted hours during school hours
  • Rowntree Park – on Whetter Avenue off Wellington Road
  • Kiwanis Park – off Hale Street
  • Fork of the Thames – off Riverside Drive and King Street
  • West Lions Park – on Granville Avenue beside Kinsmen Recreation Centre
  • Lambeth Centennial Park – on Beattie Avenue across from the Lambeth Arena
  • Jesse Davidson Park – off Monte Vista Crescent or Ensign Crescent
  • Gibbons Spray Pad – in Gibbons Park
  • Southeast Optimist Park – on Deveron Crescent
  • Oakridge – Valetta Street by Oakridge Arena and pool at top of hill
  • Ed Blake Park – near Huron and Barker Streets
  • Medway Park – beside Medway Arena and the Canada Games Aquatic Centre


Grab your bathing suits (and swimmers for babies – no diapers cloth or disposable diapers allowed) and get ready to get wet! Note that there is no standing water, as the splash pads are all sensor activated. There is also no supervision at any of the sites.

 

The splash pad at Storybook Gardens will also officially open this weekend. For the remainder of May, hours are Monday to Friday from 10 am – 4 pm and weekends 10 am – 5 pm (including holiday Monday on the 20th). Prices for the 2013 year are Adults $7.50, Children (2-17) $6.50, Families (2 adults & 2 children) $25, Seniors (65+) $6.50, Infants (under 2 years) free. If you know that you’ll be heading there often enough, you might even want to consider purchasing a seasons pass for $35. It is good for one full year from date of purchase, so that you can enjoy the park in winter or summer. Plus it enables you to get 10% off any purchases in the Treasure Chest Gift Shop, at the Village Square Cafe concession stand, and for select programs.

 

Fireworks over Lake Ontario in Toronto on Vict...

It just wouldn’t be a long weekend without fireworks! If you are looking for sparkling skies and a big bang or two, head out to Fanshawe Conservation Area on Monday, May 20th. Fireworks displays begin at dusk, but there is plenty more to do there before then. There are 20 km of trails for hiking and biking, plus 8.5 km dedicated exclusively to hikers. You can go fishing or boating on Fanshawe Lake. Or bring along a tent or trailer and enjoy the park all weekend for a camping trip (note there is an alcohol ban in place for the May long weekend). While you are there you can also head over to Fanshawe Pioneer Village, as it officially re-opens for their 54th season on Saturday May 18th. They will be stepping back in time on May 20th to celebrate her majesty Queen Victoria herself with historical games, speeches and a vintage baseball game. Entrance to the Pioneer Village is $7 with children under 3 free. To get into Fanshawe Conservation Area, you just need to pay $12 for a vehicle day pass.

Happy Victoria Day Weekend Canada!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What do you have planned for your sweetheart today? Will you be walking in the door with a dozen red roses in one hand and a box of chocolates in the other? Or perhaps that special piece of jewellery you had made will be tucked into your pocket to surprise her with later this evening while you are dining at her favourite restaurant?

Or maybe you are like the rest of the regular Joes out there that are in between diapers and hockey practice, with date night regulated to once every six months, if you can swing a babysitter. Well family man, no need to let the day go by without any kind of recognition. You know I always have a suggestion or two for places to go in London, Ontario that are sure to please.

Today is no different.

Valentine Temptations In Your Neighbourhood

You could win brownie points with the whole family by taking them skating at Storybook Gardens this evening! Not only do you get some fresh air and exercise, but there will be free hot chocolate, compliments of Libro Financial Group. The best part is that it is only $2 between 6-8 pm! Don’t fret if you don’t have skates, as Storybook rents them too. Perhaps it will even get you all in the spirit for the upcoming 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships that will be held right here starting March 11th, 2013.

If skating is not your thing, what about putting someone else to work to ramp up the charm on Valentine’s Day? I bet your sweetie has never received a singing Valentine before. This year, why not get the London Sweet Adelines to croon to your baby? Now that will set her heart on fire! For $35, a portion of which will be donated to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, a local quartet will come to your location of choice and sweep your sweet someone off their feet between 9 am – 8 pm. Call Judith now (519-472-2164) and watch your loved one swoon later.

Perhaps you were dreaming of something bigger to surprise your sweetie with though. How about a night out at Museum London for their Domestic Disclosures: A Valentine’s Night of Trailers! The evening begins at 7 pm and you will be treated to trailers from some of the fabulous upcoming movies that will be shown at the Domestic Arrivals Festival starting February 28th, 2013. While you can enjoy sneak peaks to movies, there will also be specialty coffees and sweets from local chocolatiers and gourmet food artisans to indulge in afterwards. Plus you get a chance to pick up tickets to the upcoming festival there and then, ahead of the rush for the 4-day festival celebrating Canadian film. Oh, and did I mention that tonight’s events are free? Although Museum London always welcomes donations and will have great door prizes to bid on, if you so desire. Sounds like an evening that can’t be beat!

Whatever you get up to, I wish you a happy day and steamy night! Happy Valentine’s Day!

That’s it! I can’t take it!
I cannot shop anymore!!
I’ve spent the last week in London
in every darn store.

My credit card is reeling
The fridge is  jam-packed
I have paper cuts on all my fingers
from wrapping paper attacks

I need a breather
There’s got to be something else to do
aside from trying kill myself with
more Christmas hullabaloo!

How about checking out one of these great local London, Ontario locations to relax and enjoy the beginning of winter and Christmas break.

 

WINTER BREAK IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD

Wouldn’t that be a fun escape with the family?

With that brief dusting of snow this morning, I was in mind of getting outside and enjoying some of that white stuff before it disappears again. What are the odds it will be back again in time for a wagon ride out at Circle R Ranch? Doesn’t that sound like a welcome change from frantic malls and jam-packed grocery stores? Oh yes! In fact they will have special wagons rides on December 23, 24, 26 and even on January 1st! If we get any actual snow, you could even try your luck at cross-country skiing or snow shoeing (new this year). Contact Circle R for times and cost of wagon rides at 519-471-3799. Once snow arrives, cross-country skiing on weekends is $13 for adults ($10 after 2:30 pm), $9 for children ($7 after 2:30 pm) and free for children 8 and under. Weekdays the rates are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Snow shoeing costs $6 on weekends and $3 on weekdays for adults, with children always free.

Why not give skating a try at Storybook Gardens?

What else is there to do in London, where you can just relax and enjoy the beauty of winter? How about at Storybook Gardens, where you can strap on a pair of skates and glide serenely through the Gardens to your heart’s content. That’s right; the ice is in! Plus, you can even rent skates, if you don’t have your own. Here are their holiday hours;

Saturday December 22nd 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday December 23rd 10 am – 5 pm (Tim Horton’s Skate 10-12)
Monday December 24th 10 am – 4 pm (Tim Horton’s Skate 10-12)
Tuesday December 25th CLOSED
Wednesday December 26th 10 am – 4 pm
Thursday December 27th – Sunday December 30th 10 am – 8 pm
Monday December 31st – 10 am – 4 pm
Tuesday January 1st – 10 am – 4 pm
Wednesday January 2nd – Saturday January 5th- 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday January 6th -10 am – 5 pm

Entry cost is $4.25 for adults, $3.25 for children, free for infants or a family rate of $13 (2 adults, 2 kids). Skate rentals are $5.50 for adult sizes and $4.50 for kids sizes, with a deposit. In fact, if you enjoy yourself, you might want to even consider an annual pass, for only $35 per person. Now that is a deal!

 

Ice Crafts

Ice Crafts

Or why not just head out into your back yard and play with the kids? If the snow accumulates, you can build a snow family, a fort or maybe have a snowball fight. If you want to get creative, put some coloured water in a spray bottle and spray paint a picture in the snow.

Or for something a little different, why not fill a cake pan with water, then add interesting bits to the pan. Put a string in the pan, then toss your creation into the freezer. When it is good and frozen, take it outside and hang it in a tree for some winter interest. Use items like coloured tissue paper, berries, dried grasses or flowers, or anything else that you think might look nice. Try different shaped containers to freeze your ice mobiles in. The kids will love the experiment and the best part is, that its free! After spending all that money leading up to Christmas, wouldn’t that be nice?

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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