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Category Archives: Ontario

Ontario Weekend Getaway? Visit Kingston for Art, Culture and Food

For this Ontario getaway, we turned to the artistic couple, Robert and Lisa Aucoin for some locals’ tips on how best to visit Kingston, Ontario.

Battery Bistro Visit Kingston

Located on the north shore of Loughborough Lake, Iron Art’s studio and workshop are about 20 minutes north of Kingston. The Aucoins are passionate about their location and the many benefits of living in Ontario’s lake country. Robert Aucoin is an artist to his core; please read this designer’s story and about “Iron Art” here. Discover his small leather craft (belts, napkin rings) and metal productions (buckles, pendants) here.

Why visit Kingston?

Culture and fun: Situated on Lake Ontario, Kingston is halfway between Montreal and Toronto. This beautiful city has Lake Ontario lapping at its doorstep, and it is home to Canada’s oldest degree-granting school – Queen’s University (established 1841). Also, known as the “Limestone City,” many of Kingston’s public buildings were constructed in the 19th century with locally quarried stone. Before Ottawa became Canada’s capital, Kingston held the honour as the seat of the Province of Canada, from 1841-44.

City Hall Visit Kingston

While you are in the area, there are plenty of visits to do including historical sites, local artisans, food and craft markets and art galleries. The city has tree-shaded public parks and lots of water activities for families to enjoy.

Music: From our dock in late July, we can enjoy the hot summer nights and hear the sounds of “The Canadian Guitar Festival” across Loughborough Lake. This year’s show runs July 28-30th. In late August, Kingston hosts the “Limestone City Blues Festival” four evenings of blues under the stars (August 24-27, 2017) – details here.Guitar Pick Belt Buckle Iron Art Designs

Design inspiration for one of the Iron Art metal buckles, the guitar pick, came from both those shows. Limestone City Blues Festival inspired the blue version of the guitar pick.

Hungry in Kingston

We are lucky as there are many great chefs in Kingston, it’s a great city for food lovers to visit.

The Kingston Public Market is the longest continually running market in Ontario. On Saturday mornings, in July and August, local chefs in demonstrate their top recipes to the gathered crowds. Afterwards, for a small fee (roughly $2) the audience can sample the food, while it lasts.

Market Square Visit Kingston

Just a drive 20 minutes north of Kingston plan to visit the Limestone Organic Creamery, a certified organic farm since 1998. They sell their milk along with several locally produced items, such as honey and cheese. As a bonus, the Creamery is only five minutes from our studio.

Where to Sleep?

Kingston has accommodation options for everyone.  There are charming B&B’s, beautiful hotels, and seasonal accommodations. Or, if you travel just outside of town you can stay in a tent and visit the hundreds of lakes and campgrounds surrounding Kingston. Here is a link.

“Must See” Attractions

There are so many it is hard to narrow it down!

Fort Henry guard Visit Kingston

These are only a few suggestions: Fort Henry, Kingston Penitentiary Tours, the Tett Centre, Agnes Etherington Gallery, Kingston Waterfront, Prince Edward County and Picton Beaches and Thousand Island Tours.

Here is a helpful tourism link.

Waterfront picture Visit Kingston

Image Credits:
Kingston Tourism: Battery Bistro, Kingston City Hall, Kingston Market, Fort Henry Guard, Waterfront
Iron Art: Handwoven metal chair and guitar pick

Country Weekend in Uxbridge Ontario with Nancy Newman Textiles

Nancy Newman lives in rural Ontario, near the town of Uxbridge, which she describes as a wonderful place to live. Removed from Toronto’s big city hassles Nancy enjoys a view of a farmer’s field from her workshop. Her studio is full of light with a vaulted ceiling and a wood burning stove takes the chill off during the winter – “A lovely space.”

Nancy Newman Textiles work in the studio

However, to the untrained eye, one might describe Nancy’s studio as chaotic (her word), cluttered with leather and fabric samples during the design phase of a vintage handbag. This seemingly messy environment is what allows Nancy to mix and match the traditional fabrics with the perfect leather and accessory combinations.

sewing-machine Nancy Newman Textiles work in the studio

Nancy practices slow, sustainable fashion.

nancy-newman-studio-shot-1

The mission behind Nancy Newman Textiles is to “Save the planet one purse at a time.” She is accomplishing this goal by mindfully using textiles that were destined for the landfill and by honouring and continuing old textile traditions. Nancy explains her choice is to use leather, and not ‘vegan leather’ in her handbags. “This is a conscious choice for me because once the leather finally ends up in the landfill, it will decompose in a matter of months, where the polyurethane will be there for over 100 years.”

Cross body handbag with cotton and leather

If a customer just purchased a vintage fabric handbag, and asked  how they might spend a weekend in rural Ontario what would you recommend:

“Uxbridge, Ontario has a vibrant arts community, and it is a place where you always meet someone you know when you are out.”

Go for coffee at Nexus a newer cafe in town, with excellent hot drinks and friendly owners.

Designer Bucket bag with a Vintage Bohemian Flair

Have breakfast at Scrambles connected to the Foxbridge Golf Club, this restaurant is a great place to get a home-cooked – simple breakfast at a terrific price.

The Tin Cup Caffe is the best place in town for lunch with their tasty soups, perfect coffees and the friendliest staff around.

For dinner, there are several choices, but my two favourites are the Urban Pantry, which has a more upscale menu and vibe, and Frankies Ristorante, a family-run gluten-free restaurant and bakery.

The Fly Cotton Shoulder Bag in Natural Cotton

Shopping in the downtown core is charming.  We have Blue Heron Books, voted one of Canada’s 10 best-loved bookstores by CBC. If you need a new outfit, Woods and Woods Clothing has served the community for 26-years with everyday fashions at reasonable prices.

Don’t miss this “iconic” spot in Ontario’s countryside: The Foster Memorial resembles the Taj Mahal it was built as a mausoleum by Thomas Foster for himself and his family. Concerts are held there frequently because the acoustics are amazing.

Where do the local’s go? The Second Wedge Brewery Co. serves their artisanal beer in a relaxed environment, with occasional live music.

Sleep here: There are several B&Bs in the Uxbridge area this is a good reference website.

Read more about sustainable fashion and how Nancy Newman is turning textile traditions into handbags.

Handbag tote mali mud cloth and leather @NancyNewmanTextiles

 

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