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special feature MUSKOKA Bala Cranberry Festival & Muskoka Mysteries

Must be nineteen (19) years of age or older with government issued photo identification. Those who have been trespassed and/or self-excluded from Casino Rama Resort or any OLG property and/or fail to meet Casino Rama Resort’s conditions of entry may not visit, participate in promotions and/or redeem offers. Offers do not apply to employees of Casino Rama Resort.



Birdie Pass Unlimited golf in the spring and fall and one round per week in July and August. (cart fee included)


Eagle Pass Unlimited golf all season long.


Please go to www.therockgolf.com for all of the Amazing Stay and Play Packages with Clevelands House Resort from only $119 a night per person, including 18 holes of golf with cart. For more on Clevelands House visit www.clevelandshouse.com

1185 Juddhaven Rd., Minett, ON P0B 1G0, Canada | (705) 765 7625 | therockgolf.com

meet the


ANDREW HIND Andrew is a freelance writer specializing in travel, history and lifestyle. He has a passion for new adventure and experiences, and also for exploring little known stories. Andrew is never without a book or three in hand and some obscure historical fact at the tip of his tongue. You should follow him @discoveriesAM



Gabrielle is a writer for REV Publishing and passionate about the written word. A newcomer to Niagara, Gabrielle is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Journalism program and has written for a number of newspapers and publications across Canada. Her passion lies in profiling members of the community and uncovering the hidden gems within a city. When she is not writing you can find her on her bicycle - most likely with a large coffee in hand.

Lynn is a food, wine and travel writer, author of three international award-winning cookbooks and regular contributor to REV Publications. Lynn specializes in culinary tourism covering regional cuisine destinations, slow food, culinary holidays, wine, spirits and “la dolca vita”. She can be reached for questions or comments at lynnogryzlo.com.



PORTAGE STORE Algonquin Park - Canoe Lake (HWY 60)





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Like us! Win tickets to concerts before you can even buy ‘em with our Beat-The-Box-Office contests! Plus, you’ll find exclusive pre-sale codes so you can pick the seats you want before they go on-sale to the public.

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Casino Rama Resort by Today Magazine is published by Rev Publishing Inc. All opinions expressed in Casino Rama Resort Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of Rev Publishing, it’s employees or owners. Reasonable care is taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, as of the time of publication, but no responsibility can be taken by Casino Rama Resort Magazine for any errors, omissions or comments made by writers or interviewees that are contained herein. Furthermore, responsibility for any losses, damages or distress resulting from adherence to any information made available through this magazine is not the responsibility of Casino Rama Resort Magazine. All unsolicited manuscripts and/or photographs submitted are assumed to be intended for publication or republication in whole or in part. The right to alter, edit or refuse photos and/or manuscripts intended for publication is assumed. All unsolicited material submitted to Casino Rama Resort Magazine are submitted at the author’s risk. Manuscripts and or photographs intended to be returned must be accompanied by sufficient postage. Casino Rama Resort Magazine does not assume any responsibility for any claims of our advertisers and reserves the right to refuse any advertising.

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Partake in an unique discovery at the Orillia Museum of Art and History.



Ghosts and autumn go hand in hand; and here, we visit the ghosts of three local haunts.

A snapshot of how Casino Rama Resort has given back.

Upcoming events at Casino Rama Resort





Grilled to perfection at St. Germain’s Steakhouse




The perfect time to relax and rejuvenate.

A guide to hiking, biking and Honouring the success and driving the beautiful landscape achievements of leaders in the of Ontario’s Lake Country. Canadian gaming community.



THE SWEET SIDE A guide to desserts at Casino Rama Resort



FLAVOURS OF ONTARIO’S LAKE COUNTRY Experience the joys of eating local during this dining promotion.


EVENTFUL A guide to conference, banquet and catering facilities at Casino Rama Resort

TREND FORWARD The best hair and beauty looks for fall and winter.


SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP The best places to go to bring home a piece of Ontario’s Lake Country.



KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN BET ON Smart questions you should ask when gambling.


FEELING FESTIVE A guide to upcoming festivals happening in Ontario’s Lake Country.


IN MUSKOKA This time of year is particularly magical in Muskoka. With this in mind, we highlight some of the mysteries of this beautiful area and throw a spotlight on the much celebrated Bala Cranberry Festival.


BY LYNN OGRYZLO “My favourite desserts in the world are chocolate and ice cream,” says Casino Rama Resort’s pastry chef, Khushroo Khambata. I’m thinking of how much I agree, but to me, the best of chocolate and ice cream are when they’re actually the same thing. As it’s obvious we need to clarify many things, he continues, “Think about it, we’ve all heard that butter is good today but not tomorrow.” He’s right, food lusting and fear mongering is rampant. “The two desserts that no one ever touches are chocolate and ice cream. We just love them too much!” Apart or together, there’s no way I can get him to choose between chocolate or ice cream as his favourite dessert. In fact, the signature dessert in Cedar restaurant is the Great Indoors Brownie Sundae. It’s a rich chocolate brownie made creamier and all the more luscious with the addition of

marshmallow. Simple and rich, Khambata then partners the brownie with a decadent vanilla ice cream enriched with just a bit of chocolate and graham cracker crumbs. If that’s not enough, it’s then topped with flowing bitter fudge. It’s his testament to how fulfilling delicious chocolate and ice cream can be when partnered on the plate. What makes this uncomplicated and unsuspecting dessert so successful is the pure simplicity of it. The flavours are top of the line rich and allowed to fill the palate uncluttered. I call it ‘clean’ on the palate, clean because it’s not confused or overpowered with anything else like liqueur or fruit. “You create better desserts when you keep a product (dish) in a simple form. Keeping it simple means you can amplify it further so the taste will be stronger and strong flavours are always better.” >>


Most chefs will agree if you try to incorporate too many flavours into one dish, you don’t taste anything. “That’s why some restaurant dishes look like a magazine shoot but when you want flavour you go for a burger. Food in its simplest form is the best food.” Listening to him talk I’m reminded of how sinfully delightful the Triple Chocolate Cheesecake was that I enjoyed the night before. It simply soaked my olfactory senses with thick, ravishing chocolate. With such concentration of one ingredient – chocolate, the strength of flavour becomes overwhelmingly pleasurable. He admits to raising the bar on chocolate flavour while focusing on a texture that will allow the blockbuster flavours to glide across the palate effortlessly, sinfully. It truly is an example of a sublime experience. Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Khambata started his sweet career as Chef de Partie at the Oberoi Towers Hotel in Mumbai before setting his sights further afield. Everywhere he goes, he learns something new, as he travels from praline production on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in Miami to wedding cake perfection in the Cayman Islands, from chocolate craftsmanship at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto to gluten free baking at Ste. Anne’s Spa in Grafton. Wherever life takes him, Khambata admits that chocolate has always been centre stage in his career and passion. He especially loves to sculpt with chocolate. “My favourite ingredient to work with is chocolate, it’s most difficult to work with and it’s sensitive to humidity. You have to really understand the science behind chocolate to manage it. It’s the same thing when you work with sugar.” While Khambata says that baking with chocolate is the easiest (just add it to a recipe), the most satisfying way to work with chocolate is to temper it. He explains the science behind the tempering process but I can’t pretend to understand. Simply put, tempering breaks down the crystals in the cocoa butter over and over again. You’ve seen it on television, chefs skillfully moving the chocolate around a marble slab with just a pastry palate. It’s culinary theatrics at its best and could be intimidating to home cooks, but Khambata wants guests to know, “it’s not difficult to learn and working with chocolate is very satisfying.” When the chocolate is finally allowed to set again, the cocoa butter comes back together better than before, it’s extremely smooth and shiny with a clean snap when it’s broken. Khambata tempers chocolate and molds it into elaborate creations that have won him many awards but he’s not a man that surrounds himself with trophies, just chocolate sculptures. While guests may not be ambitious enough to craft a four foot chocolate sculpture, the small molded chocolate candies need tempering. “Once you know it, it’s not difficult,” says Khambata. I suggest to Khambata that not everyone would want to temper chocolate and that there are plenty of bakers out there that would love a tip from him and he doesn’t disappoint. He recommends you use a heating pad. Turn it on, cover it with a tea towel and set your bowl of melted chocolate on top. This will keep your melted chocolate at the perfect melted state while you prepare your other ingredients. I asked Khambata what kind of chocolate is best and he says, “bittersweet and semi-sweet aren't good terms to go by”. Instead he recommends you buy chocolate that is labeled with percentages. Khambata likes to use a 70% Valrhona Guanaja chocolate but any quality chocolate in the 60-80% range will do. “If your only choices are bittersweet or semi-sweet, go with bittersweet as it's likely to have less sugar than semi-sweet.”

MY FAVOURITE INGREDIENT TO WORK WITH IS CHOCOLATE, IT’S MOST DIFFICULT TO WORK WITH AND IT’S SENSITIVE TO HUMIDITY. YOU HAVE TO REALLY UNDERSTAND THE SCIENCE BEHIND CHOCOLATE TO MANAGE IT. IT’S THE SAME THING WHEN YOU WORK WITH SUGAR. If you want to taste the difference a good chocolate makes, drop by the Weirs and try the Devils Chocolate Raspberry Torte. Khambata uses a concentration of 70% chocolate to give that overwhelming feel-good chocolate flavour. Chocolate at this level has been proven to release happy neurotransmitters such as endorphins that leads to feelings of euphoria and other happy emotions, not to mention it’s a darn good dessert. Once again he finishes it off with a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream to carry the chocolate flavours across a luscious texture, to add temperature contrast and to give the chocolate a super-boost with a hit of rich vanilla. Khambata is also up on the latest flavour trends. While coffee shops are now putting a scoop of ice cream into espresso, Khambata puts a scoop of espresso into ice cream. Try the Chocolate and Mocha Ice Cream Pie. Here the ice cream doesn’t melt into the warm coffee, instead the ice cream chills the coffee and both become equal partners in deliciousness. Khambata’s desserts are always strategic, his chocolate is always the best and his guests, the happiest in the resort.




G E R M A I N ’ S






all started over two decades ago when Casino Rama Resort hired a young, opinionated chef named Patrick Armstrong. Full of ideals and eager to make his mark, Armstrong knew he couldn’t be all things to all diners so he focused on what he loved best, beef. “I implemented Casino Rama Resort’s first meat program back then,” says Armstrong proudly as he leans back in his office chair. Back then it meant working with many suppliers, trying their products, and learning how cattle were raised, fed and processed. On one hand Armstrong explains how difficult and time consuming it was. He laughs, “Some thought I was a high-maintenance chef, you know, wasting their time with frivolous demands, others were downright suspicious of my questions. It wasn’t easy getting the facts.” Fast forward two decades of unwavering demands in an ever changing industry and a maturing culinary environment and Armstrong today describes his meat program as, “a culinary exercise of pure hedonism.” Yes, Armstrong is first to admit he’s a man who loves a, “sizzling, juicy, beefy, sweet steak”. In the meat section of St. Germain’s Steakhouse menu is an unassuming entrée identified simply as, Ribeye. It says nothing of what it really is. What it doesn’t say is that this cut is the perfect balance of fat and flavour; that it’s well marbled and cut “two fingers” thick-Armstrong’s favourite. It’s seasoned simply with salt and pepper, placed on a super hot grill (hotter than anything you could produce at home)

so the outside is seared-shut, keeping the juices inside as the steak is finished in the oven. Once out of the oven the sizzling mass of meat is left to rest so the juices redistribute themselves throughout, making every bite as juicy as the first. The result is fork-tender, clean beefy meat with a sweetish aftertaste. I suppose all of this is too lengthy to put on a menu but really, some sort of middle ground would inform guests much better. How about, “You gotta try this! Armstrong talks about his quest for the perfect steak. He emphasizes, “beef is 75% water and 25% muscle so you really have to know how to cook it so it doesn’t dry out.” I ask him how he makes sure every steak is cooked to perfection and he says, “we have a chef and that’s all he does all night. In one month he will easily grill 600 Ribeyes, 500 New York Striploins, 1,200 Tenderloins and 41 Cowboy Steaks.” But an expert steak griller and an understanding of the product isn’t enough for Armstrong. “We still couldn’t get a steak that great without first starting with the best product.” Armstrong works with one large food company who sources the best meat from the mid-west corridor, or as he puts it, “the darn best beef growing strip in the world”. The strip of land he’s referring to begins in Alberta and runs down through Montana, iconic Nebraska and ends in beef central, Texas. It’s a beef region, a region of gustatory supremacy that defies borders and countries. >>



I ask if he’s visited all the farms from his suppliers and he laughs, “no, but I’m not finished yet.” Armstrong says the best beef is the most natural beef. The animals aren’t penned or crowded, they’re allowed both fresh air and shelter, they’re grass fed, raised with care, on an all-natural diet, on sustainably managed farms. Armstrong has a preference for grass fed beef, “it’s different, earthy, more robust beefy flavour and when it’s natural, it’s sweeter.” Armstrong claims pure beef has a natural sweet aftertaste to its meaty flavour, “it’s sublime.” Armstrong goes on to explain the best quality beef has no bitter edge, metallic aftertaste, or any other flavours to clutter the olfactory senses. Armstrong is a serious beef guy and he likes to show it in a big way. On St. Germain’s menu is a grass-fed, bone-in cowboy steak. It’s a whopping 42-ounces of pure meatiness and is probably the biggest steak in all of Ontario. For a steak that large, it’s cooked more like a roast, “low and slow,” says Armstrong who goes on to surprise me by telling me where the cattle come from. Apparently these cattle are raised in Eastern Canada. As the salty Atlantic air blows across the Gaspé Peninsula, it gives the grass a saltiness that translates into the meat. The pure, sweet meatiness of the cowboy steak has a natural saltiness to the finish, a ‘goût de la terre’ (taste of the land) that comes only from the most natural and distinctive of environments. This is a rare find that he’s most proud of and excited about. Of course a steak this large is best shared among a group of four, otherwise, be prepared to take home dinner for the next few nights! Of all the steaks on St. Germain’s menu, the Tenderloin still reign’s supreme. I ask Armstrong why after so many years this hasn’t changed. “I don’t know really, my sense is that sometimes it’s all people know. Steaks are the most expensive meal you can order and consumers don’t want

to risk their hard earned money on something they haven’t tried yet. But if I could, I’d like them to try the Rib eye because if they did,” and he finishes laughingly, “my Rib eye would become the most popular entrée on the menu”. But ordering steak in a restaurant is not the only time it’s expensive. Ever try to buy a good steak from a butcher? Wow. That’s why I will always order a steak in a restaurant because, as I’m now learning, I can never make it taste as good as when I eat out. But as I sit across from the meat expert, I’m thinking I could squeeze a few home grilling tips out of him. “Keep it simple,” he begins. “No sauces or other flavours to muck it up, just a little salt and pepper on the best steak you can buy, leave it on the counter for an hour so it’s room temperature, sear it on as hot a grill as you can get, turn it over when it’s seared, about two minutes per side (longer and the grill will begin to flare up and burn the steak), put it in a baking pan, rub it with olive oil and a bit of dried garlic if you want and finish it off in the oven. If you’re barbecuing outside, just slide the steak over to the side so the flames won’t flare up, close the lid and you’ve got the same environment as an oven.” He ponders his next statement. He makes a note not to use a fork or knife to test when it’s done. Don’t use a probe thermometer or break into the steak in any way or you’ll lose the juices and they won’t settle properly when resting! Learn to use the finger test, everyone can learn it.” My last question is how he likes his steak: blue, rare, medium or well? He quickly leans forward in his chair and replies shaking his finger, “never well. The best steaks are from rare to medium. It’s where you’ll find the most flavour and the perfect range of silkiness or tenderness.” The theme of Armstrong’s interview has been simplicity yet his quest for the greatest steaks is anything but the simplest job. He defends with, “we keep it very simple with the kinds of steaks we offer, we do less… but better.”

From beers and burgers to steak and lobster, you’ll never go hungry at the Great Indoors, with 8 unique restaurants to choose from



He was walking the field in the fresh country air when a few snow-white ducks ran between his legs. Chef Todd Marshall stopped and watched them as they waddled along squawking at each other like two old ladies out for a walk. Or were they squawking at him because he was in their way? Marshall is touring King Cole Duck Farm in Newmarket, it’s not far from Orillia and it’s the duck farm Marshall prefers. Todd Marshall is a chef at Casino Rama Resort and he cares about where his food comes from so when he’s not behind a kitchen workstation, most likely you’ll find him at Avalon Orchards biting into a just picked apple, ensuring the sweet corn was picked less than an hour ago at Hewitt’s Market or in this case, at King Cole Duck Farm walking among the ducks ensuring they’re all happy and healthy. Marshall sits across the desk from me for this interview and laughs, “that was a long time ago when commercial ducks were allowed to roam outside during the day.” Marshall is right. Patty Thompson of King Cole Duck Farm says the government regulations no longer allows the birds to roam freely outside so they built giant barns. The birds have as much room inside with a special ventilation system ensuring fresh air at all times. “They’re still happy and healthy,” she says and that makes Marshall happy. Thompson and Marshall are talking about ducks for the Flavours of Ontario’s Lake Country promotion happening from October

21 to November 6. The dine-around promotion is about a small, tasty community of 12 chefs collectively showcasing their passion for home grown goodness. It’s about chefs and local suppliers working together to offer dishes with a distinctively local flair that will impress their diners. It’s a 17-day affair of chefs focusing on one culinary theme like food grown locally and the results are sublime. King Cole, like other North American duck farms, raise two varieties of White Pekin ducks, the European variety with a thicker layer of fat down their back and the North American variety with a leaner back and fuller meat. It’s the North American Cedar Valley duck that Marshall prefers for his health conscious diners and it’s the legs that he loves to work with most. Because King Cole ducks are premium, Marshall works with them in St. Germain’s restaurant. He takes duck legs and cooks them in their own fat for 3 to 4 hours at super low temperature. Here they sit until someone orders them in the restaurant. Then he takes the succulent duck leg and roasts them in a hot oven with his favourite sweet and sour glaze, until the fat crisps on the outside skin. Marshall serves the duck confit cassoulet-style on a bed of white beans, maple smoked pork belly, duck sausage and roasted fall vegetables. It’s a popular fall dish in St. Germain’s restaurant but when I ask if he will offer this for the Flavours of Ontario’s Lake Country dining promotion, he’s very noncommittal. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 19

To say Marshall has cooking moods that change with the season is a bit of an understatement. He has been known to pull up his boots to walk miles in a deserted field in search of wild asparagus; to slip and slide through the muck of a garlic field in the pouring rain and to be nudged out of a pen by a cantankerous hog. When you eat seasonally the food tends to draw you in with their bewitching aromas, their succulent juices and their beguiling nature and before you know it, you just can’t eat anything but local food ever again. The fall in Ontario’s Lake Country is full of maturing fruit from apples hanging on the trees to corn being pulled from the field. It’s a beautiful time of year when leaves turn crimson, fields are dotted with orange pumpkins and market stands are piled with distorted gourds. Because Lake Country has a shorter growing season than southern Ontario, they’re fiercely passionate about their home grown food. Marshall talks incessantly about the local food of his area and I still can’t get him to commit to what he will make for the Flavours of Ontario’s Lake Country promotion. The promotion is one that Marshall loves because it’s about paying respect to the natural rhythm of the seasons and the different foods inspired by them; it’s a celebration that marks the end of a season filled with bountiful

harvests; it’s about delicious food from the garden and good cooks, or in this case, good chefs. “We are all connected to this rhythm,” explains Marshall who expresses how amazing it is that Mother Nature miraculously provides us with the perfect food at just the right time. He calls it the rhythm of the seasons. Marshall’s greatest task is not what foods to work with, but the fact that he must design a 3-course, prix fixe menu for dinner service. He must make a decision and stick to it. So when a farmer brings in a box of just picked forest mushrooms, he can’t incorporate them into his Flavours of Ontario’s Lake Country promotion because his dishes must be planned well in advance. “That’s ok,” says Marshall. “I can just put them into other dishes or specials in the restaurant so my customers will have greater choice. Even if they aren’t here for the local food promotion, they’ll still be eating local.” For guests, the promotion is a great way to try new restaurants or new dishes at their favourite restaurant. It’s a fall promotion that focuses on fall produce like savoury root vegetables, pumpkins, squash and cabbage. All savoury flavours that go so well with each other. Fall is an exciting season. The air is crisp and the deep, rich colours of the leaves mimic the season’s harvest, “it’s just simply brilliant,” says Marshall who estimates most professional chefs

and home cooks will be busy preserving the last of the summer’s bounty before the long, cold dormant days of winter set in. When he’s not working, Marshall is a chef who likes to walk the areas farmers’ markets. He asks me, “have you ever noticed that most of the vegetables you see at the farmers’ market grow above ground?” It’s not something I’ve ever thought about when I look at the abundance of greens, squashes, melons and eggplant. But fall is the season for roots says Marshall, “tubers that grow below the ground give us what other vegetables cannot; savoury textures and natural sweetness.” I ask him what home cooks can do with root vegetables and he’s quick to respond, “who can resist a pan of parsnips and carrots caramelizing along with a joint of meat? You can take grated parsley root and make breakfast fritters to serve with maple syrup. Onions can be roasted with figs and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and sweet potatoes can be pureed for pies and velvety custards.” So the man who can’t stop talking about fall produce and culinary possibilities still refuses to commit to his Flavours of Ontario’s Lake Country promotion dishes. “Not until the last minute will I know what I’ll do,” he says. So for now, I’ll just make my reservation and anticipate.


FIRST NATION www.ramafirstnation.ca | 705.325.3611 | 1.866.854.2121 | 705.325.0879


We do weddings Casino Rama Resort offers 16,000 square feet of banquet space to accommodate weddings large and small. Plus, with a variety of dining and catering options, a luxury hotel and spa on-site, our dedicated event specialists can help you plan the perfect day! Book your wedding with us in 2016 or 2017 with a minimum of 100 guests and receive a complimentary linen package, including table cloths, chair covers and napkins from our extensive inventory. Visit CasinoRama.com or call 1-705-238-5900 to start planning the wedding of your dreams!

*Offer valid for 2016 and 2017 calendar year. Offer valid with a confirmed booking of 100 or more guests. Certain restrictions apply. Must be nineteen (19) years of age or older with government issued photo identification. Those who have been trespassed and/or self-excluded from Casino Rama Resort or any OLG property and/or fail to meet Casino Rama Resort’s conditions of entry may not visit, participate in promotions and/or redeem offers. Offers do not apply to employees of Casino Rama Resort.



R E S O R T:

C O N F E R E N C E, B A N Q U E T & C A T E R I NG F U N C T I O N S Every event planner and, more important, every event-goer knows one thing: no matter the size of the event, no matter its purpose, no matter its budget, the crucial element that makes it or breaks it is to experience something unique and memorable. That’s why Casino Rama Resort considers its catering sales staff and group of banquet chefs to be as important as any other part of its team. “We treat guests like friends, and friends like family,” says Helen Cooper, director of hotel operations. “That’s the mindset throughout the entire property. Each and every one of our team members takes pride in delivering a memorable experience to all of our guests.” So no matter if you’re a VIP player, a casual gamer, a concert goer or someone looking to host their next event at Casino Rama Resort, the red carpet is rolled out. Steven Ollerenshaw, hotel sales and catering manager, said that flexibility and a multitude of space options make Casino Rama Resort the ideal choice for any event. “We have 16,000 square feet of banquet space that can accommodate anywhere from five to 400 people for a wide range of events such as weddings, trade shows, meetings and conferences,” said Ollerenshaw. Whether it’s the 6,600-square-foot Silvernightingale Ballroom, the 2,900-square-foot Anishnaabe Ballroom or the casino’s three other rooms – ranging in size from 640 square feet to 1,500 square feet – the facilities are pillar-free, separate from the gaming floor (which mean those under 19 are welcome) and feature state-of-the-art audio and visual services. “We really are a one-stop shop,” said Cooper. “For weddings, for example, with input from the bride and groom, we look after every detail; we do

it all, so they don’t have to worry about it. And we have an in-house catering team that is second to none.” While it’s a popular spot for weddings, many have taken advantage of the casino’s unique amenities to create one-of-akind events, Cooper said. “The traditional staff Christmas party is long gone, so we offer a very unique, different possibility,” Cooper said. “We’ve had people come here for a half-day of spa treatments, then bring in our pastry chef to teach participants how to prepare something decadent and then, after a catered dinner, the group goes to a concert together. It’s the type of experience you just can’t get anywhere else.” While at the resort, of course, adults can enjoy playing any one of the 2,500 slot machines and 110 table games on the casino floor, take a dip in the hotel’s impressive salt water horizon pool, relax in the full-service Balance in Life Spa, catch some rays in the adjacent rooftop terrace, enjoy cocktails in the Firestarter Lounge, try one of the casino’s eight restaurants, take in a show in the stateof-the-art 5,000 seat Entertainment Centre or visit one of the retail shops. If you'd like to plan your next event at Casino Rama Resort, feel free to contact by phone at 705-238-5900 and one of the helpful Hotel Sales & Catering Team members will be there to assist you. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 23

CASINO RAMA RESORT IS THE PERFECT EVENT DESTINATION With nearly 16,000 square-feet of flexible event space equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, a variety of dining and catering options and luxury hotel on-site, we can accommodate all your event needs from your next business meeting to the office party, trade show, large holiday event or corporate retreat. To book now or learn more about our holiday packages call 705-238-5900 to speak with one of our Hotel Sales and Catering team members.

Must be nineteen (19) years of age or older with valid government issued photo identification to gain access to the gaming floor or Entertainment Centre. Those who have been trespassed and/or self-excluded from Casino Rama Resort or any OLG property may not visit Casino Rama Resort, participate in promotions and/or redeem offers.

An Exploration By Gabrielle Tieman

The Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) invites Canadians to partake in a unique journey of discovery in celebration of Canada’s monumental 150th anniversary. Opening its doors to the public this October 1, The Spirit of Mariposa exhibit will hold up a lens and tell the story of small town Orillia through the mediums of some of the area’s most iconic and timeless artists, displaying how this small town’s intrinsic history helped to inspire and shape their famous work. >>


From a distance we’re just like any other small Ontario town, & yet up close we are so unique.

Described as simultaneously universal yet incomparably local, the city of Orillia and its surrounding boroughs will find itself on centre stage alongside the thousands of donated artifacts and artwork from local artists, or Canadian singer-song writer Gordon Lightfoot, humorist and author Stephen Leacock, artist and sculptor Elizabeth Wyn Wood and artist and colourist Arthur Shilling. The work will manifest into a powerful 15 month long living exhibit – resulting in an eye opening experience into the true magic behind Orillia’s art community and the little lines that connect both past and present artists’ stories together. “[The exhibit] is about the connections,” says Craig Mainprize, Guest Curator for the Spirit of Mariposa. “In Orillia we have all these stories and rich history that is particular to each artist but there has never been a comprehensive exhibit to tie all the stories together. It is about being aware of the power that our geography and landscape and the history of Orillia has had on our craft and into our art and how it speaks volumes not only about our community but about Canada.” This multimedia exhibit will follow the shoreline of Lake Couchiching, travelling from the ancient fishing weirs at the Narrows – one of the oldest archeologist sites in Canada –across the lake towards Big Chief Island and Rama – using geographical touchstones along the way as windows into the worlds of the showcased artists. The exhibit plans to platform the collected artifacts and artwork alongside audio tracks to illustrate how each artist transformed their craft and very local experiences into a number of powerful and universal expressions that have resonated nationally and globally for a number of years.

The exhibit will also examine each artist’s devotion and approach to their craft and how they distilled a unique sense of place which resulted in moulding both the town’s identity and their artwork – both crafted in a way that a small town could be understood and celebrated on international levels. “There is a reason that Orillia has been home to so many remarkable people and has had such a thriving artistic community all these years,” said Mainprize. “It’s full of inspiration and stories that are rich enough to resonate across the globe. From a distance we’re just like any other small Ontario town, and yet up close we are so unique.” Unlike traditional museum exhibits, OMAH’s will be incredibly interactive. From the audio narrative playing clips and facts about the artists to the shoreline map laid out on the floor and quotes clinging to the walls, the audience will truly get a sense of place and presence amongst the exhibit. Mainprize said putting the exhibit together was an adventure meets treasure hunt in itself; artifacts were either found or received with guidance from people such as Mark Douglas – one of the elders of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Fred Addis – Curator of the Stephen Leacock Museum, Karen Hilfman Millson of Orillia’s Lightfoot Days, the Orillia Public Library, The Mariposa Roundtable and the team at OMAH. “It is about bringing the community together,” said Mainprize. “Everyone came together in a big way to make this exhibit possible. That’s who we are as Canadians.” Featured events, community engagement programs and summer camp activities will also be available to help get kids and the community at large excited about their history and

interacting with the exhibit. “It will be very visceral and exciting and a place where your imagination has a bit of space to work,” said Mainprize. “We have wonderful and powerful exhibits by each artist alongside engaging media that will show the impact and power that living in Orillia has had on their artwork.” With so much to display and so many stories to tell, Mainprize said the exhibit will evolve and change several times throughout its lifetime in order to keep it fresh and best showcase each artifact while striving not to overwhelm the viewers. “We wanted to make sure that there was room for the exhibit to bloom as awareness of it grows,” said Mainprize. “We have rich tapestry of history and stories and there are so many sides to these artists. Trying to put all of these stories in a sack and bring it here to put on this exhibit all at once would be overwhelming to people.” Mainprize said the hope is that the rotating exhibit will inspire all who pass through its doors to tell stories of their own through artistic expressions. “From a distance when you look at Orillia, we are just like any other small town,” said Mainprize. “We have our industries particular to our geography, we have our artists but then when you get closer there is all this uniqueness and things that are characteristically so Mariposan and Orillian. And this is all of our stories and this is what we are putting across in our exhibit.” “We want people to revel in the history we have had here that is helping to pave the way for the next wave and future generations of artists.” For more information on visiting the OMAH and the Spirit of Mariposa exhibit, visit orilliamuseum.org.





NATURE Visit our tasting room and retail store featuring licenced seating on Mirror Lake. Available at select grocery stores, beer stores, licencees and our onsite retail store.


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Get in touch with the beauty, relaxation and tranquility of the Great Indoors. All spa and hotel guests have access to the indoor salt water horizon pool and hot tub, eucalyptus steam room, sauna and adult only fitness facility







As we move into the winter months, it’s important to keep in mind that the change in weather has a definite effect on not only your body, but your mind. The sun rises later and sets earlier, leaving us with significantly less daylight. This shift has an impact on your daily rhythms, sleep, schedules, etc. Energy levels are usually lower, with your body feeling like it needs more rest in order to conserve energy. It’s important to keep our immune systems strong during these months, as the foods we consume have a powerful impact on how we feel. The winter months are the perfect time to treat yourself at a spa, and nourish your body a little bit. >>





Melt away tension and stress through the comforting warmth of heated stones. This popular treatment delivers a healing effect to tired and aching muscles. TAIL O RED




Upgrade your massage with two of the following enhancements to make this a truly tailored treatment: • Hot stones • Aromatic Oil/Body Butter • Faces/Scalp Massage •Heat Treatment Feet and/or Hands B O D Y




Organic handmade sugar scrubs exfoliate your skin; therapeutic massage therapy gently relaxes your body and leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. B O D Y T R E AT M E N T S Receive revitalizing treatments proven to improve skins tone and texture with ingredients that are fresh and nourish the skin with their hydrating and energizing properties. • Body Polish: Get a full body scrub while you are kept warm and comfy. After cleansing and exfoliating your skin, the granules are rinsed away in a warm and relaxing shower. Add a wrap to your body polish for additional benefits. At the Balance in Life Spa located within Casino Rama Resort, body treatments, packages and promotions are changed regularly to offer a variety of options to guests. Ingredients are fresh and nourish the skin with their hydrating and energizing properties. And every visit includes complimentary use of the salt water indoor pool and hot tub, eucalyptus steam room, sauna gym and full locker room facilities. Whether you’re looking to savour a little “me” time or celebrating a special occasion, there are a number of treatments ideal for individuals, couples and groups.

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Clinically proven to reduce stress hormones, relieve muscle pain, restore mobility, improve sleep and many more benefits. This treatment is available for specific problem areas or as a full body massage.

• Body Wrap: Get enveloped in an opulent and effective body wrap that penetrates the skin to deliver optimal results. Each session include a complimentary body polish sugar or salt scrub. This treatment finishes with a soothing application of aromatic oil or body butter to hydrate and protect your skin. • Other treatments include: nail; face; lash and brow treatments, waxing and more. Packages are available. To make a spa reservation at the Balance in Life Spa, call (705) 238-5933 or send an email to balanceinlifespa@ casinorama.com.

TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN 2016 marks the 5th anniversary for Treetop Trekking in Huntsville. The tree top adventure park first opened its aerial courses off of Highway 60 at the site of the old Huntsville airport in spring of 2012. Since then Treetop Trekking has welcomed tens of thousands of adventure seekers to its zip lines, log bridges, Tarzan swings and other aerial games suspended high in the forest canopy. The activity that originates in France has quickly become a new favourite summer activity for Muskoka regulars and first time visitors to the area. The combination of fresh air, excitement and physical challenge has proven a winning recipe for summer fun. “At first many visitors are nervous about climbing to heights that can reach over 40 feet in the air,” says Treetop Trekking Marketing Director, Mike Stiell. “A fear of heights is one of the most common fears, but 9 times out of 10 by the end of their visit those nervous climbers are laughing and having a fantastic time,” says Stiell. He goes on to explain that it usually takes first times visitors a little bit of time to build their confidence and to trust the equipment they are using, but once they build up that confidence it’s all fun from that point on. Every tour also starts off with a safety orientation and trained guides supervise all activities. Aside from the Huntsville location, Treetop Trekking also operates parks in Barrie, Brampton, Stouffville, the Ganaraska Forest near Port Hope and at 5 locations in Quebec. To celebrate it’s 5th year in operation, Treetop Trekking in Huntsville is offering specials throughout the season (April to October), including a ‘4 people for the price of 3’ deal on certain weekdays in July and August. The park is open to ages 9 and up and is a popular activity for families, groups of friends, birthday parties, corporate groups and group outings. Reservations are recommended, and the park is busiest on Saturdays and Sundays so plan accordingly. For more information on Treetop Trekking you can check out their website at treetoptrekking.com Treetop Trekking Ontario Zipline Parks treetoptrekking.com Treetop Trekking is Ontario’s zip line adventure leader. Providing zipline and aerial game parks in Toronto, Peterborough, Brampton, Barrie, Huntsville, Stouffville ... TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 31

HAIR & BEAUTY LOOKS FOR FALL By Gabrielle Tieman This winter we are savouring the drama of it all. After countless seasons of celebrating the no-makeup makeup, easy-breezy hair and overall “I Woke Up Like This” look, this cold weather season catapults us into a dreamy fantasy of polished yet exaggerated graphic looks; allowing makeup lovers to work their magic and turn out some serious runway ready looks for suitable day to day wear. Dramatic pop-art reminiscent eyeliner, tight springy curls, glitter adorned smoky eyes and impossible to ignore lips; we may be preparing to bundle up for the winter, but these beauty trends will have us feeling hot, hot hot.

HAIR Big Polished Curls: See ya later smooth waves and blowouts. This fall, it is all about letting your natural spring and volume take over – with a little guidance of course. The Trick: The It hair of the season is simple; stop over processing your locks with blow driers and flat irons and embrace your hairs natural kink. For a little extra help (we can’t all have naturally curly locks), grab a tiny curling iron and go crazy defining coils all over your head in a non-uniform fashion for an exaggerated curled look. Old Hollywood Glam: The classic S curl gets a modern update with brushed out big volume. The Trick: To take your curl from ordinary to extraordinary, first invest in a good quality volumizing spray or mousse to help lift your hair at the roots and achieve fullness. Then start curling! Working from the base of your head to the top, curl strands of hair and then coil the strand into a ring and pin it at the roots. This will allow your hair to cool and hold the curl with

maximum volume. Once cooled, release each curl, spritz generously with hairspray and brush out any tight coils. This will give your hair maximum volume and that to die for Hollywood coifed look. Youthful Updos: Flip through your old yearbooks and take a cue from your younger self with playground inspired pigtails, tight double braids and classic low ponytails. The Trick: Keep your look from turning into a primary school throwback by keeping it chic and sleek. Products like frizz fighting shampoos, finishing sprays, serums and, of course, heavy-duty hairspray will help keep fly-aways and baby hairs that escape at bay. A bonus tip to keeping your braids and tails modern: a center part. By parting your hair naturally in the center and separating your hair into two sections, you create a balanced look. This will allow locks to appear crafted instead of thrown up in haste on the way to the gym. >>


MAKEUP Graphic Eyeliner: Just like an artist on her canvas, take your eyeliner outside the box this season and get artsy with your favorite liners. The Trick: Who says rimming your lids is the only way to go? Give a new dimension to your look and have a little fun with your eyeliner this season by drawing on multiple lines, creating over exaggerated wings with long brush strokes and colouring completely outside the eye. Nervous to try your hand at creating a thicker cat eye because you can’t seem to steady your hands? The easiest way to do so is to make sure you have an easy to use eyeliner pen or brush at your disposal. The less pressure you need to use, the more fluidly the line will go on your lid. Barely There Brows: Sorry Cara Delevingne, but this fall’s brows are tamed and lighter than ever. The Trick: Runways and fashion blogs were flooded with naked brows this season as designers tossed away the filler pencils and bleached their models brows for an out of this world look. For those of us not daring enough to bleach the color out of our brows, try lightening the hairs with brow setting gels or simply ease up on the pencils this season; this will draw attention down towards your eyes and create a more open looking appearance. The Silver Touch: Upgrade your colors with one simple addition: classic metallic silver and chrome in every form. The Trick: Metallic details and shimmering eyeshadows are all the rage this season. Not only do these modern shades brighten up the whites of your eyes, but this 90s party girl fav can also add a playfulness that can go from a day at the office to a night on the town with one simple

swipe. For daytime, add a touch of metallic to the inside corner of your eyes to brighten up any dark circles that may not have disappeared with your morning coffee. Heading out for a cocktail? Try a shadow or liner with a sequin. A touch of sequins added along with your eyeliner or spattering away from the outside corner of your eye can add a whimsical aspect to your typical night out look. Doll Eyes: Eyes are the window to the soul – and the star of this season’s beauty trends. The Trick: Think oversized lashes on the top and the bottom, dramatic falsies and clumpy mascara wands gone wild. Lengthy, thick lashes are the key to making your eyes pop and giving you the appearance of being bright eyed and awake all season long. How to master a truly dramatic false eyelash: it is all in the glue. Invest in a strong setting glue that dries black instead of the typical clear products. Simply touch it up with eyeliner once it is dry and you’re set to turn heads. Not a fan of false eyelashes? Use multiple coats of mascara on both the top and bottom lashes for a wide-eyed appearance. A Dark Pout: The pop of a smoky eye moves south for the winter and is replaced with black and dark maroon lips. The Trick: Keep your dark pout from looking too Halloween-esque by keeping the rest of your makeup simple and maintaining strong lines that do not travel outside of your lip’s natural shape. Ensure you don’t paint on a clown mouth by first outlining your lips with a pencil. If you are not a fan of a pencil, invest in a tiny lip brush and paint your lipstick on instead of using the tube. That way you can control the amount that goes on your lip and keep it looking natural.

After a full day exploring the Great Indoors, unwind and stay the night in our luxury all-suite hotel. Learn about hotel packages and book online at casinorama.com



The Tales of

HAUNTED LAKE COUNTRY By Andrew Hind I Photo: Megan Pasche

Ghosts and autumn go hand-in-hand. In recent years, fall ghost tours have risen up like apparitions from mist-shrouded headstones. In each, participants anticipate encountering something supernatural, either for the excitement of a spine-chilling moment of horror, genuine scientific interest, or to have deep-seated questions about life and death answered. There’s no need to go far afield to get your ghostly fix. Ontario’s Lake Country is a region where people go to unwind and relax. And yet, whispered stories at a number of locations open to the public tell of countless restless souls who can find no peace. Horror aside, ghost stories are an important part of a region’s character. They reveal a great deal about the history of a place and its people. They shouldn’t be locked up like a dark secret, but rather shared. So even if you are a skeptic, get in the ‘spirit’ of the season and indulge in a good ghost story. STEPHEN LEACOCK MEMORIAL HOME Stephen Leacock would find it funny. The author who spent his career amusing people through his writing would often poke fun at spiritualists and mediums. Anyone who believed in ghosts and lifeafter-death deserved to be taunted, he undoubtedly

would have said. And yet, here we are, 70-years after his 1944 death, and his home is regarded by many as being among the most haunted locations in the region. Born in 1869, Leacock was one of the most famous Canadian authors of his day. He acquired thirty-three acres of land on the shore of Old Brewery Bay in Orillia, and in 1908 erected a modest summer cottage there. Leacock wrote several of his popular books, including the classic Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town here, no doubt inspired by the tranquility of the setting. In 1925, he tore down the cottage and had a larger country home built on the site. Leacock spent the remainder of his years there. The property was acquired by the Town of Orillia in 1957 and, as a museum called the Stephen Leacock Memorial Home, has become both a major tourist attraction and a literary shrine. It’s believed that the writer himself lingers, unwilling to accept he no longer owns the house. His shadowy form has been seen throughout the ground floor and even out on the grounds, and all manner of playful paranormal activity—lights that turn off and on by themselves, for example, and disembodied footsteps—have been attributed to him. >> TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 37

But if the good-humored writer is tied to the ground-floor, whose dark presence is felt in the bedroom above? Most believe this troubled apparition is Leacock’s son, Stephen Lushington Leacock, whose growth was stunted from an early age and who became a bitter man. He’s still not happy in death, often causing a feeling of foreboding and unease. ORILLIA OPERA HOUSE A spark of fear surfaced in the woman’s eyes and an icy shiver ran through her body. The usher at the Orillia Opera House heard distinct footsteps walking directly behind her as she climbed the stairs, and felt the icy chill of a cold hand on her back. When she turned, the woman was stunned to find herself alone. She tried to push down a rising tide of fear. The woman knew she had encountered a ghost. This terrified usher isn’t alone in believing spirits remain behind and within the walls of the Orillia Opera House. Over the years, a number of people have been left with this astonishing certainty after spending some time within the building. Built in 1895 and rebuilt in 1917 after a disastrous 1915 fire, the Opera House has seen many uses over the years. In the early years of its existence, it hosted vaudeville acts (a young Boris Karloff, of Frankenstein fame performed here) and screenings of silent films. More recently, live theatre has graced its stage. The building has also served as council chambers where decisions that guided the town’s development have been made. Finally, it housed a courtroom and, in the basement, a number of jail cells where those who were found guilty were confined before being imprisoned. Lore suggests as many as three restless spirits linger after death within the aged walls of this historic building. One is a musician who delights in playing the grand piano on stage, only to suddenly stop as soon as someone approaches. Another is said to be a workman who fell down an elevator shaft during the reconstruction of 1915, wasn’t found for three days, and eventually died from his extensive injuries. If you wander through the building at night you might just hear his desperate screams as he relives his fatal accident. The last one, finds the temperature suddenly dropping and ghostly whispers in the basement where jail cells were located, and is likely a condemned prisoner, perhaps one who was fated to be executed at the Barrie Jail. At the Orillia Opera House, history is close at hand…thanks in part to its ghostly inhabitants.



ST. COLUMBKILLE CHURCH Reports of shadowy figures that appear out of nowhere, creaking doors, burial vaults that swing open on their own, strange shadows flickering against walls, candlelight seen flickering in the windows on dark stormy nights, and an organ that plays by itself bedevil St. Columbkille’s Roman Catholic Church in what is otherwise a quiet country community. The stories started soon after the original St. Columbkille Roman Catholic Church, a little white church made of wood, was built in the 1850s. On more than one occasion, Reverend Henry McPhillips would walk away from a breviary he was working on only to return and find it mysteriously completed in crimson blood rather than ink. Some believe the first parish priest, who is rumoured to be buried in the basement, completed the work. The present red-brick St. Columbkille was erected in 1905 after fire had destroyed the original church. Several elements of the original were salvaged and brought to the new St. Columbkille, including the choir loft, the steeple vault, and several pews. Also making the move was the resident ghost. Paranormal activity continued into the new century, and in fact became more frequent and more pronounced. Many believe that the original spirit was joined in his hauntings by Reverend McPhillips, who died in 1897 and is buried in the church graveyard, perhaps continuing to watch over his beloved parish. The most famous ghost sighting dates back to 1864. Susan Wallis, along with her mother and sisters, were cleaning the church for Easter service, when they were startled by a sudden burst of eerie music coming from the organ loft. “We all turned and looked and in the upper choir loft there was a figure in black clothes. He had a top hat on and a white face,” she later recalled for a story in the Toronto Star. The ghost disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. Over the years, many resident priests have acknowledged ghostly activity at St. Columbkille’s. Visit and determine for yourself.

Photos: Green Autumn Photography, Michael Steingard, Rowell Photography and Visual Roots

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1. Grants Woods 2. Matchedash Bay 3. Scout Valley 4. Lake Country Oro-Medonte Rail Trail 5. Ramara Trail 6. Uhthoff Trail 7. Rama Ramara Route

8. Rail Trail 9. Bass Lake Beauty 10. Hills of Oro-Medonte 11. Ramara Trail 12. Uhthoff Trail

13. Bass Lake 14. Tudhope Park 15. Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial 16. Copeland Forest 17. Minesing Wetlands Conservation Area

Ontario Lake Country Fall Driving Route

Casino Rama Resort

In Living Colour

Whether you are boating, driving, hiking, or biking, Ontario’s Lake Country is rich with scenic landscapes, flora and fauna for outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape the city life – if only for a little while. For more listings and a complete map of trails, parks and conservation areas visit ontarioslakecountry.com.

Copeland Forest Situated on the Oro Moraine, with wooded hills and valleys, Ontario’s largest forest south of Algonquin Park - it boasts 4,400 acres of diverse habitat that is home to an abundance of flora and fauna. Working in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Copeland Forest Friends Association (CFFA) works to facilitate recreational use while conserving the natural integrity of the forest and supporting a sustainable network of trails. The CFFA welcomes the participation of outdoor enthusiasts* to ensure the continued sustainability of the forest. *Anglers and hunters; horseback riders; snow sport users; hikers; naturalists; mountain bikers; local residents and businesses.

Bass Lake Beauty Trail Start this “Canopy Cruising” adventure on Bass Lake Side Road; continue onto 8th Line and take in the scenic, winding, canopied section of Bass Lake Sideroad. Test yourself with a tour of central Oro-Medonte with a 5k grind up the 2nd Line. Grant’s Woods This awesome site houses trees that are up to 200 years old! Be sure visit Three Sisters, Climbing Vine and the beautiful vistas along the loop. Sections of the trail are wheelchair accessible as well as stroller friendly. J.B. Tudhope Park This active park is packed with amenities* and is well used by both residents and visitors for everything from sports, picnics and swimming at its popular Moose Beach swimming are. Aside from serving as a veritable playground, J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park on Lake Couchiching is home to the Mariposa Folk Festival.

Hike the trail that French Explorers, missionaries and fur traders travelled through in the 1600’s; here in 1819 a Black Settlement was established; more than 2,000 years ago the Hurons populated this very region and as recent as 1996 the last CN train passed through. Matchedash Bay Wildlife lovers – this bay is listed as an Important Bird Area; get the best view of the everchanging scenery at one of the three vistas. Stay for lunch and learn the history of Ontario’s Lake Country’s largest marsh in the picnic area. Ramara Trail History buffs will be delighted to start the trail at the Mnjikaning* Fishing Weirs, a National Historic Site. Here you can appreciate the the historic fish weirs that were built by the Mnjikaning First Nation people. Follow this trail through rural countryside that is home to the now abandoned CN Rail Line that once carried passengers from Toronto to Vancouver; freight from Toronto to North Bay. *Ojibway word meaning “the place of the fish fence”.

Rama & Ramara Route Begin your journey on Rama Road and enjoy the breath taking fall colours, and watch for the Osprey nests. Only minutes into your drive you will pass Casino Rama Resort, home to restaurants, shopping, an entertainment venue, casino and hotel. Continue through the passage of Autumn shades into Washago. Visit Canoe & R Cottage for a bite to eat.

*Playground, beach volleyball courts; 2 lit baseball diamonds; flower gardens; picnic tables; splash pad; trail; washrooms and fountains.

Scout Valley Formed by the retreating Ice Age Lake Algonquin, Scout Valley is a Provincially Significant Wetland where remnants of majestic white pine can be found. Within this nature park, you will find 3 loops - Algonquin Trail, Sugarbush Trail, and Homestead Trail.

Lake Country Oro-Medonte Rail Trail Want to connect with nature? Lake Country Oro-Medonte Rail Trail, links both Barrie and Orillia and is home to busy beavers, active osprey nests, great blue herons and quiet wetlands.

Uhthoff Trail Crossing many streams and wetlands this beautiful portion of the Trans Canada Trail runs through Ontario's Lake Country. Suggested starting point is Wilson Point Road in Orillia to Downtown Coldwater. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 41

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The only way to remember your visit is to take a little piece of Ontario's Lake Country home with you. Make sure you get some locally made honey, maple syrup or hand-crafted pottery. If you are looking for a unique gift for that special someone, then you will want to explore the many unique shops in the area or the local farmers markets. Our quaint villages such as Coldwater and Washago or our historic Downtown Orillia offer a much simpler life with charming shoppes, cafes and bakeries including Mariposa Market. Or while visiting Casino Rama Resort be sure to browse The Gathering Place Collections and Biindigen Gift Shop, a set of unique stores with exciting offerings. From native arts and crafts to ladies designer fashions, including Joseph Ribkoff and Tribal, Swarovski jewelry and our famous $15.00 boutique, The Gathering Place is a great opportunity to shop where you play. Offering sales up to 50% off and promotional opportunities for even greater savings, The Gathering Place is not only convenient but offers tremendous value. And just down the road from Casino Rama Resort you’ll find one of the largest retailers for moccasins, Rama Moccasin and Smoke – also offering a wide range of handmade native crafts, specialty handmade items, silver jewelry, carvings. With the holiday season soon approaching who doesn’t have a hard to buy for person on their holiday list? Casino Rama Resort Gift Cards provide the ultimate in flexibility. They can be used in any of our eight unique restaurants, at our deluxe all-suite hotel, for tickets to hot concerts and sporting events and in our luxury spa! With Casino Rama Gift Cards, your loved ones get to design their very own dream package based on their favourite amenities at Ontario’s premiere entertainment destination. Casino Rama Resort gift cards are available in the denomination of your choice. Purchase in person at Casino Rama Resort (Box Office, Hotel Front Desk & Balance in Life Spa) or by phone toll free at 1-800-832-PLAY (7529). For more information on shopping in Ontario's Lake Country, visit ontarioslakecountry.com/page/shops. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 43

Check out the latests slot additions, including Jackpot Inferno! More than 2,500 slots on the gaming floor, from classic reels and progressive jackpots to the latest in slot technology including video reels, transmissive screens, multi-denomination and video poker slots. We truly have it all!

*Note, games themes are subject to change and based on availability. Must be nineteen (19) years of age or older with government issued photo identification. Those who have been trespassed and/or self-excluded from Casino Rama Resort or any OLG property and/or fail to meet Casino Rama Resort’s conditions of entry may not visit, participate in promotions and/or redeem offers. Offers do not apply to employees of Casino Rama Resort. Casino Rama Resort reserves the right to cancel or change this program without notice.

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C all e x t e n s i o n 3 0 2 o r r c s al e s @c l u bl i nk.c a t o i nqu i r e tod ay . RO CK Y CRE S T GOLF RE SORT, 2 0 BAR N W OOD D R I VE, M AC T I ER , ON P 0 C 1 H 0 R E SE R VA T ION S : 1 - 8 6 6 - 3 2 3 - 3 3 0 5 or Photo © www.strouhal.org BOOK ONL IN E N OW : w w w . r ock y cr est. ca

Each year, the Canadian gaming community honours the successes and achievements of leaders within the industry. In 2016, one individual was selected to receive the First Nations Canadian Gaming Award for Community Service. First Nations gaming plays a key role in the growth and development of First Nations communities like Rama First Nation, by providing a significant source or revenue and employment opportunities to First Nations people. In recognition of this vibrant part of the Canadian gaming industry, the First Nation Canadian Gaming Awards were created to showcase some of the many First Nations individuals who have contributed positively to the gaming industry, as well as honour the leaders and role models within the First Nations community. Casino Rama Resort is proud to announce the recipient of this year’s Community Service Award; Lindsay Sault, Human Resources Business Partner, who is a member of the Ojibway First Nation Mississaugas of New Credit, Ontario. As a positive and inspirational member of the Casino Rama Resort team, Lindsay is known as a selfless individual who gives freely of her time to others, mainly through her involvement with Indigenous communities through dance and song. A jingle dress dancer who honours the tradition of dancing at Powwow’s and events through the year, Lindsay is often called upon to dance for a sick or injured community

member or to help families who are grieving. She also sings in a handdrum group, always with a goal of helping others. “The biggest accomplishment for me is the CD that me and my family submitted to the Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards in 2015,” said Lindsay. “Although the CD did not win, we were recognized nationally by opening up the 2015 awards in Manitoba. It was such an honour as the awards focus on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Girls and Women, which also created more education and awareness on this issue.” Lindsay has given compassionately within her community for many years through activism, volunteerism, assisting with cultural events and is often recognized for her exemplary organizational skills. For the past seven years, Lindsay has helped create awareness and education events for the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Woman and Girls program and database. She is also involved with fundraisers in support of the families affected. “It is an honour to receive this award for helping to raise awareness around the issue,” said Lindsay. “Everyone needs to come together to help bring justice to these women and closure to their families.” Lindsay received her award at the First Nations Gaming Gala held in early June in Ottawa, during the annual Canadian Gaming Conference which is sponsored by Casino Rama Cares. Lindsay is pictured here with Sparrow Rose, Director of Human Resources, Casino Rama Resort and Paul Burns, Vice President of the Canadian Gaming Association.


At Casino Rama Resort we treat guests like friends and friends like family! Come be part of the club! Becoming a Players Passport™ Club Member is simple. Collecting points, even more so! Use your Club Card while playing your favourite slots or table games, and you can earn free concert tickets, complimentary meals and hotel stays, invitations to parties and so much more! It’s easy to play and membership is absolutely free. It’s just our way of thanking you for coming. Visit any Player Services desk at Casino Rama Resort or casinorama.com to sign up today. Already a member? Take it one step further and sign up for Players Passport CONNECT to get the most timely information and access to email-only special offers. Get even MORE when you join our Facebook Fan Club including offers for the spa, hotel, dining, entertainment, gaming and more! Membership is free and new offers become available monthly. Get social with us:

Must be nineteen (19) years of age or older with government issued photo identification. Those who have been trespassed and/or self-excluded from Casino Rama Resort or any OLG property and/or fail to meet Casino Rama Resort’s conditions of entry may not visit, participate in promotions and/or redeem offers. Offers do not apply to employees of Casino Rama Resort. Casino Rama Resort reserves the right to cancel or change this program without notice.



Does sitting at a full or empty table affect your game? The number of players won’t affect the odds of any given hand, but it’s possible to lower your overall cost of playing by sitting at a full table. The more players at a table, the longer each round will likely take, and the less you’ll potentially spend per hour. But spending less per hour doesn’t protect you from losing, especially when the longer you play the more money you are likely to lose.

What game has the best odds at a casino? It’s not an easy answer – the odds depend on a lot of factors: for slots it depends on the machine; for Blackjack it depends on the version of play your casino uses; for other table games it depends on how you’ve placed your bet, all in addition to other factors. That said, slot machines have lower odds of winning on average when compared to Blackjack and other table games. But no matter how “good” the odds seem, they’ll always favour the house in the long run.

For more information visit Playsmart.ca - a brand new website that strives to keep gambling safe and fun by informing players how gambling in Ontario works. So browse around, you’ll find fascinating facts, tools and advice - all to keep your gambling fun and enjoyable.


It doesn’t take a telescope to see the stars at the Great Indoors. Catch the biggest names in music and comedy, as well as production shows and sporting events live in our 5,000 seat state-of-the-art Entertainment Centre





NOVEMBER RADIO FOR CARDIOLOGY BENEFIT CONCERT VII Featuring The Trews, 54-40 & Code Blue FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21 @ 8PM TICKETS RANGE FROM $45-$125 Casino Rama Resort is proud to support the ongoing efforts to raise funds for the Radio for Cardiology campaign in support of Royal Victoria Hospital (Barrie). THE TREWS: “Highway of Heroes”, “Not Ready to Go” & “Hold Me in Your Arms”. 54-40: “Ocean Pearl”, “I Go Blind” & “One Day in Your Life”. CODE BLUE: A popular local band that includes several prominent doctors.


TONY BENNETT FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7 @9 PM TICKETS ARE $55/$65/$80 “Fly Me To The Moon”, “The Way You Look Tonight” & “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”.

ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8 @ 8PM TICKETS ARE $45/$55/$70 “After the Lovin’”, “The Last Waltz” & “Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)”.

IL DIVO Amor & Pasion Tour THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13 @ 8PM TICKETS ARE $75/$85/$105 Having sold over 30 million albums worldwide, this operatic pop vocal quartet celebrate the success of their latest release “Amor & Pasion” with a new tour that transports the sounds of traditional tangos, smoldering boleros and classic mambas from the album to the stage.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22 @ 8PM TICKETS ARE $40/$50/$65 This popular Canadian comedian will take a break from his judging duties on the hit television show “America’s Got Talent” to perform the unique brand of comedy that has earned him international recognition. mature content

GEORGE LOPEZ SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29 @ 8PM TICKETS ARE $47/$57/$69 Acclaimed actor & comedian, whose hilarious take on the Mexican American culture has become his signature routine is back by popular demand just in time for the US Presidential election! mature content

LARRY THE CABLE GUY With special guest Nick Hoff FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4 @ 9PM TICKETS ARE $49/$59/$69 Billboard Top Comedy Tour Award winner, he is best known for his work with the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, his certified platinum DVD “Git R’ Done”, and the Grammy Award nominated DVD “The Right To Bare Arms”. mature content

OUR LADY PEACE & I MOTHER EARTH With special guests The Standstills SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH @ 8PM TICKETS ARE $49.11/$66.81 IME: “One More Astronaut”, “Another Sunday” & “Used to Be Alright”. OLP: “Innocent”, “Somewhere Out There” & “Clumsy”.

ROGER HODGSON Formerly of Supertramp with Symphony Orchestra FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11 @ 9PM SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12 @ 8PM TICKETS ARE $50/$60/$75 “Give a Little Bit”, “Breakfast in America”, “The Logical Song”, “Dreamer” & “Take the Long Way Home”.

STYX FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18 @ 9PM SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19 @8PM, TICKETS ARE $45/$55/$65 “Come Sail Away”, “Renegade” & “Babe”.





4 stars from the original cast of Jersey Boys

SATURDAY, JANUARY 14 @ 1PM & @ 8PM SUNDAY, JANUARY 15 @ 1PM TICKETS ARE $37/$47/$60 Created and directed by Neil Goldberg, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy is an exotic encounter inspired by nature’s unpredictable creations that are brought to life by an international cast of soaring aerialists, spine-bending contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1 @ 8PM FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2 @ 9PM TICKETS ARE $30/$40/$55 The Midtown Men have blended iconic rock ‘n roll hits of the 1960’s with the all-time greatest Holiday classics adding their trademark sound to the mix. Favorites such as “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts)”, “Baby, Please Come Home”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “California Dreamin” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” will be performed with the group’s dynamic choreography, electrifying rock ‘n roll arrangements, and of course, signature four-part harmony. The Midtown Men is not a performance of and not affiliated with the show Jersey Boys.

MARTINA MCBRIDE Love Unleashed Tour SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3 @ 8PM TICKETS ARE $45/$55/$70 This multiple Grammy® nominee has sold over 18 million albums to date, which includes 20 Top 10 singles and six #1 songs. Her hits include “Reckless”, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”, “This One’s for the Girls” and “In My Daughter’s Eyes”.


KRIS KRISTOFFERSON FRIDAY, JANUARY 20 @ 9PM TICKETS ARE $30/$40/$55 An American singer, songwriter, musician and actor, Kris Kristofferson wrote and recorded the hit songs “Me and Bobby McGee”, “For the Good Times”, “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”

SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 @ 8PM TICKETS ARE $49/$59/$72 Jeff is one of the world’s most respected comedians. He’s the largest-selling comedy-recording artist, a multiple Grammy Award nominee, and bestselling author of more than twenty-six books. He’s hosted or starred in five TV series and was also a part of one of the most successful comedy tours of all time, The Blue Collar Comedy Tour. And let’s not forget he’s given rednecks more jokes than they know what to do with...

THE GREAT AMERICAN VARIETY SHOW FRIDAY, JANUARY 27 @ 9PM TICKETS ARE $22.50/$32.50/$45.50 Can’t decide on whether you’d like a night of comedy, magic or thrills? The Great American Variety Show features comedy, magic, illusions and acrobatics featuring some of the stars from “America’s Got Talent.”

MIKE EPPS WE CAME TO DANCE SATURDAY, JANUARY 7 @ 3PM & 8PM TICKETS ARE $47/$57/$72 In this all new production, the dancers are freed from the ballroom to bring you a 90-minute action-packed live show with choreography never before seen on the show, to some of the most memorable numbers from Dancing with the Stars.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 28 @ 8PM TICKETS ARE $35/$45/$60 An American stand-up comedian, actor, film producer, writer and rapper, Mike Epps is best known for playing Day-Day Jones in Next Friday and its sequel, Friday After Next, and also appearing in The Hangover. mature content


Feeling Festive in ontario’s lake country Autumn is a fantastic time to explore Ontario’s Lake Country. The trees are transformed into a painter’s palette of vibrant colours, there’s an intoxicating crispness to the air, and the summer crowds have thinned. In addition, the region comes alive with a broad range of events to experience—here’s the best of what the fall season in Ontario’s Lake Country has to offer.

THANKSGIVING HARVEST FESTIVAL: Arts & Crafts Show The smell of wood smoke wafting from open fires, the sight of costumed natives and Jesuit missionaries going about a typical day in the 1640s, the taste of fresh corn-on-the cob and traditional ‘three sisters soup’…perhaps nothing says autumn like stepping back in time to the 17th century at Sainte-Marie among the Huron’s Thanksgiving Harvest Festival and Arts and Crafts Show and Sale. There’s no better time to visit this faithfully restored settlement. It begins with lots of heritage activities for families to enjoy, including pumpkin decorating, traditional planting of “The Three Sisters” (corn, beans, and squash), sampling of historic foods and tea, and torch-making demonstrations. At the same time, 35 artisans and crafters will gather to sell their wares, including everything from wildlife wood carvings, wreaths and centrepiece arrangements with natural materials, acrylic artwork, and more. Farmer’s Market vendors offer everything from pumpkin and apple pies, to jellies, chutneys and mustards. DATE AND TIME: October 8-9 I 10am-5pm LOCATION: 16164 Highway 12 East, Midland COST: $10 adults I $8.75 youth I Kids under 5 free CONTACT: 705-526-7838 and saintemarieamongthehurons.on.ca/sm

COLDWATER WITCHES WALK Strolling through autumn streets in frightening costumes isn’t just for little ghouls. Adult women enthusiastically take part as well. At least, they do in Coldwater during the community’s annual Witches Walk. Dress in your best hag’s costume, practice your cackle, and meet on the main street to stroll through the town visiting shops dressed up for the season. Within these stores you’ll finds special savings, seasonal treats, and other attractions. Collect stamps on your Witches Walk passport, when filled you are eligible for a draw prize. It’s an evening of spooky fun for women. >> WHEN: October 19 I 6pm-9pm LOCATION: Main Street, Coldwater COST: Free, but a donation of money or dry or canned goods can be made to the Coldwater Foodbank at signup CONTACT: coldwatervillage.com >>


FLAVOURS OF ONTARIO’S LAKE COUNTRY The trend in the restaurant world today is fresh, local food served simply and honestly. Thankfully, Ontario’s Lake Country is blessed with numerous farmers for local restaurants to draw upon, producing everything from fruits and vegetables, to honey, poultry and meat. October is the time when local farmers are harvesting many of their crops and for local chefs to take advantage of this bounty to create unique dishes. Flavours of Ontario’s Lake Country highlights the best of local food, with participating area restaurants providing 2-3 course lunch and/or dinner meals. It’s the best— and most delicious— way to experience the local harvest for yourself. Note that reservations are recommended at some dining locations. WHEN: October 21-November 6 LOCATION: Varied restaurants across the region; go to flavoursoflakecountry.com for a list of participating restaurants COST: Varies by restaurant CONTACT INFO: 1-866-329-5959 or info@ontarioslakecountry.com

DOWNTOWN ORILLIA PRESENTS… The Haunting Halloween isn’t just for kids. The Haunting is an adult only (16+) event all about the horrors that lurk in the shadows. Steel yourself for a tour of the historical Orillia Opera House, where you’ll hear spine-chilling tales associated with the building’s spectral inhabitants. Then venture to the Orillia Museum of Art and History and hold your loved one tight as you tentatively enter the terrifying basement haunted house. If you’re not scared at these two venues check your pulse; you may already be dead! End your spine-chilling evening at one of the many downtown restaurants and pubs offering ghoulish fare and Halloween spirits, or the costume party with live DJ at the Legion. WHEN: October 25 I 6pm LOCATION: Various in downtown Orillia COST: $15 CONTACT INFO: Tickets can be purchased at TicketLeap or Downtown Orillia at www.downtownorillia.ca

HALLOWEEN AT THE MARKET With fresh local produce, vendors of baked goods and preserves, and skilled local artists and artisans, the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market is a worthwhile visit at any time of year. But if you have little ones, there’s no better time than their annual Halloween at the Market event. A host of activities, including pumpkin decorating, will keep them entertained, and there are treats handed out for those who come in their costume. In no time, they’ll be racing about wildly, giggling with delight. Isn’t that what Halloween is about? WHEN: October 29 I 8am-1pm LOCATION: Orillia Fairgrounds I 4500 Fairgrounds Road, Orillia COST: Free CONTACT INFO: 1-877-216-4664

LIGHTFOOT DAYS Orillia’s most famous son is certainly Gordon Lightfoot, the legendary singer/songwriter who was born in the Sunshine City 78 years ago. He’s even got a statue in his honour in Tudhope Park and, since 2013, an annual celebration of his life and music known as Lightfoot Days. This year’s 5th annual Lightfoot Days festival honours the musical legend, through workshops, concerts and tours. Highlights include ‘The Spirit of Mariposa’ exhibition at the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) from October 1st 2016 – December 31st 2016; Nicole “Songbird” Coward’s “Early Morning Rain” concert Saturday afternoon at the Orillia Opera House; and Lightfoot-inspired live music in the downtown core both Friday and Saturday. There’s no better way to celebrate the life of a Canadian icon than Lightfoot Days WHEN: November 3-6 LOCATION: Various around Orillia COST: Varies CONTACT INFO: For more information follow Orillia Lightfoot Days on Facebook

FALL TOURS boat . cycle . hike . drive WINTER EXPERIENCES ski . snowshoe . ice skate . snowmobile . snow tube

Orillia & Area’s Four Season Playground in Simcoe County!



With spinning wheels and flashing reels, the Great Indoors is the perfect place to play, with 2,500 slots and more than 110 table games


, Once Discovered NEVER FORGOTTEN SPOTLIGHT ON MUSKOKA This time of year is particularly magical in Muskoka. With this in mind, we highlight some of the mysteries of this beautiful area and throw a spotlight on the much celebrated Bala Cranberry Festival. >>


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uskoka is a beautiful and peaceful region of leisure and relaxation, historically far removed from any conflict or turmoil. It’s the last place you’d expect to find a fort, and yet there one stands, standing silent sentinel over the village of Port Carling. This stony ruin, hiding behind a forested shroud, represents one of Muskoka’s most mysterious structures and one of its most fascinating stories. It serves to remind us that the region wasn’t always the tranquil cottage country that is it today. >>


The fort has its roots in a virtually forgotten chapter in Canadian history. In 1868, several hundred members of the radical Irish Nationalist group known as the Fenian Brotherhood gathered arms and crossed over to Canada from Buffalo. These revolutionaries thought that if they could capture large parts of Canadian territory they could hold it ransom against Britain, effectively trading it for a free Ireland. Though relatively few in number, the invaders were all hardened in the battles of the American Civil War and steeled by the patriotic resolve to free Ireland from British control and so had little trouble in defeating an ill-prepared force of Canadian defenders at Fort Erie and again at Ridgeway. Their intent was to sow terror in Canada, and they succeeded. It would be no understatement to say that to the people of Ontario in the late 1860s the Fenian threat was as frightening as the Red Scare of the 1950s or the fear that gripped America after 9/11. There were hundreds of thousands of Irish in the United States, many of them veterans of the Union army during the Civil War. Against them stood just a few hundred British soldiers garrisoning Ontario and untrained militia. Additionally, there was a very real concern that the United States was using the Fenians to punish Britain for her friendly relationship with the Confederate States during the Civil War, or even to conquer Canada outright to add to the Union. It would have been easy for the United States, given the right excuse, to call upon the hundreds of thousands of veterans of the Civil War to form an army that could easily have swamped Canada. Consequently, people in Ontario began to see Fenian boogeymen under every bed and in every shadow. The Fenian raid of 1868— and others of its kind in the next few years—forced Canadians everywhere to realize just how vulnerable they were on such attacks. One of those people was Port Carling resident Robert Hardcastle Johnston. Robert Hardcastle Johnston was the eccentric and often grumpy founder of Port Carling. He left London, Ontario in 1866 to settle in Muskoka, originally taking up

land between Ufford and Windermere but later pulling up stakes again and resettling on land in what would develop into the village of Port Carling. Johnston was a prominent man among the young community, becoming Port Carling’s first postmaster in 1868 and successfully petitioning the provincial government to build locks in Port Carling to link lakes Muskoka and Joseph. The same year as Johnston became postmaster, the Fenians raided into Canada. Johnston, a British patriot and a leading member of the local anti-Irish Orange Lodge, took note. He worried that the invaders, or perhaps local sympathizers, might sabotage the economically important locks. He wrote the provincial government of these fears, but his fears fell on deaf ears. Johnston wouldn’t be deterred. These locks were near and dear to him, and he would be damned if he would let any damage come their way. To protect them, Johnston built an imposing stone-walled fortification on the crest of a high hill overlooking Port Carling from which point defenders could see down the Indian River and onto Steamship Bay. In an era when Port Carling would have been denuded of trees by lumbermen, any approaching boat would be seen from this commanding position. It would also serve as a strongpoint to which citizens could retreat in time of danger to resist invaders. Luckily, the protective walls were never required as no Irish raiders ever came near Muskoka. The last Fenian raid was in 1871, and with the end of the threat the paranoia that paralyzed Ontario for five years was suddenly lifted. The fort Johnston built was now without purpose, but it wasn’t forgotten, at least not yet. William Hanna, a community leader and storekeeper, later built a water tower inside the fortifications. Hanna was an eternal entrepreneur, so while the water tower was originally intended to bring running water to only his store, he later had pipes laid and a pump house built to provide water to nearby residents under the name of Port Carling Water Supply Company. Johnston’s fort served this function until 1947, when the municipal council took responsibility for providing water to the entire community. After this, the fort sat empty, a mysterious stone shell whose purpose most in town had long-since forgotten. Today, few know the ruins even exist. Trees, shrubs and clumps of tough-looking weeds grow within the field-stone walls to create the impression of human abandonment, and yet the defenses still look surprisingly robust, like a medieval castle ready to defend the village against a threat that hasn’t existed for one and a half centuries. Though hidden by dense foliage for much of the year, the eerie ruins are visible behind the Re/Max Hallmark Realty building (across from the LCBO and Turtle Jacks) after the leaves drop in the autumn. The realtors encourage visitors who want to take a closer look to climb the hill and view the remnants of the fort for themselves, but be respectful of private property and the heritage these ruins represent. After all, these moody stone walls are of great historical significance as a unique relic or Port Carling’s history and a tangible reminder of a troubled era in Canadian history. The climb up the hill to the fort isn’t measured in metres but rather years, for when you reach the top it isn’t hard to envision yourself back in 1866, and to imagine the village spread out below you might be in danger from a shadowy threat. For a few brief moments, you’re no longer in the peaceful Muskoka of today, but in a darker one of the mid-19th century. That alone makes the Fenian Fort a historic treasure. TODAYMAGAZINE.CA 63


Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs; they grow up to seven feet long and two to eight inches high. They have small green leaves, dark pink flowers, and most importantly, a berry, more bitter than sweet. They are a major crop throughout parts of the United States and Canada, and are often used in juices, sauces, jams and dinsometimes sweetened and dried. They are a big part of traditional Thanksgiving din ners, and in Bala, Ontario, they are a big part of tradition, period. The Bala Cranberry Festival always takes place the weekend after Thanksgiving, cranthis year falling on October 14, 15 and 16, and it’s a celebration of everything cran berry. It was originally started as a way to keep people up in the Muskoka areas during a time when most people opt to pack up their cottages and head home.

CRANBERRIES DO NOT GROW IN WATER AS PEOPLE OFTEN THINK, BUT THEY ARE HARVESTED IN IT, WHICH IS DONE BY FLOODING THE BOGS, MAKING IT EASIER TO SCOOP THE BERRY FROM THE VINE. This three-day party is run mostly by volunteers and all monies made help benefit local charities, community organizations, scholarship funds and special events in the community. Typically, the Cranberry Festival sees about 20,000 people throughout the course of the weekend, a huge feat for a town whose population doesn’t normally exceed one thousand. The festival features both indoor and outdoor venues, and the indoor venues showcase many different and unique products, gifts and crafts. The arts and crafts show takes place in the arena, and is the place to go if you want to get some shopping done. Food, artwork, toys, jewelry, clothing and accessories are all available to browse through. The show is juried, so every year winning vendors are selected through considering a variety of factors including originality, quality and uniqueness. One of the most anticipated parts of the festival is known as the Country Bazaar. This is the place to be for all things homemade, including delicious baked goods, pickles and preserves: all those good things that come to mind when you think of a festive fall season. Other interesting things to check out during the course of the weekend, include the historical Bala Falls Road, which will take you back in time as you view antique cars, boats and other historical collections. >>



balacranberryfestival.on.ca JOHNSTON’S CRANBERRY MARSH

1074 Cranberry Rd. cranberry.ca IROQUOIS CRANBERRY GROWERS

2860 Iroquois Cranberry Growers Dr. iroquoiscranberries.com

The Cranberry Festival will also feature the always-popular beer tent, a wine tasting area, tons of options for delicious foods, many of which have a cranberry twist like cranberry crepes, cranberry syrup and other creative cranberry collaborations, rides and activities for the kids, fireworks and live entertainment all weekend long. All in all, it is definitely a festival worth staying up north for, even if the weather is a little bit cooler. But why a “cranberry” festival you may be wondering? It’s because Bala is home to quite a thriving cranberry industry, and believe it or not cranberries are actually a very interesting fruit! Unique conditions are necessary for cranberries to grow and Bala’s peat based soils and large amount of fresh water make it an ideal place to grow them. Cranberries are native to North America, and they were named cranberries because early settlers thought the blossom of a cranberry looked like the head of a crane, so they called them “crane berries”. Cranberries do not grow in water as people often think, but they are harvested in it, which is done by flooding the bogs, making it easier to scoop the berry from the vine. These are only some of the fascinating facts you will learn when you visit Ontario’s oldest cranberry farm, Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh. Johnston’s Cranberries has been in operation since 1952 and was started by Orville Johnston and his wife June. Orville and June’s son Murray and his wife Wendy now run Johnston’s, and in addition to keeping up the thriving cranberry business that was carved out in Muskoka, the farm now includes a gift store, activities for visitors and

the Muskoka Lakes Winery. The winery’s philosophy is “to take locally grown fruit and use traditional methods to craft artisanal wine.” The winery has many unique flavours of wine including cranberry blueberry, wild blueberry, white cranberry and more. The farm is open year round to visitors and there is a plethora of things to keep the whole family entertained. Activities include guided tours, geocaching, hiking trails, photo tours, scavenger hunts and critter catching for the kids. Fall is actually the perfect time to stop by the farm because that is when the harvest happens. Harvesting usually begins near the end of September, and goes right through until the end of October. Special events are also on during harvest, including helicopter rides, wagon tours, a farmer’s market and the cranberry café. Bala is also home to Ontario’s largest cranberry farm, the Iroquois Cranberry Growers, which is owned and operated by the Wahta Mohawks. Visitors are welcome to go on a tour and witness the harvest; shuttles are provided from the Cranberry Festival to both cranberry farms in the area. Cranberry harvesting is fascinating to watch and learn about, as it is harvested like no other crop in the world. The fact that it is performed exclusively in North America makes it all the more exciting. Couple that with a fun festival, the amazing fall time scenery you’ll see in Muskoka, and you have the perfect reason to go and experience a little bit of the cranberry culture that thrives in the tiny town of Bala.

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Today Magazine: Casino Rama Resort - Volume 1 Issue 2  

Today Magazine: Casino Rama Resort - Volume 1 Issue 2