Friday 24 March 2017

Art & History Your Thing? Then @OntLakeCountry Is For You #OLC #LetsGoMaple

We're All Connected - Art, Culture, History. Discover how in Ontario's Lake Country. 

Nothing more Canadian than Maple Syrup!

Canada - Maple Tree - Maple Leaf - Maple Syrup ... 
Do you see the pattern? The common denominator: Maple! Once I got home from the fabulous #LetsGoMaple experience I found myself feeling like I was in the Maple version of Six Degrees of Separation. All that was missing was Kevin Bacon ... did I mention that bacon tastes really really good with maple syrup. It occurred to me #LetsGoMaple is the perfect hashtag when talking about the art, history, and culture of Ontario's Lake Country and Canada as a whole. 
If you know me, you know I'm all about sharing and linking information, ideas, and people, and I see links all over the place in Ontario's Lake Country and this area's art, history and culture.
Disclosure: I was invited to join a group of bloggers and influencers for a 2 day/3 night getaway to Ontario's Lake Country to sample some of the many and wonderful activities and attractions this area has to offer so I might share my experience with my readers. 

Ontario's Lake Country: Casino Rama Resort, Shaws Maple Syrup Bush, and Orillia Museum of Art and History are all in Ontario's Lake Country. 
Casino Rama Resort is located in the Town of Rama on Chippewas of Rama reserve land.

~Art & History~
Casino Rama is filled with art inspired or created to reflect the rich history and heritage of the Rama First Nation. Everywhere you look you'll find breathtaking art work that tells the history and stories of the area and the Rama First Nation.

~Culture & History~
The Gathering"The Chippewas of Rama First Nation (Rama) has been known as 'the gathering' place throughout history, where travellers journey to trade, to seek counsel or medicines, and to attend meetings. Today, it is home to Casino Rama Resort" and, not surprisingly, it continues to be known as a 'gathering place' for friends and family to meet. 

~Culture & History~
Chippewas of Rama First Nation: The Weirs (Rama is a Chippewa word meaning fish fence) The Mnjikaning Fish Weirs (a system of underwater fences used to capture fish) was recognized as a National Historic Site in 1982. The fish fence at Atherley Narrows is located close to Rama First Nation. Carbon dating of samples taken of the fish fence stakes were found to be as old as 5000 years. We are talking Pyramids old. For a young country we have some old history. 

~Culture & History~ 
Maple Syrup and First Nations: Maple trees, and maple syrup played an important role and food source for the First Nations people of Ontario's Lake Country long before European settlers came to the region. (There is a Haudenosaunee/Iroquois legend that explains the discovery of maple syrup). In fact early settlers to the area learned from First Nations how to collect sap and produce maple syrup. 

~Culture & History~ 
Shaws Maple Syrup Bush has been tapping maples and producing maple syrup since 1904. Five generations of Shaws have been maple syrup producers with the sixth in training. They tap more than 4000 maples each year. It's clear the maple tree and maple syrup have historical significance and played an important role in the area. Maple syrup and the maple tree have become recognized symbols of Canada, Canadian culture, and being Canadian and are therefore significant to all Canadians.

~Culture & History~
Orillia Museum of Art and History: The building was completed in 1894 is home to more than 12,000 artifacts. The collection includes works of art, objects, archival documents and photos that have historical significance to Orillia and the surrounding areas, and Canada.  

~Art & History~
I found it interesting that OMAH is both backward and forward looking in that along with its many historical pieces, it's also home to an entire floor dedicated to contemporary art. Archival objects and documents are used for historical research and education about the art, history and culture of the area, while the dedicated space for art lessons helps to develop the skills of future artists

Sir Sam Steele Memorial Building, which presently houses the Orillia Museum of Art and History, has also been used as a Post Office and Customs House, by the Orillia Police Force, as a Court House & Jail (the cells are still in basement), by the Sir Sam Steele Art Gallery.

~Art & History~
Thomas Fuller, the original architect of the Sir Sam Steele Memorial Building also worked on Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, where the our federal government sits. Both the maple leaf and maple syrup are recognized as symbols of Canada and being Canadian. The maple leaf theme is woven into the culture, art, and history of Canada. It can found on our flag, and was on all our coins from 1876 until 1901, and on the our penny (until the it was phased out in 2012). Three maple leaves also appear on the Ontario Coat of Arms. 

And there's the Beaver ... also a recognized symbol of Canada and being Canadian. (of course there's moose, but I digress) Beaver - Beaver Fur - Fur Trade - The Gathering - Rama First Nation - Ontario's Lake Country ... 

And we're back to the beginning again. 

Personally I find all the connections through art, culture, and history fascinating since it is the connections we make with people, and places, and through experiences that makes us as individuals, and Canadians, and as a country wonderful. I highly recommend you connect with some of the art, culture, and history Ontario's Lake Country has to offer. 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about art, culture, and history ... oh, and bacon ... the maple kind.

Thursday 23 March 2017

All You Foodies: Ontario's Lake Country Is For You! #OLC #LetsGoMaple

Savour the Flavours of Orillia, Ontario's and Ontario's Lake Country.

Disclosure: I was invited to join a group of bloggers and influencers for a 2 day/3 night getaway to the Ontario's Lakes Country to sample some of the many and wonderful activities, attractions, and eateries this area has to offer. Special thanks to Julie and Stacey of SJ Consulting for organizing and hosting this fabulous experience, and the sponsors for providing an exceptional experience to share with my readers. 

Supreme Cuisine was the Order of the Day(s):
You'll find no shortage of cuisine options at every price point in Ontario's Lake Country. I had the pleasure of sampling seven different eateries, participate in a local craft beer demonstration, a pizza making demonstration, a cooking with chocolate demonstration, Apres Ski with hot chocolates and DIY S'mores, AND nightly sweet treats delivered to my room. Each taste experience was different and delightful in its own way. Our visit coincided with the beginning of Tap into Maple that celebrates and showcases the area's tradition of producing maple syrup. Some producers like the Shaws have been tapping maples for more than a 100 years. 

St Germain's (at CasinoRama) served our group a mouth watering meal, that from appetizer to dessert was both delicious and beautifully presented. Keeping with the maple theme many of the dishes were infused with the flavour of maple, including the Maple Braised Ribs. The chefs and kitchen staff at St Germain's create visually beautiful dishes that are a feast for your eyes and your taste buds, including selections of AAA Alberta beef, lobster, sea bass, and salmon. It also boasts an award winning wine list, an awarding winning pastry chef, and top notch service and wait staff.  

Shaw's Maple Syrup Bush treated our group to a breakfast of maple tea, pancakes, maple beans, and sausages served with maple syrup produced from the 4000 trees they own and tap each year. (Pancakes are served from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm daily during the season.) Five generations of Shaws have been producing maple syrup and tapping maples since 1904. During Maple Tapping season walking trails are open, as well as horse drawn wagon rides on weekends. I think you'll find the experience to be both delicious, educational and a perfect family activity. 

Crazy Horse Sports Bar & Grill at Horseshoe Resort served us a delicious lunch that was much appreciated after the appetite we built up from Fat Biking, Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing, and Tubing. After lunch we enjoyed some Apres Ski time making S'mores, and sipping hot chocolate. Not only was the lunch scrumptious the service was great. 

Rustica Pizza Vino (in Orillia) created an exceptional dinner adventure which included a Pizza Making Demonstration about the pizza oven, dough, and pizza making, and a demonstration from Horseshoe Valley Brewing Company. I personally sampled at least 4 kinds of pizza and would recommend all of them. The salad with pears and Gorgonzola was to die for. And it seems I do drink beer after all. Much thanks HSV Brew Co for helping me see the light. 

Photo courtesy of Julie (Try Small Things)

Room Service (at CasinoRama) was such a treat. I had a wonderful bacon and eggs breakfast with fancy Rye bread delivered right to my door. Good thing since I basically refused to get out of bed. 

The Weirs Restaurant (at CasinoRama) serves a Greek Salad that's a salad lover's dream, but Shannon better keep an eye on her Beet Salad because it definitely look worthy of risking the consequences of a grab and dash. Our server was both engaging and efficient, just the way I like it. 

The Grape and Olive Wine & Martini Bistro (in Orillia) delighted our group with a selection of dining options created by award winning Chef Derek Mayes. I chose the pasta, but it was a tough choice between that and the chicken. The salad was a work of art, and the apple crisp dessert tasted like home. To complete our dining experience the group was treated to a sweet cooking with chocolate demonstration by the pastry chef.

Sweet Treats courtesy of CasinoRama:
Each night we were treated to a delivery of delectable sweet treats. Talk about being spoiled!  

More sweetness courtesy of Julie from Try Small Things baked us #LetsGoMaple cookies, and they were delicious! Be sure to check out Julie's #LetsGoMaple post about her experience.

Salad Summary: Being a salad lover it seems only right to share my #LetGoMaple salad experience.

Once again I would like to thank our #LetsGoMaple hosts and sponsors for making this such a memorable experience. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of activities, attractions, things to do, and places to eat in Orillia and Ontario's Lake Country. 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about good eats and sweet treats.