Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Canadian Museum of History Tour ~ Look Beyond the Sights & Sounds ~ Scoop Continues ...

Our Tour at the Canadian Museum of History and “THE INSIDE SCOOP” welcomes you to join in some “Scoop” with our Tour guide Michel.

Before we started, some points of interest that Michel mentioned, that he felt were important to share with us, was that the Museum is “mobility impaired” compatible. That means that folks with any walking issues can still get around the Museum. Elevators accommodate to assist with transition from level to level. The restrooms and parking are mobility friendly also.
Canadian Museum of History ~ The Grand Hall
Ontario Visited view from above

As we stood at the main entrance inside, a lower level welcomes you to “The Grand Hall” a newly renovated Northwest Coast permanent exhibition of a 1900 century village. This area explores the rich and vibrant culture of the Canada’s First Peoples. It represents their histories, cultural identities, artistic expressions and traditional and contemporary ways of life. High above the ceiling looks like a dug out canoe. The walls, if you look closely, resemble large canoe paddles. The granite floor represents a body of water. This exhibit was created with collaboration with the University of British Columbia and the Native Peoples. It was very important when developing this exhibit that “their voice” was heard.
Each artifact is placed by themes rather than by communities. The mandates have changed and the Village is now more open. There is a flow of the continuity of the artifacts.
The steps leading to the Village areas symbolize a beach. The tide pool shows the food source that embraced the Village so many years before. The “treasure troves of archeology” and the ability to learn and enrich your knowledge can be appreciated by all.
Tour Guide Michel & Judi "Scoop" McWilliams ~ Ontario Visited
The Grand Hall ~ Canadian Museum of History
Our tour guide explained the significance of the totem polls. They tell the stories of the peoples from far ago. The Commemoration Poll in the centre is made of red cedar. Michel tells us this was a great wood to work with, it kept the insects away. Some of the polls are hollow; they dry up and actually become stronger. Prior to our “modern days” it would take over 100 people to put up a totem poll. Interestingly enough, I just watch a television program where a massive transport forklifts truck actually got upending by underestimating the weight of erecting a totem poll. …So much for technology.
Stay tuned for Canadian Museum of History Tour ~ “Food for thought” … “when you’re full, you’re full” ~ our Tour continues. In the meantime, if you wish to visit their website, check it out at http://www.historymuseum.ca/home .

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Canadian Museum of History Tour ~ Look Beyond the Sights & Sounds

Canadian Museum of History ~ Ontario Visited Tour
The Canadian Museum of History may be known to some as the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Times change; names change; history does not change; but the interpretation of the history can change with every perspective humans can imagine.
The Museum allows visitors to discover rich information from exhibitions, artifacts and exciting experiences. Today we were fortunate to tour the Museum with our guide Michel. Michel was insisted we start the tour outside. Here you will see the architecture that has been designed to look like a mask.
The Canadian Museum of History has an amazing website where you can learn all about the structure, where from 1983 to 1989 it began to take shape. I highly recommend taking the time to view the Slide Show, Video Clips ~ streaming Video, Quick Time Movies,, a Full Tour and more; truly an experience in itself. Another great place to start is to view their Full-Colour Visitor Guide. It will assist with guiding you to the main points of interest.
The Museum attracts over 1.2 million visitors, so you can imagine it is one of the country’s most-visited Museums. It is a highly respected centre sharing its history, archaeology, ethnology and cultural studies to visitors from around the world. The Museum also houses the Canadian Children’s Museum and an IMAX® Theatre. Today a large group of students enthusiastically joined in a line-up waiting to take their turn in the Theatre, the noise was high with excitement; then quite ensued as the children entered the Theatre, leaving us in a peaceful state to start our Tour.
…As we saw from outdoors, The St. Lawrence Seaway cut through the Canadian Shield forming the “strata”. You can actually see the layers of limestone. If you have ever been caving or even rock climbing, you will recognize the magnificent natural work of art. The design represents the Plains and the water cascading is made to represent ice melting. What better place to start. 
Judi "Scoop" McWilliams ~ Ontario Visited
Canadian Museum of History
There are over 4 million artifacts and specimens, being housed in the Museum archives. Acquisitions of Canadian heritage are received via donations or bequest, but there are mitigating circumstances for acceptance. The new acquisitions can bring a new perspective to the existing collection and they can be used for research. Michel tells us these artifacts are unparalleled anywhere in the world. He also mentioned that they are at the point where the CMH is looking for rare items, ones they don’t already have and considerations to see if there is a “fit” for their research. You can check out their website for more details if you are interested.
The Artifacts in the Museum are strategically placed in the telling of a story. On the second level, there are three galleries are devoted to changing exhibitions. Some are designed by the CMH while others may be presented by other International Institutions. We did not have time today to check out the Canadian Children’s Museum or the IMAX® Theatre.
Stay tuned for Canadian Museum of History Tour ~ Look Beyond the Sights & Sounds ~ our Tour continues. In the meantime, if you wish to visit their website, check it out at http://www.historymuseum.ca/home .

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum …Behind the Scenes Tour … The Sheep, Summer Camp & Fun!

We welcome you to come along as Ontario Visited Tours the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum … continues … The Sheep, Summer Camp & Fun!
"Resting Time"
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
 The Sheep …
They keep historic “all mixed breeds” to showcase to visitors the varieties Canada has. The sheep are mixed 5 sheep, 3 goats. The birthing process is planned. They sell many of the "babies" but keep some as well. The animals that they keep become familiar with the crowds and visitors. Sometimes though, an animal just isn't that "people friendly", then is sold as it is not a good "fit" for the Farm. I asked Kelly is visitors got to "feed" the animals. Although sometimes visitors are welcomed to join in the process with a guided "red t-shirt" instructor, the Farm is not a "Petting Zoo" or "Play Farm". They don't offer the 25 cent cone to feed the goats for example. This truly is a "working farm". The integrity for the future of this facility depends, in part, on visitors respecting this wonderful facility and all it contributes to the natural course of time.
As a Museum, the barns are kept in the most historic presentation as possible. They have added many large black and white photos from their archives along the corridors for visitors to catch a glimpse of days long gone by. I like to think of it as "walking through history to our future". For those of you who don't know, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum is associated with the Canada Science & Technology and Aviation and Space Museums.
Summer Camp …
"Making Bacon"
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
Summer Camp is a popular activity at the Museum, being booked up quickly. The activities that students at the camp offered will depend on their ages. There is a lot to do; kids can rack the bellies of the animals; clean the troughs, and so much more. The camp ages range from 4 - 14 bracket and daily chores can be done. An example is the Junior Farmers Camp for kids 12-14. Perfect for “farmers-in-the-making” who live in the city, this camp offers youth a chance to take part in a real, working farm! Campers “adopt” a calf, feed and groom it, muck out the stalls, and learn more about the agriculture industry. The CAFM offers unique programs such as Healthy Kids Quest! The program encourages and empowers students to make healthy lifestyle choices. A healthy, balanced lifestyle is particularly important for children, since habits established in childhood often stay with us for life.
During our walk about, we came across a weigh scale. It made it fun as children could "guess the weight" of a "pig". They welcomed the kids to stand on the scale, one at a time to visualize how much just a 3 month old pig weighed for example. Sometimes, especially with smaller children, it took 12 kids just to get to the weight of one small animal. I did ask about what "past market weight" might be, 500 pounds was the answer. You can only hope that the "pig" was personable and would be able to live on to be a great "pet". The Museum has several breeds of pigs and their piglets are the highlights of the Museum’s swine barn (a section of the Small Animal Barn).
"Play, Rest, Play, Sleep, Play"
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
Stay tuned for more “Behind the Scenes” Tour with the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum ~ The Science You Eat! (in the meantime, check out their great website for lots of fun and information at http://cafmuseum.techno-science.ca/en/index.php.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum ... Behind the Scenes ... Cows, Milking Time, Touch Carts!

We welcome you to come along as Ontario Visited Tours the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum … continues … Cows, Milking Time, Touch Carts!
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
"Resting Time"

"Milking Time"
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

The Cows …
Although natural breeding occurs on a majority of beef farms, the Museum uses artificial insemination. The gestation period is approximately nine months, and Dairy cows have their first calves at two years. Calving season for the beef cattle industry is January to April. As we walked through the beef paddock there were about 12 cattle, one of each breed. As their name implies, beef cattle are those breeds raised for their meat.  The Museum is home to Canada’s most popular beef cattle breeds.
They have a cow "shower" which is fun for visitors to watch. We mentioned to Kelly about our friends at the Lindsay Agricultural Society who have a sign in their "washing station" ... "cattle only" ... but, on many occasions we see goats and horses being washed and showered. I guess the cattle and horses/goats can share the different wash stations though.
Milking Time …
It was time to head out to the barns. The Museum’s working dairy barn is home to a herd of 40 to 50 dairy cows. This herd is made up of the six most common dairy breeds in Canada. To keep milk production consistent, the Museum has cows at different stages of gestation year round. Maternity pens change occupants regularly as expectant cows are watched for signs of labour and new calves are born.
As Kelly talks about the care and feeding of the animals, here is an example of how specific the Museum is …
The average dairy cow eats around 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of food each day. This is divided evenly among hay for roughage and oats, soybean meal, and oil cake for protein. (Oil cake is ground flax or soya beans from which the oil has been removed.) In addition, each cow drinks a bathtub’s worth of water each day — more if it’s hot!
The Museum staff milk the cows twice daily (6 a.m. and 4 p.m.). They use a modern milking machine that takes 3 to 5 minutes per cow, versus the 10 to 15 minutes hand-milking would take. Cows are milked 305 days a year and rest the other 60 days in the final months of gestation. The Museum’s milk goes to Dairy Farmers of Ontario to be processed and distributed in grocery stores. Visitors are invited to watch the 4 p.m. milking.
Touch Carts
"Touch Cart"
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum has mixed breeds of all their animals. Visitors are welcome to experience all that is happening during their visits. If a birth is happening, you are welcome to watch. They have “Touch Carts” at each barn station where workers demonstrate what happens in each area. From medical equipment to feeding tools, to grooming tools. Usually there is something to watch every ½ hour. The only standard demonstration are the dairy cows, they need regular milking at 6 a.m. before the visitors arrive, and 4 p.m. Nature wont wait. These cows produce about 2600 liters of milk. The Museum is under an “educational quota”, meaning that this “protect” the CAFM somewhat from the financial penalties of being over.
They keep the momma’s about to give birth as “dry cows”. To make sure no one accidentally mixes up what “stage” the cattle are in, they put tags on their legs. Green is for “dry cow”, other colours indicate a birth is coming soon; Red is an indication to not put milk in the bulk tank. With their breeding process, if a male if born, it obviously can not be used for dairy. It usually is sold for veal. It was interesting to see bars just at the top of each cow back in the stall. We asked Kelly what they were for. She told us that when the cows go to the bathroom, they usually arch their backs. The bar stops them from doing so. They then step back a bit allowing their “toilet issues” to drop into the “potty toughs” behind them. This helps keep their areas clean and dry.

Stay tuned for more “Behind the Scenes” Tour with the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum ~  The Sheep, Summer Camp & Fun! (in the meantime, check out their great website for lots of fun and information at http://cafmuseum.techno-science.ca/en/index.php.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum … A place to learn and have fun!

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
Ontario Visited
"Having Fun"
Judi "Scoop" McWilliams
We welcome you to come along as Ontario Visited Tours the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum … continues … A place to learn and have fun!
This Museum is not just a place to learn the history; it truly is a "working farm".
At the entrance a small donkey, “Molly”, welcomed us. The previous donkey was known by most visitors and has a great legacy to follow. I imagine it wont take long for “Molly” to do "something unique" for visitors to "fall in love" with her also.
A retired RCMP 30 year old horse graces the lawn alongside another small breed. The horses at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum can often be found pulling the Tally-Ho ride around the Central Experimental Farm. The Museum is home to awe-inspiring Clydesdales and the Canadian breed.
The CAFM welcomed two alpacas in 2012. Jules and Yanni are three and four years old, respectively. Alpacas are part of the camel family and are smaller cousins of the llama. Like sheep and angora goats, alpacas can be sheared for their fiber. Their soft wool is used for a number of products. Though not native to Canada, alpacas are growing in popularity throughout North America.
There are changes every month at the Museum, including demonstrations. The only demonstration that is regulated by the timing is that of "milking the cows". They are on a tight schedule at 6 am and 4 pm each and every day. We’ll talk more about that later.
Some of the interactive demonstrations engage visitors to "guess what shoe" goes with what animal. What "horse shoe" and such. The staff on the Farm is very recognizable by the bright red t-shirts. In the summer time, 5 full-time students tend to the Farm. There is lots of interpretation providing visitors with insightful and fun information each and every day. Kelly was sure that if we stayed long enough, especially during the springtime, it would not be unusual for a visitor to watch the wonders of a "birth". They welcome all to see and witness.
Stay tuned for more “Behind the Scenes” Tour with the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum ~ Cows, Milking Time, Touch Carts! (in the meantime, check out their great website for lots of fun and information at http://cafmuseum.techno-science.ca/en/index.php.)