Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day (and the day before)!
On Sunday, March 16, all eyes will be smiling in downtown Toronto for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Enjoy a family friendly celebration of Ireland and St. Patrick with colorful floats, bands, dancers and marching groups. There will be a golden touch at the green celebration with Olympic gold medalist Irish boxer Katie Taylor acting as Grand Marshal.
The procession starts at noon from St. George and Bloor, heading east before turning south along Yonge to Queen where it makes a final turn to finish at Nathan Phillips Square. TTC access and parking are available at several points along the parade route.
For more information, please visit http://www.topatrick.com/.
Google’s creative projects to keep kids busy during March Break
With schools closed during March Break, it’s a challenge to entertain kids on days when the weather doesn’t cooperate. For families with kids with differing interests it can be especially hard to keep everyone engaged throughout the day. Here are a few free tools and projects families can use to keep everyone from the young artist to the budding scientist entertained during their time off.
For the mini movie lover…
Disney’s Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story on the Google Play Store
With thousands of movies & TV shows available on the Google Play Store, there’s something for every little movie buff. Once you’ve found the perfect flick you can enjoy it across devices, which means kids who can’t sit still can start the movie on your laptop while on the couch and finish it on your Android device from the kitchen.
Google and Disney have teamed up on a special original stop-motion movie that’s sure to warm hearts. Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story tells the story of Blank, an unpainted vinyl character, and his quest to find his lost love. Have a look at the trailer here. The Disney Interactive 37-minute stop motion movie will be available exclusively on Google Play.
For the aspiring artist..
Google Art Project
Have an aspiring artist but don’t want to clean up after craft time? Google Art Project lets museums from across the world invite visitors inside their doors and into their galleries with a little help from technology. People across the world who might otherwise never see the real thing, can access masterpieces, antiquities and other artifacts that are part of our cultural heritage.
This digital experience has some of Canada’s – and the world’s – most creative and beautiful art. Some iconic Canadian collections include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal BC Museum and the National Ballet of Canada.
For the inventor…
Google Science Fair
Does your teen want to change the world? Google is challenging students aged 13-18 to submit their brilliant ideas for the fourth annual Google Science Fair. Last year, Canadian student Ann Makosinski scored top honours in her age group for her battery-free flashlight. Thousands of teens around the world have tackled some of today’s greatest challenges, like an anti-flu medicine and more effective ways to beat cancer. The grand prize winner will receive a $50,000 scholarship along with a number of once in a lifetime prizes.
To inspire young inventors, Google hosts a series of Hangouts on Air with world-renowned scientists showcasing exclusive tours of cutting edge labs.
For the musically minded…
Pancake Manor on YouTube
The puppets from Pancake Manor know how to make kids move. The Victoria, B.C.-based YouTube channel has been making music for kids of all ages since 2011. The upbeat melodies don’t fail to provide entertaining and educational content. The videos can help teach little ones how to count to 10, how to remember the alphabet and, of course, how to make pancakes.
For a GTA excursion (entry fee applies)…
The Doodle 4 Google Exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum
In October, Google challenged Canadian students to submit their creative ideas in the form of a doodle for the first-ever Doodle 4 Google Canada contest. Thousands of kids submitted doodles following the theme, “if I could invent anything, I would invent…”
In February and March, the Royal Ontario Museum will feature a special exhibit with the top 75 doodles from across the country. From time machines to new sports to ways to clean the environment, the doodles will be sure to inspire future inventors and young artists. The winner of the contest will of their doodle featured on the Google Canada homepage for one day.
KidLit is the Jewish Literary Festival for Children and it is presented by the Koffler Centre of the Arts, and the Prosserman JCC.
KidLit is a sensational way for families to spend Family Day, with author readings, hands-on activities, a make your own book station, $5 pizza lunch and much more. It is a wonderfully affordable way to spend the day, and a terrific opportunity to actively engage children with fun literature.
KidLit will take place from 9:30am to 1pm at the Prosserman JCC at 4588 Bathurst Street, in Toronto on February 17th. The event is free.
A link to the event is listed here;
This event is open to – and will be attended by – families of all backgrounds.
It’s all about great books, even better readers and families.
This past weekend marked our third trip out to St.Thomas, Ontario, 20 minutes west of London, Ontario, to take a ride on Thomas the Tank engine with our kids.
The first trip was for Linus alone – he loved trains, especially Thomas. 2 years later is was Linus and Stewie and this year the 3 children with Berry being the most excited for the trip. She was inconsolable her first ride on the subway and was practically in tears when the train pulled into the station, but she kept reassuring us on the train before the trip “I’m not going to cry”, that she would be okay. Once the music started and the train started creeping slowly along the tracks for its 30 minute ride she proudly proclaimed “I’m not crying!”. Once we got back in the station she summarized her trip by stating “I didn’t cry”.
For those of you wondering about a Day out with Thomas, it is located in the Elgin County Railway Museum which is a registered non-profit charity with the function of preserving and restoring railway heritage for St. Thomas and surrounding area. The Elgin County Railway Museum is also known as the Railway Capital of Canada because a total of 26 railways have passed through town. This is due to the location which is the 1913 former Michigan Central Railroad Locomotive Shops juxtaposed to the Canada Southern Railway.
You purchase your tickets online and you choose the time you would like to ride the train. But be careful, if you miss your ride, they all book up quickly so you may not be able to hop on the next one, and because you have to book for a specific time, moving that time or date could be nearly impossible – this year we missed an opportunity to sleep at the Roger’s Centre after a Blue Jays game and a bris…
There are so many wonderful things to see for the train-lover of all ages, including locomotives, cabooses and other rolling stock. Additionally there are videos and historic photographs, railway artifacts, children’s activities, guided tours, music, food and more!
For the kids, in addition to the ride, they also receive an Official Jr. Engineer Certificate signed by Sir Topham Hatt – whom we met and had pictures taken with.
Here is the Jr. Engineer Certificate Day Out With Thomas event.
After riding Thomas, taking a lot of pictures, doing some crafts indoors and then heading into town to grab a bite, we went to see Jumbo – the elephant hit by a train in 1885.
A replica Jumbo was erected in 1985 to mark the 100th anniversary. It was built in New Brunswick.
Considering Berry’s favourite animal the past month has been the elephant, this was a great albeit short stop on a hot, humid weekend.
We like St. Thomas and London and enjoy hanging around for the weekend. My wife and I have always felt that if the main strip in St. Thomas was cleaned up a little bit and had some more artsy stores it would be a wonderful tourist attraction because of its old town feel. Some local crafts, local foods, cafe’s, etc. would be a huge draw. Right now there are a lot of empty stores and some run down buildings. Sad.
The city, located at the intersection of two historical roads, was first settled in 1810. It was named the seat of the new Elgin County in 1844 and was incorporated as a village in 1852, as a town in 1861. In 1881 St. Thomas finally grew to become a city. Ten years after the incorporation as a town ( in 1871 ), the developing village of Millersburg, which included these lands east of the London and Port Stanley Railway, amalgamated with St. Thomas.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century several railways were constructed through the city, and St. Thomas became an important railway junction. A total of 26 railways have passed through the city since the first railway was completed in 1856. In the 1950s and 1960s, with the decline of the railway as a mode of transportation, other industry began to locate in the city, principally primary and secondary automotive manufacturing. There is a huge Ford plant in St. Thomas.
So check out the official Day out with Thomas website for events near you;