1 Jul 2014
Thanks for joining me for the first summer episode of KaTsZoNe!
The first half of 2014 had me mall hopping and exploring flea markets and farmers' markets. During the month of June, I took more road trips in Ontario!
A couple friends told me about the newest mall in Niagara called Outlet Collection at Niagara located at 300 Taylor Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake [www.outletcollectionatniagara.com]. It opened on May 15th and I went to check it out on June 6th. It is an open air mall with plenty of popular brand name store outlets. It is similar to another open air outlet, Toronto Premium Outlets, which opened in August, 2013, but, they are not the same owners. At the time of my visit, not all the stores have opened. I have just checked the Store Directory and still, Bass Pro Shops, Cole Haan, Kate Spade Outlet, Polo Ralph Lauren and a few more shops have not opened yet. I discovered that one of my favourite stores, L'Occitane, has opened its first outlet store at Outlet Collection. What I have realized is that great deals do not happen year-round at the outlet malls. I remember being at Toronto Premium Outlets on Mother's Day -- lots of big discounts! That day, I ended up leaving Outlet Collection at Niagara empty-handed. A good shopping trip oftentimes depends on timing. Still, it was a gorgeous day, as I sat outside under an umbrella at a table eating a delicious avocado sandwich and quinoa salad, sipping my iced mint lemon tea from Aroma Espresso Bar. It was so perfect! Those who are on my mailing list, I shall include the link to my June photo album from Facebook in my email. If you are reading this blog through Facebook, check out my June 2014 photo album. You do not have to be a registered user on Facebook to view my album, however, you will need access to the Facebook site. If you are on Facebook and have not connected with me yet, feel free to do so by going to the link at the bottom of this blog.
Before heading out to Outlet Collection at Niagara, I thought about visiting St. Catharines and the Welland Canal locks. As I was about to leave the mall, I looked up Welland Canals and discovered that I was only 2 kms away from Lock 3. Off I went to Welland Canal, Lock 3, arriving just in time to see a Great Lakes ship called the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin just beginning its passage through the lock. What perfect timing! I hurried along, went up the stairs, went down the paths, taking several photos like other tourists who were also there to experience the event. I met one lady who said she was visiting from BC. She was in Ontario for a conference and seemed excited to be at the Welland Canal lock. My dad worked on a Great Lakes ship in the 1970's. He told my mom and I that his ship had passed through the Welland Canal. Mom and I had never been there. Every time I see a ship, whether on the ocean or on the Great Lakes, I always remember my dad. I love boats! Some people love to be in the water -- swimming or taking a bath. I love being ON the water -- boats and seaplanes are for me! I am definitely not a fish! I left the Welland Canal feeling so refreshed and happy that day after lots of water to drink, water surrounding me, and a yummy Magnum ice cream bar in my tummy! Summer had not even officially begun but it felt like I was already there!
Four days after my journey to Outlet Collection at Niagara and the Welland Canal lock, I headed off to Stratford, Ontario. I had looked into a few shows at the Stratford Festival but did not feel passionately about any particular show. The only play which looked interesting to me was Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra which does not begin till July. Still, I had the urge for another road trip. I decided I would go out and explore the city itself. I was constantly checking the weather forecast, so, I picked another good day to do lots of walking. My first stop was the Tourist information office - always a good first stop before anything else. I have been to Stratford once before, many years ago. I decided to start my walk by heading towards the Avon River. I was hoping to see some swans but they were nowhere around! Eventually, I came upon one of four performance venues, the Tom Patterson Theatre. Instead of heading further down the river to the largest theatre of the four, the Festival Theatre (which my friend, Tracy, and I have been to in the past), I walked back to Ontario Street and lo and behold, I found Balzac's Coffee, which I was hoping to find. As some of you may know, there is a Balzac's Coffee in the Toronto Distillery District, but, did you know that the first store started in Stratford, Ontario? Well, I needed some caffeine, so, finding Balzac's could not happen at a better time! Then, I continued walking until I found The Pour House Sports Bar & Grill, located across from the Avon Theatre on Downie Street. After lunch, my friend, Jaimie, texted me and told me about a store which I did not plan to visit: Rheo Thompson Candies at 61 Albert Street. She said, she loved the "mint smoothies" chocolates from Rheo Thompson, although she had never been there. Apparently, that is Justin Bieber's favourite chocolate from that particular candy store in his hometown. Delicious indeed!!! I walked out with both milk and dark mint smoothie chocolates! It was quite warm that day, and it is really nice to have air conditioning in the car, as I had to protect those delicious "babies" while driving home!
About two weeks after my trip to Stratford, Larry and I celebrated the first day of summer weekend at Wasaga Beach - a fourth year tradition for me, and for Larry, it was another year working at The 9th Annual Wasaga Beach Fest. Although I love exploring cultural sites, interesting stores and historical places, Wasaga Beach is all about the water, sand, blue skies, fluffy clouds and sun! Again, I really hope you will have a chance to take a look at my June photo album on Facebook where Larry took some fantastic photos of sunsets and sunrise and you can see my scenic photos as well. I met some new "friends" in the form of a huge snake (considered small for its specie), a tortoise and a reptile which is related to the komodo dragon, but, forgive me if I have forgotten its name. I can tell you that that unnamed reptile was attracted to me, as it stuck its tongue out of the cage close to me. Someone standing next to me said it liked me. Well, what's not to like? I'm meat. That reptile is a carnivore. Perhaps, that's why I was attracted more to the tortoise -- good ole vegetarian! I love you! And, as usual, after my jaunt to the beach front, I had to go to my favourite Walmart -- yes, at Wasaga Beach. It never fails -- I always leave that Walmart feeling SATISFIED that I got everything I could ever want. I am not saying that I am a huge Walmart fan -- just saying, that is one Walmart that has not disappointed me yet. And, for the second year, I picked up some food to donate to the local food bank through Walmart. I started making monthly donations to food banks in my area starting at the beginning of 2013. I hope I can keep it up as I feel that making donations only on holidays is not enough.
Now, at the end of June, I can only dream about my next road trip! Well, I'm off to Sudbury after Canada Day! If you are on Facebook, you will see my photos and updates. And, those who are not on Facebook, you will have to wait for next month's episode of KaTsZoNe. I don't know what will be next after Sudbury in the month of July. Hoping to survive Sudbury first!
Have a fabulous July. I look forward to hearing from you about your holidays.
Enjoy the summer!
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