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, June 24, 2014

Canada Agriculture & Food Museum Tour ~ Behind the Scenes Tour

Ontario Visited ~ Judi "Scoop" McWilliams with
Kelly Ray ~ Marketing & Communications Officer
Canada Agriculture & Food Museum
We welcome you to come along as we Tour the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
The sun shone as we circled the final round-about toward the entrance of the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. We had driven many times through the massive fields around the complex, but for some reason never took the time to stop in. Today we were meeting with Kelly Ray, Marketing & Communications Officer who had graciously welcomed us for a personal guided tour. It seemed a little "surreal" as we neared the facility as many large barns and buildings glistened in the sun. We drove by several hay fields before we parked and walked up to the entrance.
The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum is located on a beautiful picturesque heritage site of the Central Experimental Farm, near the National Capital’s downtown core. It offers its visitors the unique experience of a fully functioning farm in an urban setting. As part of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, the CAFM is mandated to preserve Canada’s agriculture and food heritage, and to share and promote scientifically accurate knowledge about the way agriculture is best practiced and food produced and consumed in Canada.
Kelly met us with enthusiasm and our tour was about to begin. Kelly tells us the Museum, in part, welcomes new comers to Canada and provides tours for children. Their greatest audience is young children and families. With that in mind, you can imagine how youth and family “visitor friendly” this facility is. This was apparent by the “stroller parking areas” set up outside many of the buildings. There is even a "quiet station" where mothers can take a time out to breast feed if they want with some privacy and quiet. They welcome over 160,000 visitors a year.
Research is a large component of the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. For example, Kelly tells us the facility has been researching "winter proofing" wheat and crops where new techniques have been developed. Some examples include; soils and Canadian land inventory; food and dairy products processing technology; horticulture and ornamental plant breeding; agriculture engineering and farm mechanical systems; animal and poultry breeding and production; agricultural and forest insect identification and control methods; agricultural chemistry analysis methodology; plant and animal pathology, bacteriology and plant health; cereal and forage crop production utilization; tobacco; bee research.

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

West Coast Blues "Downtown Shuffle" ~ FREE Stuff!

The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But The Blues

THE INSIDE SCOOP” is pleased to share some “Scoop” with the West Coast Blues (aka WCB) from the committee chair, Mr. John Harrison. I have had the pleasure of several conversations with both John and colleague, Don Hubick, who both are very passionate about the “Blues” and their Community!
West Coast Blues (aka WCB) is a non-profit organization that supports blues artists – locally, nationally and internationally – by producing blues events. These events in turn support the arts, culture and tourism of Huron County, and in particular the Port of Goderich, the heart of Ontario’s “West Coast”. They remain true to the cause … The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But The Blues. Their goal is simple, to become your premier Blues destination.
As with many Festivals and Events, they start with an “idea”. John shares with us that the West Coast Blues Festival began with no money (common among new events) in 2006. They hosted their first Blues Festival on the beach in the port of Goderich. Mr. Harrison tells more about their journey … “In 2007 we again were on the beach in Goderich and hosted our second annual Blues festival”.
In communities all across Ontario, sponsors are very generous with their donations and support. Sometimes, however, situations change quickly and Festivals and Events are left suddenly finding themselves without a key Sponsor. This was the case for the West Coast Blues Festival . John tells me that their sponsor for the first two years backed out and they thought we were done. A devastating thought after a two year effort. However, Mr. Harrison tells us a new radio station, The BEACH 104.9, came to town in their area and approached us with money to keep the festival going. John goes on to say … “Since then we have continued and have hosted the festival in our historical downtown core area. By moving the festival to our downtown area we were able to gain the support of  local business and have not looked back since”.
Mr. John Harrison shares … “We changed our name from West Coast Blues Festival to West Coast Blues Downtown Shuffle. We came up with a new format, a two day festival. The first night we host the Friday night Walkabout, that has a separate and unique act in 8 different downtown venues, all within walking distance. Blues fans can see 8 great acts for one low price of $10. The Main Stage is the second night of the festival, featuring  3 high caliber, Juno and Maple Blues winners. Next year will be their 10th anniversary of West Coast Blues "Downtown Shuffle".
With any Scoop, it’s great to know about “Free Stuff”. This Canada Day Weekend the West Coast Blues "Downtown Shuffle" is presenting a “FREE” Live Outdoor Concert at the Canada Day Weekend Fireworks night. Rain or Shine, or at Dusk … The Concert starts at 8:00 p.m., then resumes right after the Fireworks. Bring a blanket, comfortable chair, snacks and treats. As Ontario Visited recommends, always bring along water, extra set of dry clothing and such. Nothing worse then a drive home in wet clothing. But, it shouldn’t rain, right! The night features a Tribute that Sets a Standard, The McCartney Years.
... a quote ...It seems our appetite for cover bands and tribute acts is at an all time high. With the proliferation of American Idol, The Voice, Glee and a plethora of other musical entertainment we appear to be transfixed by performers covering popular music from almost every era. And with the price of the average TicketMaster show these days, we seem perfectly content with exceptional imitations. This bodes well for acts like The McCartney Years, originally from Holland and now based out of CanadaPraised by Beatles promoter Sid Bernstein – the guy that brought the real Beatles to North America – as “the best on the scene today…” The McCartney Years is loved by audiences all over the world and particularly fondly in Canada. Led by the affable perfectionist Yuri Pool, the band’s commitment to 100% live and accurate reproductions of McCartney’s concert experience has set the standard for all who might follow in this significant body of work. Having undergone a complete retooling in the last year TMY is now period-true, technically stunning and sonically explosive.
 TMY’s commitment to the new show is apparent in the excitement they exude. “We are currently preparing the band for a national tour and US dates late in 2013 and early 2014 to reach an ever-widening audience. We’ve got the chops, the look, the songs and the gear…and the audience gets it. I was even thrilled to cut my hair to complete the package, much to my wife’s disappointment” says the natural blonde.
Whether he’s playing a real McCartney-style Hoffner bass or the same wardrobe from the “Wings over America” mid-70s tour, Yuri is true to Sir Paul in his vocal stylings and presentation. And the band doesn’t miss a beat delivering a texture that will transport you back to the first time you played these great songs on vinyl. TMY players include David Usselman (guitars and bass); Braden DeCooman (guitars); Darryl Lahteenmaa (keyboards and synth); Karen Bell (percussion and keyboards; Aaron Gueverra (drums) and of course Yuri on bass, vocals, piano and guitar.
Experience three decades of ‘The Beatles’ and ‘Wings’ live – with the world’s premier McCartney concert experience. Rewind into the 60s and 70s to dance, sing and relive your passion for McCartney with a band that has opened for Mariah Carey, performed sold-out shows across Canada and been featured on CNN, CBC, and CTV.

Stay tuned for more about the Importance of Blues, Volunteers, Community, Charitable causes and more with Mr. John Harrison, Committee Chair. In the meantime you can check out their website at http://www.westcoastblues.ca/Welcome.html .

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Volunteers ~ The Key to Success ~ Newmarket jazz+ Festival

NEWMARKET JAZZ+ FESTIVAL is just weeks away.  They need Volunteers to develop a Top Ontario festival of the arts and music!  I’ve often noted that Volunteers are the "Key to Success".  What I have experienced being with Sher St. Kitts at several Festivals, is that her team treats Volunteers with great respect, appreciation, kindness and always promise and deliver:  lots of FUN along the way!   Sher says “If you’re not having FUN, then don’t do it!”  Achieving something with a dedicated team is rewarding and fun.  Sher and jazz plus team loves to dance with the Volunteers regularly - how can you not have fun, when all of them are having fun!   It becomes a Fun-Fest!  Self-sustaining Festivals and Events depend upon YOU, the Volunteer.  I highly recommend you contact Sher if you wish to join in the fun, gain knowledge, experience and feel good about contributing to the development of Ontario’s creative community.

Ontario Visited, Festival Nomad (Gary McWilliams); Judi (Scoop) McWilliams; Sher St. Kitts (Festival Producer/Organizer, NEWMARKET jazz+ FESTIVAL)

Sher St. Kitts (Festival Producer/Organizer, NEWMARKET jazz+ FESTIVAL) with ONTARIO VISITED, Festival Nomad (Gary McWilliams)
Inaugural Jazz+ Guy Black Tie Kick Off:  July 19th, 2014
Arts Music Festivals York Region organizers of the Newmarket jazz+ Festival announce the first Annual Jazz+ Guy Black Tie Kick Off at the Newmarket Theatre – Saturday, July 19th.
Only 100 Tickets available for VIP Black Tie at $100ea – supporting the creation of annual bridge between the Newmarket jazz+ Festival and the Newmarket Theatre. Starting at 6pm – one hundred Jazz+ Guy Black Tie Kick Off VIPs will enjoy Red Carpet Reception including a Cruise & Schmooze banquet of fabulous finger foods by Vince’s Market, excellent wine & cheeses, a swag bag, live entertainment, photo opportunities and 7:30pm show featuring George St. Kitts.
“Show only” 300 fabulous seats at $25 each for 7:30pm George St. Kitts Show.  Formal dress – while Tuxedos and gowns are enjoyed, they are not required.  Ladies & Gentlemen –  a great opportunity to strut your stuff & bring out your bling!
Get your tickets at on line at http://newmarketjazzfestival.com/buy-tickets/ or email request to sherstkitts@gmail.com
Michael Chan Wrote ~
“The Ontario government is committed to building a strong economy and creating jobs in communities across the province. Local festivals and events bring communities together and give Ontario families and visitors another reason to explore our wonderful province.”
Thanks to our 2014 Sponsors & Partners: Celebrate Ontario, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Central Counties Tourism, TD Bank, YRMG, snapd Inc., Vince’s Market, Buckley Insurance, NewRoads Automotive, Green & Rose Developments, Investors Group, 88.5 The Jewel, 91.1 Jazz FM, The Arts Music Store, St. Kitts Music, Cosmo Music, Newmarket Downtown Development Subcommittee, Town of Newmarket, Your On Line Business, Powell Contracting, Nmkt. Main Street BIA, Elite Email, York Region Arts Council, Newmarket Library, Sundance Signs, Main Street shops, festival friends, partners, Interns, Coordinators and volunteers.
Celebrate great local talent with us at the 2014 Newmarket jazz+ Festival, August 1 - 4 Riverwalk Commons, the Lions Hall and Main Street, Newmarket.

Please text word jazz to 33322 to win tickets & prizes 
Newmarket - Arts Music Festivals York Region organizers of the Newmarket jazz+ Festival (“NJF”) are happy to announce our second annual Festival Launch at the Newmarket Farmers Market this Saturday June 14th.  Join us for announcements 10am on stage.The jazz+ Guy flags will be flying high!  We invite all art/music fans, community leaders, media, press, artists and musicians to join us at Riverwalk to launch the 2014 festival and celebrate festival season in York Region!  We have posters and post cards for distribution. We need your assistance to get festival information spread all over York Region and into cottage country! 
We are proud to announce we have more than a dozen dedicated Intern Coordinators who have volunteered to lead festival teams run a dynamic, successful community festival.  The NJF attracted these highly skilled Interns from several Universities and Colleges.  They will assist in coordination of:  Volunteers, Vendors, Creative Kids Zone, Lions Halls Activities, Stages & Sound, Artistic Direction, Visual Artists, Accounts, Gate Teams, Sponsorship Management, Signage & Banners, Marketing & Social Media, Community Partners Liaison, Festival Surveys, Administration, Operations and General Management.  Each Festival Team needs a group of volunteers!  Please volunteer and help us build the Newmarket jazz+ Festival into a provincially recognized Top 100 festival here in Newmarket.
Newmarket is a leader in supporting its creative artist’s community.  It has positively nurtured and developed the Newmarket jazz+ Festival.  Successful festivals are good for everyone:  the creative artists, local business, vibrant community and our Towns.
Celebrate great local talent with us at the 2nd annual Newmarket jazz+ Festival, August 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th at Riverwalk Commons, the Lions Hall and Main Street, Newmarket..
by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams EXCERPT FROM VISIT ...
It was great to see Sher and George St. Kitts again, this time in Newmarket. There were already great crowds at this year's Jazz Festival. The City of Newmarket and its residents had certainly embraced the Newmarket jazz+ Festival. This year we were visiting the Festival with "Ace" Festival Nomad Correspondent, Carol Law. Carol lives in Newmarket and is a member of the Newmarket Citizens Band, so theNewmarket jazz+ Festival was one that she really wanted to attend! The Festival was being held in Newmarket's Riverwalk Commons. This was a great facility that includes both a stage area, lots of outside space for both exhibits and festival visitors. There is also a building which held a number of activities and displays. Once we were inside the Festival gates, we started to investigate all that was being offered. There were plenty of interesting vendors, offering unique products and services. On one of the two stages, a group of musicians were performing in front of a large enthusiastic audience.  While we were touring the Festival grounds, we looked for Festival organizer, Sher St. Kitts. Eventually our paths crossed and we were able to catch a few moments of her time. We were even able to snap a few photos with her. As in other years, Sher was a "beehive" of activity and she had to rush off all too soon. After she left us, we continued on our way to explore the rest of the grounds. We had visited most of the outside booths, had stopped to listen to the music and now entered the building. Inside there were activities for kids, including a great craft area where children could allow their creative juices to flow! In an another area fine art was on display. It was here that we met up with George St. Kitts. George and Sher produce the Newmarket jazz+ Festival and George and his group are some of the Festival's "Star" performers! Judi, being the "Photo Op Queen" managed to have another "Handsome Man Photo". Others include the "Mantracker, Terry Grant" and "International Space Station Commander, Chris Hadfield". Back outside, we returned to the stage area to listen to more great music. Time seemed to pass very quickly. Reluctantly we left to Festival, a long trip home awaited us. After the fact, we learned that Carol had returned that evening to the Festival with one of her friends. According to Carol the evening performances were even more spectacular!
What a great way for a "fresh start" in a "new community" for a "well establish Festival" Congratulations to Sher and George and all the Festival's volunteers for a fabulous Newmarket jazz+ Festival.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Volunteers continue … Success & Fundraisers at Westben Arts Festival Theatre

Judi (Scoop) McWilliams ~ Ontario Visited with
Donna Bennett ~ Co-Founder Westben Arts Festival Theatre
Co-Founders soprano & pianist Donna Bennett / composer Brian Finley 
Westben Arts Festival Theatre
Volunteers continue … Success & Fundraisers at Westben Arts Festival Theatre
For many festivals and events, it is critical to have volunteers! ... Previously I asked Donna Bennett, Co-founder Westben Arts Festival Theatre of how many volunteers Westben required for the season and do you have any systems in place to “keep them happy”. I was not surprised to learn ... “Westben has an amazing volunteer coordinator – Marilyn Keene who had 2 assistants that organized 250 volunteers.  It takes 10-20 volunteers on site per concert.” Volunteers are the part of the essential support system of Westben. From the Board of Directors right down to ticket-takers on the day of the show, they need people like you who are willing to give the gift of time, energy and your own unique talents. Opportunities for volunteering are year round!  The first face a Westben patron sees is probably a volunteer, helping them to park their car, greeting them, taking their tickets, showing them their seats or purchasing an ice-cream at intermission. As well there are volunteers behind the scenes, backstage, costumes, artist hospitality as well as maintenance of the grounds and the facility.
Volunteers are an essential and delightful part of the Westben experience. Volunteering has its rewards as well, experiencing Westben first hand, learning something new and being part of a great group of people. If you have a talent or a skill you would like to share or you would like more information about volunteering please contact westben@westben.ca or the Westben Volunteer Coordinator, Marilyn Keene 705 653 5508.

 “In 1999, The Westben Arts Festival Theatre was formed as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating, enriching and integrating professionals and amateurs in musical projects and educational activities. Run by a Board of Directors, Westben received its charitable status in 2000.” As Westben has it's 'Charitable Status", … Ms. Bennett talks about this year’s Annual Fundaiser … “We have an annual fundraiser – Here Comes The Sun Gala Fundraiser, this Saturday, June 21 at 2 pm. This Annual Fundraising Event will take place in a beautiful garden of a private home near Warkworth, Ontario. Westben presents a garden full of music, sunshine and fundraising celebrating the longest day of the year! Special guest artists, activities, delicious food and wine are all waiting for you at a private home surrounded by a magnificent garden near Warkworth, Ontario, all in support of the Westben Arts Festival Theatre. If you wish a great adventure, one to remember, join in the fun at Westben! You can check their website at http://www.westben.ca/

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tourism Awareness Week ~ Interview "Scoop" with Rob Carnegie, Director of Tourism ~ Kingston Tourism

Tourism Week ~ Kingston Tourism Kicks Off
Monday, June 9 - Sunday, June 15, 2014
Tourism Kingston is pleased to announce that Tourism Awareness Week will take place in Kingston from Monday, June 9 – Sunday, June 15.  A full roster of activities has been organized including a free barbeque for Kingston and area residents at the Visitor Information Centre, 209 Ontario Street and free admission for residents to select Kingston museums.
Ontario Visited ~ Interview with
Tourism Kingston (Kingston Economic Development Corporation)
Rob Carnegie, Director of Tourism, Marketing & Development
Rob Carnegie, Director of Tourism, Marketing & Development
Over the course of the year I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Rob Carnegie, Director of Tourism, Marketing and Development for Tourism Kingston. You might be surprised to learn that it was not in an office setting that we met. It was on a warm summers evening at Fort Henry, National Historic Site of Canada in Kingston. Ontario Visited had the pleasure of enjoying the fantastic music of Rob Carnegie, singer/songwriter extraordinaire. Rob is an experienced and professional New Country Artist. The St. Lawrence Parks Commission, Fort Henry is now providing, as quoted from Mr. Will Baird, Manager … “Edutainment... educating while entertaining".  The evening we met Rob Carnegie he and is group were performing on the rooftop at the Fort prior to the famous Sunset Ceremonies! This meeting has now led to a Series of “INSIDE SCOOP” Blog articles that I hope you will enjoy as we share some of the INSIDE SCOOP, knowledge and insight into an the complex world of TOURISM!
Rob Carnegie, at Fort Henry, Kingston, Ontario

THE JOURNEY BEGINS … The Many Roles of Tourism for Rob Carnegie
As Director for Tourism Kingston, a division of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation, Rob Carnegie oversees a team of 5 staff including a seasonal team of 8 students which work out of the Visitor Information Offices in the City. In this position, he develops key partnerships with municipal and provincial government agencies along with key local industry stakeholders. Carnegie oversees the coordination and execution in multiple tourism industry segments including Leisure/Consumer, Meetings & Conferences, Travel Trade, Sport Tourism, Travel Media, Tourism Attraction and Visitor Services. Further to the marketing portfolio, he manages the Tourism Attraction & Investment file with a focus on developing Kingston's product offering to visitors.
Our mission is to ensure that Kingston remains a world class city by supporting tourism marketing and development so that we're the destination of choice for visitors from all over the world. Tourism Kingston believes in making your stay a first class experience and every day we strive to assist our partners in allowing their visitors to experience Kingston to its fullest, and enjoy their visit to our City.    

We hope you will check in again as I will continue my Series of Blog Articles with Mr. Rob Carnegie, and Tourism Kingston! Lots more to come! In the meantime, please check out their website at http://tourism.kingstoncanada.com/.