Friday, November 9, 2007

The Tourist Invasion

Summer. Fairs and Events and how to find them. Look for a lot of parked cars. Community Centres usually doubling as ice rinks are worth a detour just to see what's posted or maybe you'll get lucky and run into a dance or show. This one in Bancroft, hosts Canada's biggest Rock and Mineral Show, the Gemboree, a must for rock hounds who drive in from all over the continent. Tourist Info booths will load you up with brochures and booklets. When you wade through all the advertising, you'll often find something where the blasted date is missing, with no contact information. Or a number that doesn't answer. Talk to a live guide if there is one. Locals will oblige with approximations, like their street and road directions. Local newspapers are usually the best source for events and any large town's Chamber of Commerce. Better still, talk to the hotel or resort desk before you reserve and see how helpful and professional they are. In the country you're not going to find much, maybe roadside stands for berries and corn, and the occasional auction and artist's studio. High quality handmade pottery right from the potters themselves, with some interesting technical information on how your piece was made, will give you years of pleasure, as a genuine souvenir of Muskoka. Painters are even more numerous, but the emphasis is on fairly routine landscapes. Finding something great is the adventure. Consider yourself a treasure hunter and you will find one or at least some memories to take home. Good luck.

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