It was a Thursday night when i got the message from a fellow blogger, Let’s Discover Ontario, asking if I wanted to go to the Spring Cottage Life Show. I had never heard of it, as I’m a camper and generally not a cottager, but it sounded like a great way to spend a cold rainy Saturday. I graciously accepted after receiving a yes from Peter about if he wanted to go with me. I was excited to see what this show was all about!
Later that night I went online and looked up the Cottage Life show. I was impressed at how big the show is and how many vendors would be there. Some of my favourite outdoors people would be there including Swift Canoe and Kayak, The Paddle Shack and Ontario Parks. i was excited!
Saturday morning I got up bright and early and got myself ready in my Camper Christina gear to head to the International Centre. Peter and I met up with Tony and Petula of Let’s Discover Ontario and headed inside to check out the show. The venue was decorated beautifully and full of fresh tulips wherever you looked.
I was amazed at the amount of people that were here. I arrived at 11am, the show had started at 10 and the parking lot was already full. I had to park in an additional lot directed by police and show staff. I was impressed how organized and ready they were for the big crowd. We made our way though the excited guests and checked out the things we were most interested in.
There were many vendors there selling their wares. Very cool wood and handmade items and things for everyone who loved the outdoors. It was very hard for me to keep my money in my pocket and not purchase everything I wanted.
We stopped at Parks Canada for a quick chat and I asked them why they weren’t sporting their new logo. I had the girl at the booth going for quite some time before I showed her the new logo presented on Facebook by Ontario Parks on April Fools day, just a few days before. We had a great laugh about it and then we said our goodbyes and moved on to see some awesome creatures.
Wild Ontario, based at the university of Guelph, provides live animal, environmental education throughout ontario. They had an owl and a falcon that we got to visit with and ask questions about. I had never before seen an owl close up live and was fascinated by it. I felt bad as it’s predator, the falcon was in close proximaty and he could not keep his eyes off him. He must’ve been very scared.
Right next to Wild Ontario was a booth representing Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. We spent quite a bit of time there talking to a lovely woman named Marilyn Cresswell who volunteers there and I found out a lot of information. I am excited about this cause and am hoping to link up with Aspen to do some donations in the near future and promote them through Camper Christina. Hopefully, something will be announced shortly about this awesome new partnership! 🙂 Stay tuned! 🙂
Everywhere we went we saw gorgeous wooden works of art, furniture, decorations and things I quickly fell in love with. Since I couldn’t afford to buy them, I just kept taking photos of them so I could one day create something similar on my own.
And then, there he was…. Smokey the Bear!!! Holy smokes! hahaha, no pun intended! I loved Smokey so of course, I had to go and get my photo taken with him. This was one bear I was always happy to see, out spreading the word that only we can prevent forest fires! Wildland Fire Management did a great job representing themselves and expelling to everyone how important it is to protect nature and educate everyone on how best to do that! Great job guys!
After walking around for almost 2 hours I finally found a booth I was dying to see. Pioneer Log Homes of BC! I loved watching Timber Kings and greatly appreciate their craftsmanship and that they create beautiful works of art for every single one of their clients, whether it be a shed or an enormous mansion. When I arrived at the booth I found out that Andre Chevigny, the general manager, was here only yesterday!!! I missed meeting him and was very sad about that for sure! I checked out the booth and we sadly continued on. When I grow up, I will have a Pioneer log home. Even if it’s just a wee one! It is definitely a dream of mine and somehow, some way, I will make it happen!
Right around the corner, we were happy to find the Paddle Shack!!! We spent quite a bit of time there talking about canoes and kayaks and getting all the information on the new models, weights, etc. I love to paddle and really enjoyed my time at the Paddle Shacks booth and am looking forward to visiting their location in Muskoka very soon!
After our visit with the Paddle Shack we took a very very expensive lunch break. I understand that it’s a show and people want to make money but honestly, I was amazed at how ridiculously expensive the prices were. We got 2 chicken schawarma’s and 2 bottles of water, $28.00. No sides, and the pitas were very small. Sorry, I just had to mention that. At the outdoors show I expected something similar and it was expensive but not robbery like that! LOL
As we were entering the next hall we saw a huge lineup where people were waiting to meet Colin and Justin of the Cottage Life tv show. I got a picture from afar which was good enough for me and we carried on to see what was next?
Lots of cool booths and lovely people to visit with. Above, we stopped to talk to Luna Adventures who offers fully guided and outfitted Canadian Wilderness Adventures. After that we found a booth giving away butter tarts!!! YUP! True story. I am personally not a butter tart fan, as I am a chocoholic and love all things chocolate. To my great surprise, they had chocolate butter tarts. WHAT???? REALLY! I tried one and I have to honestly say it may be the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life! It was amazing! Grandmothers Bake Shoppe was the company offering and selling the tarts and I immediately bought a 6 pack for $6.00 wondering if I should get more? I found out they sell their goods in various retail outlets, including Costco and Harvest Barn, both near me in St. Catharines. Happy happy girl!
Shortly after visiting with Grandmothers, we saw this booth featuring the artwork of Ivan Trotter . His painting were incredible and although I could not afford to purchase one myself at the time, I wanted to bring your attention to his work, in case it might be something you would like to check out. The paintings on display were so colourful and vivid. I recognized one being Bon Echo very quickly from my trip there last summer, as they are so greatly detailed.
Right across the way from Ivan’s booth was Paddles by W. Bruce Smith. All of the paddles were crafted by Bruce and they were absolutely fabulous! We spoke with Bruce and his partner for quite some time. Both incredibly lovely people, very experienced in paddling and Bruce has been making paddles for most of his life. If you get a chance to see his work, I would highly recommend taking some time to do so. You will not be disappointed in what you find!
Possibly one of my favourite booths of the entire show was Swift Canoe and Kayak . I am most likely biased as I love to paddle and enjoy both kayaking and canoeing so much. Swift not only has the most beautiful boats around, but their staff are all very knowledgeable and super friendly. I think we spent an hour just chatting with everyone about tripping, favourite destinations, most popular boats and similar topics of interest. I had a wonderful time learning lots of new things about one of my greatest passions and could’ve spent even more time here, but, there was so much to see and time was running out!
We continued to peruse the show, stopping here and there to check things out. There was an entire section of Realtors that we skipped and quite a few building companies showing off million dollar cottages. We did stop to take a look at a glamping hot tent that was set up. It was truly amazing and I don’t even think the word glamping can cover it? We took a seat at the small table and chairs to have a rest, as it was nice and quiet inside and away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. Suddenly, the visitors who came in after us, believed we were the hosts of the tent and started asking us questions. As both of us have knowledge about hot tents from winter camping, we played along for a bit, confidently answering questions with answers that came easily to us. It was fun and we were curious as to where the actual people who were showing the tent were, but we thought we made good substitutions until they returned.
We seemed to have finally completed the tour of the show, and we were both quite exhausted. It always surprises me how much walking around a venue like this can drain you, especially when you’re someone who is used to hiking for an entire day, or days. I don’t know why it is that way, be I was ready for a good movie and a lie down on my couch. I came across these really cool animal sculptures heading out of the last aisle we visited. They looked to be made of driftwood and were super neat. I looked for some information on who made them and how but couldn’t come up with any information unfortunately. So I took a few pictures so I could at least somewhat share their beauty.
The fellas in the cottage workshop sponsored by Timber Mart were still hard at work, even though the show was about to close. We waved goodbye and headed out the the parking lot to find our cars, once buried in a sea of vehicles, now sitting alone and inviting us to get inside and enjoy it’s comfort and quiet.
I want to send a huge thank you to my friends Tony and Petula for thinking of inviting me to check out this show. If you have a moment, stop by Let’s Discover ON and check out their great posts and videos. They will definitely make you laugh and give you some interesting things to see and do while in Ontario.
Thanks so much for checking out my post! I truly hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, comments or issues, please do not hesitate to contact me! I am always happy to hear from people and receive feedback on my posts!