Summer in the city
When I was a kid growing up in Fort William summer was one of my four favorite seasons. Every year about this time I would count down the days until school was out and two glorious months of summer holidays began. But it wasn’t all fun and games.
When I was a kid growing up in Fort William summer was one of my four favorite seasons. Every year about this time I would count down the days until school was out and two glorious months of summer holidays began.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. Well, actually it was pretty much but there were days when we found ourselves with too much time on our hands and not enough to do. Sometimes we would even approach our parents with the problem. Their response was predictable and universal.
"You want something to do? I’ll give you something to do."
We never really liked that sarcastic response but by the same token we never had the nerve to call their bluff either. It sounded ominous. Besides, it turned out we could find something to do without their help anyway.
Now here it is, 2010 and summer is moving in quickly. I still have a problem, only this time around there is too much to do. How can I make the most of what looks like another great summer in the city?
I first realized how serious the situation was when we received a large glossy poster in the mail which is essentially a "staycation" planner for this summer.
Not everybody can get away for a holiday. Some have to work, many can’t afford it (sometimes these are the same people) and some like me simply can’t think of any place they would like to go that they would enjoy as much as their own backyard.
However, for those who choose to spend the summer in this environmental Garden of Eden we call home, be of good cheer.
There are many entertainment options and amusing pastimes happening in the vicinity. If you check out the poster you should have no trouble finding something to do.
The flyer promotes a 10-day period in mid-July when this city will host a long lineup of fests, festivals and other assorted amusements while at the same time Old Fort William will host a huge camping, food, entertainment and music spectacle known collectively as the Great Canadian Rendezvous. I haven’t been this excited since "school’s out ’67."
If you like music, any kind of music, and you like to listen to it performed live on the shore of a great lake or the banks of a lazy river, then this is your summer and this is the place to be.
It starts with Bluesfest at Marina Park and continues on every night for a week and a half at Fort William Historical Park.
On any given night you can get your mojo working, groove to jazz on the Kam or nap peacefully on the grass to the tunes of folk at the Fort.
The outdoor amphitheatre boasts comfortable seating for about 50,000, give or take. You can also swing your kilt on Celtic night, beat your drum at Keeshigun or strum on your old banjo at the Bluegrass Jamboree.
Go for the music but hang around for the activities. For your consideration there is an extensive historical program including tours, canoe rides, trade demonstrations and of course, heritage and aboriginal food for sampling.
Did someone mention food? Nothing draws attention faster than the smell of grilling mammal flesh so anything called the Great Canadian BBQ will have a captive audience. There is also historic dining in the Cantine and I’m sure the air will be scented with many other interesting and amusing aromas.
It’s for the whole family and it’s not too expensive. A lot of it is free. And each day when it’s over and the summer sun is sinking, the campground comes alive with campfires, campfire songs and good friends to share a few stories.
This year I won’t be vacationing in Europe or the South Sea Islands. I won’t be going to Vegas, Rio or Hong Kong.
This year I will be staying where the action is – right in my own backyard.
Literally, I mean my own backyard. We are lucky enough to live within earshot of the amphitheatre at the Fort.
If we’re too lazy to drive or too cheap to pay the price of admission we can still sit on the deck and listen from here.
Now that’s what I call a staycation.
With all the activity around town this summer you have no reason to say there’s nothing to do.
Anyway, you can always ask your mom. I’m sure she’ll find something for you.