An Insider's Guide to Waterloo Region

Interesting places on and off the beaten track

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Merry Christmas from my house to yours!

Written by Ruth

December 25, 2010 at 12:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Casablanca Bookshop

I highly recommend that you go and check out the Casablanca Bookshop. During my high school days, this used bookstore was (and still is) one of my favorite places to go to. Even with the construction taking place on King Street, Casablanca will still be open all summer.

For those who are really into the vintage, there’s currently a 50% blowout sale on VHS.

Written by thebecka

April 27, 2010 at 12:00 am

The Giant, Cancerous Colon (Waterloo Town Square)

(In case you’re wondering, that thing hanging down the colon is the appendix….)

This was how I spent my Saturday morning.

I crawled out of bed and went all the way up to Waterloo Town Square, just to see this inflatable, diseased replica of a colon. There were hemorrhoids, rectal cancer, colon cancer, and other colon ailments inside. I did take pictures of the inside, except that……um…..I got distracted with the polyps (at least I think that’s what they were). Click here to see what I mean.

On a more serious note, the purpose of the display was to raise awareness of colon cancer prevention. The Giant Colon Exhibit, put on by the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, has been on tour across Canada since March 2009 and has made various stops such as malls and hotels.

On a side note, the volunteers (I’m assuming they were volunteers) had really awesome lab coats, with organs and nerves on them (seen on the right – not gonna lie, I secretly wanted one). Overall, the giant colon was an effective educational tool, and I’m all for that.

Written by thebecka

February 9, 2010 at 12:00 am

Happy New Year 2010

Welcome to a new year and a new decade. This year we plan to post a picture taken in Waterloo Region each day of the year. The picture may have just a title or it may have a descriptive post following. Hopefully we will have presented an interesting mosaic of our great community by the end of 2010.

Written by Ruth

January 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Riverside Park, Cambridge

riverside collage

There are many beautiful parks in Waterloo Region each with their own special appeal. Some are particularly suited for young children, others for organized sports, and others are enjoyed for their trails in a natural setting. Riverside Park is the largest park in Cambridge (102 hectares) and has something for everyone. Located in the old Preston area of the city, it is situated along the Speed River, a couple of kilometers upstream from the confluence with the Grand River.


There are several playgrounds, picnic areas, playing fields, a skateboard park, tennis courts, and a beautiful trail with a well maintained boardwalk which runs through a marsh along Riverside Creek. Some of the roadways are closed to traffic in the winter, but the city clears snow for walking paths on the pavement.

Common Yellowthroat Riverside ParkI started going here last year on my lunch hour as the park is quite close to my workplace. Birdwatching opportunities are excellent in all seasons and chickadees are accustomed to being hand fed in the boardwalk area. Large patches of Marsh Marigold bloom in the spring and Skunk Cabbage grows along the boardwalk. I have seen raccoons, red squirrels, foxes, muskrats and a multitude of birds along the trails. Robins are known to overwinter here in small numbers and Great Blue Herons can be found into December. And if nature watching is not your pleasure, pick another part of the park to enjoy a picnic, to play with a child, or to fish along the river.


Directions: King Street West, Cambridge Ontario with the main entrance between Fountain and Eagle Streets (map)

Open year round, but some sections of the park may be flooded in early spring.

All Photos by Ruth Kinzie

Written by Ruth

July 26, 2009 at 12:01 am

Homer Watson House and Gallery


Homer Ransford Watson (1855-1936) was a local painter who achieved world-wide acclaim. He was born in Doon and lived in the Homer Watson house from 1883 until his death. The majority of his paintings were of the Grand River countryside and he loved the woods and river around his home. The house is an art school and gallery and is open to the public. The grounds around the house contain several small cottages which were occupied in the past by visiting artists. I asked the volunteer who was on duty about the sculptures found outdoors and all she could tell me was that they were created by a resident sculptor in recent years. The grounds are available for parties and weddings and are very picturesque is an old fashioned way. The large garden is maintained by volunteers.


The gallery itself is small consisting of four rooms. The work of Homer Watson is featured as well the work of other artists. Historical artifacts like the trunks, hat and cane used for travel are displayed in the back room.Phoebe Amelia Watson After the death of his wife, Watson’s sister Phoebe lived in the house with him. She was an artist in her own right but supported her brother’s career from the beginning. The same volunteer told me Phoebe still haunted the house and she had seen her upstairs on one occasion. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed upstairs. Ghost stories are fun, and I will not vouch for the authenticity of this one, but it does add the mood and charm of the setting. An old photograph of Phoebe Amelia Watson is on the left if you ever encounter her in the neighbourhood. The gallery has free brochures outlining a historical walking tour of the immediate area.

Photos by Ruth Kinzie

Homer Watson House Website

Address: 1754 Old Mill Rd. Kitchener, Ontario N2P 1H7754 Old Mill Road, Kitchener, ON N2P 1H7Old Mill Ro

Entrance to the gallery is $3.00. You can walk around the grounds for free.

Written by Ruth

July 19, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Sheave Tower, Blair Ontario

Sheave Tower, Blair, Ontario

Blair’s Sheave Tower in spring, summer, fall and winter

Photo by Ruth Kinzie

A while ago I watched an interview with Ron Brown, the author of a book called Top 100 Unusual Things to see in Ontario. It was intriguing to think there were so many places to visit off the regular tourist track in this province. Always interested in learning more about my area, I purchased the book. I have seen a few of the featured places including the Pioneer Tower which stands on a high bluff along the Grand River near Doon. But I had never heard of the other local landmark  located a short distance downstream in Blair. The first summer evening I went looking for it, I was unsuccessful as trees along Old Mill Road hid it from view. Here is a description of the Sheave Tower from a local artist’s web site.

Built by Allan Bowman in 1876, the Sheave Tower, 31 feet tall, was considered to be the oldest hydro-generating system in Ontario. The board-and-batten structure with pointed gothic windows is located in a stand of cedar, bass and maple trees on Old Mill Road outside the Village of Blair, Ontario. The late Nick Hill, an heritage architect, described the Sheave Tower as “absolutely magical . . . a jewel in the midst of a beautiful wetland.” Water from Blair Creek ran through the sluice and turned a vertical turbine shaped like a corkscrew. A series of shafts and gears spun a giant pulley mounted high outside the tower by the steep-pitched roof. A long cable was looped from the tower’s pulley to another pulley 70 metres away at the Blair Mill. The Sheave Tower produced an additional 15 horsepower for the Blair Mill, which once ground corn for Schneider’s pea meal bacon. Heritage Cambridge restored the Sheave Tower in 1999 as a passive display without moving mechanical parts, and returned the medieval-looking tower to its original oxblood colour. Marriage proposals have been made within its walls! Fishermen, artists and photographers continue to be drawn to it.

The old mill across the road is still in operation to this day, and Blair Creek rushes by the restored but silent sheave tower on its way to the nearby Grand River.

Cost: Free

Nearby Attractions: Village of Blair, rare, Langdon Hall, Walter Bean Trail

Directions: Old Mill Rd, Blair just west of Meadowcreek Lane (map)

Written by Ruth

June 30, 2009 at 7:24 pm