Monday, October 26, 2009

The Last Post

Well folks, this is it. I am not sure what will happen to this blog over the next few days or weeks. I will be consulting with Heidi and Brian who were instrumental in this thing getting off the ground. There is a lot of work here 90 posts, 120 pages, 150 photos, 10 videos, 150 links to peoples’ sites and 11,000 words but I will delete it if that is what we feel is best. Regardless, there will be no more posts after this.

I think the Eagles said it best “They stand up and sing about, what it’s like up there. They call it paradise, I don’t know why. You call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye” Maybe the last thing Grand Bend needed was winning this contest and more attention. We already have a great song and maybe we should keep our little paradise to ourselves. Thanks for all the support, it was a good run while it lasted.


Friday, October 23, 2009

1) We will miss the beach

Well guys, we gave it a great try. CBC posted their update this morning and we didn't make the final two so it looks like, this is it. I may have one last post this weekend but if not I have had a ball with this and want to thank everyone who gave us a look, voted for us and participated in the cbc radio 2 Great Canadian Song Quest. There's a little place in Mexico that needs my help. Let's face it, we already have a great song. See you in June - better make that May.


Here's the youtube link - it looks better on the bigger screen

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2) We will miss the sunsets this winter

The sun is setting on the contest and this blog. I was planning to quote my source for our sunsets being in the top ten in the world. I know I read it somewhere and I believe it was attributed to National Geographic but alas I can't find it anywhere so you will have to trust me. This is the only evidence I have - some new sunsets from Corey, Tiffany, Lynda and Heidi. If you come to the Bend make sure you get to the beach for a sunset, you will not regret it. Every one is different and every one breathtaking.

Un update of sorts - the suspense is killing me

I managed to listen to 3 of the 4 hours of morning show this morning. Tom Allen was giving recent updates on all the provinces and territories. I am sure I heard them all and a couple twice but did not hear Ontario. CBC 2 did post a comment to us this morning that the standings would be published tomorrow am on line. We need to keep doing whatever are doing and not miss a chance to vote. Remember little Waskada MB sitting in 5th place after week one - well they are now in first place in MB - that's encouraging - we were plugging them on our blog and they were supporting us. Maybe a miracle can happen. Don't give up. If you like some easy listening (and you can handle the suspense) you might want to tune into Tom Allen on Shift followed by Rich Terfry on Drive all starting at 2 pm eastern on cbc radio 2.

3) We will miss the Grand Bend strip (and town) this winter

Is it the people of the town, the buildings, the party cottages or just the mix of everything that gives Grand Bend that laid back, quaint but quirky feeling? The town and its extensions down highways 21 & 81 has character. Part of that character is the unique construction which contributes to the character outside and inside each shop or restaurant, mix in the youthful people working there and you have part of the formula for our Grand Bend spell. Creative names and signage add to the mix. You have to love names like "jiggy's" and "twigs". Great food from "mean poutine" to "chocolate banana smoothies" and everything in between. The best french fries in the area. It's like the Bend had a town meeting many, many years ago and decided to share their magic recipe for fries. You have high end clothing shops to sidewalk merchants selling sunglasses and sandals. It's a vibrant economy that is totally dependant on those two big summer months. I tried to capture the feeling in these two videos but you really have to experience it in person. Oh, we better add our beautiful Oakwood into this mix as well with it's resilient 19th hole pub that doubles as a museum of memorabilia. It's the scene of many first GB spells including ours. Just click on the links. Go bend, Go vote it's a new day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

4) We will miss the youthful people of Grand Bend this winter - a lot.

We see them on the beach, the crowded streets, the shops and party cottages. They also work in the shops and restaurants and bars. The young people in GB are living life to the fullest in peace and love. It reminds me of Woodstock (NY 1969) - with a beach. Thanks Heidi for pics.

I think Brian described the people well in a comment to the cbc early on trying to explain the phenomenon of GB "people come to Grand Bend for... the people. It is the place to see and be seen. For four months Grand Bend becomes a kaleidoscope of humanity. For those of us who live and work here during the summer months, and year round, the experience goes deeper. One season in Grand Bend can change your outlook on the rest of the world and on the rest of your life. You can lose yourself and discover yourself all at the same time. You forge bonds with people that will out last time and distance.You share tears and pain, laughter and love and music.... Most people spend a season or two here but once Grand Bend gets in your blood it is there forever."

You've seen the beach bums and jammers and you can feel their energy. For me and my generation it's like a fountain of youth being here and maybe that's part of the spell for us. Maybe it's not just the sunsets and beach and town - maybe these young people draw you into this whole magical feeling and suddenly you are part of it and it won't let go. I wasn't going to do another video but I had trouble picking out some pics from this group to make my point so I just took a whole bunch of them and called on Ruth's Hat one last time. They call themselves Grand Bend University - they still spend a lot of time at the beach (bums??) and jamming but let's just say they aren't in high school anymore - they've graduated but still can't shake that GB feeling and obviously enjoy life.

Let's pause for a moment

If you have enjoyed all this and I obviously enjoy this stuff. Someone who has been to the Bend just once is rooting for us and voting for us. Yesterday he sent me this link and all I can say is - thank goodness these guys didn't know about the contest or (based on this video) they may have been a formidable foe. This video is so well done about a little town on another lake in Ontario. I just wanted to share it with you - who knows, maybe I can get these folks voting for us too - who else would they vote for?? A lot of us have been there.

5) We will miss the music of Grand Bend this winter - a lot.

Sure, we will have our CD's but will miss the energy of the live performances. From pub shows to concerts to jam nites. We will miss them all. I created 10 videos since the start of this contest. Some of them repeat the music so here is a link to each video that features a different song and here is a set of pics of some new kids on the block and the usual suspects (musically speaking) around the Bend. Hey maybe a title "Around the Bend" (miss grand bend is taken).
miss grand bend - Brian - miss grand bend
beach bums - Ruth's Hat - I used to miss you
300 grand bend sunsets - Brian - sail on
hwy 21 strip and downtown - Natalie - not enough to cry
farmers market 2009 - Brian - ferris wheel
the dogs of grand bend & chippy - Natalie - my heart would know
the oakwood - Brian - see you in june
I guess I better throw in jam night again considering this is paying tribute to the music - Ruth's Hat - I used to miss you

6) We will miss our ever changing Great Lake


I don't know what else I can say about Grand Bend's neighbour, Lake Huron that I haven't said already. The lake is ever changing in colour in sound and shape. It's like it's dancing in a different costume every minute to a symphony orchestrated by the sun and wind and clouds. It's huge and powerful but fragile and serene. It commands and deserves our respect. We will miss its majesty and can't wait to see it again at the end of the winter as the ice is melting and the blue, blue water returning to our sandy shores. Thanks for the pics Meg.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

7) We will miss the diversity of Grand Bend


Grand Bend is incredibly diverse. The Pinery Provincial Park is one of the nicest parks in the province and just across the highway from our place. There is an 8 km bike path that will take you from the Pinery to downtown. We have enjoyed biking, hiking and canoeing at the Pinery. The Parachute club is just east of town and while I am confident it is something I will never do myself, I do enjoy watching first jumps out of GB on the internet. We have yet to get to the dragstrip but I love to hear the roar of the engines when we are sitting by the fire and the wind is blowing in the right direction. Our next door neighbours race so we get updates from them. The Grand Bend Motorplex attracts thousands of people every summer. We do get to the Huron County Playhouse once or twice a year. Alex Mustakas does a brilliant job directing this very professional theatre troupe which is part of Drayton Entertainment. The theatre is unique and just oozes character. These are just 4 examples of the diversity of our little gem. Thanks to Rhea of burnt marshmallows for the Pinery pic. Once again here is the Burgerfest parachute jump from 2008 and a beautiful view of the Bend.

Interupt our countdown for more media coverage

This time it's Lynda Hillman-Rapley from the Lakeshore Advance. Here is the link. Go Lynda, Go Bend.

8) We will miss the Sense of Community in our Bend

Maybe it's the small town atmosphere of the Bend but I have never experienced a place with the sense of community spirit that is prevalent here. The Aquafest day was a massive volunteer effort as was Burgerfest and the Canada Day Concert not to mention the Fireworks volunteers. I bought tickets on 3 different fundraisers at the farmers market. I don't know how many thousands of dollars the Scatcherd Golf Tournament has raised over the years. We have an incredible fireworks display at our little Klondyke park every year along with free concerts and dances all set up and financed by volunteer efforts. The first comment I received on our Canada Day video back in July was from the fireworks volunteers. They heard and enjoyed the whole concert while they were setting up on the pier but couldn't see any of the acts or activities until the video pics showed up. We will miss the team spirit of Grand Bend and are proud to be part of that team. Here are 3 video links that have been under the links all along but this will make your access easier. Just look for and appreciate the volunteers it takes to make it happen. Go Bend, Go Volunteers, go bend family.

Free Canada Day Concert

Free Aquafest Day and Concert

Free Fireworks Canada Day - video from coraldiva you can see volunteers setting it up in the Canada Day Concert Video above and this was the result

Another navigational tip - voting link

Thanks Northern_Light - the voting link is always right here at the top of the blog - just click on the little orange cbc logo on the top right - it will always be there.

9) Animals ... continued from below

Sorry, my posts got out of order a bit. The first 9) Animals is below with a video. I didn't publish it until after my Casey post directly below this one but I set it up before so they got out of order. Here are some pics to bring them together. These are some of our 'other' favourite animals. In the case of the one footed sea gull - he kind of adopted us and followed us everywhere. (click on them to enlarge any)

Detour again - Headline - The quest to immortalize Grand Bend in song

In typical fashion - well researched and well written, Casey Lessard has done a nice job in capturing our spirit here. Casey is the editor, reporter, photographer of our local paper "The Strip". The Strip makes the long winters a lot shorter with monthly updates arriving in our mail box. It's more often in the summer. If you really miss grand bend subscribe, it's a great investment. Here is a link to the article - enjoy - animal post just below this.
Go Casey. Go Bend. Go vote - new day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

9) We will miss the animals of Grand Bend

We don`t need pets in Grand Bend. We can borrow everyone else`s. You can sit on his engraved bench beside Sunny (the chick magnet) and watch all the girls come up to pet his silky coat or you can play frisbee with Sheva or watch Oz chase his favourite stick all day long. You can watch the golden finches, hummingbirds and woodpeckers and don`t forget the Tundra swans in March. You can feed the chipmunks, squirrels, swans or goldfish at the Klondyke park or the rabbits at the garden shop. Grand Bend seems to be a popular spot with the animals and we will miss chippy, sheva, sunny and Oz this winter. KT and I prepared the original of this off her spreadsheet "the dogs of grand bend" hence, the pink colour scheme. I tweaked it a bit for the contest. I have been taking a lot of dog pics lately but unlike her I forget the names by time I get home. This is Natalie singing again - great country sound to this - you can look her up on myspace - link on the right. I will add some more animal pics tonight. Isn't it shameless what we will do for votes, first the elementary kids, now the pets but all is fair in love and the cbc radio 2 song quest and we love GB and the GB animals. Go Bend, Go dogs, go chippy, go vote.

Small break from the countdown - It`s Monday!

We will get back to our countdown in a bit. This message was posted earlier today by one of our significant benders. It exemplifies points 3) 4) 5) and 8). She has worked in the Bend for the past 7 summers and lived there for the past 3 summers. I`d say she`s hooked - her spell is locked in. She comes from a little town that looks just like the Parkhills, Embros, Lucans and Ailsa Craigs. For most of us Monday is not a very great day but she misses the Grand Bend, Mondays already. Here it is unedited.

``Remember the days of Monday being JAM NITE!?
They seem like distant memories as this autumn chill creeps up on us but try and remember the warm summer memories of spending your whole Monday getting geared up for Jam Nite! Whether it was planning the most kick ass pre drink, creating the most original outfit if there was a theme that week or just practising your dance moves/warming up your voice! Everyone has their own Jam Nite Prep, because lets face it...Mondays were better then any Friday and we spend Mondays preparing to get through the work/school week...blech! We have managed to keep Jam Nite going for 13 Summers Strong.
Wouldn't it be amazing to open up Season 14 of jammin in May 2010 with our own original song!? Maybe the artist who records the song could be persuaded to perform it for us!?``

Maybe they could cover `miss grand bend`also
Good chance to post this jam nite link again

10) We will miss the drive to Grand Bend

We never take the same route to the Bend, twice in a row. We only take the major highways if it's dark and we can't see anything anyway. It's a 100 minute drive from home for us and there is never any traffic, regardless of our route or departure time. None of these things make it that special but these pics are from 2 of our different routes. We travel through some of the richest farm land in Ontario. Our drive up to the Bend is relaxing and full of the anticipation of another weekend in paradise. No more news on the car radio - it's all music ( I have even programmed in cbc radio 2 on my car radio and guess what - now we listen to "Drive") We hate to see summer end but the fall colours make the pain of our upcoming loss more bearable. 1) Glimpse of the Parkhill Cemetary 2) The trees on the road between Parkhill and GB 3) A corn field just outside Dashwood 4) The road between Embro and Fullerton. Will this winter ever end? Hey, maybe it won't start. Go Bend, Go drive to the bend, Go cbc Drive, Go vote

Home Stretch - What will we miss about Grand Bend this winter?

Let's get this show on the road again and see if we can drum up some votes on these last five days of voting. We started this blog on September 23rd just a couple days before nominations started. Here we are 72 posts later and what have we been saying is special about our Grand Bend? What will we miss about Grand Bend this winter? I have 10 elements listed here and you will see them all mentioned in one way or another in the posts below. I will use this summary to emphasize them again. We could easily break these elements up into smaller pieces and say there are 50 things that make Grand Bend worthy of winning this contest but we will focus on these 10 elements.
1) The Beach
2) The Sunsets
3) The Town
4) The People
5) The Music
6) The Lake
7) The Diversity
8) The Sense of Community
9) The Animals
10) The Drive

Sad news last night to pass on

This news is out there now so I want to pass on our sympathy. There was a fire yesterday at White Caps on the strip. Thank goodness no one was hurt but it sounds like there was a lot of damage. The news kind of took the wind out of my sails last night. Our hearts go out the the new owners after all their work renovating last year and getting the business back up and running. It will leave a hole in our streetscape in more ways than one. Hang in there.

Time for a quick sunset - early June 2009

This is all I have time for while I hurry my lunch. First sunset I came to in this folder. Will be posting other stuff tonight. It's a new day so make sure you vote.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Promised plugs for other provinces so here they are

1) Waskada, Manitoba. This will be my 3rd MB place to vote for. Because I used Lac Dubonnet for reference, I was promoting them. Then Bob Mackowitz on cbc got me thinking about the Forks in MB and my experience there, so I went their way. Now the Waskadians are saying good things about us and I want to acknowledeg that. Go Waskada now - my votes will all cancel out in MB.

2) Linda is voting for us and promoting the Black Sheep Inn. I have only voted once in PQ so I will start voting and rooting for an Inn there.

I have been voting for the maratime provinces every day because my families' roots are there and I love the places and their music. Go maratimes - they are all great spots and great artists.

I don't want to start forming alliances - I don't like those kind of reality shows and I hope cbc 2 were not looking for that kind of angle. Just give me music about places but I do want to acknowledge kind words, when I have time.

If these folks miss grand bend, they could be in trouble

One of my all-time favourite videos of Grand Bend is this one. It's been a link here since the beginning but I'm afraid it could get buried and people not see it. I stumbled on it 3-4 days after we witnessed it live from our vantage point and it's a spectacular way to see Grand Bend. Enjoy it while I gather some more stuff. It happened at another one of our annual events and concerts (2008). If you have seen it, enjoy it again it's not long. You don't want it to go too fast though (that would be bad). Go Bend. Go jump. Go view.

Take that Algonquin, Toronto and TBay. There are a lot of jumps posted on youtube out of our club in GB just search on youtube any combination of Grand Bend & jump. Mary, Ken & Bob got a standing ovation from the beach when it was over and it was a very breezy day. I am not too quick on the draw today - I just posted their link - it was right on their video - it's over in links on the right. If it looks like you might be interested - drop in anytime.

Good Sportsmanship and "Wolf Howls"

Anyone who knows me knows I am competitive but after 20 years of coaching everything from baseball to basketball to even soccer they also know I am a good sport. Well I was thinking about our toughest competition in Algonquin Park , currently ranked #1 in this contest. As I mentioned before our Pinery Provincial Park is quite a bit smaller but it is magnificent none the less and we do have all those other things that Algonquin doesn't have like a sandy beach that is part of a 6,000km shoreline. A GREAT lake (3rd largest in the world) as opposed to a bunch of little ones. World ranked sunsets. A downtown strip that would knock your socks off, you can buy new socks there as well but you don't need them in the bend - no mosquitoes. Ten great pubs, Twenty-five great restaurants. A legion, a skateboard park for future surfers, a dragstrip, a parachute club, Huron County Playhouse a new beachfront and boardwalk. Crowds of beautiful young people but quiet secluded walks on the beach if you want that. But, Algonquin Park has had world famous "wolf howls" since 1960. To show I am a good sport, I will put a link over to the right that describes these howls. I first heard about them over a couple of beers and it sounded like this ... a bunch of people drove for hours in some kind of convoy to a designated location where the Grand Master of wolf howls would start howling and everyone gets out of their car and starts howling too. Eventually, if it's a successful howl, the wolves will respond and you have a whole bunch of people and wolves howling at each other. On the website they say wolves howling "is akin to community singing among humans". Well guess what. Two months ago when Brian released his CD there was a surprise backup singer on "miss grand bend". Shelby made the list of credits. Now, ever since, when Brian closes a live show with "miss grand bend" the locals add Shelby's backup vocals (she would get carded in the bar) and what do you know, it's a Grand Bend "wolf howl". Luckily I caught it on video this past Saturday night with a packed house of worm dancing beach bums and jammers hugging each other and singin along. Here they are - the first video is off Brian's CD with Shelby doing the backup work on cue. The second video was recorded live at the Oakwood last Saturday as we all said good bye to one another for another season. Dave likes the lights dim so the picture quality is not HD off my little Kodak, sitting on the table right next to my wings, but we capture the moment. For the first time ever, we saw professional Brian laugh during a performance but he still finished the song. Have a look. Go Bend, go wolves, go howl in your back yard or on your balcony (no one will notice in GB or Algonquin but I wouldn't try it in Toronto).

Will this contest ever end?

I hope so. Linda really hopes so. Well the voting ends next Friday 10/23. We need all the votes we can muster. We have to get past Toronto. It's David vs Goliath. Just click on the cbc Great Canadian Song Quest link here or the icon to the right. While there, you can listen live - pick the morning show (Pacific Coast) and you will here our plug from Bob and it's easy listening. You need to get a red tick mark on your place and artist before clicking on submit vote. You need to see a red check mark on Ontario after you submit your vote or something is wrong. This is like writing one of our procedures manuals - no fun at all. You guys are on your own for a while. I have some work to do - will check in later.

These are for you, Bob

Bob Mackowitz is filling in for Molly on the cbc radio 2 morning show. He talked about the Ontario entries and gave our little Bend a great plug with some very truthful words. It's more than just a party town and more than just a summer town. It's beautiful in any season. I think we have lots of great fall photos here so I dug up a couple of winter ones. I am sure I will find some better ones on our groups' facebook pages. I will add more later. The beach ends just past the snow fence. Those are sand covered ice banks past the beach that were all melted three weeks later. These were taken on our Tundra Swan expedition last March. The migratory return of the Tundras every year is just one more magical piece of our little paradise puzzle (they live in Alaska and just stop in the Bend for a few days - they miss grand bend every winter also - I heard they like to shop at Archie's). I wish I could have gotten some better Tundra pics - they are magnificent creatures. This one pic was taken in fields (of water) just across from the Pinery, you should hear the swans. Casey or Dave, have you got anything I could use? Go Bob, Go Bend, Go Tundras - hurry back. Will this winter ever end? (forgot, click to enlarge the Tundras or any pics).