Guelph Day 5 Part 1: Enroute to Niagara Region

Kids are looking more refreshed this morning! And all but 2 of them have clued in that we aren’t letting up on them having their hair back every day… so this morning we were greeted by glowing faces and some beautiful braided bangs and buns- our older female singers are sure looking classy. Our founding artistic director, Donna Otto, would be proud of how we are carrying on her tradition but with a twist so that singers can have some say in their hairstyles.

There is a lot of heavy snow so the sights around Guelph this morning are postcard perfect: Victorian style brick and stone heritage buildings frosted with snowy roofs and all the willow trees along the river are thick and hanging with white. The sun is peeking from the clouds so we may be in for a gorgeous day. Photographers paradise this morning.

We are all on the bus as I write, and we’ve designated that the next 2 hours of ride is going to be a “quiet talking and lots of sleeping” kind of ride. So far, we are not yet at the sleeping part, but we aren’t out of the city just yet where I am counting on the steady driving of the bus to lull everyone to sleep.

We have so much gear that I had to take a taxi cab full of gear while the other chaperones got rides to the GYMC. My cab driver was a knowledgeable tour guide. He filled me in about the Calvary Baptist Church that we’ll be performing in on Saturday. He says its HUGE but has great acoustics. I heard “huge” and had a panic attack imagining our 21 singers sounding dwarfed in a big intimidating space, but the cab driver assures me that we’ll sound great! LOL. I’ll just go with his word.

I also heard the story of how Guelph is one of the only cities to keep Walmart out for 8 or 9 years, championing to keep the city charm alive. There is a tower going in downtown- it’s going to be 18 stories, which is a big deal here. Apparently Guelph got in trouble from the OCM for allowing so much sprawl, so now a few towers are planned for the downtown area and along the rivers. One development is on the old and derelict site of the Woods Furniture factory. Remember the Price Is Right from the 70’s and ‘80’s when they’d have fabulous prizes from “Woods furniture”? THAT Woods Furniture. People here may be opposed to the towers at present, but I think of Port Moody, and the Newport and Suterbrook developments, and how those places have become real community gathering places where you can truly live, work, exercise, shop, get groceries, have a coffee, eat out…  sure is great not to have to drive everywhere and there is such a vibrancy about those areas- and still lots of small businesses.

We are heading to Peller Estates Winery. I want you to know that even though we have made jokes about me distracting the kids with a performance while the chaperones all drink a bunch of wine… is simply that- a JOKE! However we’ll confess all in a later blog post! 😀  Why take singers to Peller Estates? Well this area, like our own Okanagan wine region, is really contributing to the economy in myriad ways- including cultural- and is changing these areas that used to be orchards and farms. There is a vintner’s college here in this area, and Geddy Lee of RUSH fame, sponsors scholarships for young wine makers who show promise. It’s a fairly new industry in Canada, and certainly a major one now, so I felt it was important to learn more about this, with connections to our own province. And I’m hoping that there will be some amazing acoustic that we can sing in.

The bus ride is working its magic on my tired brain… I’m going to be a role model for the kids… yawn….