HOW CELEBRATING #CANADA150 IS REALLY MAKING FAMILY MEMORIES WITH FORD CANADA’S #GOFURTHER150
Do you see what I see? Come along, follow #GOFURTHER150 and you’ll see!
Look around, there’s lots to discover! Canada is a beautiful country, the #truenorth, #strong and #free!
And on this monumental year for Canada, how do we celebrate 150 years of confederation? We celebrate our country’s #birthday in a BIG way!
How? We #gofurther!
This time we make new family memories as we explore the #Muskoka and #Gravenhurst area along with stops at Huntsville, the Couple’s Resort and the Algonquin Park. Especially that we have a new addition to the Twenty York Street Crew with our little 10-month old nephew Chee Chee, everything in this road trip is a novel adventure!
By taking the highways and backroads of our great country, we get to learn more about its history and we discover its famous landmarks. At the same time, we get to embark on new adventures, which will surely turn into fond family memories and what better way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday than a road trip of historical, cultural and personal discovery!
CELEBRATING CANADA’S BIRTHDAY WITH A FORD CANADA #GOFURTHER150 ROAD TRIP
Do you know who else is also more than a century old?
The Ford Motor Company has been part of our country for over 100 years! In fact, FORD has been part of Canada and Canadians for 113 years!
In 1904, the very first Ford vehicle made in Canada, the Model C, was built by 8 men. The two-cylinder, 10-horsepower Model C cost $1,100!
Ford Canada also played a role in some of our country’s historic moments. Did you know that in 1980, when the legendary and now Canadian hero Terry Fox, who was 22 years old at that time, started his cross-country run to raise money for cancer research, it was the Ford Econoline who carried his supplies?
Today, Ford announces that the Ford Research and Engineering Centre will be established in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, Canada.
To celebrate #Canada150, FORD is collaborating with 50 Bloggers, Influencers and Public Personalities across Canada to help our nation fete in style.
And we are one of the lucky ones! To be part of the only 50 selected few to embark on the #GOFURTHER150 journey is truly humbling and we couldn’t be more THRILLED!
They say that to really know someone is to take a trip with them. With #GoFurther150, it’s all about the road trip and taking epic #roadtrips at that! The goal is to discover Canada’s famous landmarks such as the Giant Lobster in Shediac, the Giant Toonie Monument in Cambellford, Ontario, the Giant Goose in Lundar, etc!
#Canada150 with people that make us proud to be Canadian. “
– FORD CANADA
Each influencer is assigned a mission to make a pilgrimage to one of these famous historic sites and learn more about our history as we explore the grassroots fabric of our nation.
Our #GOFURTHER150 mission? For us, it’s to search for the Giant Ice Cream Cone! THE MINDEN RIVER CONE in Minden, Ontario that is! And since giant seems to be our running theme, we’re traveling in style with FORD CANADA’s 2017 F-150 King Ranch Edition!
As everything in Canada is majestically gigantic, so why not the F-150 King Ranch, yes?
p.s. Our friends from BLOG AND THE CITY had this mission: “À la découverte du Grand Rassemblement avec Ford #Canada150!” Check it out here!
COME JOIN OUR 3-DAY FAMILY ADVENTURE WITH FORD CANADA AS WE CELEBRATE #CANADA150 WITH A #GOFURTHER150 ROADTRIP
So we left Ottawa for a 3-day trip to experience what the Muskoskas (Cruisin’ through its stunning lakes, rivers with aboard the Lady Muskoka), Gravenhurst (Marriott Residence Inn at the Wharf, The Gravenhurst Triathlon, Sawdust City Brewing Co, Lake Muskoka, Muskoka Wharf, The Opera House and more!) Huntsville (The Muskoka Heritage Place with the Pioneer Village and the only steam train left in the country – the Portage Flyer!), Minden (for more ice cream!) and the Couple’s Resort at Algonquin Park has to offer!
DAY #0. GETTING TO KNOW FORD CANADA’S F-150 KING RANCH EDITION
But before we get to our destination, let’s get to know our ride!
As you know, FORD has a vehicle for every lifestyle. Whether you’re an urban warrior or a weekend one or perhaps you’re like the rough and tough or you’re more Eco-friendly, Ford Canada has the perfect vehicle for you!
When buying a car, what’s the most important number and feature to you? Is it price? Fuel efficiency? Load capability? Horsepower? Autonomous vehicle technology? The look and feel?
Now more than ever, Ford is focused on creating new vehicles, technologies and mobility options that will make life easier and better not only for Canadians, but for people all over the world. From increased investment in electrified vehicles, to leading autonomous vehicle research and development, to developing mobility innovations , to exploring more safety and technology features – Ford does Go Further, So You Can.
FORD CANADA’S F-150 KING RANCH EDITION PERFECT FOR THE EPIC #GOFURTHER150 ROADTRIP
These principles are evident in the new 2017 Ford F-150 King Ranch Edition.
The Ford F-150 is undoubtedly one of the best selling trucks in the whole world. Quite possibly, the F-150 might also be the most important vehicle made by Ford. The F-150 continues to be one of Ford’s top-selling vehicles and it has been and continues to be many things to many people.
It’s not a surprise to therefore learn that the F-series has earned the distinction as being the top-selling line of trucks for 51 CONSECUTIVE years in Canada! That’s a very long time of holding an unbroken record!
That being said, Ford does not sit on its laurels. Instead, Ford seemed to have put their best foot forward with the 2017 model for the F-150. The King Ranch edition is, for lack of better word, super pimped up!
This latest generation of F-150 is lighter yet stronger, more powerful and precisely more capable! Just like its previous generations, the King Ranch is efficient, dependable and it’s jam packed with safety features and advanced technology.
I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention that the F-150 looks sharp, which means you’re driving in style. The interior Western-inspired leather-trim design is sophisticated.
The smooth and seamless gear shifts is impressive. The truck looks and feels powerful. It rides smoothly and comfortably and for a family of 5: there’s me, Daddy Eric, Maureen, Angelo and Chee Chee, it was certainly a pleasant ride especially with the twin panel moon roof, which Angelo calls the Magic Window that opens up to the sky!
Did I mention that it also sounds sexy? There’s an engine sound augmentation that makes the twin-turbo V6 sound deep, throaty and sexy!
The most basic engine is a 3.5L V6, which produces 283 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, allowing for a tow rating of 7,600 pounds, which bests other competitors when equipped with their basic V6 engines. This gives the F-150 a class-leading towing spec of 12,200 pounds. The top-of-the-line 5.0L V8 makes 385 horsepower. A smaller, more fuel efficient EcoBoost engine is also available, which should further improve fuel economy while providing the same kind of horsepower that would normally be delivered by mid-grade V8 engines.
SOCIAL MEDIA POWER USERS REJOICE: BUILT-IN Wi-Fi HOTSPOT ON FORD VEHICLES SOON
Bonus News! Did you know… Also coming to your vehicle in the near future is a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot? It allows passengers to stay connected, free to binge watch or check email while also being able to monitor data usage and other network settings from the touch screen.
Imagine all the #selfies!
DAY #1. OUR FIRST ATTEMPT TO FIND THE GIANT ICE CREAM CONE – THE MINDEN RIVER CONE
Taking that long drive from Ottawa to the Muskoka was often interrupted by stops. Admittedly, they are frequent welcomed stops and not just because Chee Chee needs a break! It is after all his VERY FIRST real road trip and a long one at that.
Thankfully, the F-150 King Ranch is roomy and it’s equipped with DEATC – the Standard Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control, which means, whether it’s a hot day or a cold day, you can have the comfort you need all year round.
After being on the road for more than 4 hours… we found it just as the sun is starting to set. There sits beside a picturesque river and a charming bridge in a quaint town of Minden is the GIANT ICE CREAM CONE!
The iconic Minden River Cone is absolutely the perfect spot to cool down with an ice cream cone, a refreshing cold drink or even grab a quick bite to eat. Though we didn’t have chance to try what’s in the food menu, we heard the burgers and fries are fantastically delicious!
What’s extra cool about the Minden River Cone is that it has a playground and pirate ship play structure at the back so kids are highly entertained during your visit. And as a bonus this summer, the new owner has introduced extra special features such as the occasional petting zoo and movie nights on the weekends!
Now you can bring a lawn chair or your favourite blanket, gather up the whole family, head to the Minden River Cone, grab an ice cream or two and watch a movie under the stars! Early seating showcase a family movie and a late night one will play either an Oscar Award winning movie or a Hollywood Blockbuster.
On an important side note, did you know that the Minden River Cone hosted a Tragically Hip Concert with Gord Downie once? How FREAKIN’ COOL is that!
An important Pro Tip when you visit: make sure you liberally apply bug spray! As in generously apply that mosquito spray all over, many times over!
This famous and must-visit food stop is not hard to find. Though this needs not to be said… we’ll say it anyway! Just look for the GIANT ice cream cone.
DAY #2. DAYTRIPS FOR THE FAMILY AND A DATENIGHT FOR DADDY ERIC AND ME
Since we checked into the Marriott Residence Inn Gravenhurst Wharf at waaay past midnight, it was aboutely hard to get everyone out of bed! The only reason I was able to forcibly get E, Maureen (my sister) and my nephews Chee Chee and Angelo is the threat that breakfast is only served until 10 am!
The other thing that made it hard to leave? We’ve got the most stunning view of the Gravenhurst Wharf from our hotel balcony! There are so many things to explore in the area such as the Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre as well as the Splash Pad and the shopping boutiques in the area.
Let’s not forget to mention that the Marriott Residence Inn staff was incredibly warm and helpful all throughout our stay! And they sure know how a way to my heart specifically! A chilled bottle of champagne is definitely the warmest welcome of all. Thank you Marriott Residence Inn Gravenhurst Wharf! I believe we shall be back!
THE MUSKOKA HERITAGE PLACE: VISITING THE MUSKOKA TRAIN & STEAM MUSEUM AND GETTING ON BOARD THE PORTAGE FLYER STEAM TRAIN
As we’ve been driving for over 8 hours by the time we got on the road to tour the Muskoka Heritage Place, which is located in the lovely town of Huntsville, Ontario… we’ve got to talking about the fuel efficiency of a massive truck like the 2017 FORD CANADA F-150 King Ranch Edition.
Eric, as you may know, is a certified automotive expert. In fact, his experience ranges from motorsport to journalism and he now runs research programs at the leading Test Center for cars in the country. More than me, cars are his thing!
He’s happily informed me that the fuel consumption of the F150, for its size and loaded features, is NOT THAT BAD. Not bad at all!
That said, our next stop got us on board on another mode of transportation that is quite fuel efficient! Running to the ticketing booth that really captured the old times, we caught the 1:00 pm departure of Portage Flyer! Did you know that it’s the only operating steam train left in the entire country!
“That was the coolest thing ever.”
– Angelo on the Portage Flyer Steam Train Ride
What’s fascinating about the train station and the Portage Flyer steam train itself is that everything has been kept authentic. From the staff’s garb to the original restored coaches, the train ride definitely takes you back in time. Please note that the train operates beginning of July until the end of August, Tuesday through Saturday and offer 4 runs per day at 12;00, 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 pm along 1 km of track.
While we didn’t get to visit the Muskoka Museum, we got a chance to learn more about The Portage Flyer steam train and its proud legacy as the world’s smallest commercial railroad, operating from 1904 until 1959 in Dwight Ontario a the adjacent Train and Steam Museum.
GOING BACK IN TIME AT THE MUSKOKA PIONEER VILLAGE
We also got the opportunity to visit the Pioneer Village, which represents a crossroads community in Muskoka circa 1880 – 1910. There are costumed narrators who welcomes visitors and engages them with hands-on activities such as; candle dipping, wool carding, blacksmithing basics, pioneer baking and a pioneer school lesson.
Angelo had the grandest time learning about the craft of being a blacksmith from one of the Village’s Master Blacksmith and also had his chance to make candles! We may have missed the pioneer baking lessons but we certainly had the pleasure of savouring the fruits of their labour!
The warm scones and the homemade butter were to die for and it helped soothe the pain of realizing we sucked at pioneer games. Stilts and wooden toys were available as well as mini zoo where donkeys and sheeps and chicken all live in harmony.
For hours of operation and admission rates at the Muskoka Heritage Place, visit here. And for more information on what’s there to see when visiting the Pioneer Village, check out the list of structures here.
RECONNECTING WITH SOME ALONE TIME AND GLORIOUS MASSAGE AT THE BLISSFUL COUPLE’S RESORT IN ALGONQUIN PARK
Nestled in the magnificent Algonquin Park is a hidden oasis. A gem that is the all-inclusive exclusive Couple’s Resort. All-inclusive as you can book a stress-free get-away where your 5-star accommodations as well as your 5-star meals, spa treatment and activities are all taken care of in one place.
Exclusive in terms of admittance as kids are not allowed in the property. The Couple’s Resort boasts of an environment devoting to couples only. Whether you’re a newlywed in a honeymoon or you wish to ignite or re-ignite that spark with your beloved, your alone time is guaranteed!
NO kids, NO meetings, NO interruption, just time for each other without other things to worry about. If you’re in need of a well-deserved quality time, come visit the Couple’s Resort. All your needs are seamlessly taken care of during your stay, including the stress of… when to tip and how much!
As a matter of fact, Confirmation Price Includes: 5 Course Gourmet Dinner, breakfast, room rate, taxes, all tips/services charges and so much more. You can read more about the No tipping policy at the Resort here.
“The #1 Romantic Resort in Ontario. Best Ontario Accommodation’s Package goes to Couples Resort, Muskoka. ”
– Ministry of Tourism Ontario’s Choice of Best Romantic Resort in Ontario
As for Eric and I, we had the distinct pleasure of being so warmly welcomed by our Professional Therapists Pei Pei and Ragda. (We’ll tell you more about the experience later!)
Truth be told, the wonderful welcome started way before we sat foot at the resort. The moment we expressed our interest in visiting, the staff at the Couple’s Resort where enthusiastic and welcoming from the spa owner John (He inherited the Couple’s Resort from his parents. His family has been running the spa for generations!) and of course, Mary and Darlene.
With bright smiles and sincere hugs by both Pei Pei and Ragda as well as the front desk staff, we started with a quick tour of the property and an overview of what the Couple’s Resort has to offer! What followed was a blissful hour of relaxation massage. Together in the couple’s room, Eric and I were worked on by Pei Pei and Ragda, who were not only consummate professionals but were clearly proud Ambassadors of the resort.
Even with our short time here it is evident that the Couple’s Resort is indeed a jewel of Ontario. It’s an absolute must to visit and if you can, stay for a day or the week.
We shall be planning to come back and this time, perhaps stay the night or two and experience the whole nine yards! All 5-stars at that!
And hopefully, we get to see you too!
For more information about Couple’s Resort, you can visit their website here and follow them on social media: in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
As we got back really late to the hotel (again!), we had a hard time getting up in the morning (again!). We were supposed to have a fancy romantic dinner following the glorious massage at the Couple’s Resort but we weren’t booked for dinner so… we did a midnight run at the Pizza Pizza in Downtown Gravenhurst.
We did have a brilliant idea of pairing pizza with champagne ‘coz we’re fancy schmancy like that! Even little Chee Chee had the tiiiniest sip! You can check his reaction right here! It’s Hilarious!
DAY #3. GETTING TO KNOW #MUSKOKA AND #GRAVENHURST: THE GATEWAY TO THE MUSKOKAS
We originally had the ambitious plan of catching a performance of the Old Wive’s Tale at the Gravenhurst Opera House, sadly we didn’t make it as we arrived in GH way past midnight on Day #1.
So we did make sure to visit the iconic Gravenhurst Opera House situated in the heart of downtown Gravenhurst. Featuring arts & cultural programming year-round, this historic and architectural gem is credited for having been home to the birth of summer theatre in Ontario.
The Gravenhurst Opera House is conveniently located right beside the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce, which I must say has been tremendously helpful. In fact, except for one rather rude and unwelcoming person whom clearly is not a representation of the kind folks of Gravenhurst, the staff of the Town of Gravenhurst, the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Boards of both Muskoka and Gravenhurst has been amazing and welcoming.
We have so many to thank for our brief but remarkable #GOFURTHER150 stay to celebrate #Canada150! Our utmost thanks and gratitude to Jason Harnett, Norah Fountain, Krista Storey, Kelly Hamilton, Sandy Lockhart, Jake Baranik, Jordan Mulligan, Chelsea Penrice, Ron Gostlin, Thomas Kimura and of course, Jeff Loney, who’s a valuable asset to the Town of Gravenhurst!
DAY #3. ALL ABOARD THE LADY MUSKOKA FOR A RIVER CRUISE ALONG THE STUNNING MUSKOKA RIVER
After cruisin’ the streets of Gravenhurst, aptly lined with proud red and white Canadian flags, we were ready for our cruise with the marvelous Lady Muskoka!
Standing at an impressive three-level, the approximately 26-foot wide, 104-foot long cruise boat, the Lady Muskoka is one of the best, if not the best and most relaxing way to get to know the Muskoka up close and personal.
All aboard the Millionaire’s cruise, which has the option of including a dining portion to the package. Aside from the Snack Bar, where you can purchase snacks like hotdogs, chips and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, the Lady Muskoka is proud to offer a well-curated perfect menu to enjoy while you’re onboard.
There’s lunch and dinner option that has been prepared using local ingredients by an award winning chef in Muskoka. Though we did not have a chance to try the menu on board (though we did of course have the Muskoka Beer, the wine and the Hotdogs!), we’ve read of nothing but good reviews about the food aboard Lady Muskoka.
If you’re vegetarian, not a problem! Currently, the menu offers a Rainbow Trout, Chicken, Pork Ribs as well as a vegan mung bean stew and of course, meal options for the kids!
Even though the incessant rain tried to dampen our spirits, the Captain and the narrator/tour guide during our cruise was exceptional. He shared historical facts about the islands, the fabulous properties and its storied owners, which only fired our daydreams of owning one of these stunning waterfront mansions one day. His wealth of knowledge and sense of humour surely kept us entertained until the sun came out peeking from the sky!
Rated #1 tour in Bracebridge, Muskoka on TripAdvisor, the Lady Muskoka in fact provides you with the perfect and no-stress vessel to experience all the Muskoka has to offer.
Stay tuned for more details about our trip including the incredible homes on Millionaire’s Row, as well as charming cottages and pristine wildlife. We even had a surprise company with Santa’s Summer Sleigh! For more Lady Muskoka photos and videos, visit our Facebook and Twitter pages here and here!
Now don’t wait, book your cruise today and take your love ones on an unforgettable tour of Lake Muskoka. For more information, departure times and hours of operation, visit Lady Muskoka online here. You can also follow them on social media in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
HEADING HOME WITH FORD CANADA’S F-150 KING RANCH EDITION
If that wasn’t a super packed schedule for a 3-day road trip, I don’t know what is! I certainly had a lot of things planned and I thought we’d be able to accomplish them all with plenty of rest time in between!
What I failed to take into account was how huge this country is. The Muskoka region is vast as it is scenic. The drive was an absolute visual feast as you get to witness countless numbers of rivers and lakes as well as the occasional rainbows.
But that doesn’t mean it makes the distance becomes shorter.
Take for example our Day 2, wherein we drove from Gravenhurst to Hunstville for the Muskoka Heritake Place and Steam Train, from Huntsville back to Gravenhurst to drop of the kids at the hotel and the Gravenhurst Splash Pad, that ‘s followed by a Gravenhurst to the Algonquin Park for the Couple’s Resort in Galeairy Lake Road in Whitney and eventually, from Whitney back to our home away from home, the Marriott Residence Inn Gravenhurst Wharf.
That leg of the trip alone took 2.5 hours each way, with a healthy serving of winding roads, hills and off-road driving environment due to major summer construction. Thank goodness E loves driving and even better, we had the Ford F-150 King Ranch! Did I mention it’s equipped with a pimpin’ warmin’ massage seat for both the driver and the passenger!
We couldn’t have chosen a more perfect vehicle for our #GoFurther150 family adventures.
Speaking of which, the experience expressly made us understand and appreciate CANADA more deeply. And by knowing more about our country is knowing more about ourselves and our family. By celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday, we also celebrate all the values we hold dear.
As we head home on board our Ford Canada F-150 with a few stops along the way and one final stop at the GIANT ICE CREAM CONE, we can’t help but think…
These pilgrimages to Canadian landmarks, for us, was not only about Canada as a country but Canada as a family. Ford Canada has been part of that family.
“This year as Canada celebrates 150 years, Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd. wants to help you recognize this important miletone with a roadtrip of cultural and personal discovery.”
– FORD CANADA ON #GOFURTHER150 FOR #CANADA150
We are truly thankful for the adventures Ford Canada. These experiences with Chee Chee and Angelo will turn into precious family memories for many, many years to come.
Join our adventure w/ Ford Canada F-150 King Ranch Edition. Follow @20YS and @FordCanada’s #GoFurther150 and together, let’s go further!
Happy Birthday Canada!
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To get more TRAVEL, beauty, fashion and style inspirations, updates on great shopping and travel tips, follow @20YS on Twitter & @20YS on Instagram today. For behind the scenes from our long weekend adventures in Montreal, follow @20YS on Twitter and Instagram!