Fantasy of Lights

To kick off the Holiday season, the Town of Kingsville put on an excellent show down at Lakeside Park. As part of the 18th annual Fantasy of Lights, Mayor Santos and 300 or so Villagers donned their toques for the traditional ‘flipping of the switch’ which illuminated the many wire light sculptures that line the park.  The evening was highlighted with a visit from the acutal Santa and Mrs. Claus.  If they weren’t the real ones, they were the best impersonators I have ever seen.  They showed up in an ambulance, which I found a little strange, although it did go off with a lot of fanfare.

Children from the local elementary school sang carols to kick off the musical portion of the festival, which continues throughout the season with 24/7 holiday music on the loudspeakers at the park.  I can hear it from my house.  I think this is awesome for the spirit of the thing, although I wouldn’t want to look at that electricity bill when it is all said and done.

For the Grand Finale, the crowd was then treated to a half hour fireworks show, comparable to any other I’ve seen.  For a small town, this place has a lot of POP.

More info on the festival:

The Apex

Jim Gaffan started working with his Dad at The Apex Barbershop on Main Street in Kingsville in 1954.  As odd as it might seem, the business was threatened by the Beatles in the 60’s when the band brought long hair to the mainstream, however the business persevered and he and is two boys are still cutting hair at the same location nearly 60 years later.

Despite the look on this boy’s face, it is an enjoyable visit.  It smells to the hilt of man tonics and shave cream, and the mirrors lining opposite walls make the room look like it goes on forever.  I took a visit after not visiting a barber for nearly 10 years and I’ve been back regularly since.  Like Jim and his boys will tell you ‘real men go to barber shops’.

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Lake Fish

On Halloween afternoon I was doing my last minute snack shopping at Foodland on Main St, and I decided I wanted to get some popcorn to go along with my afternoon matinee of The Shining.  I noticed it was a peculiar dark colored strain when gentleman spoke over my shoulder,  “That’s a good one.  The kernels stay dark and it pops up real nice and fluffy.”  I was happy to get his input, and he seemed pretty confident about his food knowledge. So I went ahead and bought them… and he was right.  They were delicious.

Later that evening, we were out with my daughter ‘Trick or Treating’, and we walked up a set of stone steps to a beautiful porch only to find the good gentlemen who recommended the popcorn.  Turns out he knew even more about fresh fish; lake fish to be specific.  He spent a good part of his life on a commercial fishing boat in Lake Erie, pulling in perch, pickerel and whitefish.  He even had a couple Sturgeon stories to tell.


The man’s name was Garry Penner, he now works as a real estate agent for Sun County real estate here in Kingsville.  When I asked him where to get fresh lake fish in town, he told me about his little spot, down by the ferry dock;  it is called ‘La Nassa‘.  They have a wonderful selection of local lake fish; including perch, pickerel & white fish; they also carry rainbow trout and east coast salmon.  It is very nondescript, but it is marked with a white flag.


Their prices are quite reasonable (9/lb for perch fillets, $2/lb for dressed whitefish) and their service is friendly.  I was also pleased to find out that La Nassa is currently the only Lake Erie processor to actively participate in the Ministry of Natural Resource’s “Tote Program”. This program constitutes full third party assessment of all lake Erie quota fish assuring our customers the highest quality fish.

Do go for a visit soon; and tell ’em Garry sent ya.


Last night was a great night on Main Street.  The Kimmerly’s invited Toronto hip-hop artist (arrested at the G20 protest) Testament to rEvolution Gallery for a live performance.  The majority of the audience were under the age of 10, and were treated to a politically charged and inspired performance by the young Scarborough native.

I was a little surprised that he (Testament) didn’t edit his set by inserting a ‘flipping’ or ‘dang’ instead of the many expletives he spat out, although since his delivery was honest and authentic, I have to forgive him for that.

The 5 Kimmerly children were in attendance with their mother Tamara and their father Qpaukl, who run the gallery.  Qpaukl is the town tattoo artist and Tamara is a clothing designer – they both work out of the rEvolution space.

Jedi Kimmerly

This is the kind of event this little town needs more of.  It embodied community, youth, music and art;  not to mention it was affordable entertainment for the family.  Did I mention there were free celery sticks?  Thanks again to the Kimmerly’s.

The Harrow Fair

This showcase for Agriculture and Livestock in Essex county has been in existence for 150 years.  There were long haired rabbits, emus, ducks, geese, of course cows, goats and sheep; horses and every sort of show hen imaginable.  My favourite thing is that there was a room specifically for eating pies; blueberry, pecan, bumble-berry, gooseberry, raspberry, strawberry, strawberry-rhubarb, apple and so on…  and the produce contest was outrageous;  I’ve never seen fruits and vegetables so large in my life.  There was a watermelon the size of a pig, and a pumpkin bigger than a Volkswagon Bug.

Fanfare aside, this event opened my eyes to some really beautiful animals.  One in particular was the Jersey cow.  What an elegant looking being.  They are a small breed of dairy cow.  These ones in particular had short chocolate-hair, and they were lean and long.  I’ll tell you, this visit made me think that India’s got it right. The resources that the animals provide with the milk and in turn the cheese, yogurt & cream give them such a value; and their calm demeanor.  It seems like a shame to slaughter them.

The day was topped off with a ferris wheel ride.  We got the see the fairgrounds from a couple of stories up.

What a pleasant day.

See you there next year.  I’ll join you for some pie.

Ice Cream

This kid is happy.  And can you blame him? He’s got a soft ice cream cone in his hands.  This stand is on Division road, a few blocks from Main.  It is a staple summer stop, and my only complaint is that I’ve had to wait 5 people deep each time I’ve gone.  No matter;  it is worth waiting in line for – I prefer mine chocolate dipped, or in a coke float – if you are lucky you’ll burn a few calories while standing there, since you’ll put on a few once you eat one of these guys. One way or the other, the stuff is delicious.

The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 188

My grandfather was in the Navy.  James Anderson McMullen.  He would have been disappointed with me if he’d a known I walked into the legion with my baseball cap on.  Twice.  They reprimanded me both times, and I don’t blame them. I owe a great deal to the generations before me who fought so that I could enjoy a Labatt 50 for 3 bucks in 2010.  I don’t mean to undermine the importance of it, but if they knew how much drinking that cold one over a conversation with a friend on home turf meant to me – they’d realize I wasn’t undermining it at’all.

This painting is on the east wall.  In fact the artwork in there is impeccable.  There is something about Canadian war nostalgia that I can’t get enough of.

These guys weren’t there that night, but they were at some point… probably one night in ’67.  Playing cards and drinking 25 cent Labatt’s Blue.

The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 188 in Kingsville is a wonderful place.  You’ll always be greeted with a hello (unless you have your hat on), and the weekend brunch is a bargain.  Come with your family, or come alone. Regardless, you’ll feel at home.

Office Phone: 519-733-5162
Hall: 519-733-9081

The Kingswood Inn

Kingsville is a great place for amazing Bed and Breakfasts.  Century old homes have been converted to lovely little nooks for a pleasant night’s stay and breakfast in the morning.  There are many, some of which you will find listed on this directory.

This one however is a mystery.  The Kingswood Inn, is a beautiful historic home built in 1859 by Col. James S. King, after whom Kingsville is named. It sits on 3 acres of land on Mill Street between Laurel and McDonald. The lot is enclosed by a stone fence, something you don’t often see.  It was at one time it was a functioning bed and breakfast, although now the family who owns it just chooses to live there, and no longer conduct a full service B&B.  They do however rent out a guestroom.

I went to an excellent garage sale one Saturday afternoon on the front lawn of the Kingswood, and my 2 year old daughter had to go pee.  I was excited about this since it allowed me an opportunity to see inside.  It was exquisite Victorian decor, with high ceilings, rich wooden adornments and intricately patterned rugs.  I would love to see this open again, although in the meantime, it is worth a visit merely for its cultural and historical value.


The Main

The Main Grill & Ale is about to open in the building Jack’s used to occupy. The eats are similar, although the decor is a touch more formal. As the name suggests, you will get a nice list of beers to choose from. Overall this is a nice casual dining spot, where you can get a hearty dish for a reasonable buck.

24 Main Street West

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