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Ontario’s southwest

NORFOLK COUNTY, ONTARIO – “A lot of agriculture is dominated by men,” says Susan Judd, marketing manager at Burning Kiln Winery. “When it’s all women like we have here a kind of magic happens, and it’s a very special bond.” Farming in general, and growing grapes in particular, have traditionally been a male concern. But at Burning Kiln , which sits on a bluff high above Lake Erie, the six people at the top of the management ladder are all women. They didn’t plan it that way. But neither are they overly concerned at upsetting the gender balance cart. “It’s ... continue reading →

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KINGSVILLE, ONTARIO – Henry Noestheden and Cor Boon had hoped to start things slow. Maybe ease into their chocolate-making business a little, as a pair of guys aged 68 and 75, respectively, might want to do. But on their second day of business at ODG Chocolates (it stands for Old Dutch Guys) they sold one of their bird-shaped chocolates to a journalist who was heading to nearby Pelee Island and wanted to give a gift to a bird-loving author who spends her summers there. Yeah, a certain Canadian writer named Margaret Atwood. “She loved the bird so much she put ... continue reading →

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PELEE ISLAND, LAKE ERIE – I’ve only been in the Anchor and Wheel Inn restaurant for two minutes and I’m already in love. There are pirate flags and colourful, wooden fish and bright orange buoys hanging on the walls. There’s reggae music and Jimmy Buffett tunes floating over the speakers. Owner and head chef Mark Emrich walks by and I compliment him on the décor and the music. “Welcome to the Canadian Keys,” he says with a grin. Emrich loads my plate with two huge pieces of blackened pickerel, as well as steamed green beans done just right and a ... continue reading →

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WINDSOR – I was following my Google maps and heading into central Windsor to meet a fellow for a bike tour that would take us to a couple craft breweries and one of Canada’s best burger places. I wasn’t paying much attention to the surroundings, but was instead concentrating on making the turns that my iPhone kept reminding me to take. When I finally stopped the car and really looked around I was in a gorgeous neighborhood surrounded by deep red, brick homes with lush, vibrant gardens. The pale green and white hostas seemed to glimmer that extra bit and ... continue reading →

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WINDSOR, ONTARIO – Fabio Muscedere is pouring samples of his family’s wine for me to try at their tasting room south of Windsor. His sister, Melissa, who’s the wine business expert and runs day-to-day operations, is bustling about and greeting others who’ve wandered into the tasting room. Outside, Fabio’s mother, Pat, is busy sliding trays of fresh-made dough into the outdoor pizza oven on their shady patio. Their Dad, Mario, is bouncing along in his tractor in the vineyards, clearing weeds and keeping an eye on the grapes that are ripening in this hot Ontario summer. The son of Fabio’s ... continue reading →

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