Ride Don’t Hide 2016: Cycle for Mental Illness

On Sunday June 26th, cyclists will ride through Oxford County in Ride Don’t Hide 2016.  This ride aims to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide in Canada.  Ride Don’t Hide is a country-wide event with Oxford’s beginning in Woodstock, ON.

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Ride Don’t Hide began in 2010 when founder Michael Schrafftter cycled across six continents and over 40,000km to raise money for the Canadian Mental Health Association.  Successfully, Michael raised over $100,000 and the movement has only grown since.

The impact of Ride Don’t Hide last year alone was astounding. Money went towards helping women gain life management skills, helping seniors with social isolation, aiding teens with eating disorders and much more. If participating in Oxford County’s ride, you can look forward to your funds going directly back into the community with the Canadian Mental Health Association Oxford in Woodstock.  With a goal to raise $20,000 this year, the ride will have a major impact on Oxford County.

smaller carl on hill

Participants, which range from adults to children, can take part in an 8, 13, 50 or 100 km ride (not a race) through the county at their own pace.Registration includes a light breakfast, BBQ and access to all sorts of vendors and prizes.  Sign up before it’s too late and enjoy a wonderful day cycling the county.

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Fresh, local goodness at the Downtown Woodstock BIA Farmers Market

Oxford County is located in the heart and soul of Ontario’s agricultural endeavors.  Our nutrient-rich land allows for all sorts of produce to grow and animals to graze.  From fresh beef and dairy supplies to a broad selection of produce, it’s easy to eat local this time of year.

Every Thursday from now until October 6th, a handpicked selection of unique vendors will line museum square in Woodstock between 12 and 5pm to sell their fresh produce, baked goods, wines, meats, dairy and more!  This year, expect a few new vendors on site as well as the old favourites like Todd’s Dogs and Let’s Eat Cake.


Fresh Meat, Dairy and Produce

The market has loads to offer in terms of fresh nutritious food for you and your family.   Perry’s Corners Farm has you covered with a full stock of fresh cut grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured chicken and pork from their old school house farm in Blanford Blenheim.  If it’s tomatoes you seek, check out Red Barn is known for toasted tomato sandwich worthy beefsteaks.  For premium apple cider and a selection of Ontario apples check Sun Ray Orchards or Binnendyke’s Orchards and get them straight from the source.  Of course you can also pick up seasonal fruits and vegetables like asparagus, potatoes and more.


Prepared Treats

Of course we love our fruits and veggies but it’s also nice to snack on something sweet at the farmers market.  With savory smells wafting through the air, we can’t blame you!  New this year, check out Oxford General Bakery who creates grilled cheese sandwiches oozing with cheesey goodness and croissants that are to die for.  Let’s Eat Cake also offers some classic brownies, scones, cookies and more to satisfy your sweet tooth.  If that’s STILL not enough (you must be hungry)…try grabbing a hot dog from Todd’s Dogs.  He orders his dogs from an Ontario producer using a special recipe that you won’t find at every foodtruck.

Odds and Ends

One thing we love about the Woodstock BIA Farmers Market is the variety of vendors like Hunters Rocks and Metals to the great selection of reasonably priced wine from Pillitteri Estates Winery (new this year), it’s pretty tough to go home empty handed.  Be sure to stop in at Wild Comfort, where Danielle has crafted a beautiful selection of artisan soaps (check out our favourite, anise mint), shampoos, deodorants and creams. Pure Soy Natural has  loads of homemade candles.  If you’re at the market to get fresh food, don’t forget to have your knives sharpened too with Jeff from Sharp My Knife!  After that…happy eating everyone!


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Feel the beat and have a treat!

Oxford County is your summer destination for all things culinary and music.Whether you are looking to get your hands dirty milking a cow or sit back and enjoy talented folk artists while nibbling gourmet chocolates, Oxford County is a great place to visit.

Oxford Renaissance Festival (June 24-26, 2016)

If you think a Renaissance Festival is knights and jousting…you are right but the Oxford Renaissance Festival is so much more.  The music tent is always a blast.  The Craik comes with large drums, bagpipes and a great rhythm to kick off your weekend.  This annual festival is also known for great food including your favourite medieval staples: roasted turkey legs, dill pickles on a stick and a limited addition craft beer created new and brewed specifically for the festival by Railway City Brewing Co. each year.


Canterbury Folk Festival (July 8-10, 2016)

Each year, Ingersoll’s Canterbury Folk Festival takes the park by storm offering three days of free folk music on multiple stages. With past acts as big as Garth Hudson of The Band and legendary fiddler, Natalie McMaster, you won’t want to miss it.  Friday night kicks off with a delicious annual pig roast (a major fundraiser for the event). This year, guests can look forward to Blood, Sweat and Tears’ own David Clayton-Thomas!  Numerous food vendors are located in the park and the downtown is just steps away.  If you’re looking for a tasty treat, pop into Chocolatea (located just outside the park gate) and indulge in some local gourmet chocolate and home made iced tea.


Downtown Woodstock Street Fest/Bikes & Blues (August 4-7, 2016)

The weekend after the Civic Holiday, Dundas Street in Woodstock is transformed for their annual Streetfest. Known for its series of live music stages, visitors can enjoy the day tuning in while enjoying great food located strategically across the street. Buskers, sidewalk sales, games, and street vendors add to the atmosphere.  Saturday is Bikes & Blues bikes on display and moody blues music. On Sunday the downtown transforms once again as it become home to a car and bike show with over 200 vehicles typically on display. If you’re looking for a place to stop, we recommend the following: Charles Dickens Pub, Crabby Joes, Dairy Capital Cheese Shop, Tandoori Knights, and  Dee-Lights Bakery.


Cowapolooza (August 12-14, 2016)

Spend two enchanting nights of music in the natural amphitheater of Southside Park in Woodstock.  Settle in and enjoy all sorts of musical variety from country to rock that Cowapalooza hosts each year. During the day, experience community fun at its best including a soapbox race, strongman competition, and of course cow milking. It is the Dairy Capital after all.

Halls Creek Festival of Creativity (Sept 11-12, 2016)

On the weekend after Labour Day, the banks of the Halls Creek in Ingersoll are lined with exciting creative possibilities.  Fairly new to the county, the Halls Creek Festival focuses on experiential art and has already become a hit.  Try your hand at all sorts of art forms including encaustic wax painting, music lessons, pottery and more.  A stop at the Gourmet Village promises delicious tasting events, demos and food vendors using local ingredients. From there you can take your meal down to the Music Village where a full lineup of live performers will be entertaining crowds through out the weekend.


For more things to do visit www.tourismoxford.ca

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Being the Dairy Capital just comes easily

NorwichMuseumSqueezeToCheeseWe often get asked “Why is Oxford County the Dairy Capital of Canada?”  Here are a few fun facts explaining why.

Over 1 billion served annually (glasses of milk naturally)

Oxford County leads Ontario in milk production, producing over 1 billion glasses of milk each year.  Good soil, good crops mean high quality milk is produced in the region.  Some of this milk is taken and turned into the award winning cheeses found on the Oxford County Cheese Trail.

Milk Delivery is a real thing!

Oxford County residents can still have milk, and cheese, delivered right to their door.  I saw Lies (Blue Cow Delivery) when she was picking up supplies at Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese and snapped this picture. If you don’t live in Oxford you can still meet Lies at her Woodstock Farmers Market booth every Saturday.

Lies of Blue Cow Delivery with her van

Cow Selfies!

The Springbank Snow Countess (yes that was her name) broke the world record for butterfat production and held the record for 21 years.  Visit her in the City of Woodstock on the corner of Dundas St and Springbank Ave. Take your #DairyCapital photo, it is udderly fantastic.


Udderly Awesome Events:

Woodstock is home to several events that pay homage to the bovine and our dairy heritage. Join the herd of runners in the Dairy Capital Run (costumes optional) or cyclists in the Dairy Capital Stampede.  For a hands-on event enter the cow milking competition at Cowapolooza. For a gourmet affair attend  Dairy Capital Cheese Fest.  This family friendly food show and drink show features Ontario cheeses, restaurants, entertainment, craft beer and wine. Everyone loves a grilled cheese truck!

milking a cow

Home of Ross Butler
Many school children learned the difference between a Holstein and Jersey thanks to Ross Butler’s livestock paintings. Ross was also the first person to make sculptures from butter – resulting in it being a regular feature at the Royal Winter Fair.  Visit the Ross Butler Gallery, operated by his son David, to learn more about this amazing man.

Oxford is also home to Janice Marshall who travels North America photographing livestock.  You can visit her home gallery, Just-a-Few-Fotos,  just down the road from Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese.  Interesting fact – the last two trademarks for the Canadian Jersey Association were designed by Oxford County Artists (Ross & Janice).

Home to a Cheese Trail

Locally there are 8 cheese companies and over 70 varieties of cheese made here.  Oxford County’s slogan is our rural roots are showing – and this is the case for dairy and cheese.  Travel the Oxford County Cheese Trail visiting museums for hands on experiences, restaurants, artisans and of course cheese makers.  Try the trail today.

The Cheese Trail is hosting Big Cheese Days several times annually.  During these days visitors can travel the cheese trail to enjoy limited time offers, special meals, deals and experiences. The first Big Cheese Days is being held May 13-14, 2016. Get details here

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Dairy Capital Cheese Fest – Made for Cheese Lovers

20160114_174822Oxford County’s title as the Dairy Capital of Canada is being recognized by a new exciting event – the Dairy Capital Cheese Fest on April 23, 2016 at the Oxford Auditorium in Woodstock.

If you love food and drink festivals, this will be the perfect event for you with 20 vendors including Ontario cheese artisans and restaurants serving Ontario cheeses and prepared dishes to suit your cheesy appetite.  Ontario wine, cider and craft beer producers such as Beau’s Beer, Toboggan Brewery & Burning Kiln Winery will also be in attendance.   Those presenting their ID will also receive a complimentary branded drinking glass to enjoy their samples.

Advanced tickets are $8 and can be purchased online at www.dairycapitalcheesefest.ca. Tickets at the door are $10 and children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Tasting tickets are available at the event for $1 each.

Admission includes:

  • Free Festival Swag Bag (first 500 Adult ticket holders)
  • Meet Oxford and Ontario cheese makers
  • Interactive demonstrations & talks including beer and cheese pairing, international cheeses, cashew cheese culture, the history of cheese in Oxford County…
  • Photo booth
  • Kids Zone – Featuring activities, crafts and dairy education
  • Live music & entertainment
  • Free parking

Make plans for a cheesy time on April 23rd.  Check out the vendors, event schedule and purchase tickets at http://www.dairycapitalcheesefest.ca

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From Tap to Table at Quehl’s Restaurant


Quehl’s Restaurant is known for their hearty scratch cooking that makes you think of grandma and the comforts of home.  They have a strong commitment to locally sourced food.  On their menu you will find sausages from local butchers, pies with apples from a nearby orchard, and canning for purchase to take home.

Therefore it was no surprise to learn that Quehl’s Restaurant loves maple syrup season. With the help of the Yantzi family, a third generation farm, Quehl’s is carrying on the tradition of serving Canadian Maple Syrup. Every year Cindy, Brian and their family head out into the Yantzi family sugar bush to help them tap the trees, collect the sap and boil it down into maple syrup.  When you visit the restaurant and order pancakes it is the Yantzi familiy’s maple syrup you are drizzling on your pancakes.


Make plans to visit Quehl’s restaurant. They are open weekly Tuesday-Sunday.  Have a hearty breakfast including pancakes with maple syrup. Stop in for an afternoon old fashioned ice cream parlor experience or enjoy their locally inspired weekend buffet. Located at 33 Woodstock St South, Tavistock Ontario Canada N0B 2R0. Visit their website for menus, photographs and to learn about their building’s interesting history   www.quehlsrestaurant.com.



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Tundra Swans by guest blogger Richard Skevington


Photo taken by Cathy Bingham, Woodstock, ON

You know that spring has arrived in Oxford County when you can see Tundra Swans on the ponds created by the spring thaw in farm fields.

The swans arrive around the middle of March every year. They will likely stay in our area until conditions improve in the north, generally leaving the county no later than mid April.

Tundra Swans winter over along the Atlantic coast in the Chesapeake Bay region. They fly from the coast to Southern Ontario for a brief stop to feed and rest before they head north and eventually reach the breeding grounds on the Arctic tundra.

Their food source in the Arctic is aquatic vegetation and some grasses. While in Oxford County, they feed on leftover grain in the farm fields, tending to prefer corn.

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Sushi Cove creating edible works of art

IMG_3460As they celebrate the one year anniversary of Sushi Cove, Peter and Jolie Kim couldn’t be happier to be part of the Woodstock community.

When they came to Canada in 2008 they did not know one day they would own their restaurant. Peter was a mechanical engineer and Jolie a registered nurse in their home country of South Korea. Arriving in Vancouver, the Kims moved to Toronto but longed for life in a small town where they could work, live and truly become part of their community. The opportunity for a position at Woodstock General Hospital became the catalyst for Jolie’s dream to be realized. Peter worked in London area restaurants to support Jolie’s passion only to discover his own.

“Peter always liked cooking at home,” Jolie explained. “He discovered through his support for my dream to work as a registered nurse his true passion: Japanese and Asian cuisine. So now it is my turn to support Peter as he pursues his dream with Sushi Cove.”

Peter is passionate about sushi and works to provide the highest quality food at the most reasonable prices. Nothing is pre-bought, everything is homemade including all the sauces. The menu and presentation of fresh, delicious ingredients has garnered Sushi Cove a loyal following. Rave reviews along with stunning photos of Peter’s dishes, which look like edible works of art, have awarded with as a Trip Advisor recommended destination.

IMG_3455Favourites include White Castle Roll, Cove Sashimi and Monkey’s Tear Roll but it isn’t just the exquisite and creative menu that keeps customers coming back for more. Peter and Jolie are gracious hosts; their staff is warm and friendly. They truly enjoy their work and service in the community.

“We wanted to work and live in Woodstock and love it here,” said Jolie. “We appreciate Woodstock General Hospital giving me the opportunity to pursue my career and now support Peter with Sushi Cove.”

Licensed for beer and wine, a visit to Sushi Cove is a culinary experience of Asian and Japanese cuisine you would expect in larger centres like Toronto.

For more information please visit their website or telephone, 519-290-2683.

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Forgotten New Year’s Resolutions

Generally, people think of the future at this time of year. They question what the next year will bring and attempt to make formidable resolutions, even though they know these resolutions will be long forgotten by the end of January. After thorough and exhaustive research, I have uncovered some forgotten New Year’s resolutions by some of this county’s more memorable individuals.

In 1860, while shopping in Innerkip, Thomas Cook promised himself that he would spend more money on hats than whiskey.

In 1867, Dr. Emily Stowe promised to stop reading romance novels and to only read medical books from now on.

In 1882, George Leslie MacKay promised he would write home more.

In 1885 Cassie Chadwick promised to pay closer attention to the newspapers for word of any rich man in town.

In 1889, Reginald Birchall promised his wife Florence that he would take her some place warm the following year.

In 1891 Edwin Tillson promised himself that he would limit his morning oatmeal intake from two cups to one cup in order to fit into a new pair of britches.

In 1917 Joe Boyle promised that with the coming of the new year, he would read up on Romanian history.

In 1925, Aimee Sample MacPherson made sketches for two churches to be built in Oxford County.

With New Year’s resolutions the idea is to challenge yourself on a small scale, then achieve it. Want to save money? Start by limiting your daily coffees. Want to keep your head? Sorry Thomas, I can’t help you there.

Happy New Year!




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Amazing Chinese and Thai Cuisine

Refreshing twist on traditional Chinese, Szechuan and Thai Cuisine!


Ricky Yiu came to Canada from his native Hong Kong at 19 years old. Despite the challenges and vast cultural differences Ricky immediately loved his new country.

“I love Canada,” he said. “It is so peaceful and the people are so friendly.”

He worked in Toronto-area restaurants; both in the kitchen and front of house for 10 years with the goal to one day operate his own business. Five weeks ago, Ricky along with his wife Gigi, saw their dream become reality when they opened Amazing Chinese & Thai Cuisine at 676 Adelaide Street in Woodstock.

The previous owners were wanting to retire and when Ricky saw the restaurant he liked it immediately.

“I liked the small, bistro style and the space had been totally renovated within the past two years. It feels amazing so we kept the name.”

The décor is colourful, fresh and clean.  It welcomes you to an amazing culinary experience.

Ricky downsized the menu adding Thai and Szechuan specialties alongside traditional Chinese fare. Everything is homemade, MSG-free and prepared with 100% vegetable oil.

House favourites include Pad Thai, Golden Curry Chicken and what is becoming one of Amazing’s most requested appetizers: Cheese Temptation stuffed with fresh cheese and vegetables. There is a wide variety of Combination Dinners for One and Special Family Dinners. Dine-In patrons receive the deliciously addictive Wonton Chips to share and for Pick up Orders over $40.00 receive a complimentary Garden Salad or Crispy Wontons.

Ricky and Gigi are new to Woodstock but have been receiving the Friendly City welcome.

“We really like Woodstock,” said Ricky. “It is very family-oriented and friendly. Our customers are positive, outgoing and we hope they feel like family when they come here.”

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of your day and dine-in, take-out or have Amazing Chinese & Thai delivered to your home.

Amazing Chinese & Thai Cuisine is located at 676 Adelaide Street, Woodstock. Telephone 519-290-8885 to place your order today!


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