Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bruce County Museum Prehistoric Sea Monsters

Last year I spent some time blogging about the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre in Southampton.  At that time there was an amazing dinosaur exhibit. This year, when we once again found ourselves back at the cottage, we wondered how they might top last year's animatronic dinos and BBC film. Well, somehow they did it with prehistoric sea monsters larger than life. (See Payton below.) If you are still heading for the beach between now and September 6th, when the exhibit ends, you should find a way to visit this one. It was well worth it and more than a bit scary. There is an excellent documentary recreation of prehistoric sea life in the theatre. Try to take the tour of fairy lake and take pictures, not souvenirs. The price is more than most are worth, but admission is reasonable and the adventure is educational. The Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre is located at 33 Victoria Street North in  Southampton, On. It's only half an hour from Sauble Beach and Port Elgin.

Hours are: Mon. to Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sundays and Holidays: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: Adult: $8.00, Seniors and Students are $6. Children under 12 are $4. Three and under free.

Thriftymommas rating $$$$ out of $$$$$.
Wonder what they'll come up with next year??!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cottages: How to Save Money

It is a truly Canadian tradition - that of heading to the cottage every year to soak up our two months of summer. Let's face it, this is a unique Canadian thing. There may be cottages in other lands, but we have perfected this idea of escape. I have been doing this every summer from the time I was a toddler and it is at the very least a habit for us. We meet extended family once a year and crowd into a tiny cottage, barbecuing food, and roasting ourselves on the beach. My children are now accustomed to this every August. As we head there again this weekend, I have a few thoughts to share on saving money at the beach. People always ask us do you rent or own? We rent each year. I have always found word of mouth is the best way to find a clean and affordable spot. My mother, a retired teacher, has been able to find us a very affordable spot each year. We have never paid more than $500 a week.
There have, over the last few years, cropped up a number of web sites that also offer cottage rentals. Some I have spent hours searching for a decent rate. Many begin at $1200 per week per family. gives a run down on Huron Shores cottages
and has been in business since 1995. This site was formerly called the Bruce Peninsula Huron Shores Cottage Rentals. This one has several quality cottages in Port Elgin, Goderich and Southampton area.
The newspaper is another option. Often people post their properties there, but these tend to go quickly. Kijiji, Craigslist and other sites like these are options as well. They can be hit and miss and you may be relying on pictures that are hopefully accurate to make your decision. There are always options to buy, but the properties are extremely expensive. There are options to build or buy cottages in Sauble Beach area on land owned by First Nations people. This is an affordable way to do it if you don't mind knowing that you own your property and yet not the land on which it is built. The hotels and motels book fast in the area and are often not as enjoyable or family friendly as cottages where you can cook for yourselves and save some money. So I guess what I am saying is that when it comes to cottages: it's all about who you know not what you know.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kobo and Fairmont: An Intriguing Partnership

This is one of the coolest partnerships in travel amenities and publishing that I have seen in some time here at thriftymommagogo. Today Kobo, the ereading service sold far and wide at Chapters/ Indigo and Wal-Mart, among other retail outlets, announced it has partnered with Fairmont hotels and Random House. Fairmont Gold travellers will be permitted use of a Kobo preloaded with numerous popular fiction and non fiction titles carried by Random House. Kobo and Fairmont recognize that travellers occasionally forget their books, or don't want to travel with bulky heavy hardcovers. Let's face it hardcovers can weight the luggage down a fair bit. So, thinking out of the box and planning for the future, Kobo, Random House and Fairmont have made Kobo ereaders available on check in at select properties in the US and Canada. The ereaders will be loaded with reads by Alexander McCall Smith, Sophie Kinsella and Bret Easton Ellis. Fairmont Gold is described in a press release as "a private, dedicated area offering guests the experience of an exclusive oasis with personalized service and enhanced amenities." Upon returning the Kobo eReader, guests will receive a special offer for $2 off select Random House titles redeemable at The opportunity to try a Kobo ereader is a benefit of belonging to the Fairmont President’s Club (FPC), the brand’s guest loyalty program. It is free to join and it provides guests with special benefits and privileges designed to reflect individual travel preferences and offer an enhanced level of service. Benefits include private check-in, complimentary room upgrades, and high-speed and wireless Internet access. Guests can enroll at time of booking or online at For more information on the Kobo visit for a full review. Thriftymomma was lucky enough to have one here to try out for three weeks. It was a true treat! The KOBO retails on average for about $149, but as recent as last weekeend this was marked down to $128 at both Wal-Mart and Chapters. I love that all three of these companies, Fairmont, Random House and Kobo, are thinking globally outside the box with a eye to the future. This clearly enhances a guest's stay at Fairmont and is very clever branding. What a smart move!