Sun, surf, sand in Ontario

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Sun, surf, sand – and even more sand – makes for the ultimate summer fantasy.

Get down and dirty and join in the fun making sand castles, animals and creatures of all shapes and forms on Lake Ontario beaches in Cobourg, Oakville and Burlington.

Magnificent creations will also command attention on the beaches as the work of returning “master sculptors.” 

Kickin’ sand

Life-size dinosaurs have been known to haunt the annual Cobourg Sandcastle Festival now in its seventh year.

The event, next Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 4 and 5) in the community 110 kilometres east of Toronto, is expected to attract about 7,000 people, said Erin Wakely, tourism coordinator.

There are plots of sand staked out on the beach for the eight professional and 60 amateur teams.

Participants can only use the existing sand and water, so pack up the tools and sand toys, she added.

Enjoy the beachfront property while discovering “your inner artist,” said event coordinator Lara Scott.

Participants can register in advance or on the day of the event, (Aug. 4), and compete for cash prizes and the title.

Meet the master sculptors from 9 a.m., with the competition from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and awards presented at 4 p.m.

That’s followed by a band playing Beach Boys’ songs at 5 p.m. at the centre gazebo and the Movie on the Beach, the Lorax, shown at dusk.

“Our master sculptors will wow the crowd again at this year’s event,” Scott said, adding: “It never ceases to amaze me what sculptor’s creative minds and creative ideas can do with a pile of sand.”

Master sculptor Sandi “Castle” Stirling of Hamilton says that “in every pile of sand is a castle beckoning to come out.”|

She will be up against Karen Fralich of Guelph, three-time World Champion of Sand Sculpting; Tanya Kastl and Nicole Kastl of Waterloo; Bob Van Cleef of Burlington; Nick Blandin of Guelph; and “Sara Sunshine and Big Wave Dave” from SunWave Sand Art in New Haven, Mich.

Activities continue on Aug. 5 with viewing of the sandcastles, sculpting lessons, scavenger hunt, and inflatables’ fun park and live music. A wristband costing $5 provides unlimited use of all the activities.

For more information:; 1-888-262-6874 

Hit the beach running

Harbour Days feature the Bronte Harbour Invitational Sand Sculpting Competition in Oakville.

The master sand sculptors begin their creations on Aug. 9 and 1 p.m. and work through noon Aug. 11 at Bronte Harbour’s Heritage Waterfront Park.

These works of sand art will be on view from Aug. 11 at noon through Aug. 19 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. There is also an opportunity to see them working on Aug. 10 ($2 admission fee all times).

Other Harbour Days’ activities include Art in the Park from Aug. 6; Kids Zone with inflatables and other fun; Kids Beach Day, Aug. 18; Yoga in the Park, Aug. 19; and a Vendor Village, Aug. 11, 12, 18 and 19.; (905) 825-3258 

Go on a sand surfin’ safari

Burlington’s Annual Children’s Festival, a free event, features its fifth Sandcastles Competition on Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There’s a safari and “explore the jungle” theme for this year’s festival that continues on Aug. 19.

“Play on Burlington’s beautiful waterfront and enjoy master sand sculpting demonstrations, workshops and fun on the beach,” organizers say.

The sandcastle event at Beachway Park features the return of the master sand sculptor demonstrations and competition, live music, entertainment, games, food and a marketplace.

The sand creation competition has four amateur categories – children, youth, adult and family – with preregistration encouraged to ensure a spot.

Activities on Aug. 19 are at Spencer Smith Park from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“The park will be overrun by Tarzans and Janes, and jungle creatures,” with themed activities for children.; (905) 335-7766 

Fox Trot

A secluded eco-adventure weekend with biking and scuba diving on Pelee Island is planned for Aug. 18 and 19.

Island Scuba and Explore Pelee, the island’s eco-tourism company, are hosting the event on the Lake Erie isle.

It will include an adventure tourism bike tour, introduction to scuba and snorkelling including equipment, local catered meals, ferry transportation, camping fees and luggage shuttle on the home journey, said Anne Marie Fortner. Details:; (519) 325-TOUR (8687)