This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Have you ever built something and thought, “that’s pretty good, pretty sturdy,” and then along comes cousin Clem and you find out it might have been good idea to add some reinforcement? This happened to Lawrence Boyer.

Lawrence is the person who made The Weir sculpture for Streets Alive’s Story Poles exhibit a few years ago; won the top prize with it too.

I’m sure you are all familiar with it because its been sitting on the corner of the plaza at the Port of Orillia building ever since. Except some of you may have noticed since last fall it’s been absent. I noticed it was gone a few months ago and didn’t think much of it, other than I couldn’t recall it being removed for winter in other years, but it seemed like winter was a good reason for it to be gone.

Then I had a chat with the Port’s harbour master, Alan Lafontaine. He told me it had been damaged by someone during some shenanigans to get into the port building. I took some time trying to comprehend what value it would have in such a venture, but then also thought it’s never a good idea to try and figure out how or why some people do some improbable things involving calls to 911.

“It was completely knocked over. It was all flattened out, so I took all the pieces home,” said Lawrence. “I always took the man off of the top, the basket and the fish inside (for the winter), so I had already done that, so it was just the logs and that, that got damaged,” Lawrence said. He had the story of how it got broken.

“Apparently some guy and his son had a helicopter thing and I guess they were playing around down there at the port. He lost control of it and it landed on top of the building there. I guess he ripped a few pieces off it (the sculpture) and that’s when it went over. He was trying to use those to get up on the roof of the building to retrieve his drone,” said Lawrence. If you’re brain cells are breaking trying to picture just how that logic works, there’s more.

“There’s an ice making machine and its left there outside, so he was standing on that, but he still couldn’t reach up to the top of the roof, so he was trying to get some of the logs- I don’t know how he expected to get up there.”

It’s still mind boggling to picture how propping the sculpture on top of the icemaking machine would have given any advantage to the rescue mission, or a better solution might have arisen the next morning using a phone and a telephone number directory, but here we are, you and me shaking our heads.

“We’re not sure how old this person was, or how old his son was, but anyway he got caught and went to court and was charged with public mischief,” Lawrence said. “I never really heard what happened to the drone after, whether it’s still up there on the roof, or not.”

The sculpture was returned to its spot in time for Canada Day. Returning it was coordinated by the City’s manger of culture, Jacqueline Surette.

“That was our goal, to get that out for Canada Day,” she said.  “Because National Indigenous History Month is over, it doesn’t mean our learning ends there. I think it’s (the timing) fitting.”

Go Out and Play – But Hey, Be Careful Out There

Arts District galleries are going to have their stuff on the streets Friday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. every week of the pedestrian mall.  Hibernation Arts also has the work of July’s featured artist, Raune-lea Marshall to see.

Art by Raune-lea Marshall

Peter Street Fine Arts also has new stuff by their featured artist Renee van der Putten, hanging around.

Renee van der Putten

Creative Nomad Studios has an entire summer of pedestrian mall activities planned. The first one, Friday, has something called Shifted happening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. It’s an interesting concept, 4 artists (Craig Mainprize, Douglas Porter, Pauline Tofflemire and Steph Whalen) paint on their own canvases. Every 20 minutes, the canvases are shifted like musical chairs, except no one lands on their butt in the street, so by the end of the painting session each artist will have left their mark on all four canvases.

Some of Orillia Fine Arts Association’s artists have organized a walking tour which will happen July 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. Six gallery spaces are involved (see map) and two of them are coffee shops where you can get 20% off fuel with a coupon you get at one of the other galleries. You can do the tour in either direction.

OFAA Walking Tour Map
Did Y’er Ever Be Part Of A Movie Crew, Billy?

Bill Dunlop has managed to get a few movie productions to come to Orillia to shoot, and there’s another one happening July 12. They are scheduled to be here for 2 weeks and he says there will be 5 or 6 places in town used as sets

Sean Cisterna, who produced and directed the last movie (From The Vine) shown at MAT Film Night and Kiss and Cry, which is on Netflix, is shooting an unnamed movie here starting July 12. His earlier movie, Moon Point relates to his time living in the Sunshine City. Mariposa Arts Theatre is loaning out some of their vast holdings of props and costumes for the movie.

Bill is helping to assemble a crew. They’d like to use local people for crew and need set dressers, props, wardrobe, hair and make-up, and general production assistants. If you have worked on a Mariposa Arts Theater production, or been backstage for high school productions, the skills are transferable. Forward a resume by email to Bill at Your experience doesn’t have to be extensive. There is a budget so you will get paid and they expect to be shooting for two weeks here

Mostly Online Distracters

Nate Robertson has some new music to listen to. A drummer, he also can play other instruments and his latest work is more of an exploration of sound. You can listen to the music from his Synchronized Stratification EP (and buy it) on his Bandcamp page. You’ll also find his previous recordings there too.

Marci Csumrik’s Orillia Youth Centre  tooth care fundraiser is still going. She came into possession of a number of old vinyl records (a mix of bands and singers from Mel Torme to the Bee Gees) and is selling them on her Facebook page. All the money is going into the Youth Centre’s dental care fund so kids from families which can’t afford proper care can get it.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History can’t open yet, but has some outside things you can do. A Saints and Sinners tour (all the bars and hotels that used to be the main attraction in downtown Orillia) is still in the planning stages, a Friday night tour for families is open for registration, and they have a Saturday morning outdoor program for kids. They’ll be on the street Friday nights with activities. Jill Price’s Fur is a History Speaker’s Night online event. She’ll be doing it with John Savage, who is a Gaudaur descendant, talking about fur trade. At the same link you can register for some workshops Jill will lead.

Some Rama musicians made a video called Rama Players Presents: Acoustic Music of the 70’s. The players are James Simcoe, Leanne McRae-Douglas, Ronnie Douglas, Rick Benson and Scotty Snache and it was recorded for First Nation’s Day. They play songs by CSN&Y, Gregg Allman, The Eagles, Peter Frampton, Supertramp, Robbie Robertson, Neil Young and the Beatles which were favourites in the Rama community back in the day. You can play it from the website, or download it in HD or SD here.

Laura Lee Mattthie and Laura Christie’s Orillia Secondary School students did their spring concert online. There are several instrumental, vocal ensembles and soloists performing and I really liked the first jazz band’s performance of Strike Up The Band; they were nice and tight and pulled off a swing feel very well (that’s hard to do). The video is just over an hour, so have a listen.

Norm Foster

The Opera House has cancelled the first play (Norm Foster’s Come Down From Up River ) of the summer theater season. They also are not betting regulations will allow the second one, Driving Miss Daisy, to be possible – so both will be part of the 2022 season. The good news, Norm Foster will be on stage for his own Old Love, starting August 18.  You can get your tickets online for the Opera House summer theater. If you have tickets already you can change them to the last play, or credit them to next year. To make the switch, call the box office at 705-326-8011 or email .

Put on side 2, track 2 of Rush’s Hemispheres album, or track 3 if all you have is the CD, and then get to work making some art for Sustainable Orillia’s second round of their year-long effort to inspire artists to make environmentally themed work and to have a chance to get a $75 prize. The theme is Trees.  Visit their website to enter.

Visit Creative Nomad Studios Facebook page for three video tours of the facilities. There are some tutorial videos on the Youtube page too. And they have a bunch of online art workshops happening. Find out more here.

Aaron Mangoff has put out 5 EP’s and 3 singles in the last year and you can hear them here.

Check out Stuart Steinhart’s excellent new album, It’s About Time, on  Bandcamp.

See Steve Caston’s videos on his Facebook page. The artist, musician and humourist usually has something new to see.

Max Metcalf  and his band John’s Cottage have some tunes and made some videos to enjoy.

Joe Huron will continue playing jazz guitar Sunday’s at noon on Facebook until we get to Stage 3.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia, The Weir by Jacqueline Surette and Images Supplied) Main: Lawrence Boyer (on trailer) and City staff reinstall The Weir at the Port of Orillia.

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