This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

This is the last of the downtown pedestrian mall street closings this weekend. All summer Mississaga Street has been closed so people can eat and shop out in the open air. Peter Street has been closed Friday nights.

The first couple of weeks on Peter Street only the galleries with addresses on the street could have displays on the street. Hibernation Arts and Peter Street Fine Arts are galleries that have many artists hanging the work of member artists and a few took part.  A few weeks later Shadowbox artists and Three Crows Speak Studio artists joined making the street look a little busier. The last couple weeks it seems more artists have decided it’s worth the effort to set up tables and displays because the street looked really busy. There were displays on both sides of the street, instead of one side, and I even saw Wes Trinier and Marlene Bulas last week.

Will McGarvey and Wes Trinier

There’s been more music happening too. I’ve seen Ian Chaplin down there a couple times. And a couple weeks ago Sean Patrick and Tim Kehoe were playing some music, they even took requests – and posed, or sat still long enough Paul Baxter could work them into a painting he was doing on the side of the Orillia Public Library building.

Walking up and down the street past the restaurants was an opportunity to say hi to lots of people occupying tables, waiting for food or with mouthfuls of food. What’s the etiquette here when someone acknowledges you passing by, but they just shoved half a burger into their mouth. Conversation seems to be out of the question. It’s hard to say, “How are you?” Because they can’t answer. Often your friends are sitting with their friends who you don’t know and interjecting seems weird. The whole thing is awkward – except for being able to see someone you may not have seen since last summer’s pedestrian mall.

The City’s role hiring musicians for play at venues has placed more of them at venues outside the downtown. This week Jakob Pearce is at the Grape and Olive, David Gallagher is at Lott 88, Ian Chaplin is at Theo’s and La Mercaderes de la Musica is at Boston Pizza; all on Friday night.

Downtown, Mike Martyn and David Broadhead are at Fionn MAcCool’s Friday night. Sanafir has had the Jazz Byrds playing many weeks, last week Joe Huron was in, so I expect they’ll have someone this week.

Mike Bailey and the Hippy Van Posters

While you are downtown, this weekend is your last chance to vote on your favourite Hippy Van. Get a ballot at Jack & Maddy A Kids Store – they have souvenir booklets too. Votes will be counted and three of the 29 artists are going to win cash prizes ($10k, $5k and $2,500). You return your ballot at Jack and Maddy or OMAH. And look for Mike Bailey, he created a poster of the Hippy Vans people can buy. It’s available in two sizes (24×36 – $65, or 16×24 – $55) and you can order one by emailing Mike is also the guest artist at Creative Nomad in the main gallery.

Nominations Open

The nomination period has started for the 2021 Orillia Regional Arts & Heritage Awards. The Orillia and District Arts Council and the Orillia Museum of Art and History combine their efforts for this each year. Somehow I think the judges have it easy this year – all things considered.

The nomination form is online here. As in the past there are 5 categories:

  • Education in Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • Emerging Artist
  • Heritage: Restoration, Renovation and Publication
  • Event in Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • Qennefer Browne Achievement Award

Looking at the categories and strictly going by memory (I’m sure as the weeks pass I’ll come up with others) here’s the people and things that come to mind.

Education – Both the music teachers at Orillia Secondary School; they had to really do something different and came up with splitting their classes between a keyboard section and a percussion section (on drums borrowed from the Orillia Youth Centre). Mariposa Folk Festival started an online tutorial program, the first of which was with Lance Anderson speaking about a 10 things you won’t find in a text book, but need to know if you are going to be a professional musician.

Emerging Artist – I don’t know if Reay still qualifies. The band’s debut concert at the Geneva was the last concert held in Orillia March 7, 2020, so maybe; at any rate their album, Butterfly Tongue Revisited, is fantastic and deserves some kind of local recognition. Ayden Miller’s band, New Friends, is technically from London I guess, but they’ve been putting out some solid new music this year; plus he’s been added to Bleeker’s live performance complement.

Heritage: Restoration, Renovation and Publication – I believe Marcel Rousseau has been doing some exemplary work on his Orillia Past & Present Facebook page. I’m not coming up with anything else at the moment.

Event in Arts, Culture and Heritage – So much happening here, and I’m sure I’m going to miss something. I think the Opera House is a good choice because last summer they figured out a way to have summer theater (which many other theaters copied) and had the first public performance in Canada post stay-at-home. Mariposa Arts Theater is a good choice too because they went outdoors and in a big way with their Twelfth Night production (on at the Leacock Museum until September 5; tickets). They used all the Leacock grounds and house had to offer for staging opportunities. I can’t leave out Matchedash Parish’s Mariposa Folk Fest concert at the Opera Hose. See more details below. This may have been one of the first indoor concerts with an audience (184 people went) and was a great way to get back into the swing of things.

Qennefer Browne Achievement Award – I’m going to have to think about this for a bit. Send me a note if you have an idea. This award isn’t tied to any work since the last awards and can be tied to a body of work.


When you go to see Twelfth Night  at the Leacock Museum here’s some things to consider as an audience member. You need to bring your own lawn chair. At halftime put on some Bug Off(TM). Don’t sit too close to the walkway, you want to be back a bit to catch all the unusual character entrances, you also won’t have to swivel your head so much to catch the action happening to extreme stage right and left. Bring your own mug – and put some coffee in it – coffee. And pay attention to the trumpet playing of Neil Barlow, it’s very good. The play runs to September 5 with afternoon and evening showtimes. Get tickets here.

Cal Shilling getting a closer look at
Tracey-Mae Chambers’s sculpture

Metis artist Tracey-Mae Chambers was at OMAH last Friday constructing a version of her Hope and Healing art sculpture. OMAH is one of 30 galleries she’s bringing her art to. Each scupture uses a single red string to create something unique to each gallery.

OMAH has a new exhibit called Welcome Home to Orillia. It tells the story of 11 people who now call Orillia home, but didn’t always. It’s fascinating to read each person’s story and to see some of the things they included in their exhibit space. Also see Will McGarvey’s exhibit, Sticks and Stones. You can also check out the opening with Will and Jill Price online.

OMAH also has some outside things you can do. 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. They also have an interesting tour called Gangs, Guns and Grog: True Stories of Orillia’s Wild West Days Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. Register online. Looking ahead, OMAH’s Speaker’s Night September 15 is with Dr. Chris Decker who will be speaking about the life of Dr. Norman Bethune. It’s on Zoom, so you have to call, 705-326-2159 to register and get the link to the event.

Mostly Online Distracters

Have you listened to Matchedash Parish’s CD, Saturday Night? And, did you catch their Mariposa Folk Festival Opera House concert online, you can watch here. And Mariposa has posted several new videos on their Facebook Page of other artist performances.

Hibernation Arts has decided to return their concert program to the dance card. It’s a small affair, smaller I suppose with the restrictions (for $20, two shots and a mask you get in). The first one is September 16 with Alex Andrews and Marta Solek from 7 to 9 p.m. Starting this week because, holy crap, we’re in September already, is the month’s guest artist David Kennedy. Ther will also be a Sustainable Orillia show from September 20 to 25.

Ayden Miller and his band, New Friends, have another new pop new tune called Purple Candy which premiered last Thursday during Global TV’s series, Private Eyes. Check out other tunes by the band on their Youtube channel. You watch the video now.

The first big community event of the new era is the 171st Orillia Fall Fair September 11. Unlike other years it will be for one day only, but they are packing a lot into it like the Demo Derby (you can register your neighbour’s car here) and truck and tractor pulls. Email to get tickets ($10 adults, $5 kids, free for those under 4).

The pipe organ at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian is 100 years old this year. The anniversary is actually at the end of September. Marshall Martin, who gets to play the thing all the time, said it’s too soon to be able to say whether there will be an event to mark the occasion. With 5,000 pipes it’s one of the largest organs in Canada.. There’s a video the church has produced that shows all the workings and Marshall explains what all the parts do.

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.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Sean Patrick and Tim Kehoe posing (on the street) for Paul Baxter’s temporary mural at the Orillia Public Library

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