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COLUMN: Call to Action art project 'joyous, thoughtful'

'Incredible' pieces of art unveiled, described by artists at unveiling of Round 3 of unique local art project that began in 2017

Here comes another great week of cultural events, entertainment, and fun. Orillia really is the centre of arts and culture.

Before I get into what is coming, let me tell you about where I was, most of last Sunday. I was at St. Paul’s Centre viewing the latest round, Round Three, of the Call to Action 83 Art Project, which has its permanent home at St. Paul’s.

This art project started in 2017, when a group of 16 artists — eight First Nations, and eight Settler — were brought together by curator Mary Lou Meiers, to share stories, gain understanding and collaborate on a linked series of artworks.

The project is a direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation report’s 83rd Call to Action: “A strategy for Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process.”

Round Two followed, just before the pandemic, and this is now Round Three. Four rounds are planned in all.

Sunday at St. Paul’s consisted of a service of thanksgiving and celebration of the art and artists; a feast; and a reveal of the artworks, with commentary by the artists. The day was a joyous and thoughtful one, with incredible pieces of art and thoughts shared by the artists who were participating. It was definitely one of those don’t-miss events.

There are plans for further events around the artwork, as well as a website and QR code tour, but in the meantime, if you would like to come and view the artwork, it is on display in the newly renamed gallery at St. Paul’s Centre, and open to the public Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This coming weekend features many long-awaited events, which should be fantastic. The Orillia Concert Association’s first concert of the season, featuring an ensemble from the Toronto Concert Orchestra, is this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House.

A full subscription is still just $90 for five concerts. Again this year, patrons may purchase tickets to a single concert, at $40 per concert ($20 for students).

For further information and full concert details, please visit the Orillia Concert Association website or email

This Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., Song for Home and Hope, a variety-style fundraiser and concert for Ukrainian refugees in Canada, is happening at St. Paul’s Centre. This will be a wonderful concert with an eclectic variety of musicians and music centered around the Ukraine, home, and hope.

Again, Dr. John Jefferies has organized this event (he organized one in May which raised over $15,000 for the cause). Tickets are $25 and are available at St. Paul’s mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and at the door before the show.

This Friday at 7 p.m. at Creative Nomad Studios, come out for the Terribly Good Record Release show with Skye Wallace, with special guest SAMMY. These are two powerhouse women, and it will be an amazing night of music.

On top of hearing incredible music by two phenomenal musicians, you will be supporting the Teens on Edge Ski program, so what’s not to love? You can get your tickets here.

This Friday at 7 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House, come see Second City Comedy’s show, Best Friggin’ Time. This will be a hilarious night of comedy by rising stars. For tickets, go to

Speaking of the Orillia Opera House, Dwayne Gretzky will be performing there Thursday at 7 p.m., tickets same as above.

Of course, Hallowe’en is next Monday, so there is some good Hallowe’eny stuff happening this weekend.

The Leacock Museum is running ghost walks this Friday and Saturday nights, sure to be a spooky good time. For tickets, go here.

Casino Rama is having a Hallowe’en party and so is ODAS Park. Severn Slaughterhouse is at ODAS Park as well, this Thursday, various times. Click here for tickets, information.

Couchiching Craft Brewery Co. (CCBC) is having a Hallowe’en Spooktacular Saturday at 8 p.m., with music by Rocksteady, costumes competitions, feature foods, cocktails and casks; reservations recommended.

Jessica Bowman is playing CCBC Thursday at 6 p.m., and Jakob Pearce is playing Kensington’s Saturday night starting at 10 p.m.

Don’t forget Music and Mocktails every Thursday at Orillia Museum of Art and History, from 5 to 7 p.m. Free admission, mocktails and music and a chance to see the terrific exhibits currently there.

Artists, the call for art for Stack Gallery, theme of Renewal, has a deadline of Nov. 4, so get your creative juices flowing and submit your piece today. For more information, click here.

Coming up? An innovative Call to Action project at Creative Nomad Studios, Nov. 5; concerts by the Cellar Singers, and the Orillia Vocal Ensemble; the Carmichael Art History lecture; and the nominees for the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards. Next week.

If you have arts news, send to by Tuesday at noon to be included.