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COLUMN: Lots of indoor, outdoor activities on the calendar

Movie night, new art exhibits, book talks, Severn Winterfest, live music ... there's something for everyone on the calendar, says columnist
Wendy McQuaig has drawn her experiences as a psychotherapist to create a new historical fiction novel. She will talk about her book at an event at Hibernation Arts Thursday night at 7 p.m.

I hope you all got a chance to get out and see that amazing night of blues and gospel at the Opera House last weekend. What an amazing show, full of incredible talent. If you haven’t seen the outstandingly talented father/son duo of Prakash and Jordan John ... look them up and go see them pronto! They are eye-poppingly fantastic.

Thank you to Lance Anderson for bringing that level of talent to Orillia.

I also had the chance to see the St. Paul’s production of The Music Man. As predicted, the casting, music, acting, and choreography was absolutely top-notch. Big, big, big kudos to the many many volunteers who worked so hard, for months, to bring this show together. It takes literally thousands of hours from volunteers to put something like that together. St. Paul’s, and Orillia, should be very proud. 

A special hats off goes to Blair Bailey, music director, and Jodi Maltby, director, for providing the direction and having the know-how to make this happen. Again, we are so proud and lucky to have you here.

Speaking of outstanding volunteers, tons of talent, etc. etc., Mariposa Arts Theatre’s production of The Play That Goes Wrong opens Thursday at the Orillia Opera House (OOH). This is a laugh-out-loud comedy of a play-within-a-play that is a really good cure for the February I-wish-I-was-on-a-cruise blahs. 

Starring some of your favourite MAT actors, like Josh Halbot, Ian Munday, and some new ones that will become your favourites, like Shannon Howes, star in this hilarious show. Just get tickets and go. You won’t regret it. Tickets at and the show runs Thursday to Sunday this week and next Thursday to Sunday as well. And, good news! The OOH elevator is up and running again, so no stair climbing needed!

This Thursday evening and every Thursday evening until April 18, from 4 to 7 p.m., the Orillia Museum of Art and History is hosting movie nights! Come out, grab a beer or wine and popcorn, and enjoy old silent home movies from the Grant family of Orillia. The family really got around, and I have heard there is footage from the Lake Placid Olympics in the collection. This should be a whole lot of fun, and I am certainly going to check it out. 

This Friday from 6 to 8:30 p.m., the Orillia Public Library presents an Anti-Valentine’s Trivia Night, at Kelsey’s in Orillia. You can register in teams of two or four, and test your Valentine’s knowledge in music, movies, history and more. The winning team will take home the coveted Cold Heart trophy. This program is for library members ages 18+ and costs $5 per person. (Please bring $5 cash the night of the event.) Doors open at 6 p.m., trivia starts promptly at 6:30 p.m. You must register here.

Hibernation Arts has lots of new art up this month. There is a group show on the guest wall, titled Love Is…with guest artists Patti Campbell, Julie Grimaldi, Susan Rudoler, Lexi Deece Cassidy, Carolyn Boyd, Enrique Bravo, Molly Farquharson. Local singer/actor/artist Zain Cook is a new artist at the gallery, come check out his striking portrait work. There is also a renewed Orillia District Arts Council wall this month. 

Also at Hibernation Arts, this Thursday at 7 p.m., a book talk with local author Wendy McQuaig. McQuaig’s book, Behind the Pickle Jar, is a work of local historical fiction, and people are definitely enjoying it. Come see what it’s all about. The event is $10 and includes light refreshments. See you there, at 17 Peter St. S. 

Severn Winterfest is this weekend at ODAS Park. Tons of fun for the whole family, and an Ice Bar dance for the 19+ crowd this Saturday night. There’s a DJ and dancing inside, and an ice bar outside! Tickets are $20 in advance, and you can get them here.

This Saturday is the Murder Mystery Masquerade at the Best Western Plus Mariposa Inn. It’s a murder mystery dinner and show, and take it from me, these things are a lot of fun. This one is billed as a night of mystery and elegance, and could be a fun Valentine’s gift of a different night out. Three-course dinner and a chance to be part of the mystery, for $79 plus taxes and fees. To reserve your spot, call 705-325-9511. The fun and mystery start at 6 p.m.

Also this Saturday, if you are a photographer, reserve your spot to do some wildlife photography at Speaking of Wildlife in Severn. The facility hosts several of these events a year. For just $40, you get to have an opportunity to photograph some of the centre’s residents, such as wolf, coyote, and red-tailed hawk amidst a natural background! 

It’s a two- to three-hour session, so lots of opportunity to get some great shots. Reserve your spot today by emailing [email protected]

Coming up? Pub nights at St. Paul’s are back, starting Feb. 16 with local songstress Meredith Boyes-Warboys as the entertainment. Meredith is a gifted singer and guitar player and well worth the price of admission, which is $10 cash at the door. Pub food and bar also available. The fun starts at 6 p.m. and you are home before 10!

Also coming up? Arts Orillia presents Black in Canada with choreography by Shameka Blake and Artists in Motion, Feb. 20 and 21. There are daytime school shows, but there are a limited number of tickets available to the public. Come out and see some incredible dance, which we don’t get enough of here in town. Tickets at

On Wednesday, Feb. 21 OMAH’s History Talk of the month is all about The Simcoe County Forest, with local expert Graeme Davis. To get the free zoom link, go to

Also coming up? The Cellar Singers present Durufle’s Requiem and other motets, Feb. 24 at St. James’ Anglican Church. Former Orillian Autumn Debassige is one of the soloists; she is excellent. Come out and enjoy! Tickets available at

And, Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. a house (church) concert at the old church in Hawkestone, featuring the lovely and talented Samantha Windover. She has a powerful voice and will blow you away! $15 donation at the door, all to Samantha, and the address is 298 Line 11 South, Oro-Medonte, right in the village of Hawkestone. 

One more to put in your calendar: The Orillia Concert Band’s midwinter ... or is it early spring ... concert is on March 2 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre. Titled Memories of the Silver Screen, this will feature great hits like Evita, James Bond, Bridge on the River Kwai, My Fair Lady, and more. Get your tickets now here.

Live music this week? At Couchiching Craft Brewery: Friday, Cam Galloway, and Saturday, Stephane Bernard. 



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