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COLUMN: Passion for trains sparks new local video project

'In this new series, we will follow trains as they pass local areas in and around Orillia,' says local videographer of unique project among many things happening locally

Lots more fun to be had this summer, and heading right into the fall, with many new announcements this week about fall events. Before I get into all that though, I want to mention a new company and initiative from a local entrepreneur that I think a lot of you will enjoy.

Earlier this year, Connor Earl started Connor Earl Productions, a TV broadcasting and video production company based out of Orillia. 

In 2020, Earl started his first year of a two-year television broadcasting and video production program at Canadore College in North Bay. While attending Canadore College, he got to work with the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) broadcasting their games, and also worked alongside the North Bay Pride broadcasting the Bif Naked and Serena Ryder live in-person concert.

Earl has always been fascinated by trains and, in particular, trains that travel through Ontario. And so, once Connor Earl Productions started, and after seeing fellow train spotters shoot trains and post them to social media and YouTube, he decided to follow suit and began the series, Connor Earl Productions: Train Spotter Series.

“Trains make up an important role in today’s world and in this new series, we will follow trains as they pass local areas in and around Orillia’s Lake Country," said Earl. "Like a thumbprint, no two trains and their cargo are alike, so we aim to highlight as many as possible. And who doesn’t love a fast-speeding train through the countryside?”

Earl continued, “Viewers can expect to see new train videos from railway crossings and trackside locations across our local viewing area and Ontario, or whenever a unique train comes to the area.”

Connor Earl Productions is available to shoot local events, stories, and more. Check out the website here. To view the Train Spotter Series, click here. Enjoy!

There is lots on the menu this weekend, locally. Peter Street Fine Arts’ guest artist this month is photographer Mike Bailey. Come out Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 23 Peter St. S. to see Mike’s beautiful work.

We have another See You on the Patio this Friday night, with great music, food, and entertainment, as well as a chance to stroll the streets, sans cars. There is another art walk, from 5 to 8:30 p.m., in the Peter Street Arts District, as well as a Night Market from the Orillia Farmers’ Market, on Mississaga Street, from 5 to 9 p.m. This is the final night market of the summer.

The Classic Car Show is this Saturday in downtown Orillia. This event runs all day, until 5 p.m., come down and check out some classic cars, as well as lots of great shopping, dining, and live entertainment.

Also this weekend, on Sunday, the Barrie Skyliners Big Band is playing at the Aqua Theatre in Couchiching Beach Park at 6:30 p.m. This is one of the city's Sunday Night Band Concert Series events. Bring your lawn chair; the event is free.

Tuesday Aug. 23 at 9 p.m., come enjoy the movie Night at the Museum, in the Orillia Public Library courtyard, with free popcorn courtesy of The Mortgage Man. There will also be crafts and other concession food, so come out for a good time with the whole family.

Aug. 28 at 7 p.m., The Cellar Singers present a fundraising concert for Green Haven Shelter, “Songs at Sunset,” featuring Alexandra Teske, soprano; and Kyung-A Lee, collaborative pianist, as well as other musicians from The Cellar Singers family. The show is at St. James' Anglican Church, and they are taking donations at the door.

Singer-songwriter Anne Walker is doing a pair of fundraising concerts for and at Coulson Church, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. For $15 tickets, email [email protected] or call 416-988-2951. Masks are encouraged.

Lots of fall event announcements happening.

St. Paul’s Centre is having a Welcome Back concert and reception, celebrating the gift of a beautiful Bosendorfer grand piano from the late Michael Jones, and welcoming Orillians back to this beautiful space, with the end of COVID-19 restrictions.

The show is on Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and features a who’s who of incredible musicians including Lance Anderson; Blair Bailey; Kelly, Nicole and Louis Lefaive; Cassandra Rutherford and Ray Dillard; Doreen Uren Simmons; Terry Therien; and Marta Solek.

Admission is by donation to St. Paul’s Centre. Come for the concert and stay for the reception, featuring a cash bar and showcasing St. Paul’s newly refurbished Learning Commons, downstairs. Can’t come to the show, but want to support St. Paul’s? You can donate here.

Tickets for the Leacock Gala Weekend are now available to the general public. The two major events of the weekend are the "Meet the Authors" and Student Showcase evening on Friday, Sept. 16, and the Leacock Medal Award Gala Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 17. Both events will be held in a marquee on the front lawn of the Stephen Leacock Museum.

Currently, the shortlist for the 2022 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour is: Mark Critch for An Embarrassment of Critch’s; Dawn Dumont for The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour; and Rick Mercer for Talking to Canadians.

Get your tickets for the Leacock Gala weekend here.

The Orillia Youth Centre’s fall fundraiser, Roots North Revisited, is Sept. 17 this year, at Fern Resort, and features Ron Hawkins and more special guests, TBA. This is a major fundraiser and always sells out, grab your tickets here.

Also announced for the fall? A couple of special Mariposa Folk Festival events, Oct. 1; MAT Film Nights is back, starting Sept. 14; and Bowie Lives at the Orillia Opera House on Sept. 24 featuring local singing sensation SAMMY. More on all this next time!

Congratulations to local singer/songwriter Lyric Dubee, for winning the Gold for Male Vocalist of the Year from the International Singer-Songwriters Association.

If you have arts news, send it to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included.