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COLUMN: Take in what's left of summer with music, art and more

From See You on the Patio to walking tours and fundraisers, there's still plenty to do in Orillia, columnist explains
Michael Abernethy, who is playing Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show this fall, is shown in his role as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in spring 2019.

I don’t know about you, but I am in full denial about Labour Day weekend. I am not ready to give up summer fun, events, and shows. Luckily, there is so much upcoming, all through the fall, maybe I don’t have to give it up, after all.

One summer fun thing ending this Friday is the Orillia Museum of Art and History’s ages-19-plus walking tour, Gangs, Guns, and Grog, a look back at Orillia’s naughty past. Click here for details and to sign up.

Another summer fun thing that is ending this Friday is See You on the Patio. This magical weekly event has its last incarnation this Friday starting at 5 p.m. Come out for one last stroll down Mississaga and Peter streets, check out all the great galleries, shopping, and art, and enjoy a wonderful patio meal. The weather looks like it will be perfect. See You on the Patio, this Friday, one last time in 2022.

Speaking of galleries, I want to give a shout-out to Cloud Gallery, located on Mississaga Street, in the Creative Nomad Studios building. One of our beloved artists, Liz Schamehorn, was badly injured in a hit-and-run this summer, and Cloud Gallery, which shows some of her work, stepped up and agreed to donate a portion of the sales of any of Schamehorn’s works during the month of August. Grand total? Almost $5,000 to go to this worthy and deserving artist. Well done, Cloud Gallery.

Labour Day weekend means it’s time for the big Pirate Party at the Port of Orillia, all weekend long. Since its inception, the Pirate Party has just gotten bigger and better. This year, there is a pirate village with lots of great vendors and food options, as well as re-enactors and demonstrations; live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday; a treasure hunt for the whole family; plank walks; prizes; and more.

Friday night, enjoy music by the Conner Brothers. Saturday, it’s the Ronnie Douglas Band, and Sunday night, The Orangeman. For the full schedule of events and pirate mayhem, click here.

Mariposa Arts Theatre (MAT) is seeking directors and production team members for a couple of shows in 2023. MAT is producing Blythe Spirit in February and A Streetcar Named Desire in April. If you think you would like to help out, please contact Kaleb Sauve ASAP.

Speaking of MAT, hold onto your hats; The Rocky Horror Show is coming to town. This special MAT production, the first big musical since the before-times, is coming to the Orillia Opera House Nov. 10 to 13 and 17 to 20.

I was speaking recently to Shannon Hawke, who is one of the cast members and is also helping with marketing, and she said this show was just thrown out there as a suggestion pre-COVID, and it’s so exciting it’s actually happening now.

“It’s going to be even bigger and better than Chicago was. Some of the great actors who were in Chicago are in Rocky, including Josh Halbot, but there are some amazing new actors as well. Get your tickets soon. They really won’t last, especially with this amazing cast,” said Hawke.

The full cast list? Stephanie Lamb, Michael Abernethy, Laura Bainsborough, Josh Halbot, Patrick Voo, Pam Sparrow, Alyse Setton, Ryan LaPlante, Same Wiles and Stephen Dobby. Rocky is directed by Kaleb Sauve, with musical direction by Christina Bosco and choreography by Sheri Nicholls. Grab your tickets now at This definitely will be one for the books.

Also speaking of MAT, and looking ahead to the fall, MAT Film Nights are starting up again. This beloved series of films that normally wouldn’t come to Orillia begins Wednesday, Sept. 14 with Scarborough. Oct. 12, the film is Alli and Ava; Nov. 9, Phantom of the Opera; and Dec. 7, the film is Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen. There are two showings of each film, at 4 and 7 p.m., and all films are shown at Galaxy Cinemas in Orillia.

Tickets are $15 and sales will be cash only, in person at the theatre starting at 3 p.m. for the 4 p.m. showing, and 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. showing. Seats are limited, so an early arrival is highly recommended.

Speaking of events that will likely sell out, the Orillia Youth Centre Roots North Revisited show Sept. 17 at Fern Resort is one of those events. This yearly fundraiser for the youth centre, which carried on in many creative ways during the pandemic (live concert at a drive-in, anyone?), is back at Fern Resort with a great lineup of talent, including REAY Music, Billy the Kid, and Ron Hawkins. The show starts at 6 p.m. Fern Resort is offering bar food for sale. The beer will be from Quayle’s Brewery, and there will be wine and liquor sales as well.

You can get tickets for $40 cash at Alleycats and Dapper Depot, downtown, or online here. One hundred per cent of the proceeds go to the Orillia Youth Centre and, of course, it will be a fantastic night out.

Another fun night early this fall is the St. Paul’s Centre Welcome Back concert Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. This is to highlight the incredible gift of a rare and beautiful grand piano from the late Michael Jones, pianist and deep thinker extraordinaire. Lance Anderson, Blair Bailey, Doreen Uren Simmons, the Lafaive family, Cassandra Rutherford and many more incredible musicians will highlight this beautiful instrument, and there will be a reception and cash bar after the event to welcome everyone back to St. Paul’s this fall.

This show is a fundraiser for St. Paul’s and admission is by freewill donation. See you there, 62 Peter St. N., Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

The City of Orillia’s art in public places committee has a call for artists out for its biggest public art project yet. Artists are invited to submit a proposal to one or more of seven site locations that incorporates the project’s theme: Crossroads, Connections, and Intersections. The theme is inspired by the city’s strategic location along major highways and waterways, connecting people to Orillia for thousands of years.

The site locations are as follows: Site 1 — Wilson Point trail intersection; Site 2 — Fittons Road trail intersection; Site 3 — City of Orillia Water Filtration Plant; Site 4 — Orillia Recreation Centre; Site 5 — stormwater pond; Site 6 — James Street trail intersection; Site 7 — Atherley Road trail intersection.

Artists interested in submitting will be asked to participate in a two-stage process for most sites with a proposal deadline of Monday, Sept. 19 and a conceptual design deadline of Monday, Oct. 31. Artists can view the detailed submission requirements at

More music this weekend? Thursday, Sammy Johnston at the Couchiching Craft Brewery, 6 to 9 p.m.; Paige Rutledge at the Couchiching Craft Brewing Co., Saturday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Have a wonderful last weekend of summer, but not the last weekend of fun. If you have arts news, send it to by Tuesday at noon to be included.