Skip to content

Downtown Orillia has something for everyone this weekend

From Into the Green and Blues street fest to art gallery shows to live music, there is much to see and do, says arts and entertainment columnist
Educating Rita credit Mariposa Arts Theatre
Robert Knapp as Frank and Rachel Dechamplain as Rita, star in Mariposa Arts Theatre’s production of Educating Rita, starting this Thursday at the MAT Warehouse space on Brammer Drive. Mariposa Arts Theatre photo

I hope everyone had a fabulous long weekend and got out to enjoy some of the great cultural events Orillia had going on. We went camping, which is not quite the same…but still fabulous!

This weekend, Downtown Orillia is going all blue and green, with the Into the Green and Blues Street Festival. I believe this was originally conceived as a re-vamp and re-mix of the blues fest and the former long weekend downtown sale. Now, it is more of a welcome spring with music and lots of fun and street closures, all downtown.

Everyone will be having sales, and there are bouncy castles, street meat, and lots of great live music with performances by The Slocan Ramblers, Paul Reddick, Ever-Lovin' Jug Band, Delta Stone & The Wardogs, HOBO Jam, The Party Magician, DJ Kirby Gord and Petra. The fun goes all day Saturday, right here in downtown Orillia.

Also on Saturday, there is a call for art for a Dads and Grads Show at Hibernation Arts. This show will run the whole month of June and the art is along the themes of Father’s Day and graduation. Contact Hibernation Arts at for more information or to submit.

Artists, do you have your postcard-sized piece in to the Postcard Project show? This show is being curated by the Orillia Fine Arts Association and is a fundraiser for Mariposa House Hospice. Deadline is May 24 and you can find out more by emailing

The show will be hung for May 31, at Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery and Studio, 23 Peter St. S. Opening reception, Saturday, June 1 from 1 to 3 p.m. The show runs for these two days only, so do get in, grab a great piece of art and support Mariposa House Hospice for only $15.

Speaking of art shows, did you know about Art Under the Pavilion? This is a unique art show, under Pavilion #2, near the water, in Couchiching Park. This show runs during the two waterfront shows put on by the Port of Orillia, in June and August, in the park. The first Art Under the Pavilion runs June 7 to 9, all day Saturday and Sunday, and Friday afternoon.

This is a chance to check out lots of great art by artists you might not see otherwise, in the dry and shady pavilion. There will be photographers, painters, printmakers, woodturners and more, something for everyone to enjoy. Come down and say hi, and buy something beautiful for yourself or a loved one.

Do you enjoy great music and love to support a great cause? You can do both, May 27, by going to hear the Dofasco Men’s Chorus perform a fundraising concert for Building Hope.

The Dofasco Men’s Chorus was formed in 1945 by a group of Dofasco men who loved to sing, and has been performing and raising money ever since. The concert will be a blend of classical and easy listening music and the show gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at Calvary Pentecostal Church, 375 Westmount Dr. N.

You can get $15 tickets ahead of time by calling Calvary, 705-325-2146, or Bev Day at the Westmount office, 705-326-9252. This concert is sponsored by Calvary Pentecostal and Westmount Congregation.

In other great music news, the Orillia Concert Band is playing a Hometown Proud concert, Saturday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m., at St. Paul’s Centre, 62 Peter St. N. Hugh Coleman on the clarinet, and Elizabeth Anderson, on piano and vocals, are guest artists, and rumour has it, they have to be heard to be believed. So grab your $15 ticket at the door and enjoy a great evening of music and you can be hometown proud, too!

If you want still more music, and another opportunity to support a local cause, come out to the Orillia Vocal Ensemble’s concert on Sunday, May 26 at 3 p.m., also at St. Paul’s Centre. This concert is a fundraiser for the Valis Sound Studio at the Orillia Youth Centre, and admission is by donation to this very exciting and worthy cause. This show also features lots of local guest artists; come out for a great afternoon of music.

Moving on to the literary side of things, a few events to take note of. May 26, OMAH and Storytelling Orillia dive into Stories about the Life of the Gaudaurs, at 2 p.m. at Orillia Museum of Art and History. This dovetails nicely into the exhibit currently showing there, and should be a fascinating afternoon hearing some great stories about one of this area’s first families.

June 6, author and poet Lauren Carter is back in town and reading from her newest book of poetry, Following Sea, at the Orillia Public Library from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Fireplace Program Room. Lauren will be joined by author Laura Rock Gaughan, a Lakefield writer with a short story collection out called Motherish. Seating is limited so please RSVP at 705-325-2338 or if you plan to attend.

Orillia Centre for Arts and Culture (formerly HCC) has started releasing information about its First Nations Literary Festival, now in its third year, which starts Sept. 20 with a reception featuring Tomson Highway’s Songs in the Key of Cree, with vocalist Patricia Cano and Marcus Ali on saxophone.

This year’s festival is at the Midland Cultural Centre and I am sure will be as awesome as the first two were. A great opportunity to enjoy first-class Indigenous literary works. Tickets for the opening reception are now on sale here. Ticket price is $30.

Speaking of the Orillia Centre, Elvis and The Man in Black, a dance show, is coming up at the end of June. More on that next week!

There is so much more happening and coming up, but I am fast running out of room, so here are some quick notes to finish off this week: at the Brownstone café, May 23 Gillian Nicola album release, May 24 Bobby Dove and May 25 Hot Pants. Hog ‘n’ Penny, May 24 Darrin Davis, May 25 Olivia and Alex.

Also don’t forget Educating Rita starts this weekend at the Mariposa Arts Theatre warehouse on Brammer Drive. Tickets are going fast, but you can grab them at the Opera House box office here.

See you around town, don’t forget to send me your arts news