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Grab a bite and check out local artists' work as See You on the Patio begins

Local artists and musicians eager share their work after a long year, columnist explains

Of course, the big news this week is Canada Day, and the beginning of See You on the Patio, starting July 2! From a restaurant perspective, this initiative by the City of Orillia Economic Recovery Task Force is great news. Closing streets on Friday and Saturday nights from 5 until 11 p.m. until Sept. 4 gives lots more patio room in a time when restaurants are still unable to open for in-person dining.

It is also a great initiative for local artists and creatives, as it gives them a chance to populate the street with music, art, demos, and fun, to entertain everyone and add a wonderful vibe to this fun outdoor happening.

Creative Nomad Studios is kicking things off with a bang with the third iteration of its Shifted event. This idea began during last summer’s patio events. Several artists are given their own canvas, easel, paint cart and theme. They start to paint at 6:30 p.m. Friday, and then, every 20 minutes, the canvas is shifted to another artist. Passersby and restaurant patrons near Creative Nomad Studios can see the art take shape and change with each artist.

This week’s participating artists are Craig Mainprize, Douglas Porter, Pauline Tofflemire and Steph Whalen.

The Orillia Arts District is also hopping onto See You on the Patio with Friday Evening Art Walks every Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. This idea also started last year, but only every other week. The art walks were so popular, they have been expanded to every Friday this year, starting July 2. Stroll along Peter Street, which will be closed to vehicles, and enjoy the art on the street as well as in the galleries.

Participating artists and galleries will have booths and tables out on the street for you to browse and enjoy safely. Meet your favourite artists, discover new ones, and support our artists, whose galleries were closed for so long during this pandemic. Art is essential. Come discover it!

Of course, the performing arts will also be happening during See You on the Patio and some of your favourite local musicians will be playing and singing for patrons at local restaurants. Again, these talented folks have been unable to perform for almost two long years, so give them some love.

Remember, Friday and Saturday evenings from July 2 to Sept. 4, from 5 to 11 p.m., we will See You on the Patio!

July 3 from 12 to 3 p.m., come meet local artist and painter Raune-lea Marshall and enjoy her stunning and colourful landscapes at the opening of her month as guest artist at Hibernation Arts, at 17 Peter St. S. in Orillia’s Arts District. Marshall is the president of the Orillia Fine Arts Association (OFAA), and you can also see OFAA members’ work at Hibernation Arts while you are there.

And, today is Canada Day, which is a bit of a conundrum this year. Many of us love our country, and are proud Canadians, but we need to look at everything we have been and everything we are, and figure out what we need to change, to truly be the kind and inclusive country we would like to be.

Indigenous people in Canada are asking us to thoughtfully spend some time thinking and learning about the atrocities that have been committed, and to wear orange or black, this Canada Day. Also, write your MP and ask for tangible reparations to our Indigenous peoples for the wrongs that have been done to them. We don’t need a big red and white celebration this time.

This year, it won’t be a happy Canada Day, but it could be one that leads to education and growth. And that’s always a good thing.

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