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Loss of Studio Tour a tough pill to swallow for local artists

Despite the pandemic, there is lot to see and do this weekend, says arts and entertainment columnist
Local artist Jimi McKee is having an open studio this weekend-credit Jimi McKee
Local artist Jimi McKee is hosting an open studio event this weekend. Contributed photo

Normally at this time of year, we would be talking about the Images Thanksgiving Studio Tour.

This long running local extravaganza usually runs all four days of the Thanksgiving weekend and is hotly anticipated both by the artists chosen to participate, and the hundreds of locals and tourists who make it a special part of their Thanksgiving tradition.

The loss of this tour in this pandemic year is yet another blow to local artisans and creatives. Normally this would be a big money-making weekend for them and the prelude to Christmas shows which are the other big money-maker.

Local artisans are really suffering with this loss of income. Please remember them if you are thinking of birthday, anniversary, wedding, or Christmas gifts. Shop local and unique as much as you can in this pandemic year.

Local artist Jimi McKee, who is usually an Images Tour artist, is having an open studio this weekend in his home studio at 66 Orchard Point, along with daughter, Miranda McKee, and friend and painter Wes Trinier.

The studio will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you go, please observe physical distancing and Covid-19 safety.

Hip Chick Design is having an online sale on Thanksgiving Monday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., to say thank you to everyone for your support in this unprecedented year. For those who are not local, shipping is free for this special sale. Local hip chicks can pick up right in town. You can support local and shop her website here.

October is Sustainable Orillia month in our Sunshine City, and that at least hasn’t changed in this year where everything has changed. The volunteers at Sustainable Orillia have worked hard to organize a series of webinars on diverse topics such as climate change in the time of pandemic, EV vehicles, green investments, understanding the circular economy and so much more. All of these webinars are available at no cost, and will be available after the initial presentations via the Sustainable Orillia website.

Information on this webinar series, and a schedule with registration details, are available at Do check them out at your leisure and figure out what you can do to help fight climate change. Pandemic notwithstanding, climate change is still the biggest threat to human existence.

The OSMH fall gala is carrying on virtually, as Soldiers’ Spooktacular Soiree, on now until Oct. 16. Here are some of the fun highlights: Free registration for all; evening add-ons delivered right to your door! Dinner party menu selections now available! Inspiring Soldiers' Spirit stories; city-wide online silent auction (bidding open Oct. 9 - 16); 50/50 raffle draw with a $50,000 max prize! Costume and pumpkin carving contests; and musical entertainment from local artists. For lots more information and registration, click here.

On Oct. 21 at 7 p.m., virtually join guest speakers Jim and Sue Waddington as they set out on a quest to discover the places that inspired the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson.

This is the annual Carmichael Art History Lecture, sponsored by the Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH) History Committee, originally planned for May, now being presented virtually. Tickets are $10 and are payable over the phone by calling 705-326-2159 before the date. In Search of the Seven will be sure to reveal some long-standing mysteries and be an enjoyable evening for all.

Coming up:

Stay tuned for a fun day of art and music and a chance to see Creative Nomad Studios! Orillia District Arts Council along with the City of Orillia and Creative Nomad is putting together a Culture Days event at the new space with lots of fun things to see and do, on Oct. 24. Watch this space for more details on what this will look like.

Urban Sketchers Orillia is having a sketching day at the Leacock Museum on Sunday, Oct. 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. So much to sketch in this landmark historical building and grounds. For more information, click here.

On Friday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. Darcy Windover is playing at Fionn MacCool’s.

Please safely enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend and if you have arts and culture news, send it to before Tuesday at noon. Happy Thanksgiving!