Skip to content

Virtual Dance Balm program, homes tour offer pandemic relief

Popular CFUW homes tour has adapted to virtual format and will raise much needed funds for local female graduates, says arts columnist
2021-05-22 Michelle Madden long way home
Michelle Madden of Long Way Home is one of the speakers who will be featured at the upcoming virtual CFUW Homes Tour.

Hey folks! Believe it or not, we are looking at events in June this week. Because June is less than a week away!

I know May has been a roller coaster of weather and COVID-19 numbers and plans changing, but hopefully in June we will start to see regular summer events, happenings, and weather.

Seems like Creative Nomad Studios (CNS) is taking the bet that things will start to open up. The studio had planned to offer an online live paint class called Introduction to Realism, but has decided to offer it in person, instead, once this is allowed. This is a free class, so sign up here for their email newsletter to stay in the loop and be able to participate.

Regarding June happenings, CNS has an exciting virtual series, Dance Balm, with famed and local dance teacher Miriam Goldberger, starting June 3. This is a free six-week virtual dance program for all ages and ranges of mobility; it can even be done sitting down.

“Dance Balm is a tasty fusion of jazz, classical, Broadway, pop, gospel, music from around the world, and deeply grounding relaxation techniques," notes the description.

Dance Balm will include collaborations with local cellist Marta Solek and percussionist Jon Goldberger and lots of opportunity for improvization and human interaction. To find out more and sign up, email Miriam at

Coming up June 6, the beloved Canadian Federation of University Women Homes for Scholarships Tour is back, virtually of course. For those who don’t know, the Orillia CFUW has run a tour of homes each June for years, and all ticket monies have gone to scholarships for local female grads.

There was always a tea at a local resort or hotel, and beautiful floral décor from local florists, as well as lots of sponsorship and support from local businesses.

Personally, I have been a fan of this homes tour for many years, and was so sad when it had to be cancelled last year. Most people’s houses are just too tight for a COVID-friendly home tour with hundreds of attendees.

Cleverly, CFUW has come up with a way for supporters to virtually tour homes this year, there are specialist speakers throughout, and there is also a choice of add-ons to purchase to make the day even more enjoyable.

There are five homes on the tour this year, and take it from me, the teaser photos look stunning! The homes are labelled, respectively, Traditional Beauty, Contemporary Delight, Modern Rustic Retreat, Stunning Views, and Creative Charm. Several of the homes are on the lake, and don’t worry, you can view them all from your own living room, no driving needed!

There will be specialist speakers in between each tour, and they come from Northern Joinery/Era 67, MJ Crawford Landscape Design Consultant/Scott’s Garden Centre, Quayle’s Brewery, Long Way Home/Housser’s Paint/Atherley Arts, and Le Petit Chapeau. You can just imagine how much we will learn from these experts!

Tickets for the tour are just $30, but wait there’s more! You can upgrade your experience with an afternoon tea for just $15, OR a VIP dinner for two for just $90. Both meals are provided by Era 67, so you know they will be delicious.

Afternoon tea includes assorted crudites, sandwiches, fruits, sweets, sparkling water and a tea sachet; while dinner for two includes charcuterie, salad, baguette, either white bean ratatouille or honey glazed chicken with veg and potato, and of course a delicious dessert.

Any way you choose to enjoy the home tour, it will be fabulous, and you will be helping local young ladies achieve their university dreams.

For tickets, click here. Hurry! This will likely sell out soon!

Don’t forget about the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) and Charles Pachter Spring Back Art Auction, starting June 1. There will be dessert and drinks kits by The Common Stove available to purchase as part of this fun virtual event as well, including, of course, chocolate mousse! Lots more information and details coming up soon, so check OMAH’s Facebook page often.

I just want to close with a shout out to NewWerx Productions for a fabulous virtual murder mystery which I attended last Sunday. It was really well done, very clever, and I certainly had no idea who the murderer was!

Orillian Autumn Debassige was in the cast, and the whole cast was very talented indeed. All in all, a very enjoyable evening, and we even forgot we were still at home during the fun two-hour interactive show. They will be doing a new show in a couple of months, so I will make sure to let everyone know about it.

Virtual events generally are a lot of fun, and there are many to choose from. Durham region artists seem to have some kind of paint night at least once a week, and there are lots of virtual tours of famous places to check out as well. Check out your Facebook events to see if there are any you would enjoy, many are free as well.

Don’t forget the Students of Hope Art Auction, a fundraiser for Building Hope, starting May 27! Click here for more information and to register as a bidder.

Take care, we will be out in the world soon enough!

If you have arts news, email to by Tuesday at noon to be included.