I am thrilled as a newcomer to the Culture Alliance with the number of events and activities that took place throughout the region. Between the five communities of Beausoleil First Nation, Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny and Tay, it was a packed summer to say the least. What didn’t we have going on?
Well, let us recap.
Residents and visitors to our communities had events galore to participate in this past summer with festivals, music, and visual art events, performing arts presentations, arts, and crafts, walking tours, and Indigenous art and culture. There was something for everyone.
Did someone say butter tarts? Yes, the annual Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival in Midland got back on track after a short hiatus due to COVID, but crowds flocked from near and far to buy their butter tarts, visit the more than 150 vendors, all while capturing and taking in the beauty of our beautiful area in the “heart of Georgian Bay.” The sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day to eat butter tarts.
It is the top festival that bakers of butter tarts participate in to see who will take home the top prize. In 2022, there were four categories in which to enter their creations. The “Pro Traditional” category, it was Ann Marie Crippin from “The Maids Cottage” in Newmarket who entered the first prize entry, followed by Sarah O’Born from “Rosemont General Store” in Toronto in second, and Koreen Perry from “Bomb Bish” in Port Colborne placed third. Next, we had Ann Marie Crippin again placing first in the “Pro Wild Style” with her white chocolate raspberry cheesecake tart, followed by Tabitha Cundick from “Bake My Day” in Paris Ontario, and in third place was Victoria Field from the “Carriage House” in Alliston. In the “Home Traditional” category, Rachelle Filsinger from Owen Sound came in first with her pecan tart, followed by Isabelle Nadeau from Schumacher, Ontario and third was Donna Grant from Kirkfield, Ontario. Finally, in the “Home Wild Style” category it was Angela Cimino from Richmond Hill with her caramel corn tart that took first place, followed by Cyrstal Ferguson from Ramara in second, and Lisa Filion from Orono in third.
The Midland Public Library hosted events for families and adults over the summer months, too many to list them all here, but there was the Summer Reading Program with two age categories, 12- to 18-year-olds, and under the age of twelve. A Virtual Seniors’ Author Series launched by award-winning author Susan Juby, “Mindful of Murder” ran over the summer as well. The series of Downtown Summer Movies were shown outside at Bay Street, Midland location. It featured a variety of films suitable for the entire family. A program called Make Your Own Comic Book with comic book author/artist Angela O’Hara allowed teens to venture into the vibrant world of comic books and allowed the Midland Public Library to highlight Maker Place. Bernita Wahbie, an Algonquin cultural teacher presented the Seven Grandfather Teachings, the Medicine Wheel Teaching, and teachings on the interconnectedness of all things, all of which took place in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Another family-friendly event called Drag Queen Storytime, brought a team in from Haus of Devereaux featuring stories, songs and more that celebrated Pride and the LGBTQ2S+ community. Down by the Bay Painting was an in-person art program held in partnership with Nahthanha from Make a Mess Art Studio. As you read further along, you will see that the Midland Public Library also participated in the Inaugural Indigenous Art and Culture Awareness Week, by hosting three Indigenous authors. The end of the summer culminated in the presentation of “Indian Horse” based on the novel by Richard Wagamese and was sponsored by the Culture Alliance in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The Brookside Music Association presented a series of events known as the “Festival of the Bay” some of which were free to the public to attend, including Ariko, Wesli, Amai Kuda et les Bois, and Huronia Hotstrings. Other paid performances included the Rhythms of the World series, Toronto All Star Big Band, Sheng Cai, Suzanne Shulman and Erica Goodman, Paul Novotny, Robi Botos and Jackie Richard, Zodiak Trio, and the Festival of Sound Chamber Music. All performances took place at various venues throughout the town of Midland.
The Midland Cultural Centre hosted a variety of experiences for the community to enjoy including the series A Day in the Life, British Beat 66, Rock n Roll is Here to Stay, Zachary Lucky String, Tom Thomson’s Wake, and Bassett. In addition to these performances, the MCC provided the venues for the Brookside Music Association’s, Rhythms of the World – World Music Concert Series with performances by the Okavango African Orchestra, Tio Chorinho with Flavia Nasciamento, and Kuné. As mentioned above Brookside also presented their indoor Festival by the Bay concerts at the MCC. As well as providing great performances for the community to enjoy, the Huronia Players Theatre, located at the Midland Cultural Centre performed “Bring it On – The Musical.”
Midland Cultural Centre opened the Gallery of Indigenous Art to the public in the Fall of 2021. It is in place to highlight the artistic practices of local, regional, and national Indigenous artists at all levels of their careers. This past summer the Gallery hosted – Gaagige-Bimaadiziwin – Everlasting Life, Art Exhibition by Clayton Samuel King. A call for submissions is ongoing and information can be found on the Midland Cultural Centre website.
The Town of Midland hosted The Tall Ships Challenge and Northern Heat Rib Series in July. Dockside Tuesdays were organized by Alvin Light and John Simcon and these performances took place at the Midland Town Dock rain or shine. Artists featured were Bill Chambers, Mike Roberts, Nick Howell, Tyler French, René Lesaux, Marlon Gibbons, Ron Whitman, Cassandra Rutherford, and Emma Reynolds.
The Town of Penetanguishene hosted the Bayside Summer Soiree starting at the beginning of June with Dutton and Hanmore Band, followed weekly by other great local talent including Outlaw Sons, The Wendy Whelan Band, Emma Reynolds targeting the younger concert goers, Groove Trilogy, Skillset, 93 North, Sandra Good Band, Bandwidth, Red Hot Stove Pipe Band, Gold Ole Boys and The Brudders finishing things off for the season. All the performances took place at the beautiful Ampitheatre at Parc Rotary Chaplain Wendat Park.
All Things Canadian made its return to the Town of Penetanguishene this past summer bringing together the diverse cultures of Anglophones, Francophones and Indigenous, including First Nations and Métis. The event included activities for the family, over forty vendors, and a series of performers including the Red Hot Stove Pipe Band, Robb Watts, 93 North and Shania Twin. It was a wonderful time for all who attended.
The Penetanguishene Centennial Museum and Archives was a hive of activity this summer. They hosted activities such as the Downtown Historical Walking Tours, Connecting with Our Ancestors reception on July 22 with a Tea and Talk featuring Laura Lee Bellehumeur Kearns to complementthe opening. They took tourists and locals on the Rotary Champlain Wendat Park Walking Tour throughout July and August. Family Fun Days, Laundry Time and Write Through History programs were held for the kids throughout July and August. An Author Talk with Doug Fox took place on August 31st. Just as the summer was winding down and fall was upon us, the Museum was a participant in providing programs for the Inaugural Indigenous Art and Culture Awareness Week.
Tiny Township celebrated the 18th Festival du Loup de Lafontaine, a great celebration of Francophone culture and heritage in the heart of summer. Other events in Tiny included Franco-Ontario Day, Tiny Farm Crawl, Balm Beach Busk ‘til Dusk which took every Thursday evening, weather permitting, and the Georgian Bay Festival which included entertainment for the entire family, and a marketplace for local artisans.
Tay Township hosted the annual Portarama Family Festival, Parade and Fireworks, a family-centered celebration, on the Victoria Day weekend. Tay Canada Day Festival Parade and Antique Car Show took place in Victoria Harbour in June. Tay Bike Day took place at Bridgeview Park on July 23rd as well as Community Day at the Waubaushene Legion Branch 316. Both these family events were held on July 23rd.
Chimnissing First Nation (Beausoleil First Nation) held events over the summer. A Virtual Children’s Workshop was held on June 22nd, followed by a Celebration of Pride on June 30th. The return of the Island in the Sun Pow Wow took place on Christian Island on July 9th where all are welcomed to attend. This gathering allows us to see the vibrant and meaningful regalia that participants wear, and to hear the beat of the drums to the heartbeat of Mother Earth. Also, a Traditional Women’s Wellness Discussion, organized by the Chimnissing Heritage and Culture took place with present Laurie Wells on August 25th. A program called “Tea with Our Elders” is a weekly zoom meeting which ran September 22nd and 29th. It would be wonderful to listen to the stories our Elders have to tell over a nice cup of tea. Finally, an Open Mic and Jam takes place every Wednesday at the Event Centre which brings out the entertainer in all.
The inaugural Indigenous Art and Culture Awareness Week took place the week of September 19th and was a joint effort between Beausoleil First Nation, Midland Cultural Centre, Midland Public Library, Penetanguishene Centennial Museum and Archives, Sainte Marie among the Hurons, and the Culture Alliance. It began with a Sunrise Ceremony at Neezhoday Park in Midland where anyone was allowed to attend, and it took place despite the rain. It was a week filled with learning and activities for everyone. The Foundations of Cultural Competency Workshop was held at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre. Acoustic Café with Shawn Corbiere took place in the MCC Atrium, Digging Roots a JUNO Award winning band performed at the MCC, and an Artist Talk was held at the MCC Gallery of Indigenous Art with Clayton Samuel King, a member of the Beausoleil First Nation, where participants got to meet this artist who was exhibiting his art at the time. The Midland Public Library held a series of Author Visits throughout the week, and the public could attend to hear Sherry Lawson, a citizen of the Chippewas of the Rama First Nation share her stories, Dr. Chantal Fiola, a Michif (Red River Métis) award-winning author, and then Joanne Robertson, a Miska Anungo Kwe (Red Star Woman), an Anishinaabe author, illustrator and water protection activist. Parks Canada, Shawn Corbiere, conducted two Guided Natural and Cultural History Hikes in the Georgian Bay Islands National Park/Beausoleil Island National Historic Site and, Shawn also provided a public demonstration of Flint Knapping.
Overall, it was a great summer of activities for everyone in the Heart of Georgian Bay and we hope you got out to enjoy these fantastic events. It is going to be a beautiful Fall, so get out there and enjoy everything “culture” our region has to offer.
If you have any events coming up this Fall, Winter or Spring be sure to let us know about them, and we will ensure that it is included in our newsletter.
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Culture Alliance in the Heart of Georgian Bay www.culturealliance.ca