Confession time. I am the King of last-minute holiday shopping. You know that guy who’s always frantically traversing from store to store trying to acquire the gifts and goodies that he should have a month prior? That’s me. [Read more…]
The feeling of community at an Ontario Festival of Small Halls show is contagious.
As soon as you walk in the door of the rural halls across Eastern Ontario and along the Rideau Canal, it’s evident from the warm hello that melts into smiles and handshakes, the stage set with simple mics and instruments, that something special is about to happen in this small space that lives and breathes community.
Patrons have said that it hits you suddenly – the knowledge creeping up like the feeling of someone watching you from across the room.
Somewhere during the night, you realize that your face hurts because you’ve been smiling for an hour straight. The palms of your hands’ tingle because you’ve been clapping loud and hard. You take a minute to look around you – really look around – and see neighbours, friends and families sharing in the experience. Everyone bonded by the music, under one historic roof.
And you get it – you understand what Small Halls is all about.
From Sept. 14 to Oct. 1 more than 30 cherished halls across Eastern Ontario are throwing open their doors to welcome internationally renowned musicians, local opening artists – and you.
The Ontario Festival of Small Halls is set to ignite local stages this month with a mix of big-name familiar faces and boundary-pushing roots, folk, pop, soul and bluegrass-inspired musical acts.
Kelly Symes, General Manager of the Festival, said this year’s lineup includes some well-known names in Canadian music, while also showcasing emerging artists who will be new to rural Ontario.
“Small Halls continues to offer a unique concert experience: seeing your favourite artist in a setting which allows you to relish the music and connect with (the) local community,” Symes says, adding that artists were selected based on their captivating live performance, their stage presence and the ability to connect with their audiences.
Artists like Ashley MacIsaac, a household name in Cape Breton fiddling, as well as Halifax’s Jenn Grant, Charlottetown’s Rose Cousins and Montreal’s Leif Vollebekk will grace small stages.
You can also catch Kingston’s own The Abrams, who are returning to enliven the Festival again after an explosive performance last year in Seeley’s Bay. Another festival favourite, Old Man Luedecke, is playing in Lyndhurst and Tatlock after recently taking home the 2017 East Coast Music Award for Album of the Year.
From wooden stages to pews and from beckoning archways to barn board, the halls expertly roll out the red carpet for the Festival doing what they do best – enhancing the experience just by playing host.
Take, for example, the history ingrained in the Delta Old Town Hall built in the 1880s and the site where area soldiers mustered before leaving to fight in the First World War. Further along the Rideau, locally-made cast iron circa 1890 still adorns the ends of the pews in the Merrickville United Church.
Just down the road the Spencerville Mill once served as the feed mill that produced Canada’s first commercial livestock feed. Local history lives and breathes at the venues for the Ontario Festival of Small Halls.
The host communities are also throwing down the welcome mat with family-style dinners, local food celebrations, country markets and even tapas on the schedule preceding Small Halls shows.
“At its heart, the Ontario Festival of Small Halls is about celebrating community,” said Symes, “Attending the community events goes a long way towards achieving that overall rural culture experience that visitors often crave.”
There are also a few insider’s tips to round out the Festival experience. If you’re attending a show in a historic church, Symes says you’re encouraged to bring a funky cushion for comfort. Also, don’t forget to stick around after the show – the musicians might appear when the applause has settled to mingle with guests. Bringing cash for merch is also a great idea.
Click below for the full schedule, as well as info on tickets and community events.
Being on this trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Truthfully, if I had 5 weeks to travel, I would never have thought about traveling so close to home. It has helped me gather a deep appreciation for regions in South Eastern Ontario and especially for the ones we’ve already visited on our trip; such as Prince Edward County and Bay of Quinte. I can’t wait to see what the other regions that we’ll be visiting have in store for us. The best part is that they’re all so close to home (Kingston), that I can take day-trips, bring friends with me and show off my new found knowledge!
Land O’ Lakes was our third destination, but weather was not on our side. We had plans to travel to Frontenac Provincial Park by canoe, camp overnight, eat lunch at the Waterfront River Pub and Terrace in Napanee and enjoy the Dark Sky Viewing Area. Unfortunately, due to the rain and lacklustre conditions, this portion of our trip had to be postponed.
This is the reality of production. It is especially important to have blue skies with big white fluffy clouds for a tourism video. Also, we shouldn’t look completely miserable on camera! If we were camping in the pouring rain and trying to set up all of our gear, this probably wouldn’t look the best on camera. Here are some things that we were able to do:
Experiencing Wolfe Island
Before this, I had only been to Wolfe Island to experience the Corn Maze around Halloween, so I was excited to visit the island during summer. We took the 20-minute ferry to the island and ate an early lunch at The Wolfe Island Grill. The view was beautiful, with the patio right on the water. They also had some pretty good curry! If you’re visiting Kingston, I highly recommend taking the (free!) ferry over to Wolfe Island to eat a meal at The Wolfe Island Grill and explore.
Bon Eco Suites
I honestly didn’t realize that there was anything in Tamworth, Ontario, so I was pleasantly surprised by the shops, antique stores, and cafes located in this quaint town. Bon Eco Suites, where we stayed during our trip to Land O’ Lakes, was absolutely beautiful. Located in a historic building, there were 3 separate apartments. The apartments are furnished with many reclaimed materials; such as tires, old trim, hubcaps and more. It’s very easy to be inspired here, so close to the wilderness.
MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co.
MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co. has a special place in my heart. When I first moved to Kingston, I wasn’t a huge fan of beer. One day while visiting Red House Kingston, I had some of the MacKinnon Brother’s Brothers House Ale and I fell in love with their beer. It is very lightweight and a bit too easy to drink. Since then, Crosscut (Canadian Ale) and Red Fox (Summer Ale) have become my favourites. I was extremely excited to visit their farm in Bath, Ontario.
Both Ivan and Dan MacKinnon showed us around the farm, and we were able to taste some of their beer. Unsurprisingly, they were all fantastic. If you’d like to visit them, they’re hosting an event called “Back To The Farm” on August 20th, from noon to 10 pm. There will be a bunch of really great bands playing; such as The Mahones, Lost Cousins and more.
Our next stop is Kingston! I’m excited to see what my home city has in store for us. Make sure you’re following South Eastern Ontario’s Instagram @greatwaterway!
*Because I Knew Nothing About It.
Bay of Quinte: This region is pretty much in my own backyard but I knew very little about it. I’m glad that changed!
We started our day on this adventure by heading to the National Air Force Museum of Canada. Nev, our guide, told us personal anecdotes about his experience flying planes for the Air Force. The craziest and most exciting part of the museum for me was the Handley Page Halifax. This plane was shot down over a Norwegian lake and was located by sonar detectors in 1981. It took 14 years to raise the plane from the lake and another year to transport it to Canada. Then 10 more years and many volunteer hours later, the Halifax was unveiled. To further appreciate the Handley Page Halifax, know that the museum was built around this incredible plane that is fully functional. Don’t expect to see her in the sky though, there’s no way of getting her out of the museum! After our interesting and informative tour we said goodbye to Nev and we were off to Port Bistro Pub in Trenton.
The Port Bistro Pub is located by the water, and has a beautiful patio to enjoy the view. We were served an amazing charcuterie of La Cultura Saluma cured meats and various house cheeses and pickles. Then it was time to sample some authentic pub fare. Scott ordered “The Phil Burger”. This wonderful creation is custom made for you; you tell the chef your allergies and he makes a burger! Crazy, right? Crazy awesome. Scott had a deep fried patty, which I had never seen or heard of before. Pretty neat and oh so good. I had the Crispy Chicken Sandwich; that had apple, brie, red onion, red pepper and was a refreshing change from a typical Crispy Chicken Sandwich. The crew had the Tower of Nachos and the title perfectly describes what it was: literally, a tower of nachos.
After eating, we headed to Trenchtown Wake Park, which is a cable wakeboarding destination. Let me tell you something crazy, I don’t swim. And I can’t swim. I’m basically a doggy paddle champ. Before joining this trip, I had actually signed up for adult swim lessons in Kingston, because I thought it would be an important life skill to have. If only I was psychic and knew to sign up for these sooner! Needless to say, I was a bit worried about heading to Trenchtown. I was convinced I would be horrible at wakeboarding and drown. Luckily for me, I wasn’t horrible and I didn’t drown! I consider this a win.
On our arrival, we were greeted by Will, who along with Kaelen is one of the owners of Trenchtown. This fun place is located at the mouth of the Trent-Servern Waterway. It has a two system 2.0 cable system, a 350 foot beginner cable, and a 600 foot advanced cable.To top it off, it’s locally owned, family friendly and affordable. Will was by far was the best instructor/teacher I’ve ever had. He was super motivating, very kind and was really helpful with making sure I didn’t drown (just kidding). It was a blast to be on the water and so satisfying to be able to do a lap without falling. I liked it so much, that I’m heading there soon with some friends to do it again! Take it from me, you need to stop by Trenton to check this out.
To keep the adrenaline pumping, we met with Twiggy of Cruising Canoes and kayaked around the Moira. Pro-tip: If you don’t have the strongest upper body strength (like me), don’t do wakeboarding and kayaking on the same day. Needless to say, I got pretty tired, pretty quickly. Although as a former rower, it was great to be gliding on water again, it’s such a satisfying feeling. At the end of our adventure, Twiggy found us a new friend. Our new friend almost jumped on my face… that would’ve been baaaaaaaad.
To end of the day (and to celebrate that I made it through alive) we were off to try some beer at Signal Brewing Company. It was a neat experience to meet the owner and taste some of their beer. Their branding is on point; their beer names relate to signals/radios and they use local artwork on their chubby bottles. The brewery is located on a piece of land that has a lot of history and the building was built by the owner of Signal Brewing Company. Their soft opening date is set for July 23rd and I highly recommend checking out this awesome beer and beautiful space!
The following day was fairly relaxed and slower paced. We left the hotel around 6 AM and headed to the marina to meet Ozzy, who took us on a boat ride around the Bay of Quinte. I’m not much of a morning riser, but the view could not be beat. It was stunning and so fun to listen to Ozzy’s experiences and life story.
After taking a break, we headed to Burger Revolution. According to their description, Burger Revolution is a “flavour revolution between two buns”… and this is highly accurate. We tried a few different burgers and my personal favourite was The Chevre Guevara. This yummy burger was topped with goat cheese, roasted red peppers, bacon, and smoked tomato jam. (Drooling, yet?)
Coffee is the fuel for this trip, so we headed to The Brake Room to grab some. The Brake Room is hands down one of best places we went to in Belleville. Not only do they serve some delicious Pilot coffee, they also serve amazing local food. The cafe is also complemented by a bike shop (hence The Brake Room, get it?!). The owner was incredibly friendly, and the shop in general had a really awesome atmosphere.
We were more awake and energized after drinking coffee, which was perfect because we were going to try yet another activity I’ve never done before – golfing. We arrived at Black Bear Ridge Golf Course, which was much bigger and far more beautiful than I would’ve imagined. Located in Corbyville, this golf club was rated in ScoreGolf’s Top 100 Canadian Courses. Unfortunately Mother Nature was uncooperative so we were only able to go to the driving range. Let’s just say I won’t become a golf pro anytime soon…
The day ended on a beautiful patio on the water, The Boathouse in Belleville. They had the best caesar I’ve ever had, with the most perfect looking shrimp on top. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meals and the dessert was to die for. Braden and I split a delicious cheesecake slice, which I would highly recommend.
And there ends the Bay of Quinte portion of our trip. I had never taken the time to explore this area before and boy was I missing out. I learned of the many things that this region has to offer and I’ll definitely be heading back to check out more of them.
South Eastern Ontario is a world famous destination for summer escapes. Places where you take your family, or friends to do away with the trifles of urban existence. You know what I’m talking about. That place where you can kick back, unwind, and be immersed in pure tranquillity. [Read more…]
As the rains of spring give way to the welcome warmth of summer, there is a beautiful phenomenon that takes hold of South Eastern Ontario. There is an overall sense of joy, as countless people open up their sheds, roll up their sleeves and tend their beloved gardens for another season. [Read more…]
Here at the Great Waterway we’ve explored some amazing locations together and told countless stories about the variety of things to do and places to see on dry land. However, it’s beneath the surface of the St. Lawrence River, that we discover an entirely different story. One that began as far back as when the Earth was forged, and still continues to unfold today. [Read more…]
As we roll into March, there is a resounding sigh of relief in South Eastern Ontario as yet another winter ends up in our collective rear-view. The vanishing snow reveals the once buried grass, and soon enough, the iconic images of shamrocks and other green things mark the approach of Saint Patrick’s Day. [Read more…]
The warm late winter temperatures brings our favourite time of year – maple syrup season. Headlining maple season in The Great Waterway are three family-friendly events: Maple in the County in Prince Edward County, Maple Madness in Kingston and an open house at Gibbons Maple Sugar House in Frankville. Consider these 9 amazing and authentically Canadian experiences for your maple “bucket” list this March.
1. Eat pancakes (with syrup!) in a sugar shack
Piping hot pancakes piled high, slathered with butter and drizzled (or drenched) in freshly made maple syrup. It’s the ultimate maple season experience, made better when enjoyed in the company of friends and family. Whether your chosen side dish is bacon, sausages or more pancakes, this maple syrup experience is not to be missed.
- Where to try it: Sweetwater Cabin/Hubb’s Sugar Bush (Rednersville, PEC), Gibbons Maple Sugar House and Museum (Frankville), Strictly Maple (Consecon, PEC), Sugarbush Vineyards (Hilliar, PEC), Fosterholm Farms (Picton, PEC), Waupoos Estate Winery and Sugar Bush (Waupoos, PEC), Walt’s Sugar Shack (Consecon, PEC), Three Dog Winery (Demorestville, PEC)
2. Hike through a sugar bush
With the crunch of snow under your boots and the refreshingly crisp smell of spring in the air works up an appetite for piping hot pancakes!
- Where to try it: Sugarbush Vineyards (Hillier, PEC), Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area (Kingston),
3. Dash through the snow on a horse-drawn wagon ride
The clip-clop of hooves and the jingle of sleigh bells is a familiar sound during maple season. On a horse-drawn wagon ride, take in the bustle of a busy maple forest and look for signs that spring is right around the corner.
- Where to try it: Sweetwater Cabin/Hubb’s Sugar Bush (Rednersville, PEC)
4. Snowshoe in a vineyard
A winery tour during the off-season is a winter wonderland delight (you may not have snow in your backyard, but we do!). Rent or bring your snowshoes for a peaceful walk through a lakeside vineyard. And just like hiking, you’ll be hankering for breakfast when you’re done! Weather permitting.
- Where to try it: Sugarbush Vineyards (Hilliar, PEC), and the Fido-friendly Three Dog Winery (Demorestville, PEC), Sandbanks Estate Winery (Wellington, PEC), Trail Estate Winery (on the nearby Millennium Trail, Hillier, PEC)
5. Eat maple taffy off of fresh snow
Nature’s favourite candy – maple taffy – is a sweet treat that is best enjoyed in the warm spring sunshine. Dipping thickened maple syrup into fresh white snow is a delicious and timeless syrup season tradition.
- Where to try it: Vader’s Maple Syrup (Cherry Valley, PEC), Walt’s Sugar Shack (Consecon, PEC), Norman Hardie Winery (Wellington, PEC), Gibbons Maple Sugar House (Frankville)
6. Visit baby farm animals
A sure sign of spring is the arrival of the most adorable baby animals in farms throughout the region. Cuddling with fluffy chicks, peeping ducklings and woolly lambs is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Children can enjoy pony rides at selected farms. Have your cameras ready for this cute photo op!
- Where to see them: Nyman Farms (Picton, PEC), Gibbons Family Farm (Frankville), Heal with Horses (Hillier, PEC), Waupoos Estate Winery and Sugar Bush (Waupoos, PEC)
7. See how maple syrup is made (from start to finish!)
Did you know that it takes 40 litres of sap to make 1 litre of maple syrup? When you visit a sugar bush, you will hear the fascinating history of maple syrup, see sap dripping into pails (or modern tap lines that zigzag through the forest) and peek at the giant evaporators where the magic of maple syrup happens! You’ll appreciate syrup so much more after hearing about the effort that goes into making this sweet treat.
- Where to see it: Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area (Kingston), Gibbons Maple Sugar House and Museum (Frankville), Strictly Maple (Consecon, PEC), Sugarbush Vineyards (Hilliar, PEC), Nyman Farms (Picton, PEC), Vader’s Maple Syrup (Cherry Valley, PEC), Fosterholm Farms (Picton, PEC)
8. Indulge in delightful and unexpected maple syrup and local food pairings
The ideal experience for sophisticated palates! The spring season inspires farmers, artisan food producers and chefs to create flavourful maple themed meals. Caramel apples, haute mac and cheese, sausages, crepes, desserts, aged cheese, ribs, pulled pork, French toast and more tempt your taste buds with every stop along the self-guided Maple in the County route. Reservations required at some locations.
- Where to try it: The Drake Devonshire Inn (Wellington, PEC), Campbell’s Orchards (Rednersville, PEC), Clossen Chase Vineyards (Hillier, PEC), The Grange (Hillier, PEC), Harwood Estate Vineyards (Hillier, PEC), Sandbanks Estate Winery (Wellington, PEC), Keint-he Winery and Vineyards (Wellington, PEC), Trail Estate Winery (Hillier, PEC), Huff Estates (Bloomfield, PEC), 66 Gilliead Distillery (Bloomfield, PEC), Macaulay House (Picton, PEC), Jackson Falls Country Inn (Milford, PEC), The Country Canteen (Picton, PEC), County Cider (Picton, PEC), Black River Cheese Company (Milford, PEC)
9. Sip maple inspired wine, cider and craft beer around a cozy bonfire or tasting room
With a nod to the mighty maple, local wine and cider makers and brewers infuse this seasonal staple into their beverages for a delightful sipping experience. Some wineries and breweries, like Barley Days, Trail Estate and The Grange have seasonal wines, waters and brews to you to enjoy, whereas our other wineries welcome you into their tasting rooms for you to enjoy your favourite red, white or ale.
- Where to try it: Clossen Chase Vineyards (Hillier, PEC), The Grange (Hillier, PEC), Harwood Estate Vineyards (Hillier, PEC), Sandbanks Estate Winery (Wellington, PEC), Keint-he Winery and Vineyards (Wellington, PEC), Trail Estate Winery (Hillier, PEC), Huff Estates (Bloomfield, PEC), 66 Gilliead Distillery (Bloomfield, PEC), County Cider (Picton, PEC), Black River Cheese Company (Milford, PEC), Barley Days Brewery (Picton, PEC), Norman Hardie Winery (Wellington, PEC)
As the frosty grip of winter continues to take hold of Southeastern Ontario, we find ourselves in a particularly darker and less colourful time of year. The days become shorter, the nights even longer, and we understandably long for the coming spring and summer’s warm embrace.
My last article presented an epic list of outdoor activities and events taking place throughout The Great Waterway this winter. However, not all of you are the outdoorsy type, and that’s totally fine. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
Might I suggest a trip to an art gallery, or four? Art galleries offer a series of visual voyages and epic escapes that are sure to transport you from the monochrome and the mundane, and into a multiverse comprised of vivid colour and life.
Prince Edward County
Sybil Frank Gallery
Sybil Frank Gallery is a relatively new addition to Prince Edward County’s vast selection of art galleries and artist studios.
Curator, Craig Alexander has gathered an inspiring collection consisting of multiple styles and mediums.
Here you’ll find vivid metal, and glass sculptures as well as bold abstract pieces. The ever changing collection is also complemented by and gorgeous florals, stunning landscapes, and interesting still life examples.
For updates, images, and more information visit the Sybil Frank Facebook Page.
Arts on Main Gallery
Situated in historic Picton, Arts on Main is a fantastic gallery that is run by a collective of talented artists.
Prepare to be amazed by a collection of sweet eye candy consisting of mixed media, graphic art, sculpture, quilts, weaving, silks, and so much more.
While browsing the Arts on Main Gallery, it’s easy to forget the snowy, slushy noise outside and be captivated by the stunning work on display.
Mad Dog Gallery
For 27 years, Mad Dog Gallery has been offering visitors an extraordinary collection of contemporary and fine art, created by some of the County’s most talented artists.
Located on the northeast side of East Lake in a spacious renovated barn, the property is surrounded by 25 acres of gardens and walking paths complimented by outdoor sculptures.
Mad Dog Gallery is a short drive from Picton and definitely worth adding to your list of galleries to check out.
For additional information visit Mad Dog’s website.
Bay of Quinte
Gallery 121 is a unique non-profit cooperative gallery that was founded in 1991. Located mere steps away from Downtown Belleville’s shopping and dining, this eclectic gallery is a must see.
The main exhibit changes every six weeks, which means that with each visit, you’ll be treated to something new and exciting.
The styles range from realism to abstract work spanning a broad spectrum of media, including oil, acrylic, watercolour, crayon, graphite, pastel, fibre, clay, and more.
For contact info, hours of operation, and details on upcoming exhibits visit Gallery 121’s website.
Land O Lakes
Zynergy Gallery & Shop
Zenergy Gallery & Shop presents visitors with a spacious retail venue containing a diverse collection of items ranging from jewelry to visual art, pottery, and stained glass creations to name but a few.
The owners are committed to providing beautiful Canadian made work but also Fair Trade exotics from around the world.
Best of all, Zenergy features a “Kidz Korner” where the little ones can colour or play games while you experience the gallery in relative peace.
Clarke Art and Projects
Clarke Art & Projects is a joint venture between artists Ann Clark and Ben Darrah that was officially launched in 2014.
The gallery itself is a historic building dating back over 150 years. Today, the gallery houses a creative hub for the entire community.
Visitors to the website, are encouraged to check out the current exhibition, past exhibitions, and upcoming events pages. Clark Art & Projects also hold several classes and workshops throughout the year for aspiring artists and visitors alike.
Stone Mills Township
The Piggery Gallery
The aptly named Piggery Gallery is a marvelous artisan gallery nestled along Lennox & Addington County Road 27 on Wartman road.
The gallery was once upon a time an actual piggery but has been entirely renovated since.
The Piggery is home to a stunning collection of handcrafted and painted furniture, rugs, quilts, pottery and other items to at pizzazz to the home.
The gallery is open Tuesdays, and Friday – Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. making it an ideal weekend road trip.
Quinn’s of Tweed Fine Art
Quinn’s of Tweed Fine Art
combines some of Canada’s greatest artists and creators with a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
The gallery space encompasses an immaculate 6000 square foot historic building. The building’s 12 ft. high walls allow art to be displayed in the classical French Salon style.
A visit to Quinns is an experience in itself shared between building itself, and the captivating selection of fine artwork on display.
Overlooking Kingston’s historic Springer Market Square is Studio 22, a commercial fine art gallery and design studio representing several Canadian artists.
Many of the artists on display are from the Kingston and surrounding area, as well as other creators from Newfoundland and British Columbia.
There are several mediums and styles to observe at Studio 22, many of which utilize innovative techniques and unique materials.
For gallery hours and more information check out the Studio 22 website.
Tett Center for Creativity and Learning
The Tett Centre is essentially Kingston’s creative citadel. Within this lovingly renovated limestone building you will find a broad range of creative activity as well a pair of stunning galleries: Modern Fuel and Creativity Studios.
Side note: make sure you pop by the Juniper Cafe and enjoy a hot beverage or a delectable snack while exploring this fantastic cultural centre.
For 40 years Modern Fuel has represented a catalyst for creativity in Kingston. Upon completion of the Tett Centre, this non-profit, artist-run centre moved in and has called it home since.
There is an ever-changing series of exhibitions to enjoy at Modern Fuel that covers several interdisciplinary methods and fascinating styles. Modern Fuel is open Tuesday – Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00.
On the Tett’s second floor you’ll find Creativity Studios. It’s a cool studio that’s split into eight spaces which house eleven artists, who are at various stages of their careers.
Feel free to drop by and meet the artists. When I popped in, I definitely walked in on their lunch break – but they were very cool about it.
Ceativity Studios presents the public with an excellent opportunity to speak with the artists and learn more about the people behind the art and the amazing creations they’re working on.
Among the Kingston’s more unique galleries is Martello Alley which branches off from Wellington Street in downtown Kingston.
As soon as you step into the alley, you begin a fun and engaging journey through the collective works of several local artists.
If you happen to visit when David Dossett is there, you’re in for a treat. He is very engaging and greets visitors with a warm and inviting manner.
It’s almost as though David as a sixth sense and knows when visitors arrive before they’ve realized it themselves. Everything you see on your way into, and throughout Martello Alley has a cool story behind it – which is told best by David. You have to experience it for yourself.
Martello Alley is open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more info check out their website.
Agnes Etherington Art Centre – Queen’s University
The Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University is home to over 16,000 works of art from Canada and around the world.
The impressive collection of Canadian art includes many examples of 20th-century painting and also showcases some truly arresting displays of Indigenous art and Inuit art.
For art history buffs there is an excellent collection of nearly 200 historical European pieces to peruse, including works by Rembrandt.
Throughout the year you can catch some amazing exhibitions at the Agnes – so stay tuned to their website for news and updates!
Heather Haynes Gallery
Heather Haynes Gallery originally opened in Kingston in 2012, but later moved to its new home in Gananoque in 2016.
When I last checked, there was also a display of image art by Kingston photographer Suzy Lamont, and of course the exquisite and thought-provoking art by Heather herself.
Brockville Arts Center
The displays rotate on a monthly basis and were established with the purpose of enhancing public awareness and interest in visual art.
It also goes without saying that this is the perfect place to experience some epic performances only steps away from Brockville’s beautiful downtown area.
From Here to Infinity
A stroll through downtown Brockville will also lead you to From Here to Infinity, a remarkable gallery situated in a historic building dating back to the 1840’s.
The gallery operates an archive of historic photographic prints and negatives, in addition to an amazing collection of rare and antique books.
From Here to Infinity is a fresh fusion between a curios shop and gallery, and is certainly worth a visit.
Galop Gallery is best described as a small art gallery with immense purpose. Based in the quaint riverside community of Cardinal Ontario, this little building plays a big role in the surrounding arts community.
Galop is more than just a gallery and is also a meeting space, workshop, studio, and craft market. They offer classes for kids and adults, and also hold events.
For full details and a few examples of what you’ll find visit Galop Gallery’s website.
Housed in what was once the historic Spencerville Hotel, ArtScene is a cooperative gallery created by 12 local artists.
This successful gallery contains a fabulous assortment of art including photography, glass works, pottery, painting, and fabric.
The hours and schedule for ArtScene are variable – so check out their website for full details.
Rideau Heritage Route
Gray Art Glass
Since ancient times, humans have been perfecting the craft of glassblowing. This millennia-old art form is kept alive at Gray Art Glass in Merrickville.
Between the amazing gallery and studio and live demonstrations, Gray Art Glass is an inspiring and amazing spectacle to behold. For hours and details visit their website.
The Grotto Artworks
The Grotto Artworks was founded 12 years ago, when 13 Merrickville artists combined their creative talents and resources to open a year-round venue for showcasing their works.
Today, the gallery offers a broad range of fine local crafts such as: pewter, pottery, jewelry, wood turnings, woven silk scarves, carvings, glass, and textile art.
Also on display are oils, collages, acrylics, watercolours and mixed-media creations including letterpressed prints.
For gallery hours, contact info and more visit the Grotto’s website.
Cornwall & the Counties
Priests Mill Glassworks
Priests Mill Glassworks is on a mission “to build a Centre of Glass Excellence & Learning while providing a collaborative environment for artists of all mediums.”
One visit to their location in Alexandria Ontario is sure to please, as they are making good on their objective.
In addition to browsing several examples of varying levels of beauty, you can also take lessons!
The Glass Blowing Place
I’m not going to lie; glassblowing is so hot right now. Especially in Alexandria Ontario.
The Glassblowing Place sports an extensive gallery, a learning space for the visual arts, and stunningly repurposed antiques.
Also worth checking out is the Chillax Café & Creative Lounge, free demonstrations, educational courses, and “Master workshops.”
Vivid Visual Escapes in Southeastern Ontario
I feel that one of the biggest contributors to the elusive Winter Blues is the fact that our surroundings transition from the lively and vibrant colour spectrum of summer and autumn, to a drab grayscale backdrop that quickly becomes an eyesore as we traverse the urban grind.
Luckily, Southeastern Ontario is a region teeming with creativity and an abundance of opportunities to appreciate and enjoy the work of our local artisans. Not only that but in many cases, you’ll get to meet the artists and learn more about the people behind the work.
Who knows, after exploring some of these amazing galleries you may find yourself inspired to explore a new creative outlet of your own. Maybe you’ll find a stunning piece of artwork to bring home. Perhaps you’ll create a masterpiece of your own to be showcased.
Either way, I hope that this blog helps brighten things up and gives you a few ideas for your next weekend excursion. Thanks for reading!
Discover Southeastern Ontario’s Artistic Side!