32 Sensational September Events in South Eastern Ontario

Sweet September! Fall is just around the corner and South Eastern Ontario has so many brilliant events to usher in a new season. Move beyond back to school and experience local farms, live music, cycling, studio tours, stargazing and even some classic good times at fall fairs. Read on for 32 events to look forward to this September.

Bay of Quinte

1.Belleville Downtown Blues Fest

Get your toes tapping at this epic blues fest that takes over Downtown Belleville on Saturday, Sept. 9! With workshops and special performances in market square and on the main stage it’s sure to be hit. Admission is free with donations of cash or food to Gleaner’s Food Bank, Quinte.

2. Open Farm Day at Dahlia May Flower Farm

Ever wanted a behind-the-scenes peek at a working flower farm? This is your chance! Dahlia May Flower Farm is opening up its private two acres flower fields for guests to roam and appreciate the blooms on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. With the freedom of self-guided tours on the farm, visitors can take photos and enjoy a pop-up flower shop on site stocked with field grown flowers. There is an admission fee of $19.95 and kids under 12 are free.

3. Belleville Porchfest

This free, family-oriented event sees porches in the city sparkle with live music on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Presented by the Rotary Club of Belleville, join in for a neighbourhood celebration of music where East Hill residents perform on front porches to an audience that moves from house to house. Belleville Porchfest is now in its 14th year and has become a beloved fall event. Enjoy a tune or two!

Prince Edward County

4. Live in the County

Love live? Prince Edward County is worth checking out. The County has a swoon-worthy live event scene from laugh-out-loud comedy to soul-shaking music, and from thought-provoking art to inspiring dance. Take a look at the sensational September live events coming up in the County that will warm your heart and cool your jets.

5. PEC Studio Tour

The numbers don’t lie: more than 40 artists in 30 studio locations celebrating the brilliance of local artists during the 30th year of the Prince Edward County Studio Tour. The free tour sees studios open their doors to the public Friday, Sept. 22 to Sunday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Map out a route and have fun exploring art in the County!

6. Film & Food at Littlejohn Farm

Entertaining and engaging short documentaries, accented by a delicious meal embracing local Canadian ingredients inspired by the film! Little John Farm in partnership with Beyond Culinary Canada, is bringing together Film & Food on Sept. 24, 2023 – showcasing Ontario Wines and Ontario Farms with guest speakers, Rebecca Mackenzie from Culinary Tourism Alliance, Magdalena Kaiser rom VQA and Dan Sullivan of Rosehall Run Vineyard and Winery.

Lennox & Addington

7. Discover L&A Ride

An unforgettable route and fun stops along the way make the Discover L&A Ride a favourite cycling event! Set this year for Saturday, Sept. 9, this cycle tour of Lennox & Addington is in its 7th year and welcomes thousands of cycling enthusiasts to enjoy the local food, wine tastings, live music and post-ride brews at MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Company.

8.Wynn Farms Corn Maze

Be enchanted by this years’ corn maze theme at Wynn Farms!  Each year, the theme changes, but the quality and challenging fun for visitors of all ages remains the same. September is a busy month at Wynn Farms with the flower farm still blooming, the apple orchard in full swing and the corn maze delighting visitors. For a special treat, look here for Moonlight Maze days on Fridays and Saturdays throughout September.

9.Stargazing at the Dark Sky Viewing Area
You’ll have stars in your eyes! See the night sky as it was 100 years ago – remarkable views await at Ontario’s most southerly point to offer a clear night sky unobstructed from light pollution! From dusk til dawn, the Dark Sky Viewing Area opens up a world of wonder. The popular laser-guided stargazing tour on September 15 and 16 at 8:30 p.m. is a great way for novice stargazers to get to know the night sky, or reserve a spot to get up close with the moon on Sept. 23! That’s when Tim Trentadue will be at the Dark Sky Viewing Area to teach visitors about the moon and provide a look at the surface of the moon through his high powered telescope.

10.Pick your own
Local orchards are bursting with apples! Discover the sweetness of September in L&A County the apple by attending some family events happening during the harvest season. Be sure to visit the horses at Spring Meadow Farm while picking, a farm that has been operating since 1969. Try an apple cider donut! At Janssens Orchards the passion for apple is everpresent – especially growing heritage varieties. Of course, Wynn Farms is also the apple of your eye, with apple picking at the orchard and fun family activities on the calendar throughout the fall.


11.Open Farm Days

Celebrate farming and food in Frontenac and Kingston! From Sept. 1 to Oct. 15, 2023 learn about farms first hand by touring local farms with the farmers themselves! Walk to rows of veggies and flowers during harvest or enjoy a delicious culinary experience. Get a deeper understanding of where food comes from and appreciate the connection to the land.  Join Haymakers Coffee Co.’s roaster and creator for a hands-on roasting session, or get up close to grazing animals during a walking tour at Maple Ridge Farm. Experience a hopyard at harvest at the Wolfe Island Hopyard or visit the participating farms, markets and greenhouses to chat with local growers. See all the Open Farm Days events and plan your month!

Looking for more to do in Frontenac? Check out 25 things to do in South Frontenac!


12.Katarokwi Indigenous Art & Food Market

Springer Market Square comes alive with local Indigenous art and music every Sunday in September from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Marvel at handcrafted art, jewellery and clothing and savour freshly made food complemented by different artist demonstrations each week.

13.Kingston Fall Fair

Set for Sept. 14 to 17, the Kingston Fall Fair is sure to delight young and old. Celebrating 191 years, the Kingston Fall Fair is synonymous with autumn in the city. Look for a large midway, games, agricultural exhibits and demonstrations, monster trucks, demolition derby, motocross thrill riders, live entertainment, the popular Country Singing Showdown competition and much more! See the full schedule and plan to attend.

14.Kingston WritersFest

Known as one of the top festivals in the country, Kingston WritersFest tells its tale from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, 2023.The lineup for the 15th annual festival if exciting no matter if your go-to genre is food writing, fiction, social issues or spoken word. The aim is to inspire and engage at this readers’ and writers’ festival. More than 60 top Canadian and international authors offer readings, conversations, performances and even master classes in 45 events during the five-day festival. Discover the lineup!

15. Art After Dark
Light up the night with Art After Dark, when galleries and art-enthusiastic businesses in downtown Kingston showcase stunning art for a super night of art, live music, shopping and connection. Be inspired on Friday, September 29 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Art After Dark!

1000 Islands Gananoque

16. Lyndhurst Turkey Fair

Gobble gobble! The Lyndhurst Turkey Fair struts into town on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is set to make you shake a tail feather! This free day of family fun sees thousands of people come to Lyndhurst to experience free Voyageur canoe rides, antique cars, prize draws, silent auction, pony rides, petting zoo, crafts, a reptile show and so much more!

17.Furnace Falls Farm Fall Harvest Feast of the Fields & Concert

Savour everything that the fall harvest is offering at the Harvest Feast of Fields & Concert at Furnace Falls Farm featuring Dead Root Revival with Tom Savage. Attend the dinner and show or just the concert only on Sept. 16. The show takes place inside the large and beautifully refurbished rustic barn. The venue is an experience unto itself!

 18. Pump Gan Fest
Pumpkins galore! Carving, crafts, goodies and more take over Town Park in Gananoque on Sept. 30, 2023 to celebrate the orange sign of autumn. Join in the family fun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. put on by the Gananoque Lions Club.

1000 Islands Rideau Canal Waterways

19. Cloud 9 Electronic Music and Eco Art Festival
Experience a multi-sensory celebration of a sustainable future! Now in its second year, the festival at No. 9 Gardens in Rideau Lakes is organized by youth, for youth to foster inspiration and creativity. On Saturday, Sept. 9 the day will be filled with live music, workshops, local food vendors, a pop-up craft and merch market, an outdoor eco-art exhibit and the chance to contribute to an interactive mosaic sculpture. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect – be sure to get tickets early as only a limited number are available.

20. Leeds Grenville Fibre Extravaganza
Fibre is good for you! On Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Fibre Extravaganza, visitors will find handspun and dyed yarns, specialized tools and accessories, and local producers experienced in spinning, weaving, rug hooking, felting, and more. Shop for beautiful hand-dyed fleeces, yarns, and wool and rediscover the timeless crafts of knitting, crocheting, and more. Find the Extravaganza at the North Grenville Municipal Centre in Kemptville. Admission is $7 or bring a dozen crocheted/knit poppies or a scarf, toque, socks or mitts and save $2 on your entry.

21. Fall in Love with Maple North Grenville
Enjoy a fall drive and then immerse yourself in a sugarbush forest experience, complete with a pancake breakfast, maple syrup production tours, live music and more! Happening on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kemptville Campus, Agroforestry Centre and hosted by On The Bend Sugar Shack and the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association. Be sure to reserve your table!

22. Westporch Festival
This popular event returns for another year where front porches become a showcase for regional artists, musicians, activities and treats. Set for Saturday, Sept. 23 in Westport, it’s a free outdoor walking tour of the village with fabulous live music enlivening 15 porches with entertainment throughout the day.  Experience this village-wide, family-friendly, happy event by taking a look at the artists performing and planning to attend. Tips, donations and purchases are welcome.



23. Tincap Berry Farm Sunflower Stroll and Pick Your Own Pumpkins

  1. Sunny days are here again! The Tincap Berry Farm is bringing the sunshine this season with its sunflower strolls in mid-September. Fall photo ops and pick-your-own sunflower area make this an experience to remember. Cut a stem or a pail of blooms to bring home! Also look for the perfect pumpkin in the pick-your-own pumpkin patch to make your home festive for fall – or for carving legendary jack-o-lanterns! Stay tuned for available dates for both.

24. Hall’s Apple Market Pick Your Own

Nothing says fall like picking apples. Hall’s Apple Market is ready to welcome your family for the traditional pick your own experience with some surprises! Pick your own opens Sept. 2 2023 and runs until Thanksgiving. The kids can enjoy a playground, wagon rides, fresh cider, exploring a country store, and savouring baked goodies. The farm is even dog-friendly if leashed, so your furry friend doesn’t have to miss out!

25. Fulford Place Ghost Tours

The spooky season is almost upon us! Head over to Fulford Place in Brockville for ghost tours Sept. 6 and 13, as well as throughout October in this historic mansion along the former millionaire’s row. Stories swirl of after-hours hauntings here – discover what secrets lay behind the big doors of Fulford Place! Be sure to reserve your tickets.

SDG Counties

26. Iroquois Apple Fest

How do you like them apples? We like them a lot, actually! The Iroquois Apple Fest is a bushel of fun for the whole family. With a night parade, “cutest apple dumpling” baby contest, Iroquois’ Got Talent competition, baking contests, chicken dinner, live music, car show and much more, it’s bound to be a good time on Sept. 16. An apple a day…

27. Wood Fest at Wood Brothers Brewing

Beer. Live music. Food. Need we say more? It’s going down on Sept. 23 from noon until 10 p.m. Be there or be square.

28. Harvest Wine Tasting and Food Pairing at Tranquility Acres

Touring of the property, meeting the farm animals, and enjoying live music and bar service while shopping local vendors in the afternoon, followed by a wine tasting and food pairing and a buffet, music and dancing! Sounds like an epic day.  Combine that with playing lawn games, roasting marshmallows, and making an afternoon of it at Tranquility Acres, before the ticketed pairing event begins in earnest at 7 p.m.


29. Akwesasne International Pow-Wow

Witness the best Native dancers, drummers and artisans from the region during this vibrant cultural experience! Taking place Sept. 9 to 10, 2023 at the A’nowara’ko:wa Arena on Cornwall Island, the Akwesasne Pow-Wow is the place to enjoy a one-of-a-kind music and dancing, to shop the beautiful creations of talented First Nations artisans and enjoy great food and great company.

30. Eastern Ontario Garlic Festival

One day festival celebrating the stinking rose! If you’re a garlic enthusiast, join in the fun at the Eastern Ontario Garlic Festival on Sept. 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cornwall Civic Complex to meet garlic growers, taste wares from food artisans, enjoy live music, learn from workshops, as well as have some family fun, dinner and even dancing on the waterfront! The Garlic Gala will round out the day from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. providing a farm to city culinary experience.

31. Shorty Jenkins Classic

A curling bonspiel like no other! See world-class curling in a small-town club setting. The Shorty Jenkins Classic welcomes world champions, Olympic athletes and top athletes from Canada, the US and Europe. It’s happening Sept. 20 to 24, 2023 and this year is welcoming some of the world’s best women’s curlers – including the four-time defending world champions – as well as a men’s lineup that includes world champions, Olympic gold medallists and top four ranked teams in the world! Be at the Cornwall Curling Centre to see it all go down.

32. Apples and Art Studio Tour
Be inspired by art in the spaces it’s created! The Apples and Art Studio Tour encourages visitors to meet the artists, chat and see their work in a natural setting across Cornwall and SDG Counties. This two-day event is taking place from Sept. 23 to 24 and features artists working with batik, sculpture, acrylic and oil, serigraphy, watercolour, wood, graphite on paper, metal jewellery, glass, body painting, 3D printing and so much more! Take a look at the brochure to plan your self-guided route.

September is sure to be a smash hit with creative events in abundance like the harvest in South Eastern Ontario.

52 August Events to Make Your Summer Memorable

Summer is in full swing and that means hot events across South Eastern Ontario. This month is full to the brim with brilliant activities. Whether it’s live music, haunted tours, fantastic food, sunflowers, friendship days or even night markets, August promises events to remember. Make the most out of the remaining days of summer in South Eastern Ontario!

  1. Belleville Caribbean Festival A Caribbean adventure in the heart of Downtown Belleville! Set for Aug. 19 from noon to 11 p.m. the festival will see pulsating rhythms of reggae, soca, calypso, and more with live music, exceptional Caribbean cuisine and a lively street parade with hundreds of dancers.
  2. Tyendinaga Traditional Pow Wow: Tsitewatsiró:ten: Rekindling Our Fire The 36th annual Tyendinaga Traditional Pow Wow takes place Aug. 12 to 13 in Tsi Tkerhetoton Park. Enjoy traditional dancing, beautiful regalia of participants and learn more about various Indigenous cultures – and of course indulge in wonderful food! Also look for more than 70 Indigenous craft vendors selling handmade art and jewellery.
  3. Concerts in the Park Bring a lawn chair and blanket and enjoy outdoor live music during the Quinte West Summer Concert Series! This series takes place in Frankford Tourist Park every Wednesday, and in Fraser Park each Friday and Sunday until September. Check out the schedule and make an evening of it! Various dates throughout August.
  4. Festival of Lights Kick Off  Christmas is just five months away – but it’s going to feel a lot closer on Saturday, August 5 in Belleville Market Square! Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in town for their summer holiday during a special Festival of Lights fundraising event. Join them from 10 a.m. to noon for face painting, live music, holiday activities, selfie station and more.


  1. Dragonette at The Hayloft Dancehall  Get ready to live. Juno-winning artist and sought-after songwriter, Dragonette, is performing at The Hayloft Dancehall on Friday, Aug. 11, bringing her special brand of electro-pop to Prince Edward County after scoring numerous global hits.
  2. Base 31 Live Music The Drill Hall at Base 31 in Prince Edward County sets the scene for live music this August – on a big stage in a remarkable, historic setting! Iconic Canadian band, 54•40, is performing at The Drill Hall at Base 31 in Prince Edward County on Saturday, Aug. 5. For over 40 years, 54•40 has carved out a legacy of gold and platinum albums and awesome live performances. Next up at The Drill Hall is rising Nashville star Josh Ross performing on Aug. 12. Debuting as a chart-topping artist, Ross has quickly made a name for himself and garnered loyal fans along the way. Check out many more shows also happening in August at The Drill Hall!
  3. Graveyard & Gallows Walking Tour A tour of mystery and intrigue! The Graveyard & Gallows Tour takes place every Friday night in August, allowing visitors to explore the grounds of Macaulay Heritage Park with an experienced guide. Stroll through the neighbouring graveyard at Reverend William Macaulay’s former church and spot a famous tombstone before discovering the local courthouse, jail cells, and even the gallows.
  4. Dusk, Dance & Drones Experience it to believe it! Prepare for a fun night out making memories with family or friends. Set for the evenings of Friday, August 4 and 18, as well as Sept. 1, in partnership with Illumin and Base 31, the night sky will be lit up by a fleet of drones, dancing and weaving to create a stunning display of light and colour to fill all ages with wonder. Unique and impressive!
  5. PEC Yoga Fest Sand & Pearl’s Full Moon Yoga Fest is back for a sixth year from Aug. 11 to 13, bringing together five yoga communities from across Ontario. Classes, musicians, food, lots of love and a family friendly atmosphere make this a favourite event.
  6. Art of Charcuterie and Wine Workshop Explore the art of charcuterie design, as well as wine and cheese pairing! Hosted by Broken Stone Winery, Bark Woodshop & Studio and Farm Board Canada on Aug. 13, this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn – and then savour your design.
  7. PEC Jazz Festival Much anticipated and always elevated! The PEC Jazz Festival is back for its 23rd year from Aug. 15 to 20 and showcases another award-winning line-up including JUNO-award-winning headliners, Caity Gyorgy, Hilario Duran (with Adis Rodriquez), and Marc Jordan; JUNO nominee, Alison Young; the uber energetic and crowd-pleasing Big Smoke Brass; inventive clarinetists Virginia MacDonald and Todd Marcus, and more!
  8.  The Grange of Prince Edward – Visa Infinite Dining Series event Picture this: a delicious evening of the freshest and most seasonal local flavours paired with spectacular wines, among the vines at a long-table winery dinner in Prince Edward County. Join in to witness star chefs sparkle at The Grange of Prince Edward – Visa Infinite Dining Series Event on Aug. 12. Prepare for a remarkable evening.
  9. Craft Chocolate Tasting Workshop Sign us up! The third part of a Craft Chocolate Tasting Workshop series takes place on Aug. 13 at Base 31, hosted by Certified Chocolate Taster and Educator, Christy Conte, focuses on the intricacies of dark chocolate.
  10. Yiddish Soul: Socalled & Venuti String Quartet Josh “Socalled” Dolgin is known for his genre-bending collaborations and passion for Yiddish music. This highlight concert of the Big Lake Festival is taking place on Aug. 22 at the Regent Theatre in Picton. It features a ground-breaking and heartbreaking programme of Yiddish art songs, lullabies, theatre music and folk songs newly arranged for string quartet.  Look for the whole schedule of world-class musicians at Big Lake Festival from Aug. 18 to 26 at various venues in the region and enjoy a celebration of all things grounding, nourishing and holding steady to who we are.
  1. Napanee Fair The Napanee Fair is back for its 190-year milestone! This year’s fair features a midway, live music, agricultural exhibits, tractor and horse pulls, a petting zoo, demolition derby and more. Set for Aug. 4 to 7, 2023 Napanee is ready to roll out a good old country welcome for visitors and locals alike. There’s nothing like a summer fair!
  2. Livestock Craft and Music Festival Bring the family to meet the animals at this all-day fundraiser for Second Chance Ranch! The Livestock Craft & Music Festival takes place on Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with live music, pigs, goats, chickens, ponies, alpacas and donkeys on site and raises money to help rehabilitate, rehome or provide a forever home for horses in need.
  3. Discover L&A County MEGA Geocaching Did you know that Canada’s largest annual geocaching event is held in Napanee? That’s right! More than 1,000 visitors from across North America, Europe and beyond come to Napanee on Aug. 19 to take part! With a water cache canoe and kayak cruise, night sky stargazer tour, kick off events and more than 1,500 geocaches in L&A County it’s a fun-filled weekend!
  4. Back to the Farm The ultimate beer and music festival! Back to the Farm at MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Company in Bath has grown to welcome thousands of people to revel in awesome live music and enjoy quality craft beer brewed on site. Party down home style on Sunday Aug. 20 from 11:30 a.m. to close and hear The Blue Stones, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Paul Langlois Band, Boston Levi and many more!
  5. Breakfast on the Farm Come hungry! Our mouths are watering even thinking about this all-Ontario breakfast. What’s more, there will be interactive educational displays, farmer a meet and greets, tours of a working farm and even family photo ops. Set for Aug. 26 at Ripplebrook Farm, Napanee which is home to 280 animals and a lot of heart.
  1. Wolfe Island Lobsterfest Celebrate tasty crustaceans at Hotel Wolfe Island’s Patio Lobsterfest on Saturday, Aug. 12. Chef Andrew Dillon is preparing a feast with fresh, delicious lobster sourced sustainably. Think cocktails, live music, lobster and good times! Three seatings; reservations strongly encouraged.
  2. Art in the Sawmill   Add some art to your summer and your home on Aug 5 & 6. This juried show features a collection of over 25 local artists & artisans for a two day show & sale in Verona in the historic Sawmill. – celebrating its 10th year anniversary!
  3. Music in the Park  Each month Music in the Park is at one of the beautiful beaches in South Frontenac. This August enjoy live local music at the beautiful Point Park in Sydenham on Saturday August 19th, from 1pm – 3pm. Bring a picnic and lawn chair, and enjoy toe-tapping music on the shores of Sydenham Lake.
  4. Haymakers Coffee Co. Roasting Tour  Treat yourself to a trip Wolfe Island side to explore the coffee roasting process along with the breathtaking landscape and water views that kick off the 1000 Islands. Each roasting session is limited to 8 coffee-loving humans in order for you to truly dig in to learn where coffee is grown, sourced and roasted. Various dates in August.
  5. Maple Ridge Farms – Mindfulness Journey & Bloom Bar  On August 18th experience a 90-minute immersive mindfulness journey to awaken your senses, nourish your soul, and deepen your connection with the world around you. Once you are all relaxed and feeling Zen, take some time on the farm to handpick a vibrant selection of blooms and create a stunning hand-tied bouquet that will serve as a beautiful reminder of your transformative experience.
  1. Sunset ceremony at Fort Henry  A sunset event you won’t soon forget! Fort Henry’s Sunset Ceremony combines the talented Fort Henry Guard’s impressive marching manoeuvers, drills, music and cannons with a stunning fireworks finale. Held once a week throughout August – tickets required
  2. Sun Harvest Flower Fields The Flower Fields at Sun Harvest are open and blooming. Wander through the cutting garden and enjoy the beauty of more than 8,000 flowers. Get your cutters and fill a jug with your favourite blooms to bring home a slice of summer! A fantastic activity for friends, co-workers, families, or even just solo for some meaningful me-time. 
  3. Katarokwi Indigenous Art and Food Market Sundays in August and Sept. 24, find local Indigenous artists, artisans and musicians selling handcrafted jewelry, art, clothing and enjoy fresh food and live demonstrations showcasing different artists! Located in Springer Market Square from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  4. Kick and Push Festival Rave reviews for this innovative performance festival keep the crowds coming back year after year. The Kick and Push Festival in Kingston is a professional, three-week festival featuring award-winning Canadian performers and award-winning work in venues all over the city. Taking place until Aug. 18, the Kick and Push Festival pushed the boundaries of what traditional theatre can be!
  5. Princess Street Promenade Take a stroll down Princess Street and revel in this popular festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  on Saturday, Aug. 5. The promenade closes Princess Street to vehicles from Barrie Street to Ontario Street making for the perfect opportunity to enjoy Downtown Kingston. Walk about and visit local shops, grab a bite to eat at downtown restaurants, and spend the day downtown!
  6. Women’s Art Festival Did you know that Kingston is home to the longest running Women’s Art Festival in Canada? The event celebrates women’s creativity in the arts with free community programming, live music, local eats, art installations, children’s tent and an enthralling marketplace. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Women’s Art Festival so mark your calendar for Aug. 12 and 13 at City Park.
  7. Greek Festival Presented by the Kingston Greek Community, the Greek Festival kicks off Saturday, Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Join in the fun at the Greek Banquet Hall on Johnson Street, with Greek dancing, food, and drinks – as well as a live Greek band. Admission is a non-perishable food item or cash donation to the Partners in Mission Food Bank!
  8. Limestone City Blues Festival  An event like no other! The Limestone City Blues Festival is a go for Aug. 24 to 27 this year, showcasing four days of “raw, gritty and unrestrained live performances” in venues across Downtown Kingston and two main stages in Springer Market Square and Confederation Park.  New this year, look for food and artisan vendors, as well as a licensed area!
  9. Doors Open Kingston & Area   Ever wonder what was behind those doors? Then Doors Open is for you! This intriguing free event is running over three dates this year and allows access to dozens of spaces, places and stories that shape the communities of Kingston and surrounding area. Discover the participating sites and explore at your own pace. Upcoming date of August 26 sees places like the PumpHouse, Murney Tower National Historic Site, HMCS Cataraqui, Agnes Etherington Art Centre and more open for learning from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See you there!
  1. 1000 Islands Gananoque Poker Run & Shootout Weekend Feel the need for speed – marvel at the power on water as performance boating returns to the 1000 Islands region! Poker Runs America and Power Boating Canada are bringing the excitement to the St. Lawrence River on Aug. 26 and 27 in Gananoque to thrill spectators and poker runners.
  2. Summer in the Islands Free Waterfront Concerts  Bring a blanket or lawn chair and prepare to be entertained with free summer concerts at Joel Stone Heritage Park in Gananoque each Friday and Saturday evening until Sept. 9. Artists like Abbey Stewart Band, Trevor Walsh Band, Healey & Orr and more will be performing starting at 7:30 p.m. against the stunning backdrop of the St. Lawrence River.
  1. Lombardy Fair You can’t beat a country fair! The atmosphere, the sights and sounds. The Lombardy Agricultural Society is celebrating 157 years of country hospitality with something for everyone from Friday, Aug. 4 to Sunday, Aug. 6. Look for a demolition derby, exhibits in the barn, monster truck show, the midway and ever-popular annual 4-H Club Dairy Achievement Day.
  2. South Grenville Bluegrass Festival Get ready for picking and grinning! The South Grenville Bluegrass Festival is ready to heat up the Spencerville Fairgrounds from Aug. 10 to 13 with lots of remarkable bluegrass talent from as far afield as Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky. With workshops, open mics, band scramble, a choir, music all afternoon and evening and even a mouth-watering chicken barbecue, this is one event not to be missed!
  3. St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival Shakespeare against the beautiful backdrop of the St. Lawrence in Prescott! The only professional outdoor theatre in the St. Lawrence Seaway area is current on stage with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Importance of Being Ernest until Aug. 5 after which the gorgeous venue on Prescott’s waterfront is home to special performances by the Guild Festival Theatre with Alice in Wonderland, and a Company of Fools performing Hamlet.
  4. Live music in Rideau Lakes It’s summer and that means Rideau Lakes is all about the music. Make a weekend of it at the end of August! The Chaffey’s Lock Community Hall will be rocking on August 26 with its next installment of the annual summer concert series, welcoming Red Fox, an Indie-folk band with acoustic roots and electric sound. Also that weekend, the popular Bach on the Beverley returns, a fun and informal free event, with donations accepted for local organizations. The event on Aug. 26 is at Kendrick’s Park near Lyndhurst and the event on Aug. 27 is at the Red Brick School in Elgin. Bach on the Beverley invites participants to experience active listening to the chamber music of Johann Sebastian Bach, with a brief explanation of each selection and listening suggestions for musical ideas, with background.
  1. Music on the Veranda at Fulford House Get swept away by summertime on the grand veranda at Fulford Place in Brockville. Weekly music every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. Look for Pat Johnson on Aug. 9 and 30, as well as Issabel on Aug. 16 and Jennie Marshall on Aug. 23. Free to attend, but donations to Fulford Place are welcome.
  2. 1000 Islands Kingston Poker Run stop in Brockville See the boats up close! The 1000 Islands Kingston Poker Run is stopping for lunch in Brockville from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5. One of the largest waterfront festivals in Canada, this run has more than 40,000 spectators lining the shores of the St. Lawrence along the route to catch a glimpse of the most powerful boats around – and it’s stopping in Brockville! It’s a great opportunity to see the boats along Blockhouse Island.
  3. Brockville Ribfest A real taste of summer! This three-day festival from Aug. 10 to 13 is in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters Leeds Grenville and has mouth-watering ribs, chicken and more. It wouldn’t be Ribfest without fun for the whole family, so check out the kids zone, live entertainment, Cops and Kids fishing derby, rib eating contest, beach volleyball, vendor village and even a beer tent for the adults!
  4. Poutine Feast Brockville A travelling poutine festival?! Sign us up! Poutine Feast showcases the best poutine vendors from across Ontario. Set to roll into Brockville at Centennial Park from Aug. 17 to 20, and then the North Grenville Municipal Centre Aug. 24 to 27, visit Canada’s largest touring poutine fest and find your favourite! Vegan and gluten free options available.
  1. Glengarry Highland Games Music, dance, sports, fiddling, pageantry and tradition in Maxville! The Glengarry Highland Games is a huge crowd pleaser from Aug. 4 to 5 with a long history dating back to 1948 as one of the largest games in the world. Witness massed bands and Highlands Fling, heavyweight competitions, whiskey tasting, clan parade, Wee Bairns activity area, Celtic entertainment, Highlanders’ tug-o-war and so much more. The Glengarry Highland Games draws thousands of people to experience this impressive event – come see why!
  2. Upper Canada Village: Canadian Music and Horse Lovers Authentic buildings, historic interpreters in period dress, heritage livestock at work, and activities throughout the site transport visitors back to the 1860s. But this living history museum doesn’t stop there! Upper Canada Village also hosts special events throughout the summer. Celebration of Canadian Music Event is on Aug. 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and brings to life 18th century sing, dance and instrumental music. 
  3. Upper Canada Playhouse Summer season The summer season at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg is in full swing and two plays are on the bill for August. Buying the Farm – a country comedy by Shelley Hoffman and Stephen Sparks runs until Aug. 13 while Drinking Alone is a classic heart-warming comedy by Norm Foster and runs Aug. 17 until Sept. 3. The Upper Canada Playhouse is celebrating its 40th season this year as a delightfully charming historic building that has been transformed into a community center point for culture and the arts.
  4. Fields of Gold Sunflowers as far as the eye can see! Stroll through the stunning mellow yellows at Fields of Gold in August to capture the perfect summer photo. Book a sunshine walk, private photo pod or pick-your-own flowers to elevate your golden experience this sunflower season.
  5. Winchester Dairy Fest  Moooove on over to Dairy Fest in Winchester from Aug. 11 to 13 for music, dancing, classic car show, tractor parade, bouncy castles, firefighter games, hearty breakfast, roller skating, beer garden and vendor market – and don’t forget to get in the grooooove at the dairy dance!
  1. Akwesasne Friendship Day Join in Native North American Travelling College’s annual Friendship Day on Saturday Aug. 12 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.! Enjoy performances by Bear Fox, Crosswinds, DMiinus Savage, Mikayla Francis and MC Raienkonnis Edwards. Also look forward to art wars for children, teens and adults, pie bingo, lacrosse demo, canoe journeys, and much more!
  2. Pride Festival and Parade Be a part of an amazing community celebration! Diversity/Diversité Cornwall is set to host the 2023 Pride Festival and Parade on Saturday, Aug. 12, featuring a parade and day of fun activities in Lamoureux Park.
  3. Cornwall Chaos Fan of loud music? Take part in Cornwall Chaos on Aug. 19 – a full showcase of heavy metal artists from the Cornwall, Ottawa and Montreal areas. It’s free, it’s outdoor and it’s at the Cornwall Lions Club Bandshell in Lamoureux Park.
  4. Cornwall Night Market There’s something about a night market that just seems magical. Cornwall’s second such market can be found on Aug. 18 in Downtown Cornwall with dozens of vendors, offering everything from vintage to beauty products to plants to beadwork and intricate intrigues! To really make a splash, downtown businesses will also be open late and patios will be in full swing for dinner and drinks. Make a night of it!
  5. Cornwall Triathlon The Cornwall Triathlon is ready for Aug. 26 and 27 this year – but did you know it has raised more than $300,000 for local charities in the past? This year, the event will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Cornwall/SDG. Kids Day in Saturday, Aug. 26 where young champions are offered an initiation into the sport in a fun, non-timed environment. Then on Sunday, Aug. 27 the adult events take place, including a 5K run, duathlon and triathlon events. The Cornwall events are unique in that they offer traffic-free courses in the city’s core on both days. Everyone welcome: athletes, volunteers or spectating!
  6. Doors Open Cornwall & SDG Counties Free access to amazing historical and cultural sites in Cornwall and SDG Counties? Yes, please! Doors Open Cornwall & SDG Counties is a two-day event Aug. 19 to 20 where visitors enjoy admission to some of the most noteworthy buildings and places in the community. Have fun exploring and discovering local places and spaces!

With so many remarkable events happening across South Eastern Ontario in August, it’s easy to fill your calendar to enjoy summer to the max!

24 Classic Experiences to Heat Up Summer in South Eastern Ontario

Summer is for experiencing life to the fullest! These classic things to do in South Eastern Ontario are the ones returned to time and again for summer fun in the sun. Read on to add some unique experiences to your bucket list this season!

1. Quinte West Pop Ups
Now in its third year, Quinte West Pop-Ups overlooking the Trent River features eight wooden cabins and five food truck stations, to entice visitors with everything from ice cream to a beverage bar and a bakehouse. This year, Mini Pop-Ups are also on-site, featuring essential oils, totes, bows, and much more. Look for the Pop Ups from Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am. To 7 p.m.  in Centennial Park.

  1. Hotel packages elevate city experience
    There’s so much to see and do in Kingston, it can take a few days to explore! Relax while discovering this unique city with hotel packages, showcasing attractions paired with the perfect places to stay. There is a package for everyone! Go behind the scenes at Canada’s most notorious prison with Kingston Pen Tours, then stay the night in comfort. Immerse yourself in history at Fort Henry and stay the night in the city that was once Canada’s capital! Enjoy a wellness retreat and rejuvenate with The Refinery Spa and Social House, or treat your taste buds and feast on the city’s culinary scene with Kingston Food Tours. Rover tagging along? No problem! Pamper your pooch dog packages with Green Acres Inn. Sip the afternoon away with a delightful afternoon tea package with the Secret Garden Inn. Rejuvenate with the Glow Skincare Spa Retreat and feel rested after your time away. Fondue? More like fun-due! Everybody’s favourite social meal is reimagined with this package through Secret Garden Inn.
  2. Improbable Escapes: Wonderland (West-End)
    Inspired by storybooks and fairytales, the games at Improbable Escapes Wonderland in the west-end of Kingston are fully immersive puzzle-solving adventures! With themes like Seven Dwarves: Mining Mission and Neverland: Heist on the High Seas, these escape rooms promise family-friendly fun while still being challenging. Did you know all games at Improbable Escapes are fully designed in house by their development team? That’s means that set designers, illustrators, electrical planners, game designers and more work together for more than six months per game to bring new adventures to life!
  3.  Sherlock Escapes
    Become a detective! Choose a case to crack and dive into these story-driven escape rooms. Virtual rooms and Unsolved Mysteries are also available.

5. Freshwater Diving and Snorkelling
With exceptionally clear river waters and home to world-renowned freshwater scuba diving, Brockville is the perfect place to explore underwater! Intriguing shipwrecks and Canada’s first underwater sculpture park with more than 45 statues make diving even more enticing. Personalized charter boats run daily for offering access to world class shipwrecks in the St. Lawrence River. Visit Dive Brockville for an unforgettable diving adventure in the 1000 Islands!

  1. Archie’s Golf
    Unleash your inner child! Archie’s Golf has been a fixture on the Cornwall scene since the 1950s. With a driving range, 9 hole course, 18 holes of mini golf adventure, and 9 holes of foot golf, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to indulge in a sweet treat from Archie’s beloved Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop!
  2. Cornwall Community Museum
    Step back in time at the Cornwall Community Museum – check out the new temporary exhibit, Cornwall and the Crown, which showcases Cornwall’s intriguing relationship with Queen Elizabeth and the Crown. Discover archival materials, displays of textiles, household items and furniture as well as children’s games to enhance the museum experience for the family.
  3. Guindon Park BMX Track
    BMX enthusiasts, this one’s for you! One of the longest sanctioned BMX tracks in Ontario is the Cornwall BMX Track located at Guindon Park. The track hosts more than 50 racing events a year and draws visitors from Ontario, Quebec and the United States, including a provincial qualifier this summer which sees top riders in the province compete! Guindon Park itself is a hidden gem, with access to the city’s off-road bike trails and the St. Lawrence River, as well, as walking trails.
  4. Cornwall Motor Speedway
    Get your motor running at the Cornwall Motor Speedway! Hear the roar of the engines at this fun summertime tradition; the speedway promises several feature races every Sunday on the quarter-mile dirt track. Check out the upcoming events as the track often heats up with special races throughout the summer and fall as well, such as a Canada Day Spectacular and the Canadian Super Dirt Weekend in the fall.

SDG Counties

  1. Avonmore Berry Farm
    Nothing says summer like berry picking! Strawberries and raspberries complement 20 different varieties of veggies, as well as apples and pumpkins in the fall.  Bring the whole family to enjoy children’s play areas with sandboxes, tire swings and hay mow and slides. Peek into the panty to take home some more produce from the farm, baked goods, ice cream or jam.
  2. Fields of Gold
    It’s like a dream: strolling through sunflower fields then picking your own fresh bouquet of stunning zinnias, dahlias and mixed sunflowers. Make memories last by booking a private photo pod. The gardens create a colourful and whimsical backdrop for photos. A sunny day to remember!
  3. Crysler Park Marina
    This is a full-service marina where little extras make it unique! Crysler Park Marina offers mooring, waterfront camping and cabins, fishing, watersport rentals and even recreational areas to toss some horseshoes, play soccer or ball with the kids or spend some time on the swingset. A great homebase for exploring the 1000 Islands area around Morrisburg.

Spotlight on Merrickville

With a brilliant combination of history, art and places to eat, Merrickville is a one-stop shop for a summer day along the Rideau Canal.

1000 Islands Rideau Canal Waterways

  1. Blockhouse Museum
    This is a rare opportunity: go inside one of the few blockhouses built on the Rideau Canal! This National Historic Site was the largest blockhouse built on the Canal and dates back to 1832. It was originally a defensive building to protect the Rideau Canal from possible invasion. Eventually repurposed as the home of the lockmaster and his family, it now tells the story of the Rideau and Merrickville through displays and interpretive activities. Open daily for most of the summer!
  2. The Locks at Merrickville
    The unique configuration at Merrickville is an impressive example of locking through on the Rideau. The Merrickville locks feature three manually operated locks separated by two basins. Dating to 1830, they have a combined lift of more than seven metres. Visitors from across the world come watch boats going through the locks and stroll along the Parks Canada lock station. Fun fact: the locks are located at the earliest mill site on the Rideau River.
  3. Intriguing Architecture and The Depot Friends of the Rideau Depot Visitor Centre is open throughout the summer season and offers maps, info and souvenirs, as well as public washrooms. It’s located in a charming historic building dating to 1900 that was once used as a storehouse. It’s a good pit stop while enjoying the famed historic architecture of Merrickville. In fact, the community is home to more designated heritage buildings than any other Ontario community of a similar size! Be sure to check out the Merrickville walking tour for a full history!
  4. The Ruins
    Telling of a time when Merrickville was an important industrial community, the Merrickville Ruins show remnants of a woollen mill from the mid-19th century. According to the Merrickville walking tour, it’s part of an industrial complex that grew around William Merrick’s original sawmill. In that vicinity there were flour and grist mills, as well as a major foundry and the woollen mill. The Ruins provide an intriguing chance to explore history on foot, as visitors can walk through the site.

Art along St. Lawrence Street in Merrickville

Merrickville is a mecca of artisan creations at studios and shopping nooks. Plan a trip through the artistic haven and meet local artists to find your next eye-catching piece. One stroll along St. Lawrence Street in Merrickville provides your art fix!

17 .Rowland Leather
The real deal! Michael Rowland has been making leather goods of incredible style and quality for more than 40 years, winning awards for his designs and expertise with leather. Look for the famous Rowland original bags, keytags, eye glass cases, cell phone holders and coin purses all handcrafted one piece at a time in Michael’s studio. Available in store or online.

  1. Monsky Creations Gallery
    These internationally-coveted, highly collectable works are created by artist Monica Viola, a multi-disciplined artist working with clay, glass, painting and fabric
  2. Anarchy Gallery
    This is a boutique unlike any you’ve seen before, featuring Angelina Wrona’s internationally acclaimed paintings. Then head to Abel Mountain to find trendy fashions and cute must-haves for your home.
  3. Gray Art Glass
    Witness creativity in motion at this gallery and studio which has been a fixture in Merrickville for decades. Featuring tree of life balls, witch balls, glassware, vases, workshops, memorial glass and much more, Gray Art Glass pieces are available in the shop and online.

Cure your appetite in Merrickville

  1. Violets on Main
    The little place with big taste! Imagine buttertarts, fresh bread, custom cakes and that delicious bakery smell wafting out the door. That’s Violets in Main – goodies made with heart in Merrickville.
  2. Pickle & Myrrh
    Well-loved artisan sea salt caramel shop in Merrickville, with a fairyland twist this season! Pickle & Myrrh has recently upped their offering of locally made pottery and paintings, as well as the variety of products available. Also a brilliant go-to for gift baskets and special market events throughout the year!
  3. Stella Luna Merrickville
    This European style café is known for its excellent gelato made with passion and savoured with gusto.  The gelato is prepared on site, from scratch daily, using only fresh and quality ingredients with no artificial colour or flavour. That recipe created top-notch gelato that has won over locals and visitors alike! 
  4. Yellow Canoe Cafe
    Food that soothes the body and soul? Yes, please! Think local with a view at this licensed café and bakery where everything is made fresh and in house. Soups, desserts and sandwiches are all made from scratch in the Yellow Canoe kitchen and served in the dining room or patio. Yes, there really is a yellow canoe here! If visiting in the summer, be sure to snag a spot on the garden patio as it overlooks the Merrickville blockhouse and historic locks on the Rideau Canal.   

Marvel at the tried, tested and true gems while discovering classic experiences in South Eastern Ontario this summer!

Fresh take on old traditions: MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co.

MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co. is as unique as they come.

Brewing good beer on an ancestral farm near Bath, each drop is a testament to the seven generations that came before – and the ingenuity of the current incarnation that welcomes guests to enjoy the fruit of all the labour that led to this moment.

Brothers Daniel and Ivan MacKinnon reimagined their family’s 1,300-acre bicentennial farm along with their cousin, Ben Vandenberg, invigorating the farm and its offerings by adding focus on beer and sustainability.

Now, century-old barns are renovated to house equipment; hops and malting barley are planted in the fields surrounding the brewery, and the brewery is proving to be a new (and popular!) take on an old tradition of working the land, alongside their family’s ongoing certified seed farm business.

“History is of great importance to us, we wanted to come back and add an extension to the value of products on the farm,” Ivan said in a previous interview with South Eastern Ontario.

More than a decade into founding the brewery, MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co. has grown into one of the summer’s hot spots for brews and music.

The aim is sharing the tastes and traditions of the farm with beer enthusiasts, but it goes beyond that. Their brews embody the uniqueness of rural Canada in every glass or can, like CrossCut Canadian Ale that is reviving a traditional Canadian recipe, or local session ale favourite Brothers House Ale. Ever moving forward, new this year is Philly Light, which is already making a name for itself as crisp, clean, and remarkably refreshing. It’s easy drinking with a classic North American taste – a sure-fire hit for summer weekends.

When Harvest Ale launched in 2018, it brought the distinction of being 100% grown on the farm. MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co. became the first Canadian brewery in recent years to grow all of the ingredients for a beer on one farm. In fact, the MacKinnon brothers set themselves apart from others in the industry by doing just that:  utilizing on-site crops as brewing ingredients – keeping the entire operation local in the process.


What’s more, MacKinnon Brothers Brewing puts considerable effort into being sustainable at the farm. According to Sustainable Kingston, they created a cold cellar by blasting limestone bedrock which allows the brewery not to need any additional cooling methods for 80% of the year. In addition, the farm uses a sustainable no-till farming technique which means fewer passes over the field resulting in reducing energy consumption.

Back in 2021, MacKinnon Brothers posted on social media about switching their six-pack rings to a more eco-friendly version made from fibre by-product waste, making them sustainable, compostable, and biodegradable. More than 6,000 trees were also planted on the farm last year to help with its carbon offset.

Most recently, the farm put some new equipment into play to reduce its carbon footprint. It has proven to greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions while also saving some money at the brewery. In a Twitter post from January 2023, MacKinnon Brothers noted, “This equipment captures CO2 generated by the fermentation process and conditions it for re-use on the canning and key filling lines. This reduces our annual CO2 consumption by more than half!” It was the first of its kind for a craft brewery in Ontario.

Fun on the farm

But the MacKinnon charm is more than just seeds and brews: MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co. has also become synonymous with music. Live at the Grandstand concert series is set at the timber-frame stage proudly showcasing the fields around it, making for an unforgettable open-air concert experience. Coming up Saturday, July 15, see The Trews at MacKinnon Brothers.

Events here have grown in size over the years, with MacKinnon Brothers’ major summer music and beer festival, Back to the Farm, now welcoming about 5,000 people every August. This year, Back to the Farm is set for Sunday, August 20 from 11 a.m. until closing. The lineup for this much-anticipated festival is launching on June 21 so stay tuned!

Adding to the farm’s intrigue is the addition of The Old Barn venue, which hosts weddings and intimate events. The renovated historic red barn provides a romantic, rustic yet elegant backdrop to celebrate love and life’s occasions.

Too cool taproom

In the meantime, pull up a chair and revel in the coziness of the Taproom. This is where the fun happens! Showcasing a full lineup of fresh beer, The Taproom is in the bottom of the historic Old Barn and provides a casual indoor space year-round – and a field-side patio in the summer. Look for Bring Your Own Vinyl nights, delicious foodie nights, and tons of live music every weekend. Get your toes tapping – while enjoying the beer on tap!

Join MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co. this summer to experience fresh takes on old traditions. Explore more at www.mackinnonbrewing.com or get social on Facebook @MacKinnonBrewing or @mackinnonbrewing on Instagram. See you at the farm!

County Stage Company: Imagination and Innovation

It’s no secret that Prince Edward County is an inspiring place – and County Stage Company is building on that.

Previously known as Festival Players, County Stage Company unveiled a rebranding late last year with the goal of better reflecting programming diversity, as well as putting pride of place at centre stage. For almost two decades, County Stage Company has been enlivening the unique towns, villages and stunning landscapes of Prince Edward County by melding performing arts, music and even food. Within that time, the local theatre company has established an international reputation for presenting theatre for audiences who seek innovation and imagination.

Spotlight On Roots

County Stage Company has produced more than a hundred performances since its inception in 2006, with prominent Canadian artists gathering in the heart of Prince Edward County’s growing wine and tourist industry. Focusing primarily on theatre, County Stage Company recently branched out to include a wider variety of artistic programming, such as modern dance, comedy, and music.

Before settling in at The Eddie Hotel and Farm, the County Stage Company performed in many places across the County – from churches to storefronts, to vineyards. Artistic director, Graham Abbey, was quoted by the Quinte Arts Council as noting that the initial assortment of performance spaces actually contributed to creating a strong and eclectic company.

Abbey, a veteran film, TV and stage actor and director, is at the helm of a team of industry insiders who are keen to further elevate and define County Stage Company. Together they have built onto the cultural infrastructure in the County, which is sought out for its prestigious arts-related experiences.

What’s In The Works

Last season was a smash hit – County Stage Company’s biggest and boldest to date. While building on the success of the first year at The Eddie Hotel and Farm, the Company dove into expanded programming at both their outdoor pavilion and the historic Red Barn Theatre. In fact, 2022 witnessed the return of dance, comedy, music and theatre alongside interactive and engaging community events.

One of the highlights of last season was the world premiere of the County Stage Company commission, The Shape of Home, exploring the life and work of Al Purdy, Canada’s unofficial poet laureate. The theatrical concert drew national acclaim and went on to be remounted in Toronto at Crow’s Theatre last fall.

The lineup for summer 2023 isn’t yet released, but the launch is in the works. Keep an eye on the County Stage Company’s website and socials to be the first to know what’s in store for the upcoming season.

Abbey has been known to keep his finger on the influence of Canadian culture while curating the company’s performances. Indeed, County Stage Company is recognized for its passionate Canadian artists, “…inspired by the muse and romance of Prince Edward County,” according to the website.

In addition to the intensive festival that spans the duration of the summer, the Company also offers outreach opportunities, such as camps and performance classes for youth, as well as an Indigenous Theatre Creator Program.

While dreaming about the summer ahead, think about savouring a glass of local wine, indulging in an outdoor dinner – and sitting back to experience enriching, professional live theatre. Discover that and more with County Stage Company.

Stay in the know and watch for the upcoming lineup launch at www.countystage.ca or on Facebook @countystage and Instagram @countystage.

Theatre Night In Merrickville Celebrates Community On Stage

It takes a village to raise the curtain at Theatre Night in Merrickville.

It’s a common theme that runs through the group, the performances and even the venue: community. This cohesiveness combines with good plain fun and unabashed love for the performing arts to be the trifecta of staging memorable productions with the small but mighty theatre group. In fact, that may be what makes it both unique and successful.

With almost a half-century of performing on set, Theatre Night in Merrickville is continuing to evolve live theatre in this picture-perfect community along the Rideau Canal.

Helen Steenburgh, President and long-time member of the volunteer-run organization, said that TNIM started in the mid-1970s when the community was raising money for a medical centre in Merrickville. She said it was informally established by Arnold Connerty with three one-act plays.

In a pre-recorded interview, veteran TNIM  member and actor, Graham Thomas, said the initial group was made up of about 20 enthusiastic people who signed on to bring the production to life – and then hundreds of people showed up to see the show and support the fundraising efforts. “It was phenomenal and magical,” Thomas said.

The group had so much fun during the first production that an official theatre group was born. Now, almost 50 years later, TNIM stages two full productions a year, one in spring and the other in fall. Steenburgh said they also occasionally perform during the Merrickville Festival of the Arts in the summer or during the holidays in December. In fact, some of the original members who put on that first show are still active members today.

One of the most intriguing aspects of TNIM is the venue. Steenburgh noted that the performances take place at the Merrickville Community Centre – which means the crew is tasked with turning an empty room into a full theatre with seating, lighting, full set, and ambiance. 

“It’s really something to see,” she said. “We start the week before and build entire sets, construct risers, rig stage lighting and completely transform the space into a theatre which seats 150 people.”

Timothy Malloy directed, produced and acted in many of the productions over the years. He noted in a previous interview that there’s a certain beauty which comes with TNIM working together and being a grassroots group. “There’s a strong element of community…  it becomes part of the cement that holds the community together.”

On The Bill

Celebrate spring with TNIM, as the group is staging three, one-act plays written by local playwrights in May. An Evening of One-Act Plays is taking place May 11 to 13 at 7:30 p.m. and culminating with a matinee on May 14 at 2 p.m.

This fall, TNIM is will be performing Jigsaws by Jennifer Rogers, directed by Heddy Sorour. This play sees family life as a jigsaw puzzle and charts three generations of the same family as they come to terms with changing circumstances and attitudes. Look for it November 23 to 25, 2023 at 7:30 p.m., as well as Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. 

Accolades And Moving Forward

TNIM also is a part of the Eastern Ontario Drama League which has been fostering interest and development in the performing arts for 90 years. The EODL provides community theatre groups with communications throughout the province, while promoting artistic and technical standards, as well as encouraging education in theatre arts. Steenburgh said it furthers that vision by hosting festivals and adjudicating performances. 

She said TNIM has hosted and participated in the Eastern Ontario Drama League’s Full Length and One-Act festivals, and last fall TNIM was nominated for awards in several categories.  In past, the group has been successful taking home top honours for its endeavours, stemming from categories such as acting, directing, costumes, music, original script, set design, and more. 

Steenburgh notes that it speaks to the variety of roles needed to produce a successful run. She said there is more going on behind the scenes, aside from acting, which is essential to the play itself.  In fact, Steenurgh said the organization is looking for more people interested in being involved. “You don’t have to be an actor; you can help with all sorts of roles from set design to stage managing – we’ll even mentor interested people. We have a lot of fun and it’s a wonderful way to be involved in the community.”

For more information or for tickets to upcoming shows once on sale, visit merrickvilltheatre.org or find Theatre Night in Merrickville on Facebook @MerrickvilleTheatre.

Lennox Community Theatre: Inspiring A Love Of Live Theatre

Be prepared to be delightfully impressed.

The Lennox Community Theatre is an unassuming, brick building with an intriguing back story of being a beautifully repurposed church. But it’s the present reincarnation of the building that is drawing audiences – and local talent.

The intimate 80-seat performing space gives way to a unique spot to celebrate live theatre and the arts. Not only was the theatre once a place of worship, but it was further rooted in the community as the former home base for the now-amalgamated Richmond Township.

The Lennox Community Theatre is taking that community vibe to a new level, now staging four full productions in a season running from September to May every year – all with local talent and community at its core.

Curtains Up

Andy Palmer, Secretary on the theatre’s board of directors, said that while there has been a theatre group in Napanee since the 1930s, they didn’t always have a permanent place to rehearse or produce shows.

So when the building became vacant after the township offices moved in the early 1990s, the Lennox Community Theatre jumped at the opportunity to be tenants of the modified space. What started there soon transitioned into owning the theatre. “When they started holding performances here, the building was simply an empty space with four walls. It was a clean palette,” Palmer said. So, they got to work.

With a great deal of help from the community, renovations were completed and the first production of the Lennox Community Theatre was staged in the fall of 1994. It has been going strong ever since. “The theatre has marvellous acoustics, actors and singers do not need mics, and there are uninterrupted sight lines from any seat in the house,” Palmer said.

The Lennox Community Theatre has now been providing that home base for almost 20 years, headed by a seven-member board of directors and entirely run on a volunteer basis.

On The Playbill

Palmer said the theatre exists through the dedication of community members who love live theatre. In the same vein, the theatre prides itself on producing high-quality shows, in a variety of genres. In fact, Lennox Community Theatre typically stages four full productions each season.

“We’ve done comedies, murder mysteries, musicals; we’ve been fortunate to do Pantos during the holidays and much more – we get people of all ages on our stage,” said Palmer, adding that there have been a few actors who have started with the theatre and gone on to pursue the performing arts.

Two more productions are in the works to cap off this season at 2219 Country Road 11 in Selby, Greater Napanee.

The Community Variety Show is set for February 9 to 19, 2023, promising the greatest talent the area has to offer! Be sure to check the website for both evening and matinee performance times.

Next up is the musical, Married Alive! from April 28 to May 13, 2023. This musical comedy features a young couple and older couple sharing their different perspectives in a “series of vignettes affectionately exploring the adventure of marriage.”

Inspiring Community

Palmer said community is what the theatre is all about – gathering together and fostering a love of theatre arts. Palmer noted they aim for open auditions to every show, and encourage new folks to come out, making sure it’s a positive experience for everyone. “The objective is really about creating community and encouraging those important relationships,” he said.

Stay tuned for an announcement in the coming months about the Lennox Community Theatre’s 2023/2024 season, featuring a full complement of offerings. In the meantime, whet your appetite at the upcoming shows this winter and spring: revel in local talent and laugh at the trials and tribulations of wedded bliss.

For more information or tickets, visit www.lennoxtheatre.ca.

Aultsville Theatre: Community Hub, Top Talent, & A Passion For Performing Arts

Generations have come through the doors and been on stage at the Aultsville Theatre in Cornwall.

Communities have grown up at the theatre helping out, experiencing live shows, and performing. It has been a focal point on Cornwall’s cultural scene for almost five decades – and is poised to elevate that unique relationship with the arts community in the years ahead.

The Aultsville Theatre was completed in 1976 as an expansion of the St. Lawrence College campus in Cornwall. General Manager Brittney Waldroff said over the last 46 years, the theatre has served as a hub for arts in the city, hosting music festivals, dance recitals, and graduations and as a roadhouse theatre.

“With such a rich history in our community, generations have now been coming to Aultsville Theatre to pursue the arts and in this post-pandemic era, it feels amazing to be welcoming that community once again,” she said.

St. Lawrence College originally managed the 680-seat theatre, but its operation has been a separate entity since the 1990s. The theatre is now managed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of members of the community in close partnership with the City of Cornwall. Waldroff said the city holds the lease with St. Lawrence College and also contributes to the annual operating costs. It has been a registered non-profit, charitable organization since 2002.

Finding The Aultsville Niche

The theatre sets itself apart by enticing well-known artists such as Blue Rodeo, Buffy St. Marie, Ron James and Gordon Lightfoot, but also catering to local theatre groups and dance studios. That translates into continuously presenting something special on stage which draws a crowd to the theatre. Its location is along the Hwy. 401 corridor, as well as its close proximity to Akwesasne, SDG Counties, as well as larger urban areas, makes it an ideal stop for professional touring artists and a destination for audiences.

“We are always looking to attract top talent to Cornwall and showcase local talent as well,” Waldroff said. “Coming out of the pandemic there is a real opportunity to rethink what had become standard programming for the theatre and bring our guests a new experience. While we are not ready to share details quite yet, we look forward to announcing some updated programming in the new year.”

See It On Stage

In fact, there is a lot to look forward to in 2023 at the Aultsville Theatre. After a busy holiday season, Waldroff said they are enthusiastic about the winter and spring programming which includes:

The Sound of Music, presented by the Seaway Valley Theatre Company (February 17-25, 2023) 
Hotel California – The Original EAGLES Tribute Band (March 30, 2023)
Cornwall Concert Series – Joe Trio (April 22, 2023)
Cornwall Concert Series – Heather Bambrick Quintet (May 6, 2023)

Waldroff said they are looking forward to bringing comedy back to Cornwall with Crackup Ottawa recently announcing their intentions to bring An Evening with Mary Walsh, and Comedy Night in Cornwall for Carefor to Aultsville Theatre in March. Tickets will be available in January. 

 “We are also finalizing details for community fundraisers, music festivals and dance recitals, as well as business development talks,” she said.

Refresh And Refocus

The Aultsville Theatre used the downtime during the pandemic to make some key investments when the doors were closed. Upgrades included improving the performer and guest experience, including a new website which will be launched in the next few weeks.

Waldroff said there is real excitement at the theatre these days, with both the audience and crew behind the scenes thrilled to be back enjoying music, stories and dance on stage again. “Collectively we have been through a lot and having this space where you can leave everything else at the theatre door and just be immersed in a live experience again is something that people really missed during the lockdowns,” she said.

Vital Volunteers

Waldroff noted that volunteers play a key role in the operations of the theatre. She said in addition to the board, the theatre has about 30 community volunteers who serve in a variety of roles. “We are fortunate to see many of these volunteers returning to us following the pandemic which speaks to the passion they share for the theatre,” she said.

Waldroff noted the volunteer Board of Directors has led the theatre to where it is today. In fact, she said that the City of Cornwall recently signed a 19-year lease with St. Lawrence College for the theatre space, ensuring that the theatre will carry on past the next half-century.

In the meantime, the theatre is seeing a lot of inquiries from both past clients and visitors to the Aultsville Theatre, as well as new artists who are looking to come to Cornwall. Waldroff said this is exciting; it will help to diversify the programming hosted at the theatre, as well as bring new patrons to the space in future.

For more information or tickets to upcoming shows at the Aultsville Theatre, visit www.aultsvilletheatre.com or follow along on Facebook @AultsvilleTheatre.

The Empire Theatre: Vision To Reality In Belleville

The story of The Empire Theatre is both inspired and inspiring.

With an experienced private owner, top touring acts on the bill, enviable sound and lighting, a devoted community and expert detail towards making artists feel welcome, The Empire Theatre in Belleville has eked out a unique existence on the region’s arts and culture landscape.

The Birth Of An Empire

The building at 321 Front Street in downtown Belleville dates back to 1938 and started out as the McCarthy Theatre. It featured films and live performances. That lasted until the mid-1960s when it closed and sat vacant for more than a decade. The building’s life then took an unexpected turn and became a sports and hobby store. Miraculously, the owner at the time had the foresight to leave the majority of the interior intact with the hope that someday it would again host live shows and movies.

This is where the expertise of professional musician, recording artist and Royal Lepage ProAlliance broker/owner, Mark Rashotte, comes in. In 2002, Rashotte bought the McCarthy building with a vision for creating a state-of-the-art theatre for live performance and films. Twenty years later, after many renovations and upgrades that somehow kept the essence of the heritage architecture, it continues to be a distinct, privately-owned and sought-after venue for live performances.

Original Outlook

The Empire Theatre is born from a unique perspective that can only be gleaned from years of hard-earned experience as a travelling musician. The theatre’s success is woven within that breadth of knowledge; nestled between artists that love the warm welcome of performing at the Empire, and a community that can witness world-class live performances in its own backyard. “Mark’s dream was to create this,” said Promotions Manager, Andy Forgie.

He and Rashotte have been bandmates in several bands over the years, but their 1970s success story, Photograph, found a place in the charts and toured from the Rock to the Rockies. Forgie notes that having a place like The Empire Theatre was often talked about on those lonely drives between gigs.

With that exceptional viewpoint, and after continued conversations with other musicians, Rashotte spearheaded one of the most well-loved spaces for artists to perform in the region. “Because Mark is a professional musician in his own right, he has a keen eye for what a performing arts theatre should incorporate for both the audience and the artist,” Forgie said.

As a result, it’s a comfortable place for bands to be. Behind the stage, there is a condo-type space with a nice shower, bathrooms, and sitting area – which Forgie said serves as a spot for artists to call home while they’re at the theatre. Couple that with recently upgraded state-of-the-art lighting, sound, as well as professional tech crews and it’s like a slice of heaven for road-weary entertainers.

Forgie said it’s that attention to detail, as well as expertly curated programming, that attracts renowned artists to perform at The Empire Theatre. The shows always prove memorable; whether it’s comedy or diverse styles of music from jazz to classical to rock, artists like The Tragically Hip, Alice Cooper, Randy Bachman, Slash, Gordon Lightfoot, Blue Rodeo, Meatloaf, Tom Cochrane, Sum 41, have flocked to the Empire. Since it opened its doors in 2003, The Empire Theatre team has been turning the vision into reality and elevating the arts community in the process.

Coming Soon At The Empire…

The Empire Theatre is known for presenting the finest in national and international recording artists, Grammy and Juno award winners, as well as Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. This season’s upcoming talent is no exception. Over the next few months, audiences can prepare for big laughs, big music and big holiday feels.

Forgie said the theatre has a nice complement of seasonal holiday shows coming up, as well as major recording artists.

The Empire Theatre welcomes:

Tyler Shaw – The North Star Tour on November 17;

Comedian Shaun Majumder – The Love Tour on November 24;

The timeless classics of Brass Transit Christmas Show on December 3;

The Barra MacNeils, An East Coast Christmas on December 4;

O Christmas Tea, A British Comedy on December 13;

Hotel California: An Eagles Tribute on January 14;

Green River Revival: A CCR Tribute on February 11;

Kim Mitchell on February 17;

Jann Arden on February 21; and

The Irish Rovers: No End in Sight 2023 Tour on March 15.

“We’re starting to wake up after two trying years; getting our feet back under us again,” Forgie said, noting what a challenge the pandemic has been for performing artists and venues like The Empire Theatre.

Timeless Movie House

The Empire Theatre’s roots were in cinema – and it’s coming full circle as movies are once again being showcased at the theatre. “It’s still a movie house,” Forgie said, adding Quinte Film Alternative brings international, thought-provoking movies to the big screen at the Empire. Quinte Film Alternative hand-picks films which share new perspectives by showing a variety of cultures, intriguing new international films, fan favourites and critically acclaimed movies. As such, films are presented at the Empire Theatre bi-weekly on Wednesdays.

Taking It Outside

Empire Rockfest returned this summer and saw the parking lot adjacent to the theatre transformed into a professional stage for a three-day, full-tilt outdoor rock festival. With the Glorious Sons, the Jake Clemons Band, TLC, the Headstones, the Tea Party, Crown Lands and more, getting back to presenting Rockfest was almost a homecoming for the theatre and the Quinte community. Forgie said the event had a pandemic-induced hiatus for several years but was back in July 2022 when crowds went wild for the 90s icons and some of Canada’s biggest bands. He said plans are already in the works for the 2023 offering with artists being unveiled in the coming months.

For more information or tickets to upcoming shows at The Empire Theatre, visit theempiretheatre.com, follow along on Instagram @theempiretheatre or call the box office at 613-969-0099.