They say that ‘you’re never too old to learn something new.’  Beyond helping you boost your cognitive abilities, think more creatively, and meet new friends, there are opportunities sprinkled around South Eastern Ontario that will arm you with some fun and new skills. Here’s a smattering of options to consider. What will you choose? Where will you travel to?

Leeds Grenville and Cornwall: For the Joy of Cooking

Owner and head instructor Cynthia Peter has curated a taste for the finer things at Maison Maitland. Cooking classes with an international flair—think Indian curries to Asian dumplings and Middle Eastern tabouleh to Moroccan tagines—are held in a modern chef’s kitchen that juxtaposes beautifully with the impressive styling of the 1827 stone manor. Join an open class or gather your friends for a private session. If you want to amplify your experience, book a stay in one of the two luxury villas, in the beautifully converted carriage house on the gorgeous grounds. 

When Stacia Carlton moved from Toronto back to her hometown of Cornwall, she came with her decades of culinary experience and a vision to open a cooking studio and hangout for foodies. Essential Kitchen in the downtown core is the manifestation of that lifelong dream. Today, you’ll find her hosting weekly kitchen parties, hocking high-end kitchenware, and presenting her popular workshops—some hosted by her, others by local and visiting experts. With a constantly evolving roster of sessions, you might enjoy a wine tasting led by a certified sommelier, learn the essentials of risotto, or have a meal prep session with friends—and wine!

SDG Counties: Clean Fun

On the outskirts of Chesterville, you’ll come across Louck’s Pastures, a small family-run farm. On top of pitching in for farm duties and running an AirBnb, owner Sam Bayham also offers soapmaking workshops: cold process for beginners, hot process for intermediate students, and goat’s milk bars for seasoned soapmakers. Locals love the welcoming, relaxed, and convivial atmosphere—and they especially appreciate leaving with a mold full of soap to cut and cure at home.

Kingston: Above Board

Who doesn’t love a beautiful, handcrafted charcuterie board? If you’d like to make your own Nick Allinson is happy to teach you how. His two-hour classes—designed to accommodate any skill level—are held at Kingston’s Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning. Attendees will select, shape, sand, and finish local hardwood into their own serving board. If you’re up for more, you can opt for The Great Charcuterie Experience: one night crafting your board with Nick, and a second night of wine tasting and charcuterie board styling, hosted by a local sommelier and a food designer. 

Prescott Russell: Cutting Edge

Master Blacksmith Spencer Farrell pounds steel in and passes on the skills in Prescott Russell at Vans School of Blacksmithing. His industrial shop, located in Hawkesbury, has all the heritage machinery (think power hammer and coal fire forgery) necessary for beginners to experience traditional forging. Courses are on a regular rotation so you can make your most incredible, one-of-a-kind forged knife, throwing axe, or fire poker and shovel set. Opt for a group course or get the master to yourself by booking a private event. 

Cornwall and Prescott Russell: Truly Knotty

Raised by a visual artist and educator, it’s no surprise that Cornwallite Brett Desrosiers is a creative polymath working as a seasoned theatre, visual arts, and macramé instructor. Though her theatre workshops are geared to youths, Miss D. is happy to pass along the artful knotting techniques she has cultivated since the 1990s. Build beautiful and functional art like plant hangers and witch’s bells to hang on your door—and be inspired by Miss D’s enthusiasm and genius. 

Jacquelyn Trowell has a keen eye for beauty—and business. She not only runs a successful graphic design company and creates multimedia art but also hosts regular macrame workshops out of her home in Hammond. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a new side hustle called Bossy Knots, a gregarious Jacquie invites students to learn how to craft intricate plant and wall hangings. Her sessions include hands-on learning, a digital step-by-step knot guide to the five most-used knots, a pattern printout and lively conversation!  

Bay of Quinte: Play Time

Month over month, Belleville’s Paragon of Play offers a slew of programming for children and teens. Owner Jessica Spice hasn’t forgotten about the adults though! Her fun programming includes crafts, DIY projects, and painting workshops for the young at heart. The popular learning centre hosts adult-only Bottle and Brush Paint Nights, Mid-Century Modern-Themed Painting, Romantic Couples Paint Nights, and other home decor crafting workshops. 

Kingston: Write On!

Professional calligrapher and designer Cody McCallum is ready to empower you with the skills to pretty up your own gift tags, letters, envelopes, and anything else that can use a touch of elegance. Through her company, Cody Calligraphy, she hosts her two-hour, beginner-friendly Pens and Pints workshops at Something in the Water Brewing Co. in Kingston. Enjoy some suds while learning about strokes, ascenders and descenders. Though all materials are supplied, you might want to purchase a calligraphy starter kit so you can keep making your mark at home!

Leeds Grenville:

If you appreciate beautiful bijouterie, you’ll absolutely adore a workshop with silversmith Fiona MacIntyre in the postcard-perfect town of Merrickville. Her half-day, in-studio sessions take you through the process of crafting your own unique piece to wear (and show off to all your friends). Choose to make a textured bangle, bezel set pendant, and stacking rings. If nuptials are on the horizon, you can even create a set of bespoke wedding bands. 

Are you ready to dive into making something with your own hands? Don’t wait another minute to line up the workshops you’d like to join in South Eastern Ontario. They’re guaranteed to increase the fun quotient in your life—and expand your horizons!

The information provided here is current at the time of publication and is subject to change. Please check websites for listings of upcoming classes, costs and availability.