Visit Georgian Bay – Arts

The scenic landscapes of the Heart of Georgian Bay have been the subject of artists of all mediums and caliber. Its long history is documented through sketches, paintings, sculptures, photographs and stories. Its languages live on through cherished song and celebration. The scenic landscapes of the Heart of Georgian Bay have been the subject of artists of all mediums and caliber. Its long history is documented through sketches, paintings, sculptures, photographs and stories. Its languages live on through cherished song and celebration.

The Huronia Museum & Ouendat Village is a cultural gem, located in Midland. Within its walls, it houses over 10,000 artifacts pertaining to the history of Huronia; the geographical region inhabited by the Huron or Ouendat people prior to their dispersal in 1649. It also features a replica pre-contact Ouendat village, where you can learn about how the Indigenous people of this land lived prior to European colonization.

But what may surprise you to find in this local history museum, is a fantastic collection of artwork capturing life and the landscape of Huronia. In 1976, the Historic Art of Huronia Gallery opened its doors, and features pieces by artists like David Milne, Homer Watson, Manly MacDonald, Franklin Arbuckle, Hilton Hassell, Mary Hallen (Victorian era watercolours), William J. Wood, Thor Hansen, and Ted Lord. Since its opening, new pieces have been added to the collection, to include contemporary art, Indigenous art and archeology and an extensive collection of photography by John W. Bald. Today the Huronia Museum displays the largest collection of Group of Seven artwork north of the Greater Toronto Area.

The Group of Seven captured the windswept pines and rocky shores of Georgian Bay in a time when Canadian landscape was considered ugly and unworthy of being painted. This group of seven talented artists, hence their name, challenged public perception by painting scenes of Ontario, and later Canada from 1919 to 1931. Together, they created thousands of sketches and paintings and became pioneers of new Canadian art, finding new ways to capture Ontario’s beauty.

The Huronia Museum is also a Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Official Film Circuit Centre, which brings the best of Canadian and International film to small communities across the country, including Midland. Last year’s lineup featured films like the Academy Award-Winner and Golden Globe Award-Winner If Beale Street Could Talk, and Golden Globe Nominated Beautiful Boy. All proceeds return to the Museum, to continue to offer excellent programming for years to come.

After an afternoon of wandering the museum, you may want to take in a theatre performance. Huronia Players is a community theatre group based out of a state of the art theatre in the Midland Cultural Centre. They not only produce three major productions a year, but also offer educational workshops for theatre arts. They offer a range of productions, from drama to comedy to musicals, all of which are thoroughly enjoyable. The 2019 season includes Murder’s in the Heir, an audience interactive murder-mystery-comedy, Hilda’s Yard, a delightful comedy, and the Tony Award-Winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Stay tuned for the fall lineup, with 3-week performances running from November to May. 

Before the show, you can explore the rest of the facility, including Quest Art School + Gallery. Quest is a volunteer-driven organization that makes art accessible to the average person. They offer outreach education programs and workshops, operate a shop filled with one-of-a-kind gift items created by local artists and artisans and three art galleries with rotating exhibitions featuring both local artists and Canadian contemporary artists. This summer’s exhibitions speak to the importance of water; in the Upper Gallery will beImmersed, a collection of works by Gerald Vaandering and Julia White, the Atrium Gallery will host an exhibition glorifying the mystery and life giving qualities of water, and the Project Gallery will unveil a collaborative community art project created by the Quest Art School + Gallery, Hero Centre and the Midland Public Library.

Spend a morning browsing the Newton Street Art Barn, to find the perfect keepsake from your time in the Heart of Georgian Bay. This truly unique shopping opportunity includes handmade items and original artwork by over 270 artists and artisans, with a focus on recycled, reused and repurposed pieces. Find antiques, collectibles, pottery, paintings, clothing, toys, pet items, furniture and more under the roof of the barn, plus farm fresh meat and produce. This eclectic shop is open year-round, but only Wednesday to Saturday, so plan your visit appropriately to avoid disappointment. You don’t want to miss it!

You’ll want to have dinner before your show. Serving up autentico napoletano Italian wood fired pizza since 2016, Dillon’s Wood Fired Pizza may be small, but it has a warm and inviting atmosphere, and mouthwatering food. The owner and staff are passionate about what they do, and that is reflected in the quality of the dishes they serve. Guests can watch the cooking process thanks to their open concept kitchen and see the fresh ingredients transform into a delicious pizza or other item from the menu. Reservations are encouraged because this place is well-loved by locals.

Looking for an accommodation option that allows you to relax and enjoy your surroundings? Sugar Ridge Retreat Centre is a place for people to reconnect with themselves, to connect with others or to get away and have some fun. Surrounded by nature, there are endless ways to enjoy your time at the resort, exploring their 150 acres of forest and lush meadows, on the 20km of trails accessible from the property. Stay in a quaint cabin in the woods, enjoy home cooked 100% vegetarian meals and disconnect. Whether a solo traveler, a family, or a group retreat, there are many options to accommodate your needs.

When searching for a keepsake item to remember your time in the Heart of Georgian Bay, pop in to Saturday Afternoons Home Store in Downtown Midland. This shop is filled with beautiful home decor items, ranging from furniture to dishware, bedding, rugs, decor and more. It offers a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere with quality items often compared to Pottery Barn. Their motto – love what you buy, like what you spend.

After an afternoon learning all about the history of Penetanguishene, you may want to indulge in a cold one. Flynn’s Traditional Irish Pub is the place to go. In true Irish fashion, it is located right on the corner of Main and Robert Street, always open, and never charges a cover. This traditional pub hosts live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night, serves up great pub grub, 27 different whiskeys and serves many different brews on tap, pulled exactly the way they should be.

For more information on all the great things to do in the Heart of Georgian Bay, visit www.gbay.ca