Our Favourite Picks for Winter 2017

Must stitch and read, must pose with the Grinch and must see Theatre Orangeville’s The Last Christmas Turkey!

November 22, 2017 | | Must Do

Must Dip

Sometimes building community means church suppers and volunteering at town events. And sometimes it means throwing yourself into frigid water on New Year’s Day! That’s the M.O. at the Grand Valley Lions Annual Polar Bear Dip, where upwards of 30 to 50 people have been jumping into the Grand River for the past 26 years. Individuals and groups – including entire local sports teams – come from all over to watch or wade in. There’s a well-known pair of twins who travel from Guelph to plunge to celebrate their January 1 birthday.

To become a “dipper,” collect a minimum of $10 in pledges –who wouldn’t want to support such courage? Money raised goes to the local food bank. Spectators – usually a crowd of about 100 – bring non-perishable food items. There are two buses to change in. Once back in dry clothes, dippers tend to head to local establishments for warmth, food and drink.

“It’s a wonderful expression of community and camaraderie, in addition to raising funds and collecting non-perishable food for the local food bank,” says event organizer Randy McClelland. “It’s really heartwarming to see the support and encouragement from spectators. And if you’re a participant, it’s an experience you’ll never forget.” The event runs noon to 2 p.m. at Stuckey Park in Grand Valley. For details, email [email protected].

Must Cook

The rich scent of cardamom, coriander and other spices fills the air at the Indian Cooking Classes in Headwaters offered by Khel Centre for Creativity & Inner Peace in Erin. Fast, easy and delicious dishes are the focus – but homemade paneer and a few favourite street snacks are on the menu too. Classes run the last Thursday of every month in the lovely stone kitchen of the Forks of the Credit Inn in Cataract. Go to khelcentre.com.

The Holiday Feast of Local Harvest in Horning’s Mills is a neighbourly tradition done right, with seasonal food and drink fuelling rounds of heartfelt carolling December 9. The annual volunteer-run fundraiser supports the hall’s operations. Learn more at horningmillshall.com.

Icing will fly at the third annual Gingerbread House Decorating Competition for young adults on December 14 at Shelburne Public Library. Young designers build themed cookie creations and library patrons vote for the winner. Check out shelburnelibrary.ca.

Must Pose

Kyle McGuire, the Grinch and Julie Lovatt. Photo by Femke Photography.

Kyle McGuire, the Grinch and Julie Lovatt. Photo by Femke Photography.

For those not feeling up for the mall Santa this year, there are plenty of alternatives. At Photos with The Grinch, the iconic party pooper visits the Alton Mill to pose for keepsake portraits by photographer Femke Randeraad. Get there weekends 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. until December 3. Details at altonmill.ca.

Downey’s Farm Market in south Caledon offers Lunch with Santa for adults and kids alike. After a piping hot pizza bun, hot drink and a cookie, tykes get a special gift and chat with Santa (parents, bring your own camera). The fun runs weekends to December 17. Reserve your time at downeysfarm.com.

Breakfast with Santa at the Trillium United Church in Mono Mills is a cozy, low-key way to mingle with the jolly man and friends on Saturday, December 2, 9–11 a.m. Pancakes, a photo op and treats make this event sparkle. Facebook: Trillium United Church Caledon

Must Stitch

Hybrids aren’t just for cars. Orange thREADs is a monthly mash-up of a book club and stitchery group at Orangeville Public Library. The group meets every third Tuesday of the month in the early afternoon. Follow the thread at orangevillelibrary.ca.

Knitting and doing good cross paths at [email protected] at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives. Beginners and experienced knitters gather to make items to donate to area charities. If you’ve always wanted to learn or teach, this is a great chance to start. All supplies are provided by PAMA. The needles get clacking every Thursday evening. Visit pama.peelregion.ca.

Must See

Wingfield Farm funny man and In The Hills columnist Dan Needles penned the script for Theatre Orangeville’s The Last Christmas Turkey, so we know we’ll be clutching our sides as we watch the musical’s protagonists shelter a turkey destined to be the, ahem, guest of honour at the local church’s Christmas supper. Clive VanderBurgh, another Headwaters local, created the upbeat music and lyrics. Performances run Thursday November 30 to Saturday December 23. Book tickets at theatreorangeville.ca.

In Hillsburgh, Aladdin lands at Century Church Theatre runs through to December 3. During the panto-style holiday musical, the actors on stage will be expecting plenty of audience participation, so go ready to holler. See times and dates at centurychurchtheatre.com.

Go traditional with the Ballet Jörgen du Canada’s evening production of The Nutcracker at Brampton’s Rose Theatre December 5. Just a few bars of the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and you’ll be all in. Tickets at rosetheatre.ca.

About the Author More by Janice Quirt

Janice Quirt is a freelance writer who lives in Orangeville.

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