Field Notes for Winter 2021
Where to shop, craft, donate this season.
We’ve always enjoyed holiday markets for their festive vibes. This year these events have the added benefit of being a solution to the woes of globally gummed-up supply chains. Buy local and walk home with your gift list done? Heaven.
The 17th annual Holiday Treasures Arts & Crafts Sale is on at Museum of Dufferin in Mulmur December 1 to 12. Last year’s hybrid in-person and online event had record-breaking sales. This year the gallery features about 60 vendors with an assortment of jewelry, textiles, pottery and woodworking. Prefer online shopping? Nine vendors are available on the MoD website.
On December 10 to 12, Caledon’s Cambium Farms hosts their first Holiday Market featuring local artisans as well as wreaths and Christmas trees. Fuel up at their food trucks, and if you’re hankering for something stronger than cider, there’s a cash bar. Proceeds from a silent auction support Bethell Hospice in Inglewood.
The entire Alton Mill feels like a holiday market right through the holidays. In addition to its art galleries and shops brimming with gift ideas, Headwaters Arts hosts the Artful Giving Show – full of one-of-a-kind art, jewelry, fashion, funky functional pieces and more from a wide range of Ontario artists – until January 2. And on the weekend of December 11, families can book a family photo with the Grinch with Femke Photography.
Sleigh bells ring!
If your family considers a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon ride through snowy trails part of the fun of fetching a Christmas tree, be sure to plan a visit to one of these local farms: Erin Hill Acres (formerly Wintersinger’s Tree Farm) in Hillsburgh, Adams Tree Farms in Laurel or Hockley Valley Farm in Mono. Bundle up!
Save a seat!
Theatre Orangeville is back with live shows for the winter season. A Christmas Carol will be running December 1 to 23. Rod Beattie – beloved as Walt Wingfield and all the other characters in the Wingfield Farm series – is playing every character from Scrooge to the three ghosts. And in March, Leslie McCurdy takes the solo reins as both writer and performer of the one-woman show Things My Fore-Sisters Saw. The play revolves around four women of African descent whose stories shaped Canadian history, including Marie-Joseph Angélique, an enslaved Montreal woman sentenced to death in 1734 for arson, and Mary Ann Shadd, the first Black female newspaper publisher in Canada. The show runs March 3 to 13.
DIY Time: Back in the studio
The Caledon Art Studio (formerly 4Cats) in Bolton offers eight super cute crafts for kids and adults each month. In December, create your own whimsical clay ornaments, hygge tealight lanterns or a gorgeous stoneware clay serving bowl for holiday entertaining. Workshops can usually be completed in one to two sessions.
Artist Spotlight: Amy Shackleton
In her Playing with Fire and Ice exhibit at the Museum of Dufferin, Shackleton expresses her concerns about our conflicted relationship to the environment and explores the effects of climate change across Canada. Her inventive painting technique trades brushes for squeeze bottles and relies on gravity to guide the paint into place. The exhibit runs until December 18.
En plein air
Although galleries are open again, there is an uptick in outdoor and public art worth a visit. Inuk artist Katherine Takpannie’s banner photograph, One, stands at the main entrance of Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) in Brampton. The wintry piece shows a pregnant Takpannie wearing a hand-sewn amautik, a parka with an infant pouch. According to the PAMA description, the work is a reflection on the connection of the Inuit people to the land. In Grand Valley, the Riverbend Artists group has made a splash with the new Main Street Brooklyn Bridge Mural on the buttresses of the town’s bridge over the Grand River. Against the forest-green-painted foundation, look for crisp, contrasting white images of an owl, a fish, a cow and other delights.
And in Orangeville, 500 residents answered the call to pitch in and paint individual 4 x 4-inch tiles in various colour-co-ordinated blocks to create a community artwork. The tiles were hung together as an 8 x 12-foot mural of the historic town hall building. The overall design was created by an Edmonton-based arts group, Mural Mosaic, and the final work now sits outside the council chamber at the town hall for viewing during regular business hours.
For our furry friends
Animal lovers work year-round finding homes for abandoned pets and raising funds for local shelters. Orangeville’s Christine Adams uses her Broadway pet store, Global Pets, as a donation hub for animal charities. “I believe we can make a difference if we all support our little piece of the world,” she says. Every February Christine stages an in-store fundraiser called Show Us Your Heart, with proceeds donated to Feral Cat Rescue in Shelburne and the Ontario SPCA.
Puzzling it out
Cheltenham-based Playful Pastimes is longtime puzzle-lover Patty Davidson’s answer to busting stress – especially during a pandemic. While puzzles sold out everywhere else, Patty kept local gamers busy with whimsical scenes full of wild pops of colour. Since starting the business in 2020, Patty has donated 100 puzzles to the Caledon Meals on Wheels program to help reach vulnerable community members. Playful Pastimes also donates a percentage of profits to the Brain Canada Foundation and Youth Mental Health Canada. Smart all ’round.