Field Notes for Winter 2023

Fire & Ice at the Alton Mill, The Nutcracker live on stage, and lots of holiday markets will keep you busy this winter.

November 27, 2023 | | Field Notes

It’s Showtime!

Brampton On Stage’s holiday lineup at The Rose Brampton includes Ballet Jörgen’s The Nutcracker on December 13. Along with Tchaikovsky’s classic score, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection created the dazzling set, a backdrop of iconic paintings filled with lumberjacks, snowflakes and winter landscapes. And A Next Generation Leahy Christmas is back on December 17 with Celtic-inspired, toe-tapping holiday music.

Ballet Jörgen’s The Nutcracker at Rose Theatre. Photo by Ballet Jörgen.

From November 30 to December 23 Theatre Orangeville bursts with fun hosting Cinderella…if the Shoe Fits by Debbie Collins and David Nairn. This pantomime production is an all-ages, over-the-top event in which audience members are encouraged to boo the villain, cheer the hero, and sing along with the live band.

Then, banish winter blues with some trademark Norm Foster hilarity in Doris and Ivy in the Home February 8 to 25. When Doris, a retired prison guard, moves into a retirement village in Alberta, she forms a trio of friends that get into all kinds of antics, love designs and hot gossip.

The recently opened Ricky Shaede Art Studio in Orangeville.

Ricky Schaede’s Solo Act

Orangeville artist Ricky Schaede has opened his first solo studio, the Ricky Schaede Art Studio, on First Street. “I’ve devoted my life to art and this is a culmination of all my hard work over the last 10 years.” This dream-come-true space features a gallery of his original artwork, journals, and some Canadian-made art supplies you won’t find anywhere else. And, of course, Ricky will continue to teach art in his new digs.

The Holiday Spirit

Local shopping and festive family events offer a fast track to holiday spirit.

The Museum of Dufferin’s Holiday Treasures Arts & Crafts Sale runs November 29 to December 10 and features 60 local vendors, artists and makers. Shop for cozy knits, handmade jewelry, functional wood products, cute custom badges, along with original artwork and photography. While you’re shopping, enjoy the museum’s galleries throughout, including the permanent Corn Flower Glass exhibit.

Feeling crafty? Sign up for a one-hour MoD holiday decor workshop – make a garland, November 30 and December 8, or whip up a centrepiece, December 1 and December 10.

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  • The Christmas Village Market takes over the Orangeville Fairgrounds on December 16. Warm up at the hot cocoa bar with roving Tottenham-based coffee house Ben’s Beans. Snap a picture at the holiday selfie station, then tell Santa what’s on your wish list. Visit more than 100 local vendors, then head to the gift-wrapping station, where donations go to the Orangeville Food Bank.

    The Artful Giving Artisan Gift & Fine Art Sale at Alton Mill Arts Centre offers unique and affordable crafts and products to January 7. Mount Alverno’s exciting shopping event, Mistletoe Mountain, is back December 1 and 2.

    Campbell’s Cross Farm on King Street near Inglewood celebrates the season free on December 3. Take a tractor ride, roast marshmallows and search for holiday elves around the farm. Head inside the barn to stroll through a vendor market. And at Downey’s Farm on Heart Lake Road in Caledon, make your own reindeer food, visit with Santa, play “frozen fairways” ice golf, or catch a magic show, from November 25 to December 17.


    At Between the Clouds and the Stars, discover the surprising ways local companies have impacted international space travel. The exhibit runs until March 17 at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum & Archives.

    And Caledon Community Services’ Home for the Holidays Gala lights up the Royal Ambassador Event Centre in Caledon East on December 1. This year’s theme is Hope Under the Stars, so expect a sparkling evening of giving back to the community.

    Fresh Air Fun

    Even snow can’t stop diehard cyclists. Fat bikes make year-round cycling a cinch with their oversized and lower-pressure tires, offering great traction on snow. This winter, if you’re up for a tough workout, explore snowy terrain with freshly groomed bike trails at Island Lake Conservation Area and Mansfield Outdoor Centre. Both locations offer rentals.

    Fat biking at Island Lake Conservation Area.

    Fat biking at Island Lake Conservation Area. Photo by Credit Valley Conservation.

    Alton Mill Arts Centre’s Fire & Ice festival pulls out all the stops each year, with pond skating and hockey, a snowslide for kids, artsy workshops and ice carving. Have a bite at a local food truck, then wait for the grand finale – gathering to watch Paul Morin’s mixed media sculpture ignited by flame. Inside the mill, meet local artists at their winter open house, and grab a hot coffee and fresh pastries at the café. This is a pay-what-you-can event on January 27 and 28.

    Fire & Ice at the Alton Mill.

    Fire & Ice Festival at the Alton Mill. Photo by Alton Mill Arts Centre.

    On February 4, Mono Winterfest is back at Mono Community Centre. Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, roast
    marshmallows fireside, go skating, tobogganing or cross-country skiing, or try your luck at a winter obstacle course. Warm up inside at a lunch counter, then stroll through the community booths to learn about Mono happenings.

    Good Food News

    The Town of Orangeville and Orangeville Food Bank have launched a clever new kind of vending machine. Forget candy and junk food – this machine is stocked with affordable, healthy food priced at just 25 cents. Three days a week, the Food Bank’s community kitchen prepares sandwiches, wraps, salads and more to fill it. Temporarily located at Orangeville Town Hall, the vending machine will be relocated to the Mill Street location of the Orangeville Public Library when its renovations are completed.

    The Community Vending Machine is stocked full of meals priced at just 25 cents. Photo by the Town of Orangeville.

    The Orangeville Food Bank has also created Neighbours Community Market, a sliding-scale produce market to support community members in need. The market takes place Wednesdays in Shelburne at the Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex and Thursdays at the Grand Valley Public Library. When making a purchase, residents can discreetly select a 30 or 50 per cent deduction on their iPad payment system. Community members can also choose to pay full retail price on produce, with that money going right back to the program.

    Caledon Waste Collection Goes EV

    In October, Region of Peel launched Ontario’s first fully electric waste collections vehicle – the Mack Low Ride Electric Vehicle. Watch for it out collecting waste, recycling and organic matter in Caledon as part of the region’s fleet of 150 (most of those are powered by compressed natural gas) trucks. Officials hope the pilot project inspires and informs other municipal operators about air quality improvement, noise reduction and decreased reliance on fossil fuels.

    A New Year Health Hit

    After a full season of indulging, imbibing and forgetting all about self-care, get back to your health goals with The Shelburne Health and Wellness Expo on January 20 at Centre Dufferin District High School. Visitors can connect with practitioners such as naturopaths, osteopaths and therapists to help them start 2024 off right. Learn about wellness in a workshop or visit vendors specializing in healing, fitness and natural products. (Full disclosure: I’ll be there with my new organic skincare brand, Moon Spirit Organics. See Made In The Hills for more info.)



    About the Author More by Johanna Bernhardt

    Writer and dancer Johanna Bernhardt lives in Orangeville.

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