Feeling the small hall love? Expand on it!

fosh-basiaalmonte-3We have Festival fever!

We’re right in the middle of the 2016 Ontario Festival of Small Halls – set to embark on week two! In our opening week, local communities and patrons from across Eastern Ontario enjoyed their cherished spaces being brought to life with sell-out crowds for big name musicians.

small-morton-ceilingWe’re hearing rave reviews – not only from audience members, but also from the bands themselves. They adore the feeling of community that comes from playing in a treasured, small setting!

This week, we’re looking forward to shows in Winchester, Athens, Elgin, Delta, Arnprior, Spencerville, Westmeath and Perth! The Festival of Small Halls still has two weeks of amazing live music ahead, all the while paying tribute to small halls with history and heart.

So, you have your tickets – why not extend your visit to explore some of Eastern Ontario’s intriguing small towns? It’s easy to extend your stay and celebrate small town charm and community – by discovering it! Here are some suggestions for authentic experiences to get you in the spirit for week two.

Why not extend your visit to:

Lace up and go skating at Joel Steele Arena (577 Main St.) during public skating earlier in the day, and then enjoy a late lunch at one of Winchester’s authentic country diners. Tour the gorgeous countryside and be sure to explore J&L Produce Farm Market (1686 County Rd. 31) for a look at local agriculture including everything from pumpkins to apples! After you work up an appetite, get ready for a turkey dinner like no other at the St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. before the Festival show (at 510 Main St. Winchester). For more about the dinner, please click here: https://ontariosmallhalls.com/schedule/community-suppers/ Don’t forget to arrive a few minutes early for the show as the Old Town Hall includes a public museum to learn about the history and heritage of North Dundas.

Bring the camera and enjoy photographing the Spencerville Mill and this photo-ready community. Then, whet your appetite for great music by enjoying Tapas by Zolas! The Spencerville Mill is excited to partner with Zolas Restaurant to present Tapas from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Zolas will kick off the evening with a delicious modern Italian cuisine served tapas style. Only $17.50 per person. Don’t miss out, get your tickets in advance in person at the Spencerville Mill or online at http://www.spencervillemill.ca/music-at-the-mill.html.

There is a hidden gem here, with no signage, that is typically only found by locals – and it harbours the tallest tree in all of Ontario! Gillies Grove is a natural setting right in the heart of town. This old growth forest is known for its abundance of white pines and accessible trails. Take a peek and see if you can spot the 154-foot white pine! A truly magical place to explore before seeing Elliott BROOD.

See the beauty of the Rideau Canal through its stunning lakes and tight-knit community. Explore heritage in Delta by walking through the village and discovering its historical plaques, paying tribute to important people, buildings and times past. See the Delta Old Stone Mill National Historic Site and find peace on an easy hike along the trail in Lower Beverley Lake Park within walking distance from the Old Town Hall. The hemlocks on the trail are gorgeous! Work up your appetite as the Delta Old Town Hall is hosting dinner before the show. Starting at 6 p.m., a community buffet dinner is served in this historic venue. Vegetarian options available and dessert in cluded. Tickets are $12 and can be reserved by emailing: by emailing joanne.van.dreumel@gmail.com.

One of the most pristine sand dune and wetland complexes along the southern Ottawa River is found nearby, at Westmeath Provincial Park. It’s located on Bellow’s Bay, and even features a rare, active sandspit! The park has no facilities or overnight camping, but does offer swimming and wildlife viewing as it is home to more than 300 plant species, more than 180 bird species and many species at risk.

The town was once known for its larger-than-life murals, painted on the side of local landmark buildings. Some can still be seen today during a stroll around town. Glimpse further into the past at the Athens and Area Heritage Museum, which is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon on Wellington Street East. Don’t forget to stop by Willard’s Bakery and Deli on Main Street to get some famously big oatmeal cookies!

Why not make a full day of your visit to Perth? Whether you’re a spa person, are craving an eclectic shopping experience, or even if you long to paddle a beautiful kayak route, Perth is where it’s at. All that can be accessed downtown, set against a backdrop of gorgeous heritage buildings and Stewart Park – a sprawling green space complete with fairy tale bridges – right in the middle of town. A day may just might turn into an overnight stay here. Not to worry – there are accommodations options, too!

Take the heritage walking tour available through Rideau Lakes Township, taste the best small-town pizza around made at the local restaurant down the street, or take a drive to the end of Davis Lock Road to see the locks in action in a pristine, quiet setting along the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rideau Canal!

Don’t have your tickets yet? See our full schedule here. Please note that ticket purchase over the phone is also an option and can be easily done by calling 613.791.3476!

There are also wonderful events taking place in many host communities such as Lyndhurst, Burritt’s Rapids, and McDonald’s Corners! See the list of dinners and events here.

We can’t wait to celebrate more big music in a little place during week two!