What an amazing opening weekend for our sixth year of Small Halls! So many memories made in enchanting venues, including churches, a barn and community halls.
Were you there when Harrow Fair raised the rafters of the barn at Furnace Falls Farm with incredible music? When Lee HARVeY OsMOND deeply connected to the sold out audience at ABC Hall? When Tomato Tomato had everyone yeehawing in Morton? When Jeremy Fisher played a literal baby grand piano on stage in Manotick – and still nailed the song? When Madison Violet made the sold out crowd in Burritt’s Rapids laugh, cry and sing? When the floor of the Chaffey’s Lock hall was vibrating from the entire crowd up dancing with The East Pointers?
We officially have Small Halls fever – and we’re ready to make more musical memories this weekend all across Eastern Ontario. Where will you be? See the full schedule and get tickets here.
This week is proving to be just as unique as our shows are bringing in more top Canadian talent and showcasing halls with heritage and heart in Athens, Griffith, Merrickville, Mississippi Mills, Delta, Spencerville, Dacre, Pakenham, Portland, Wilton and Maberly.
We’re welcoming artists like Harry Manx, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Cassie & Maggie, The Redhill Valleys, Catherine MacLellan and Mairi Rankin and Eric Wright, in addition to hosting two more Chef’s Table local country feasts featuring top chef’s surrounding Ottawa!
Did you see that Little Miss Ottawa visited the show in Tweed at the Marble Arts Centre? Read Little Miss Ottawa’s post: 5 Reasons You Can’t Miss the Festival of Small Halls.
So, you have your tickets – why not extend your visit to explore some of Eastern Ontario’s intriguing small towns? It’s easy to revel in rural charm and community.
Here are some authentic experiences to get you in the Festival spirit this week. Spend time in…
Athens – Small-town atmosphere combines perfectly with strong agricultural roots here. On your way to the show, stop by Mensen Farm on County Rd. 42 for local produce. Once in Athens, keep an eye out for massive painted wall murals that depict the area’s rich history on the exterior of landmark buildings – definitely selfie worthy! Be sure to stop by Willard’s Bakery and Deli on Main Street for their famous baked goods – their oatmeal cookies are the biggest around! Before the show, JJ’s Country Diner at 68 Main Street in Athens is ready to serve hungry Festival goers.
Griffith – If you’re a white water paddling enthusiast, hit the water before the show with the Greater Madawaska Canoe Rental, located just outside of town at the Lower Madawaska River Take Out. Grab a bite before the show at nearby restaurants, Calvyn’s Pub & Eatery, by the Madawaska River, or The Pine Valley Restaurant. Beautiful views meet delicious down home food.
Spencerville – Spend the afternoon in Spencerville! The Spencerville United Church is hosting a scrumptious themed community dinner before the show, so come hungry! Starting at 5 p.m., it features Rappie pie, loaded baked potato casserole, chicken and broccoli casserole, cottage potatoes and donairs. Blueberry grunt and trifle for dessert. Tickets $15.00 in advance, $20.00 at the door. Reservations can be made by phoning Holly Howard – 613-880-4761. Before the dinner, be sure to stroll the grounds at the Spencerville Mill by the river, and even indulge in the famous cinnamon buns from The Village Pantry in town!
Wilton – Get cheesy in Wilton! Just up the street from the hall is Wilton Cheese, which makes and sells everything from curd to bricks of cheese. Before the show, stop in to try some or pick up locally-made cheese that is the best you’ve ever tasted! If you’re a horse enthusiast, pop by Wilton Tack for everything from gifts to horse needs.
Delta – Starting at 6:00 PM at the Old Town Hall, a buffet dinner will be held with vegetarian options available. $15/per person. Reservations required in advance by email email@example.com. There will also be a cash bar available throughout the night. Explore heritage in Delta by walking through the village and discovering its historical plaques. See the 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!
Mississippi Mills – Before the sold-out show this Friday at Union Hall, be sure to pay a visit to the Clayton General Store – an historic, old-style general store near the shores of Clayton Lake. Gas, groceries, maple syrup, a lending library and a community billboard. Taste a little slice of country and visit the community hub for generations! There are also numerous hiking trails nearby, such as the Baird Trail with a unique boardwalk, so visitors can immerse themselves in the amazing nature that surrounds Union Hall!
Pakenham – Marvel at the only five-span stone bridge in Canada and then step back in time at the Pakenham General Store which has been in operation since 1840. The store still maintains its charm with wood floors, original wooden counters and antiques used by the original owners. Take in the natural beauty and friendly community of Pakenham and visit other unique shops and eateries before the sold out Harry Manx show.
Dacre – History and nature combine beautifully in the Dacre and Mount St. Patrick area! See the historic St. Patrick’s Church, said to be the oldest active Roman Catholic Church in Canada dating back to 1869. Be sure to take a peek at the legendary Holy Well, complete with a publicly-accessible small beauty of a white washed building surrounding it. Drive up the mountain for amazing views! For a unique perspective, tour the intriguing Bonnechere Caves underground in nearby Douglas. If you’re a ghost town seeker, the tiny abandoned town of Balaclava, focused on the lumber mill, is great source for photos.
Merrickville – This small town is the definition of charm. It’s where creativity meets history and combines effortlessly with community. Merrickville is a local shopping mecca, but it’s also an inspiring place to visit as artists flock to the town to create, showcase their work and live. Don’t forget to stop by the locks in town and watch an authentic Rideau Canal lock in action! For more info visit the MAG website.
Maberly: Stroll through “Fieldwork”, a dynamic and vibrant destination for the creation and experience of site-specific artwork. It’s a place for all ages to explore art as they experience nature. Paths through the forest lead to some eye-opening surprises. Fieldwork hosts work by local, national and international artists and invites the public to visit and explore the artwork.
Portland –Stroll around the village and take a breather in Hanna Park across the road from the community hall. This park has a gazebo and a gorgeous old tree that shelters a few shoreline benches. Watch the sun set over the water after the show or enjoy a relaxing waterfront meal at The Galley restaurant just a short walk down the street and overlooking the Big Rideau.
Don’t have your tickets yet? See our full schedule here and rally your friends: https://ontariosmallhalls.com/schedule/ Please note that ticket purchase over the phone is also an option and can be easily done by calling 613-402-1425.