The Heart of Georgian Bay is a cultural destination like none other. Here you can find museums and living history sites representing time periods from the 17th to 20th century, that tell the stories of those who have resided here throughout the ages. You can also find an exciting arts community, inspired by the sights and sounds of Georgian Bay. Hear the mother tongue of our Franco-Ontarian residents and see the colourful influence of our Indigenous community. There is no lack of cultural assets and events to explore.
The Midland Cultural Centre should be your first stop. Access three free art galleries, with rotating exhibits. Don’t miss the newly dedicated Gallery of Indigenous Art, telling the stories of this vibrant part of our community. On exhibit until September 29th is Gaagige-Bimaadiziwin Everlasting Life, showcasing the work of Clayton Samuel King. This collection explores the balance of belief, tradition, and historical knowledge of the Anishinaabek of Central Ontario, and is influenced by the everlasting life of ancestral teachings from the past, present, and the hereafter.
Just down the road, the Huronia Museum houses a large collection of work by the Group of Seven, famous for their depictions of Canadian landscapes, including many scenes of Georgian Bay. Here you will also find exhibits on the evolution of Midland as well as a reconstructed pre-contact Huron-Ouendat village.
For the more dramatic visitors, there are three options to enjoy performing arts, as well as many opportunities for live music.
For a professional theatre experience, head to the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene. Named for its location in the historic wharf of Discovery Harbour, Drayton Entertainment stages seasonal productions for all ages and are looking forward to welcoming theatre-lovers back after two years of closures. This year, they have expanded their season to offer a family-friendly panto production of Wizard of Oz, from November 10 to 26. You may know the story, but you’ve never seen it like this, with a winning combination of modern music, lively dancing, outrageous costumes and audience participation.
Be sure to leave yourself a little extra time before the show to stroll the boardwalk – it is arguably the most Instagrammable location in the Heart of Georgian Bay.
You will find a wide range of performances hosted at the Midland Cultural Centre, from award-winning musicians of all genres to intimate conversations with Canadians of significance. This fall’s programming includes Indigenous folk group, Digging Roots, Steve Strongman, Pierre Bensunan and tribute bands to The Beatles, Johnny Cash and Queen.
Under the same roof is the Huronia Players Theatre, a community theatre group who host three productions per year in their intimate 120-seat state of the art theatre. Its location in Downtown Midland pairs perfectly with dinner for a romantic date night. From November 4 to 19 they will feature Gibson & Sons, a hilarious, touching comedy about family, love and making all kinds of relationships work… even the unexpected kind.
Visit the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum & Archives year-round for an intimate look at life in Penetanguishene. Highlights include Simcoe County’s oldest car and a fully stocked General Store circa 1875. If you think you may have genealogical ties to the area, make an appointment to deep dive into their extensive genealogy room collection. Who knows what you might find!
Don’t miss a visit to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and Martyrs’ Shrine during the fall harvest season. Immerse yourself in the lives of the first European settlers and learn of the interactions with the local Indigenous people over 400 years ago. Together, these neighbouring attractions make a great day steeped in history. Both locations are open until October 9th, culminating with the Hometown Harvest Festival.
And because November will be here before you know it – mark your calendar for First Light, an enchanting holiday event during which the historic site is illuminated by over 5,000 candles and brought to life with the sounds and smells of the festive season. It really is a sight to see.
Enter through the Discovery Harbour Charthouse to explore the kilometer-long historic site during Pumpkinferno. Although the historic site is now closed for the regular season, the waterfront naval and military base is transformed for the fall into something entirely different. This award-winning special event runs on weekends in October and features spectacular exhibits of hand-crafted artificial pumpkins throughout the historic site. This year, Thursday nights are reserved for a drive-through experience.
While you’re here, you’ll need a place to Stay and some great places to Eat. We’ve got you covered, so browse our website for more information.
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