Community Learns - The Kawartha Lakes Arts & Heritage Trail Impresses - SOUTH END TOUR

Submitted by Bev Williams

On April 15, we enjoyed the first Kawartha Lakes Arts & Heritage Trail Bus Tour, covering the south end of the municipality. A group of KLAC members and a team of municipal staff jumped aboard a DeNure Tours coach for a day of sightseeing, networking and learning at an amazing array of sites and locations.

At the LINDSAY LITTLE THEATRE, we met the management of the theatre who shared the history and workings of this delightful venue. It is amateur theatre at its best, inspiring all of us to let our hair down and go for it! They strive to bring exciting theatre to Kawartha Lakes and invite everyone to come out and enjoy it.

Next stop, ACADEMY THEATRE. The Academy is a historic showplace for a wide variety of entertainment with second to none acoustics and large stage, beautiful decor and comfortable seating! Standing on stage, we experienced a feeling for the excitement of performing in such a lovely theatre. Upstairs in the Guild Room, Kawartha Arts Network artists exhibit art work, open to the public when the box office is open and during events.

Our next stop was ‘YOUR DREAMS IN WOOD’ just around the corner. James Luckow showed us his tiny workshop where he custom designs and creates furniture, built to last as a true carefully crafted heirloom.

The bus drove by the OLYMPIA Restaurant on our way to the KAWARTHA ART GALLERY, where Susan Taylor, Director talked about the exhibits and the value of the gallery to the community. The gallery offers programming to local schools, youth, adults and special events for the community year round. A true treasure in Downtown Lindsay.

From Lindsay we proceeded down Hwy 35 to Pontypool to the BALLYDUFF TRAILS. On privately owned land, they are open to visitors to hike the trails and explore the sensitive natural area. A truly beautiful place to enjoy a refreshing walk.

Next stop was CLAYWORKS POTTERY just south of Bethany where Jodie Hames welcomed us to her pottery studio, clay pug mill, mixing tables, throwing wheels and kilns as well as her delightful display area of pots, mugs and humorous sculpted creatures. She creates functional items as well as delightful amusing characters in clay for all to enjoy.

On to WILLIAMS DESIGN STUDIO in downtown Bethany for a visit to Secret Garden where a few delicate snowdrops braving the chilly weather, the pond, faeries and fish still hiding under the ice. Inside the studio, Paul Williams shared the studio’s early days as an Ontario General Store, built in late 1800s and owned by an early ancestor of Paul’s, Levi Sisson. Paul and his wife Beverley bought the building in 1977 and restored it as a studio and gallery. The SPARK PHOTO FESTIVAL was on with Walter and Peggy Crackell’s art photos and Paul and Bev’s work in leather, metal, stone and wood on display.

Next was a wonderful lunch at SOUTH POND FARMS, where Danielle French, owner, inspired us with the history of her dream to create a delightful place for people to come and celebrate weddings and have gatherings and festivities in a rural country setting. She and her family grow and cultivate fruit, vegetables, herbs on the farm used in the amazing culinary experiences she offers her guests. Danielle delights in her passion through a variety of classes sharing her knowledge and experience in cooking and baking.

Following a lovely lunch, we headed to the third theatre on our tour, GLOBUS THEATRE near Bobcaygeon. THE LAKEVIEW ARTS BARN, once a cattle barn and dance hall, offers professional summer theatre as well as a diverse array of entertainment in their large renovated space. Patrons can make reservations for the new famous dinner before the show. We sampled their sinfully delicious chocolate dessert with Kawartha Dairy ice cream - yummy!

In Dunsford, Sheila Brenchley showcased her PEACE OF POTTERY workshop beautifully nestled in beside Sturgeon Lake. In her much sought after pottery classes, you learn to use a potter’s wheel with stoneware clay fired in an electric kiln to Cone 6-7. All her functional pieces are safe for cooking and washing. She even let us sit at the wheel!

Last stop was at RHONDA LAURSEN’S STUDIO on the shores of Sturgeon Lake. It is a spectacular waterfront location where Rhonda creates her beautiful artworks in watercolour, oils and acrylics. She also experiments with modelling paste, woodworking and resin. We found her working on needle felting, creating a unique art piece in colourful hand dyed wool.

Our wonderful bus tour came to an end after visiting many of exciting arts venues on the Kawartha Arts and Heritage Trail. It is well worth taking a day or two to explore the diversity and uniqueness of the cultural destinations in beautiful scenic Kawartha Lakes.