After putting up with winter chills, Ontarians are ready to spend as much time outside as possible once the summer months arrive. Fortunately, there re plenty of venues across the province that offer arts and culture in the sun or under the stars.
4th Line Theatre
For some, theatre can seem an inaccessible experience, bringing to mind Shakespearean language and Sunday best attire in a formal historic building. If, instead, you crave wide open meadows and laid back rural charm 4th Line Theatre may be for you. Fourth Line boasts the nostalgic allure of a classic drive-in movie where your entertainment is enjoyed with a sweet summer breeze and wide open spaces. This summer, the line-up juxtaposes a play about life in early 20th century Ontario with one about cyberbullying.
Not too far away from this Millbrook theatre is Muddy’s Pit BBQ
, a fantastic little summer restaurant serving amazing bbq food.
What’s a more classic summer movie experience than a drive-in movie? Take a nostalgic trip to Pembroke on the Ottawa River to find the Skylight Drive-in Cinema. On Thursdays, for $20 per car, you can see the latest new releases (and $14 for adults and $7 for youth on weekends). Vintage cars (1980 or older) get the driver in free.
Before hitting the movie theatre, try spending the afternoon on Bonnechere Caves, a fantastic natural wonder less than 45 minutes away.
Eden Mills Writers’ Festival
For many book lovers, it sounds like a dream: a favourite author reading to you from their new book as you recline on a grassy slope, gazing up at a bright late summer sky with the sound of a nearby creek gurgling by. This dream becomes reality among the historic stone buildings and on green fields in the tiny village of Eden Mills (near Guelph), which each year hosts a renowned Writers’ Festival
. With authors from around the world (although with a powerful Canadian contingent), the festival is a celebration of literature, countryside, and community – both a village community and a borderless community of story lovers. This year, the Festival is September 7-9.
Visiting Eden Mills is also a chance to tour North America's first carbon neutral village
Algonquin Park Outdoor Theatre
Visiting the country’s oldest provincial park isn’t all moose, canoeing, and camping. The park’s outdoor theatre hosts regular wolf howls (Thursdays in August) as well as special guest entertainment, including musicians (this year: the Wakami Wailers and David Archibald). What could be more magical that combining pristine natural surroundings with outdoor entertainment?
Ottawa’s Strathcona Park hosts the Odyssey Theatre troupe each July and August. Specialising in productions that showcase the power of masks and movement, the theatre offers a vibrant and contemporary theatre experience. Not to mention, it’s not often you can experience theatre under the stars next to the Rideau River.
Jackson Triggs Amphitheatre
This award-winning Niagara winery hosts a summer concert series in its outdoor amphitheatre in June, July, August. Stone seats carved into a grassy green hill lead down to the stage covered by a dramatically projecting shelter, lit from below at night. This summer, highlights include musicians Alan Doyle and The Tenors. Surrounded by over 11 acres of vineyards, this outdoor theatre makes a great venue for relaxing after a day of wine tasting and touring.
The Haliburton Forest not only offers 300 sq km of camping, a wolf centre, and a canopy walk, but also a performing and visual arts festival. Concerts are given at the Bone Lake Amphitheatre, which floats dramatically on the lake with 600 seats surrounded by pine woods. This year, the festival takes place Augut 15-19.
St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival
The historic waterfront town of Prescott hosts the SLSF company each summer in its outdoor amphitheatre overlooking the St. Lawrence River. This year’s productions are Taming of the Shrew and As You Like It.