Meet Waterloo, Ont. this summer and discover a new world of cultural activities.
Waterloo Region – the area including Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge – rocks this summer from music and theatre to new gallery exhibits including dinosaurs and one by Yoko Ono.
Geeks, aggies and artsies
Even though the geeks shall inherit the earth, Waterloo Region – famous for technology and agriculture – is quickly becoming known for its more artistic side.
The region has “a tremendous amount of talented artists of all types” and during the summer there are events to “show off” everything it has to offer and its cultural landmarks, said Tracey Desjardins of the Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corp.
Kitchener marked its 100th anniversary in June and one of the events is billed as the “World's Longest Picnic Attempt” on July 15.
In its 20th year, the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival welcomes musicians from around the world to this free three-day fest.
Appearing from July 20 to 22 will be Holly Cole, Alexis Baro, Manteca and many others jazz artists.
The Kitchener Blues Festival keeps the party rocking from Aug. 9 to 12, “transforming the city into a musical landscape with more than 60 concerts at the free event.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery has the Light Motives exhibition from July 18 that’s “an exploration of Kitchener's past future and future past.”
Clay and glass
Another must-see on any cultural exploration is a visit to the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery.
Located in Waterloo, it hosts critically acclaimed exhibitions that challenge ideas and perceptions of the definitions of art, craft and design.
THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener has Dinosaurs! visiting until Sept. 23 and is a big attraction for children who can walk amongst these towering animatronic prehistoric beasts.
There is also the Add Colour exhibition showcasing 10 works personally selected by Ono, widow of the late Beatle John Lennon.
“In addition to art on display, there are also living monuments to art like the Doon Heritage Village and Castle Kilbride,” Desjardins said.
Doon at the Waterloo Regional Museum is a “living village” set in 1914 with historic buildings, interpreters, farm animals and fun activities for all.
Castle Kilbride in Baden, a Victorian-era monument built in 1877, is considered a local landmark because of its ornate style.
Its original owner was James Livingston, a Mason known as the “Linseed Oil King of Canada.”
The house has a “vast array of secret Masonic imagery” and is a focus of the current exhibit, the Mysterious Masons and Maccabees.
North of K-W is the Drayton Theatre and St. Jacobs County Playhouse with numerous plays and productions from the Sound of Music to Annie.
To plan a getaway, go to www.ExploreWaterlooRegion.com; 1-877-585-7517
All a flutter
Here’s a chance to discover five of Canada’s aquatic ecosystems – oceans, lakes, rivers, wetlands and estuaries.
The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is hosting the Canada’s Waterscapes exhibit from the Museum of Nature through Sept. 4.
There are audio and video features along with life-size models where visitors can “conduct their own symphony of frog calls, discover the nesting grounds of the endangered whooping crane and marvel at the intricacy of the baleen from a minke whale,” said executive director Adrienne Brewster.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the conservatory at 2500 Kossuth Rd., Cambridge, with admission $10.95; $9.75, senior/youth; $5.75, children; free, two and younger. www.cambridgebutterfly.com; (519) 653-1234
Calling all teddy bears
Teddies are gathering on Sunday (July 8) for a picnic at Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London.
Visitors are invited to bring their stuffed friends to the Victorian Teddy Bear Picnic for “an afternoon of games, storytelling, a parade and afternoon tea,” said Sheila Johnson, executive director. www.fanshawepioneervillage.ca; (519) 457-1296
Take off, eh
Check out and even take a ride in an historic Harvard Second World War aircraft at the Tillsonburg Airport.
The Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association is holding its next “Fly Days” on July 21 and Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Come see the fleet of historic Harvard trainers as they take to the skies – and you can even book a crew ride,” said director Bob Trowell.
“Tour the hangars, talk to the volunteers, see the displays and enjoy a barbecue lunch,” he added. www.harvards.com; (519) 842-9922