Got tickets? Discover authentic small town experiences!

festival-of-small-halls-experienceOne day, folks!

Twenty-four hours until the Festival of Small Halls kicks off two weeks of amazing live music, while paying tribute to local small halls with history and heart. Many of the shows are selling out this week, with halls like the Red Brick School in Elgin, Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall and the Spencerville Mill announcing their sold out status in the last day alone!

So, you have your tickets – why not extend your visit to explore some of Eastern Ontario’s intriguing small towns? Imagine savouring the mouth-watering creations from a local chocolatier in Seeley’s Bay, or feeding the resident pig at Wendy’s Country Market before the show at the Morton Community Hall? How about lacing up and enjoying a quick hike on Beckwith’s Goodwood Marsh Nature Trail before listening to Breabach at Stonefields Heritage Farm? Or grabbing an ice cream cone at The Opinicon and strolling through the bustling community of Chaffey’s Lock?

It’s easy to extend your stay and celebrate small town charm and community – by discovering it! Here are some suggestions for authentic experiences to get you in the spirit for kicking off the Festival this week.

During the first week of the Festival, why not make a full day of your visit to:

Chaffey’s Lock: Take a stroll down the Cataraqui Trail and see the view from high atop the revamped trestle bridge; marvel at the engineering genius of the UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal as you watch boats going through the lock; enjoy a coffee and some home baking at CanalSide Cafe, tour the work of local artisans at The Mill Art Gallery then have dinner at the newly restored Opinicon Resort before your show!

Beckwith: What’s old is new again! Lanark County is renowned for its maple syrup – and its abundance of quality antiques. Take the time to stop by Log Farm Antiques in Black’s Corners and Wilson’s Woodland Antiques to find your newest heirloom.

Almonte: Experience two centuries of heritage in this unique downtown along the Mississippi River. Enjoy shopping and dining on Mill Street featuring boutiques, antiques and galleries. Visit the unique Mississippi Valley Textile Museum National Historic Site to discover static and working displays of textile equipment and processes focusing on the region’s heritage, culture and role of the textile industry in the development of Canada!

Seeley’s Bay: Stroll down Main Street and stop by the Nest Egg for one-of-a-kind items from local artisans. Centennial Park is a lovely place for a picnic – for the more adventurous, this is an excellent location to put in your canoe or kayak for a leisurely paddle before the show!

Pembroke: Want a truly unique local shopping experience?  Then a visit to Hugli’s Blueberry Ranch is a must. You’ll find locally-produced items, gourmet food, goodies from the bake shop, homemade fudge, ice cream and more.

Maxville: Your taste buds will appreciate a trip to Muir’s Bakery! This family owned business was established since 1929 in Montreal, Quebec. They feature Scottish Specialties such as meat pies, steak/kidney/mushroom pies, Empire or Princess cookies and of course Haggis!

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 at various stages of their careers and invites the public to visit and explore the artwork all year long.

Morton: Head over to Jones Falls to marvel at the engineering genius of the UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal as you watch boats going through the locks. Learn about the spectacular Stone Arch Dam known locally as “The Whispering Dam”. Have a friend stand at one end of the massive structure and you go stand at the other end. Then whisper. The dam carries the soft sound for more than 100 metres! Next, enjoy a beverage or a meal at historic Hotel Kenney established in 1877. Don’t forget to visit Wendy’s Country Market before the April Verch Band matinee show. The market is located at 408 Fortune Line Road in Lyndhurst, Ontario. For more info please visit

Don’t have your tickets yet? See our full schedule here.

There are also wonderful events taking place in many host communities such as Lyndhurst, Burritt’s Rapids, Spencerville, Winchester, Delta and McDonald’s Corners! See the list of dinners, apps, markets and more here.

See you soon!