John Swartz


Ready to kick open the doors

Two things are happening Sept. 30, and now would be a good time to order that split personality. Two? Try dozens split among two umbrellas.

Cooling down at the jazz festival

We are a month away from the Orillia Jazz Festival. It's still coming together with several acts yet to be announced, but the available pickings are interesting.

Season’s curtain call nears

Summer theatre in town is hitting the home stretch. The Orillia Opera House has Weekend Comedy, a play by Sam and Jeanne Bobrick. I have not seen the play yet, but I am hopeful the streak of good plays at the opera house will continue.

Partner with the province

Last week, the province released a summary report of the consultation for the Huronia Regional Centre land (which they apparently have renamed the Huronia Regional Centre Campus).

Security camera

Smile for the camera

The issue of the mysterious graffiti that popped up in various locations downtown over the past month illustrates two points.

Poetry slam dunk

I went to a poetry reading Sunday. There are a lot of things I could have been doing, like packing my drum and heading to an industrial park to practise for a few hours, but I went to a poetry reading.

Mariposa artistic director Mike Hill holds a copy of his book The Mariposa Folk Festival: A History. PATRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES

Seasonably funny

Woo-hoo! I'm going to be a reader at the Leacock Summer Festival. I'm not talking about reading the program to stay on track, but a story I wrote, out loud, to an audience.

A short downpour did not dampen the performance by Bruce Cockburn Sunday evening, nor the audience commitment to see a show. Most of the thousands on hand stayed to be rewarded with great performances by the Great Lake Swimmers and Lance Anderson’s Last Waltz show to close a fantastic Mariposa Folk Festival weekend. JOHN SWARTZ/SPECIAL TO THE PACKET & TIMES

Festival goes out with a bang

Ed Robertson is not the only prankster in the Barenaked Ladies, he just happens to have control of the microphone most of the time when the band is not playing music.

Orillia knows how to celebrate

What a great Canada Day. I could be wrong, but I think the crowd for the fireworks was the biggest. I walked from one end of the waterfront to the other, twice, before the lights went out and it seemed there were almost as many in the park as when Casino Rama had its fireworks show about 20 years ago.

Canada flag. File photo.

A party 150 years in the making

Here it is. Saturday the moment arrives to expend all the energy built since last fall for this country and this city to pass a milestone: 150 years of organization.

A humorous adventure

Friday night started with a bit of humour perpetrated by me, on me. It was the annual Leacock Medal for Humour soiree, operating under a new name - Laugh With Leacock - and I discovered when I set my autopilot for the Leacock Museum, where it's been held for at least 20 years, it has a new venue. I didn't think the wedding party rehearsal was the e

New Somniatis show this weekend

St. Paul’s Centre is the venue for Somniatis: Stained Glass Interpreted Friday and Saturday and the Orillia Vocal Ensemble’s (OVE) Canadian Choral Panorama Sunday.