Canada’s troubadour, award-winning singer-songwriter, and international folk legend Gordon Lightfoot has left behind an indelible legacy on music and culture. In his hometown of Orillia, “The Sunshine City”, Lightfoot’s musical mark is amplified within the City’s thriving arts scene.
Inspiring generations of local musicians and songwriters, paid tribute to in numerous public art displays and downtown galleries, and having influenced major annual festivals and events including the return and legacy of the Mariposa Folk Festival, Lightfoot has become a vital piece of Orillia’s cultural makeup.
This November, celebrating, paying tribute, and sharing memories of Orillia’s favourite son will become a 3-day-long affair with the return of the Lightfoot Days Pop-up Festival.
Running from November 3 to 5, Lightfoot Days will bring a weekend full of live music, storytelling, and remembrance. After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this festival is a much-anticipated return to celebrating Lightfoot’s remarkable songbook and his influence on the local arts scene.
On Friday evening at the historic St. Paul’s Centre, the place where “it all began” for Lightfoot as a young choir boy, the festival will kick off with a performance from Canada’s foremost Lightfoot tribute band, Classic Lightfoot Live. Main stage tickets are $45 and are selling out quickly, so head to OrilliaOperaHouse.ca to reserve your spot.
Throughout the weekend, a long list of “folk crawl” performances will take place throughout the City’s restaurants, bars, and shops, offering visitors both paid and free shows to drop into.
With Gordon Lightfoot’s recent passing in May of this year, festival Committee member and organizer Daphne Mainprize describes the upcoming event as “more important than ever to celebrate his life and music, particularly when Orillia was where it all began.”
“Celebrating the life, times, music, and legacy of Gordon Lightfoot, the Lightfoot Days Pop-Up Festival aspires to ensure Gordon Lightfoot’s legacy becomes an integral part of Orillia’s cultural, music, and tourism experiences.” – Daphne Mainprize of the Lightfoot Days Committee.
To commemorate the event, Saturday morning will see Mayor Don McIsaac proclaim November 4th as ‘Gordon Lightfoot Day’ in front of the Orillia Opera House at 11:00 a.m. A familiar performance venue for Lightfoot throughout his career, the Orillia Opera House will be offering discounted history tours, including musical tales from the Lightfoot Auditorium and an exclusive look backstage.
Tours will also take place at St. Paul’s Centre on Saturday for fans to get a look into Lightfoot’s upbringing with the church and his early affinity for music. Visitors are also invited to view never-before-seen interviews of Gordon Lightfoot on Saturday as well.
On Sunday, Lightfoot’s early birthday celebrations will take place at Mariposa Market with a cake-cutting ceremony at12:30 p.m. All are welcome to visit St. Paul’s Centre for a Worship Service that same morning.View full festival schedule
- Apple Annie’s Café: Michael Brown from 12 to 3 p.m.
- Brewery Bay Food Co.: Chris Scott from 2 to 4 p.m. and 8 to 10 p.m.
- Alleycats Music & Art: Open mic from 1 to 4 p.m. with Jakob Pearce.
- Mariposa Market: Don James from 12 to 3 p.m.
- Hog N’ Penny: Benj Rowland at 9 p.m.
- The Sunken Ship: Gord’s Chords feat. Geoff Booth & Craig Graham from 6 to 9 p.m.
- Lake Country Grill: Even Steven at 8 p.m.
- Lone Wolf Café: Sean Patrick at 8 p.m.
- Manticore Books: Dray Tony at 6 p.m.
- PICNIC Tapas & Wine Bar: Michael Martyn, Steve Porter, & Scott Thompson from 2 to 4 p.m.
*Schedule subject to change, visit the Lightfoot Days Facebook page for more information.
Spearheaded by Reverend Karen Hilfman Millson, a prior Minister at St. Paul’s Centre, Lightfoot Days is brought to you by seven Committee volunteers including John Winchester, Daphne Mainprize, Brian Hare, Steve Porter, Rick Brown, Mary Hooykass, and Joe Cornelisse.
Looking for more ways to explore Lightfoot’s legacy in Orillia?
Take a self-guided tour around the City’s Lightfoot displays and tributes. From trail networks to art installations, these touching landmarks are a great way to honour our local hero.Read the article
Extend your visit by booking an overnight stay in OrilliaLEARN MORE
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