One-Tank Trips: Thrones play crowns Leacock fest

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Canada’s beloved humourist and author Stephen Leacock would likely be pleased to know the annual celebration of his life includes a “Feast of Thrones” this year.

It will include “cosplay, food, drink and feats of strength” at Leacock’s old lakeside retreat on Old Brewery Bay in Orillia.

For the unknowing, cosplay is a “contraction of the words costume play and is a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character” (thanks Wikipedia).

Along with medieval activities and entertainment, the Feast of Thrones takes place on July 22 at 4 p.m. as part of the Leacock Summer Festival, July 20 to 23, at the Leacock House museum at 50 Museum Drive.

This is where the world-­renowned author and celebrated economics academic spent his most creative time, in what he called Lake Simcoe Country. He built the house in 1928 on the scenic bay by the Narrows, where lakes Simcoe and Couchiching meet.

The building, designed by Wright & Noxon of Toronto, reflected Leacock’s success and prestige and is now an historic site.

The festival includes readings, book signings, dinners and exhibits, starting on July 20 with a Mariposa Exposed book celebration, including a Canadian-themed barbecue from 5 to 9 p.m.

Mariposa was the name Leacock used for the town featured in his book Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, about the people and comings and goings in what was said to be Orillia at the time.

Leacock’s tales came from his lakeside retreat, with most of the engaging cast of characters based on local townspeople (names changed to protect the guilty).

Editors Dennis Rizzo and Ross Greenwood have completed the first volume of Mariposa Exposed and contributing authors and writers will tell the tales.

On July 21, the history of the Mariposa Folk Festival will be featured with Mike Hill and musical guests at 1 p.m.

Later that day will be a humour showcase and dinner with Leacock Medal for Humour winner Terry Fallis showcasing his latest novel, One Brother Shy.

Also featured are shortlisted 2017 medal finalists Drew Hayden Taylor and Amy Jones at 5 p.m.

A writers’ workshop and lunch with Janet Matthews is on July 22 starting at 10 a.m., followed by the Feast of Thrones that afternoon.

It winds up with the annual K. Valerie Connor Poetry Celebration with dinner on July 23 at 4 p.m.

Also on the spacious and manicured property is the Leacock Cafe, operated by Cornucopia Catering, called “Orillia’s favourite lakeside restaurant.”

During Canada’s sesquicentennial, admission to this National Historic Site is by donation with a “suggested minimum” of $5.

For more information and tickets:; (705) 329-1908

Hamilton’s Signature Events

Hamilton is among the cities across the country celebrating Canada’s 150th year as a nation with a series of “Signature Events.”

The latest is a quilt exhibit, Peace by Piece: Stitching Together Canadian Stories, that continues until Aug. 16 at the Cotton Factory (270 Sherman Ave. N.), Hamilton’s creative arts centre.

This textile art project is comprised of 263 blocks, each created to recognize Canada’s diversity, said Brenda Branch of Hamilton Tourism and Culture.

“It celebrates our common humanity and promotes compassion among people,” she added.

Museums, artists, craftspeople and musicians from across Hamilton, Halton Region and Brant County are offering workshops, talks, concerts and demonstrations to engage the Canadian spirit and imagination.

There’s also the Great Hamilton Scavenger Hunt app that’s a “passport to all of the exciting events, festivals, activities and quintessential Hamilton experiences happening throughout the city this summer.”

It also allows users to earn points, win prizes and explore the city like never before.

Throughout the summer, there are garden tours at Dundurn National Historic Site (610 York Blvd.).

There’s also Our Hamilton: Through Their Eyes about the lives of soldiers, at the Hamilton Military Museum at Dundurn, and the Women of War, July 29 and 30, at HMCS Haida. See; call (905) 546-2489

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