Six Motorcycle Ride Escapes to Ontario World Class Curtain-Calls
As I become more acquainted with Ontario’s roads, I’m finding it’s not just their diversity that keeps me riding along- it’s some of the very best home grown theatres and their performances I’ve discovered along the way! For me there’s much in common with a live theatre performance and the pleasure of a motorcycle ride. There’s this synonymous intimacy in both riding; being part of the scene as is in the, close, “you never know what’s going to happen next” suspense to a live performance. And no matter what direction I head out on a motorcycle ride – North, South, West or East from Toronto there’ll be a world class curtain call to ride up to.
Take the “1000 Island Play house” – found after a ride alongside the renowned glistening St. Lawrence River. Or get away from the city to the simple life, the lonesome country roads which ride up to an outdoor performance at the “4th Line Theatre”. This theatres locally grown performances are given using the farm for a backdrop.
Here are my favourite “ride to curtain calls”. Make them a day trip, an overnighter or a weekend getaway. Each venue is as distinctive and intimate as the towns’ own settings!
You could say, the stage here is set for your very entertaining summer motorcycle tour!
The Thousand Islands Playhouse Gananoque
Gananoque is halfway between Toronto and Montreal, the Thousand Islands Playhouse has enchanted Canadian theatre audiences for over thirty years with talent drawn from across Canada and the United States. The Playhouse is one of the top five summer festivals in Ontario, producing seven high-calibre, professional productions each season in two fully accessible venues that overlook the stunning St. Lawrence River!
Once arrived you might also enjoy a leisurely waterfront stroll (including the old architecture by the Gananoque River), Try a pub or coffee shop afterward the show, or Dine at a special inn or pub. You could take a guided walk of the old houses and our main street.
And along the way:
- Stop at the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum and Fort Henry
- Check out the colourful flea market & shops
- Attend a community festival like Ribfest or Local Flavours, or bring your pre-show picnic to our gorgeous Springer Theatre deck
- Explore the river and stop for lunch on an island
- Ride the 1000 islands parkway
- Visit the Old Mill in Delta, or one of the locks on the Rideau
- See a second show or concert. Afterwards, stay on the deck and watch the moon’s reflection on the water.
4thLine Theatre, The Winslow Farm, Millbrook
This open air theatre on a historic farm presents plays you’ve likely not seen elsewhere. Shows by up-and-coming playwrights and Canadian content. I like to take a picnic to enjoy before the outdoor performances at the Millbrook farm. Idyllic, rural, and its plays are by and about Canadians; small town stories or broad national sagas that touch the spirit in all of us.Visit the website for all the info.
Capitol Theatre Port Hope
The area of Port Hope is known for its great antique shopping, so finding the Capitol theatre, this lovely vintage venue, as home to the Port Hope Festival is not surprising. As an National Historic Site, the Capitol would be a vehicle for interpreting this “beginning of an era” moment using the authenticity of the preserved theatre and the simplicity of its atmospheric special effect to take us back to the beginning of the 1930’s.
Port Stanley Theatre
Located on the shores of Lake Erie, the Port Stanley Theatre combines a mix of drama, musicals and comedy. Set in the town’s former Town Hall, there are numerous sandy beaches to park your motorcycle by and stroll on once arrived. The town’s historical architecture provides a terrific ride ambiance where gourmet dining after or before the show is a great feature to your day.
Lighthouse Theatre Port Dover
Beautiful lakeside Port Dover known foremost to all motorcyclists as the place to be every Friday the 13th. And its here wehre the Lighthouse Festival Theatre is dedicated of live professional “for Canadians by Canadians” summer theatre. It’s believe its first show, by local artists, was a musical which opened on Wednesday, February 1, 1905.
Drayton Festival Theatre, Drayton Ontario
A ride to the Drayton Festival Theatre takes you along quiet roads where common sights include farm-roadside stands of colourful flowers, maple syrup and fresh produce that’ll tempt you appetite. Occasionally you’ll pass an Old Order Mennonite horse-drawn buggy reminding us all of the the simple(r) life.
This celebrated building was once the Town Hall and housed the Fire Department, Library, Jail, and Council Chambers.
TIP: Be sure to stop at the AT THE CROSSROADS FAMILY RESTAURANT LTD. 384 Arthur St. S., Elmira for their fresh, renowned all you can eat buffet!
Other Honourable Mentions:
Shaw Festival: Surrounded by lush vineyards in the beautiful Niagara on the Lake region where the roads twist and turn through the Niagara peninsula.
Stratford Festival: From Classic Shakespeare to contemporary theatre, Stratford’s multiple theatres present theatrical excellence and something for everyone. The town of Stratford is also known for fabulous restaurants, white swans and pristine parklands.