For decades, the Niagara Region has been a hub of artistic and cultural production in Southern Ontario. Recognizing the strength and diversity of its cultural sector, the City of St. Catharines has invested significantly in the development of artistic, cultural, and heritage projects over the past few years, making cultural investment one of the city’s key ‘economic, environmental, and social priorities.’
While the COVID-19 pandemic majorly disrupted our ability to congregate and take in cultural events as a community, the slow lifting of restrictions means that we can collectively participate in cultural events once more—and there is certainly no shortage of events to take in this winter!
In October 2021, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) reopened its doors for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. Since its inception in 2015, the 95,000 square foot entertainment complex has played a key role in the artistic, cultural, and economic renaissance in downtown St. Catharines, welcoming over 350,000 visitors in just a few short years.
After reopening this fall with commanding performances by Bahamas, Hawksley Workman, and Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, the Centre will continue its hit streak of hot ticket productions with New Brunswick’s Matt Andersen making an appearance on March 23 and The Stampeders rocking the house down on March 27. If you’re ready to laugh, the Just for Laughs Road Show will also make a stop at the PAC on April 26 to deliver a much-needed evening of side-splitting comedy.
After a stunning collaboration with Steven Page, formerly of the Barenaked Ladies, earlier this year, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra (NSO) has a little something for everyone this winter.
On January 16, the NSO will collaborate with the TorQ Percussion Quartet to premiere the Canadian composer Dinuk Wijeratne’s Invisible Cities alongside some old favourites—Mikhail Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila overture and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s majestic Scheherazade. On March 20, Toronto-based cellist Joseph Johnston will take on Shostakovich’s convulsive and virtuosic Cello Concerto No. 1 alongside Elgar’s Enigma Variations and award-winning Italian-Canadian composer and scholar Kelly-Anne Murphy’s commissioned 2010 piece, Murmuration.
The NSO’s Pops! series will continue with Toronto-based singer-songwriter Sarah Slean, who will bring her mellifluous voice and unique perspective to the songbook of Canadian folk legend Joni Mitchell on February 19-20 and repertory Chicago tribute band Brass Transit, who will be knocking out The Big Thing’s major hits—Saturday in the Park, You’re the Inspiration, and of course, 25 or 6 to 4—from 2:30 to 5 on April 17.
If you like the sound of that, you may also like Deep Purple Rising—a symphonic tribute to the legendary English hard rock group featuring rock vocalist Joe Retta (Heaven and Hell, Trans-Siberian Orchestra)—on March 10. And speaking of hard rock—Henry Rollins, the obstinate frontman of Black Flag and Rollins Band, will be bringing his spoken word tour to the PAC this summer!
Tickets for these events are available through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre’s website here.
For those who’ve felt the mental and physical effects of the COVID-concert-deficit most intensely, the Fallsview Casino also has an excellent roster of concerts scheduled for the winter and spring months, including REO Speedwagon, Tony Orlando, Sara Evans, The 5th Dimension, Rodney Atkins, Randy Houser, ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, and more. And if you still haven’t had enough—Kingston’s own Glorious Sons will be rocking the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines on February 26, and—just announced—The Offspring will be returning to St. Catharines on February 11 with special guests—Montreal pop punk giants, Simple Plan! Tickets are available here.
For those looking for a more intimate concert experience this winter, check out the plethora of offerings up the street at Warehouse Concert Hall. If that’s your vibe, we suggest planning a stop along the way at Trust Beer Bar for some house-made street-style tacos and the best selection of local and Ontario craft beers in the region!
Relatedly, within the expanded field of audio, theatre company Suitcase in Point is currently preparing to launch Lost + Found: A Community Mixtape, an immersive audio experience and follow up to their acclaimed 2020 production, Freedom: A Mixtape—a rich and moving tapestry of original songs, stories, poems, anecdotes, and spoken word pieces from ‘folx living in the Niagara Region.’
To stay afloat of latest updates on the project, visit their website or follow them on Instagram.
For the sports fans—the Niagara Ice Dogs season is well underway. Individual tickets are available for purchase here. For more information on season tickets, visit their website. The legendary Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their finesse to the Meridian Centre on March 3. Tickets are available here.
And last but certainly not least—for all you film buffs out there, the Niagara Artist Centre (NAC) launched their intimate Screening Room + Cinema Lounge this fall—a veritable ‘clubhouse for enthusiasts of the moving image.’
The artist run organization, which has been a cornerstone of the Niagara arts community for more than 50 years, has continuously integrated film and other moving image media into their extensive repertoire of arts programming. After launching the successful Mighty Niagara Film Fest earlier this year, they have continued to program an astonishing selection of entertaining, hypnotic, and intellectually stimulating films in the past months—including John Carpenter’s overlooked 1994 masterpiece, In the Mouth of Madness, the massively understated Bergmanesque and Cocteau-inflected Carnival of Souls (1962), and the 1982 slasher flick, Boardinghouse, which boasts the title of being the first horror film in history to be shot on video.
Recently, the institution has begun to experiment with a democratic viewing model which empowers members of the community to BYOC (bring your own cinema)—so if there is something you’ve been dying to see up on the big screen, or you’re just searching for a new and novel cinematic experience, there is only one place to be this winter!
We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season this year! Our Niagara real estate experts look forward to helping you find your dream homes in 2022! Call our office at 905-687-9229 in St. Catharines, or 905-468-9229 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, or send us a message on our contact page, HERE.