Our Trip To Canada

We were invited to play at the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Music in Cambridge, Ontario from July 29-31, 2011, and with the help of Brad McEwen, the festival's organiser, and some other friends in Ontario managed to fill almost the entire preceding week with house concerts and other performances. Here's a picture show of 10 wonderful days in Ontario.

We arrived in Toronto airport on Friday 22 July and plunged into the rush-hour traffic in a rental car - not an easy way to start the trip! Our welcome at the Golden Kiwi in Cambridge was a huge relief and we were pleasantly surprised to meet three English musicians now resident in the Waterloo Region and to find a pub (run by a New Zealander) that sold some excellent locally brewed beer and even Fullers ESB! (No Greene King IPA though...)

Instructions: hover mouse over picture for description; click for bigger picture

First evening with our hosts

Our delightful hosts were Russ Bishop and Gwen Potter from Wolf at the Door Molly Dancers. Gwen met us at the pub and navigated us back to their house in Kitchener, where we spent the evening getting to know them and the instruments we had borrowed for the trip: a banjo, a cello and a 1-row melodeon in C.

Anahata trying out 1-row C melodeon kindly lent by
Mary makes sure her concertina has survived the journey
Anahata gets used to playing loaned cello
Mary tries out banjo on loan from Chris Coole
Closer up of banjo
Banjo has nylon strings, despite being designed for metal strings.
We got them changed the next day in time for our first performance
Another detailed shot of the cello
Gwen and Mary playing some tunes together
Russ and Gwen, our wonderful hosts

Trip to Orangeville

On Saturday we drove up to Orangeville where we played a house concert for Orange Peel Morris (a team we'd met when they came to England a few years ago and went out on a pub night with Pig Dyke Molly). First Port of call was John Burton's house; John had kindly agreed to take delivery of a box of CDs for us. The concert was at Parky and Sidney's house in Sherburn, where we also stayed for the night.

We stopped in Guelph to find a junior hacksaw to cut new notches
in the banjo bridge we had bought in Kitchener. Mary needed a lower bridge
for the steel strings, but the only one we could get was for a 4-string
banjo. While we were in Guelph looking for a hardware store we 
spotted this: it's apparently the 'Church of Our Lady Immaculate'.
Despite claims made in certain quarters that Greene King IPA is 
everywhere, we didn't find any, but we got very close with this, in a 
pub in Orangeville. It could almost have been an English pub except for 
the air conditioning.
Mary liked this statue of a Canadian postman outside the
Orangeville Post Office
John and Tina Burton's house is near a long winding road (unusual in 
Canada: most roads are straight North-South or East-West) surrounded by 
trees. There's typically a quarter of a mile to your neighbours here.
View from John and Tina's garden
More garden
Sherburn, North East of Orangeville, and Parky and Sidney's house,
built of huge pine logs. It's really big
Mary standing by the front door of the house
Parky and Sidney's place again, closer up. I said it was big...
Inside, showing detail of staircase
Performer's view of the audience area (picture taken the morning
after the concert). The house is mostly one huge room.

Waterloo Museum Concert and Brad's Birthday Session

On Saturday 24th July we went back to Kitchener for an afternoon concert at the Waterloo Region Museum. It was so hot we decided the air conditioned lecture theatre was a better venue than the outside patio, where we would have been under cover but much hotter, and the audience would have been in the sun which would have been very uncomfortable. Typical daytime temperatures were 30C with high humidity.

After that we went back to the Golden Kiwi in Cambridge for a session to celebrate Brad's (Mill Race Festival director) birthday, and then drove off to Toronto...

Waterloo museum concert
Waterloo museum concert
Waterloo museum concert
Waterloo museum concert
Waterloo museum concert
Gwen (centre) and unidentified friends, probably taken in concert interval
Waterloo Museum concert
Brad's Birthday Session at the Golden Kiwi
Brad's Birthday Session at the Golden Kiwi
Phil, a whistle player from Sussex, England
Gwen, who plays viola d'amore in the session, in the band Tethera
and for Wolf at the Door Molly
Paul Morris, a melodeon player and singer from England, and
mainstay of the sessions at the Kiwi
Mary looking particularly angelic as she tastes the local wine.
They make a lot of it near the Niagara falls.
They wouldn't let us go without singing a song! I think it's
<i>If I was a Blackbird</i>

First Day in Toronto

We spent four days in Toronto with Howard and Karen Kaplan, who had arranged for us to do a concert and illustrated talk on song collecting in Cambridgeshire, both at their house. During each day we visited various parts of Toronto, mostly the downtown area, and the waterfront. On Monday we took the ferry to the island which was really lovely.

Bloor Street in Toronto, a few blocks away from where we were
staying. This one's for Stan...
View from the island ferry: impressively tall buildings and an
even taller tower
Toronto has a self-service bicycle hire scheme. We didn't try it, 
but there were racks like these everywhere. We have no idea how it
works. Something to find out about next time...
Paddle steamer seen from the island
And talking of paddling... Mary in lake Ontario
This beach was really deserted. You have to keep reminding
yourself that this is Lake Ontario, not the sea
View of the Toronto waterfront development from the island. You
can see how much taller the tower is than the office blocks near it, and
they are already very tall.
'Empire Sandy', Canada's largest sailing boat and in regular use

McDougall Cottage Concert, Cambridge

This is an old stone cottage where they often hold small concerts with a pass-the-hat collection. we decided to risk the elements and play outside. There were a few drops of rain but the indoors alternative inside would have ben VERY hot and humid. Lots of lovely food and drink - a pleasant evening.

Stone Cottage Concert
Stone Cottage Concert
Stone Cottage Concert
Stone Cottage Concert
Stone Cottage Concert
Stone Cottage Concert
Stone Cottage Concert
Stone Cottage Concert

Friday night: first festival concert and evening session

Our first concert was on the Civic Square stage, the festival's largest stage under canvas next to the Civic Centre. Afterward we were in an English Music session with Tethera at the Golden Kiwi (officially part of the festival). This set also includes photos taken elsewhere the same evening.

The Civic Square Stage is the big marquee with the green stripes
On The Stage, Civic Square Marquee
On The Stage, Civic Square Marquee
On The Stage, Civic Square Marquee
On The Stage, Civic Square Marquee
On The Stage, Civic Square Marquee
On The Stage, Civic Square Marquee
On The Stage, Civic Square Marquee. I didn't know my concertina
was that shiny!
Paul and friends in a session on the side street by the Kiwi. Note
Canadian alcohol regulations mean the drinking area has to be fenced in,
hence the temporary metal barrier. Carrying a drink past the barrier
gets you into big trouble.
Paddy Tutty on the main stage.
Young group playing Irish Music in the Kiwi
Graeme Knights and Jim Mageean at the Amphitheatre
Graeme Knights and Jim Mageean at the Amphitheatre
Audience view of our set at the main stage
On the main stage
Our view of the main stage audience
The Amphitheatre
Tattie Jam at the Amphitheatre
Bluegrass trio on main stage after us
Session in the Kiwi
Session in the Kiwi: Gwen, Brad, Paul, (unidentified)
Session at the Kiwi

Saturday: A busy Day at the Festival

On Saturday we hosted an "accordion workshop" where we met Steve Didunyk from the Ukranian band Zubrivka, and Luzio Altobelli from Bon Débarras; then we were in the "dynamic duos" concert on the civic stage, a performance in the Craft Village acoustic tent and a concert at Café 13. Our photographers, however, were elsewhere so thse pictures show other stuff that was going on the same day. We did see the morris and molly dancers, though.

Galitcha on the Amphitheatre stage
Wolf at The Door Molly Dancers
Wolf at the Door Molly in action
Forest City Morris
Oakville Ale and Sword
Toronto Morris Men
Paddy Tutty at the Amphitheatre
Chris Coole at the Amphitheatre. This is the man who lent Mary one
of his banjos for our visit
View of a late night performance at the Amphitheatre


Mary took part in a banjo workshop with Chris Coole, Danny Simmonds and Jean-Franc Duma; we played in the "battle of the sexes" concert with The Saturday Saints and Tattie Jam, and finally we played at the Millrace Amphitheatre in the evening.

We also have a YouTube video of Mary singing Lord Lovell at the skinheads (banjo) concert .

Graeme and Jim at the Amphitheatre
The bridge over the Grand River, just behind the Amphitheatre
Civic Square: Battle of the Sexes concert
View of the Amphitheatre audience. Our concert started at 8pm and
the sun was setting by the end
Amphitheatre stage
Mary in the Skinheads (banjos!!!) concert
Mary in the Skinheads (banjos!!!) concert
Mary in the Skinheads (banjos!!!) concert
Anahata on main stage. This must have been
Zubrivka in the acoustic tent by the craft market
Session in the Kiwi. There's always a session going on in the
Zubrivka at the Amphitheatre. They were on before us and put on a
splendid show of Ukranian music. Their fiddler is especially good
Finally, our turn on the Amphitheatre stage
Amphitheatre stage, Sunday night
Amphitheatre stage, Sunday night
Amphitheatre stage, Sunday night
Amphitheatre stage, Sunday night
Amphitheatre stage, Sunday night
Amphitheatre stage, Sunday night
Amphitheatre stage, Sunday night
By the Amphitheatre stage, immediately after finishing our last
performance at the festival
Brad McEwen the festival director, speaking to the amphitheatre