Arts, Culture & Heritage

A vibrant, creative culture exists in Dufferin County. A mix of old and new arts, music and foodie scenes will fill you up with inspiration and keep your juices flowing.

Like minded creative leaders have come before you and are establishing and supporting the cultural scene in many ways in Dufferin.

Arts

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If you are looking to network and become a part of a local arts scene, Dufferin welcomes you. Various festivals throughout the year offer opportunities to showcase, network and market your work. (If you just want to come and get inspired, that’s okay too!)

Local arts organizations include:

Alton Mill Arts Centre is an arts and event centre located just south-west of Orangeville, now host to a series of festivals throughout the year. Art galleries, a jewellery studio, craft shops, plus artists’ studios offer one-of-a-kind art viewing and shopping opportunities.

Film, writing, theatre and fashion have not been left out. Many talented individuals know that there is an extended arts scene in Dufferin, and it is one of the reasons that creatives come to Dufferin. This includes in-demand fashion and interior designers, media producers, writers and photographers.

Music

Music is a complement to life here in Dufferin. Hidden recording studios are sprinkled throughout the hills of Dufferin, and professionals offer lessons to all ages and skill levels. Every street festival welcomes live music acts, featuring collaborative efforts with supportive crowds and serious talent. Toronto may boast they are the mecca of music, but Dufferin is where the artists escape to. We have our own concentration of musicians who enjoy our rural atmosphere and their easy access to vibrant music scene in Toronto.

Orangeville’s Blues and Jazz Festival is growing every year. Walk up and down the historical streets with your kids in town, or invite your out-of-town friends to show off the beautiful downtown. The jazz fest attracts talent from across North America; many shows are free and hosted in cafés and bars. Perfect for summertime exploring.

Did you know that there is a serious fiddle fest every year in Shelburne? Rock out to the down-home fiddle champions, take in some locally cooked food and wander around this totally unique yearly event. It’s tradition up here.

 

Food

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Many people concerned about their overall well-being and lifestyle now choose to eat and shop local. Dufferin County offers these opportunities in abundance. Farmers markets exist during the long Ontario growing season in a number of our small communities, and it is here that you will meet the farmers, growers and producers that can supply you with the information and products that you need to fulfill your family’s own local food initiatives.

Dufferin is working with neighbouring communities to grow our food system to feed our residents, contribute to their health and support our local businesses. You will find like-minded individuals more than willing to welcome you into the fold.

Check out Food in the Hills, a magazine of good eating in the Headwaters Region for more inspiration or review their new Dining in the Hills listing of the area’s finest restaurants. Dufferin Farm Fresh offers a robust map of local food producers, purveyors and markets.

Wondering if you’ll be able to find just the right place to head out for eats? The towns of Dufferin offer dining at all levels…of cross-cultural yumminess! Yes, we have swank city-style for a night on the town, but we also have international flavours simmering on our stoves. We have the ubiquitous greasy spoons for Sunday mornings, fabulous coffee houses (try the Hockley General Store anyone?), Caribbean and Indian flavours, sushi houses and European bakeries. Do a little exploring and you will find a committed food community in Dufferin.

 

Heritage

Many people fall in love with our heritage downtowns – from Shelburne to Orangeville, Violet Hill and Mono Centre to Grand Valley – and all of the little crossroads in between.  And while you might think only Victorian rules behind these red brick establishments, many of Dufferin’s gentrified buildings offer superb dining and artisan foods, fashion forward clothing, jewellery and accessories, and local artisan offerings.

Heritage buildings aside, there are history lovers of all sorts in Dufferin. If you love trails, there are many established routes in our local provincial parks and conservation areas, to take you on a journey of traders, farmers and millworkers. natural heritage features abound, as Dufferin rests at the top of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The Niagara Escarpment is recognized as one of the world’s unique natural wonders. This gorgeous land feature of southern Ontario is also home to the Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest footpath. Exploring natural heritage is right outside your back door in Dufferin.

The Dufferin County Museum and Archives opened in 1994 to share the history of Dufferin and its communities. This unique museum is truly one of a kind in that it was built in the style of an Ontario bank barn. The museum’s architecture reflects the agricultural heritage of Dufferin, and gives you a hint that this museum is open and friendly, and a centre for heritage and historical arts collaboration.