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Street Art in Orillia Ontario

Updated on February 2, 2015

Streets Alive Letters

Streets Alive is an outdoor art exhibit held in Orillia, Ontario, that has been running since 2009. Every year I look forward to walking through the downtown core to view the magnificent sculptures that are created by local artists. Each year there is a different theme. This years theme is letters. of the alphabet. The letters are six feet tall, and there's a total of thirty-two that are decorated and hand painted.

Each letter has a plaque with a number on it. This is so people can vote on their favorite sculpture. The top four artists will receive a cash prize for their work.

All photos in this article are the property of the author Susan Zutautas. Please do not copy or borrow them without first getting written permission.

Street-Art

Street World: Urban Art and Culture from Five Continents
Street World: Urban Art and Culture from Five Continents

If you like street art as much as I do, you'll love this book.

 

Where is Orillia? - There's lots of things to see and do in Orillia.

A markerThere's lots to see and do in Orillia. -
Orillia, Ontario
get directions

"G" featuring The Stephen Leacock boathouse, The Catholic Church, and Orillia City Hall

"G" featuring The Stephen Leacock boathouse, The Catholic Church, and Orillia City Hall
"G" featuring The Stephen Leacock boathouse, The Catholic Church, and Orillia City Hall

An Interactive A

There are four letters in front of Orilla's new library that will stay there permanently. When standing across the street you can see them quite clearly. Since the letters are so big and I was taking them with my iPhone, I wasn't able to capture all of them. The word they spell out is R.E.A.D.

The "A" is quite a unique letter as it is an interactive letter. This letter is covered in musical instruments made from metal, plastic, and wood, that you can play on.

Pictured here is a young boy playing on the letter along with my mother in law.

"R"

Beautifully painted blue jays.

"O"

Orillia Opera House

There's a beautiful Opera House in Orillia, which was built in 1895. Currently it is a theatre/opera house, but at one time it was used as a jail/police headquarters.

Great musicians have played here in the Gordon Lightfoot Auditorium.

Out of all of the letters that I saw this year the "O" in front of the Opera House is my most favorite. The artist for this letter is Kathryn Kaiser-Hiron. It gives me a sense of community, of hands reaching out to help each other.

Vote for Your Favorite Letter

Which letter is your favorite?

See results

R.e.a.d.

I was able to go back and get a picture of all 4 of these letters together outside the Orillia Library.
I was able to go back and get a picture of all 4 of these letters together outside the Orillia Library.
"H" Tower
"H" Tower

The Peoples Choice Winners

for 2013 Streets Alive

The Interactive "A" created by Laura Parna, took first place. Laura won $10,000.00.

Second place was the "C" mosaic, created by Meg Leslie who won $5,000.00.

Two third place winners; the letter "O" 3D hands, created by Kathryn Kaiser-Hiron, and the letter "H" tower, created by Bernie Logan. These two artists each won $1,000.00.

A Few Interesting Things About Orillia

Did you know that Orillia is Gordon Lightfoot's home town?

Orillia was the first municipality in North America to build its own hydro-electric power plant.

Stephen Leacock, Canadian author and humorist spent many summers at his summer home on Brewery Bay in Orillia.

Art Grows Here 2014 Streets Alive in Orillia, Ontario - The theme in 2014 is Planters

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Leacock Chairs

In 2012 Streets Alive was called "Everything Leacock". There were 50 bigger than life sized chairs made from sheet metal and faux wood. Many of these chairs are still on display right here in Orillia.

Pictured here is Stephen Leacock reading from one of his own books.

In 2011 the theme for Streets Alive was 60 Sails

In 2011 the theme for Streets Alive was 60 Sails
In 2011 the theme for Streets Alive was 60 Sails

Guitars on Parade was the theme in 2010.

Guitars on Parade was the theme in 2010.
Guitars on Parade was the theme in 2010.

Yearly Event

My mother in law and I look forward each summer to seeing what the theme of Streets Alive will be. It's a fun event and healthy at the same time, as there's a lot of walking involved.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Do you like street-art? - Thanks for visiting. Please leave a comment to let me know you were here.

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    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @marsha32: It sure is :)

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      marsha32 3 years ago

      How fun!

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      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Brite-Ideas: If you're ever in the Orillia area it is worth while going through downtown during the summer and beginning of fall months to see the Streets Alive art. It is on display until Thanksgiving weekend.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I had no idea about this! wow, it's really beautiful!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @esmonaco: So glad you liked the tour, thank you!

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Thanks so much for a wonderful tour and amazing pictures, I have to agree with you the "O" is my favorite :)

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Wednesday-Elf: Virtual tours are the next best thing to being there in person :)

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Merrci: It's truly amazing how many artistic people we have in and around the Orillia area.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Seasons Greetings: Some of the chairs are still set up. There is one spot by a restaurant that has five of them set up in a courtyard setting. So glad that you get to see the street art up close.

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      Laura Brown 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Really nice post! I like the year Orillia did the chairs. It was so nice to see people sitting on them, using them. I'm in Barrie and my brother lives in Orillia so I see the street art a few times over each summer.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      They are lovely! It's such a cheerful way to draw interest and more people!

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      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Lovely lens and the pictures are beautiful. I missed this but will look for it next year.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 3 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      The street art in Orillia is absolutely amazing! Some very talented people participate in this. Thanks for sharing. It's such fun having a 'virtual' tour of things like this that I'd never have the opportunity to see otherwise.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @flowerlover: Thank you and nice to meet you flowerlover! Be sure to come back when I have a lens written for this years planters.

    • profile image

      flowerlover 3 years ago

      This is my first visit to your page. I really enjoy the street art and am looking forward to this year's garden theme.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 3 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Yes, I do. Those are really beautiful!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @ecogranny: It is a nice place to live most days :) Then are those times ....

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      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      What a wonderful tradition! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this page. It seems to me that a town that invests so much in art for its people must be a truly delightful place to live.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      I like a lot of it, especially when it finds a way to fit in a community as these do. It adds ease to routine.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Max Globe: Thanks so glad you liked my lens.

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      Max Globe 4 years ago

      These letters are great! Real art

    • Joebeducci profile image

      Joebeducci 4 years ago

      That's so cool! I love how street-art pimps the street, great lens! Greets, Joebeducci

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @DebMartin: I hope you'll let me know the next time you're in Orillia as I'd love to meet you for coffee or maybe even lunch.

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      emma_07 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens..:)

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      DebMartin 4 years ago

      I do like some street art. And some of it I don't understand and/or appreciate. But these are great. I'd love to spend some extended time in Orillia.

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      IreneL11 4 years ago

      Yes.

    • Katyusha profile image

      Katyusha 4 years ago

      I like that. It is really interesting and artistic. It beautifys a city.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Adventuretravels: Guitars on Parade was one of my favorite Streets Alive. I'm happy that there are still a few of sculptures in and around the city.

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      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from Perth UK

      I love street art. These photos are a great example. I particularly liked the one of the guitar because I love guitars! Thanks for a very interesting lens.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love street-art! There are so many beautiful artists out there from we all could learn so much. I especially like graffiti art when it has sense. Street art is telling so mush about thinking of the local population and it is one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with local culture.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      i love the idea, it's very unique

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @FrancesWrites: It's lovely to walk down the streets and see this here.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @anonymous: Thank you!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm a big fan of street art! In fact I love public art of all types. My favourite letter wa R. It seemed to suit its location whilst being beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Love it!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      @JoleneBelmain: Yes! Street art is lovely!

    • FrancesWrites profile image

      FrancesWrites 4 years ago

      That's very striking and surprisingly cheerful!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @JoleneBelmain: It sure does. If you ever in the Orillia area between July and October be sure to tour the downtown area. I'm sure you'd love it.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 4 years ago

      That is very beautiful street art, it adds to much beauty and colour to the streets :)

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @anonymous: I just visited your lens on Massey, and very much enjoyed it. Thank you for adding my lens to your.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Absolutely love it! I added your lens to my Street Painting and The Massey Street Painting Festival lens

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Johanna Eisler: The A was a fun letter :)

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 4 years ago

      This looks like so much fun! I love the interactive musical A and the 'helping hands' O. I wish we could see all of them! Thank you for sharing!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      I sure like this exploration of your city's street arts program. It's a wonderful way to engage passersby with the environment.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @RinchenChodron: The Cherry Creek Arts Festival looks like a lot of fun.

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      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Yes, I do. I have written one about the annual Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver. This Ontario one looks cool too.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @golfspice: I enjoy seeing it very much. Thanks for stopping by!

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      golfspice 4 years ago

      This street art is a great idea - good to see something original. A great way to brighten up your local neighborhood.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @jupiter justice: Thank you, so glad you liked it.

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      Asher Socrates 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Wonderful street art letters. I have not seen so many wonderfully colored letters like these before. I'm going to have to make a trip to Orillia for sure. Thank for the great lens!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @qikey1 lm: Thanks, This festival goes until October, so I hope that you will get to see it.

    • qikey1 lm profile image

      qikey1 lm 4 years ago

      We have friends and family that have cottages near Orillia so we have visited it often. It is a beautiful region and lovely town. I have never been their during this festival but I recognize the main street ;) Nice lens.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Michelllle: Thank you.

    • Michelllle profile image

      Michelllle 4 years ago

      I love street art. Super cool lens.

    • HughSmulders LM profile image

      HughSmulders LM 4 years ago

      I adore siuch bright ngredients in the mixture of day-to-day routine. It is just great when such details can brighten up the grey reality.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @aesta1: Thanks, and I hope you enjoy seeing it this year, and in the years to come.

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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Doc_Holliday: Thanks!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @TipsForMoms: Thank you!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @jura: Thanks for reading and for commenting!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @favored: Thanks, glad you liked it!

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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @RebeccaRubia: Thank you!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Rock Artist: Thank you, so glad you liked it, and thanks for the pin too!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I like street art very much and each time we drive between our cottage and Toronto, we go through Orilla. I have to remember to go through the town next time. Such a great idea.

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      Doc_Holliday 4 years ago

      I like the idea. Very festive.

    • TipsForMoms profile image

      TipsForMoms 4 years ago

      What a wonderful lens and a great idea to nurture local talent, not to mention how beautiful the city must look. How creative!

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      jura 4 years ago

      This is an art they look lovely .

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      Yes, and this is so cool. I wish I could be there to experience it. I appreciate this very much. Thanks.

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      RebeccaRubia 4 years ago

      How lovely!

    • Rock Artist profile image

      Rock Artist 4 years ago

      Really nice lens, thanks for sharing this amazing art! Pinned!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @ColorPetGifts: Thanks! It would be nice if all streets were created equally :)

    • ColorPetGifts profile image

      ColorPetGifts 4 years ago

      Wow - what a great presentation of some really cool street art - loved the pictures. If only all streets were created equally :)

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @mina009: I agree!

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      mina009 4 years ago

      Street Art looks great and makes our surroundings a lot more pleasant to look at.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @smine27: Thanks for having a look :)

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      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      What a cool event! Love it!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @CrazyHomemaker: Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @girlfriendfactory: I like that one too :)

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Coffee-Break: There's always something going on here. In the winter we have a Polar Bear Swim, and a Winter Festival, which is always fun to attend.

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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @gamingprotips: I'm sure that your Grandfather has seen and created many beautiful sculptures.

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      CrazyHomemaker 4 years ago

      This is so cool! You are fortunate to have an interesting place to live. I also LOVE Gordon Lightfoot. Thanks for sharing.

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      girlfriendfactory 4 years ago

      Very cool! We liked the blue jays!

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      Dorian Bodnariuc 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      This is a great event, and the art is amazing. You are lucky to live in a city like this.

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      gamingprotips 4 years ago

      These are truly art. My Grandfather was dean of the Heron school of arts for many years. While he has since retired I think that, as a sculptor, he would agree.

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      longlakelifestyle 4 years ago

      I LOVE street-art.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @SheGetsCreative: A long way to come, but I'm sure you'd enjoy it.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @anonymous: There's something new every summer.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Fifthmoon: Streets Alive Letters Street-Art in Orillia Ontario. Thank you.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @SBRTechnologies1: Thanks you!

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      SBRTechnologies1 4 years ago

      Wow, these arts look amazing...

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      Fifthmoon 4 years ago from Here~There~No Where

      Susan, Enjoyed your lens is that what it is called? Great photos and information. moonlake

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Street art! hmmmm i want to visit orillia

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Love street art and would love to be there at least once for this annual event.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @JaspinderKaur: Thanks me too.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Corrinna-Johnson: Just to let you know we have a Jazz & Blues festival, and a Beatles festival coming up in the fall. Thanks so much and nice to meet you!

    • Corrinna-Johnson profile image

      Corrinna Johnson 4 years ago from BC, Canada

      Beautiful photos and street art! I would love to visit Orillia and it is now on my list of places to visit!

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      JaspinderKaur 4 years ago

      i like the street art. beautifully painted.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @anonymous: Its a small city but there's usually something going on.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @LiteraryMind: I'm always sad when October comes and most of them are then removed.