Northumberland Hills Studio Tour: Jane Robertson on Interpreting the Landscape

Painting Jane Robertson stands smiling beside one of her agricultural landscape paintings

“I get most of my inspiration probably within 15 kilometres of where I live here. It’s just not necessary to go much further,” says painter Jane Robertson. Visitors on the Northumberland Hills Studio Tour, which ran September 9-10 in 2023, would probably agree—the region’s expansive landscapes lend themselves to painting. “It’s really about patterns and … Read more

Spring Is Sprung: Visiting the Warkworth Lilac Festival

Lilac in the foreground, with people walking in the background

There’s a moment every year when you walk out the door and realize, “spring is really here!” Temperatures climb upward, buds appear on the trees, and birdsong suddenly seems louder. Nothing drives the feeling home quite like spring flowers, though—and the avid gardeners at the Warkworth Lilac Festival have found a way to turn that sensation in a weeks-long celebration along the Millennium Lilac Trail.

Meet the Farmers: Moore Orchards and Market & Smør

Nothing compares to the taste of fresh fruit—and for a few weeks in summer, Northumberland’s Moore Orchards is like an all-natural candy store. When their pick-your-own strawberry patch is in season visitors come from across the region and beyond, drawn by the quality produce and the chance to connect with the places their food comes from. What doesn’t get picked by customers goes into the local food scene in other ways, including helping Cobourg’s zero-waste grocery store Market & Smør achieve their sustainability goals. It’s a virtuous cycle that benefits both producers and entrepreneurs, not to mention consumers looking to eat healthy and eat local.

Meet the Musicians—Kate Boothman

Kate Boothman performs onstage at the Ganaraska Hotel

Talking about music is like dancing about architecture, so the saying goes. It can be hard for a musician to describe what they do, which is why Kate Boothman invented a new genre to describe her latest album, My Next Mistake. “It’s a really relaxing record about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, so we called it massage rock,” she says, laughing. “It’s versatile—it can be played acoustic, it can be played loud electric, but I’m a singer-songwriter, essentially.”

Meet the Musicians—Cale Crowe

Cale Crowe performs onstage at Victoria Hall

A mark of professionalism in music is control over dynamics—the understanding of how to move between quiet and loud for maximum impact. Watching Cale Crowe perform, one thing that stands out is his ability to glide smoothly from a whisper to a roar. The singer-songwriter looks relaxed and comfortable onstage at Cobourg’s Victoria Hall, even as he plays stripped-down acoustic versions of his songs without the loop pedals he usually employs to build more complex arrangements. When he steps off stage, he gives credit to the venue for being especially conducive to live music.

Outside the Box: An Interview with Northumberland’s Cardboard Reality

Four felt puppets play in a jazz quartet, in a still from a Cardboard Reality video

What do permaculture farming and animation have in common? Plenty, if you ask bekky O’Neil and Keith Del Principe, co-owners of Northumberland’s Cardboard Reality Farm & Studio. As animators, they’ve created award-winning stop-motion and 2D animated short films on their farm outside Roseneath. On the same property they’ve grown flowers, raised ducks, and experimented with a range of sustainable agricultural practices, making them the rare business whose output is equally at home at film festivals and the Cobourg Farmers’ Market.

Meet the Makers: Angela Roest of Centre & Main Chocolate Co.

Angela Roest of Centre & Main Chocolate Co. stands in front of a wall of her chocolate bars

Is there a connection between fine jewelry and artisanal chocolate? Angela Roest, award-winning chocolatier and owner of Warkworth’s Centre & Main Chocolate Co., thinks so: “It’s the creation of something that will be cherished by somebody else. Giving pleasure, aesthetic or gastronomic.” The connection is more than a metaphor for Roest, who left a career … Read more

Fall Exploration: Our Recommended Hike and Brewery Pairings

Every beer drinker knows a brew tastes better when you’ve earned it. Preferences also change by season—a crisp lager is never better than in the high heat of summer, and cooler weather makes a rich flavour like porter especially appealing. These fundamentals combine beautifully in Kawarthas Northumberland, where an abundance of hiking trails meets a … Read more

Return of the Tallgrass Prairie: Exploring Hazel Bird Nature Reserve

As an avid hiker, I’m a little embarrassed how little I know about plants. If it’s not a maple tree, trillium, or poison ivy, there’s a good chance I’ll be stumped. I read interpretive plaques in the hopes of raising my identification game, though, which is how I stumbled upon the remarkable work of the Nature Conservancy of Canada at Hazel Bird Nature Reserve.