Autumn's Cultural Experiences

Orillia’s arts and culture scene boasts a vibrant palette of special events and activities during the autumn season. As the City’s greenery begins to change to rich hues of red, orange, and yellow, Orillia's heritage-themed streets and public art begin to shine even more with autumn's colourful frame.

Don’t let the beauty of the season pass you by. From art trails to studio tours, and music festivals to historical exhibits, these cultural activities are the perfect way to jump into an autumn tour of lake country.

Free Autumn Art Tours

Public art sculpture in tribute to Gordon Lightfoot

Streets Alive Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot

Streets Alive, a distinct living art project, brings the region’s most gifted artists together to formulate a seasonal public art tour dedicated to an annual theme. Running until Thanksgiving weekend, this year’s initiative, “A Painter Passing Through,” is a colourful tribute to the late folk legend and Orillia native, Gordon Lightfoot.

Over 60 hand-painted guitars and folk-inspired sculptures line the downtown core, drawing inspiration from the singer’s longstanding career and the region’s unique lake country charm. Best explored in autumn while the historic downtown streets are painted with new vibrant foliage, this free public art tour is the perfect scavenger hunt for all ages to explore.

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Public art installation of a hand-painted honeycomb

Crossroads, Connections, and Intersections 

Orillia’s winding trail systems and recreational spaces are a must-visit when looking to explore the region’s autumn colours. Crossroads, Connections, and Intersections is a new permanent public art tour installed alongside the City’s most prominent trailheads and points of interest. Featuring 9 original works of art across 7 locations, this colourful initiative draws on the City’s historic significance as a gathering place for Indigenous peoples for over 5000 years.

Don’t forget, while seeking out each new sculpture, you can make your way through the City’s entire public art map, where a wide variety of locally-inspired works frame the City. Highlights include The Weirs Story Pole and The Golden Leaves Statues, a tribute to Gordon Lightfoot.

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Images studio tours signage

Images Studio Tours

October 6 to 9.

Celebrating 40 years of Thanksgiving weekend studio tours, the Images Studio Tours is a widely popular public art tour that invites visitors to explore local artist’s work within their own studio spaces. Situated within the heart of lake country, Orillia is the perfect place to kickoff your weekend art rally.

The City will feature two artists this year, both within close proximity to the downtown core where you can explore over a dozen more galleries and creative spaces.

Tour the event

Exhibits, Historical Tours, and Seasonal Events

Orillia Jazz Festival decorative graphic

Orillia Jazz Festival

October 13 to 15.

An autumn tradition, the Orillia Jazz Festival is a three-day festival that brings a wide variety of high-caliber musicians to perform live music as colourfully intricate as the Sunshine City’s fall landscape. Main stage performances will take place at the Orillia Opera House and will include multi-award-winning vocalist Holly Cole; Lance Anderson with a supergroup ensemble including William Sperendei, Quammie Williams, Simon Wallis, and live jazz dancers; as well as Orillia Brassworks with guest student mentors Brenda Uchimaru and Alex Dean.

In addition to the main stage lineup, a long list of Jazz Crawl performances will be taking place at local restaurants and businesses throughout the weekend. Visit to view the full lineup and start planning your autumn music tour. 

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Autumn scenery at the Leacock Museum

Autumn High Teas, Workshops, & Tours at The Leacock Museum

Boasting one of the most scenic waterfronts in the City, the Leacock Museum National Historic Site is a must-visit in the fall with waterfront trails, quaint heritage gardens, and interchanging exhibits.

The museum's featured seasonal exhibit, “Decoding Anne Lister: History’s First Modern Lesbian," is an exploration into revolutionary queer British writer, Anne Lister. Popular fall events to look out for include Ghost Walks on the Leacock Museum GroundsFall High Teas; and Fall Roses and Rosé, an autumn bouquet workshop with local florist Florillia that includes a museum tour and autumn-themed beverage from FARE Restaurant.

Visit the museum

Orillia Museum of Art and History Building

The Orillia Museum of Art & History

The Orillia Museum of Art and History dedicates its heritage space to exploring Orillia’s past and present through interchanging historical exhibitions and gallery showings.

The autumn season is a special time at the museum, as a wide variety of vibrant, Canadian-focused exhibits reflect the colours of a new season. Well-known for their guided walking tours around historical downtown Orillia, the museum's annual Ghost Walks are a not-to-be-missed autumn treat. Don't forget to take a tour around the exhibits (entry is just $5!), check out the Orillia-centric gift shop, and see what Canadian artworks are calling the Sunshine City home this season.

View the exhibits

Free Walking Tours

If you're looking to explore at your own pace, Tripvia Tours is a free mobile tour guide. Visitors have three tours to choose from; a scenic tour of the Millennium Trail where 14 heritage signs tell the story of Orillia’s early beginnings; a historic deep-dive into the scenic Leacock Museum grounds; or, Historical Downtown, where the City’s cultural hub is explored through its rich heritage buildings.  

Take a tour

Autumn views of Orillia:

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By GHD Digital