PEI

5 fun things to do on P.E.I. this last weekend before Christmas

With an early easing of tougher restrictions brought in on P.E.I. last week to fight an outbreak of COVID-19, entertainment venues can cautiously reopen, as can restaurants and craft fairs. Here are a few fun things to do on P.E.I. this last weekend before Christmas. 

Christmas concert, tour the lights and shine your own light on the shortest day of the year

Checking out Christmas light displays across P.E.I., like this one on Wren Drive in Stratford, is a fun thing to do this weekend and throughout the holidays. (Submitted by Michele Lawlor)

With an early easing of tougher restrictions brought in on P.E.I. last week to fight an outbreak of COVID-19, entertainment venues can cautiously reopen, as can restaurants and craft fairs. 

Here are a few fun things to do on P.E.I. this last weekend before Christmas. 

Andrew Waite at Trailside

Andrew Waite will perform an acoustic Christmas show Saturday night at Trailside Music Hall in Charlottetown. (Brendan Henry/Minotaur)

The Trailside Music Hall at the Arts Hotel on Kent Street wasted no time getting back to hosting live music in Charlottetown —  it started Friday and continues Saturday with an acoustic Christmas show by P.E.I. folk rocker Andrew Waite. 

"It'll mostly consist of my own material, with a handful of Christmas tunes scattered throughout," Waite said. 

Tickets are available at www.trailside.ca, at the Trailside box office located in Back Alley Music at 257 Queen St. or by calling (902) 367-3311. 

Watermark community gathering

Tuesday Dec. 22, head to the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico for a fun event they're calling a "magical tour."

Walk through the cosy historic theatre as you listen to music, watch theatrical vignettes and comedy with former company members, enjoy the holiday decorations, and get "a rare peek into our backstage and production areas and of course, Santa!" the show's poster says. 

Admission is a non-perishable item for the food bank. Tours begin at 6 p.m. and go at 15-minute intervals until 8:45. 

Tour the Christmas lights

The light display at James Gallant's in North Rustico. You won't need directions to find this bright scene, which lights up the neighbourhood. (Brian McInnis)

While you're in North Rustico, check out the light displays on the boats and many of the houses. It's a tradition started years ago by James Gallant, who raises money for Children's Wish. 

Many Islanders have decked their halls to the max this year. Check out our list of must-see light displays across the Island, and drive safely. 

Handel's Messiah, reimagined

The UPEI Chamber Singers have a starring role in a national video production of Handel's Messiah, called Messiah/Complex, which includes singers from all provinces and territories of Canada with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. 

"To be involved in this national project was incredibly fulfilling," said Sung Ha Shin-Bouey, associate professor of voice in the UPEI department of music and director of the choir.

"I was honoured to be asked by Against the Grain Theatre to have one of my UPEI choirs involved in this inspirational reimagining of Handel's Messiah. Watching the students giving their all and buying into this new vision was so rewarding, and I believe is something we will carry with us always. The finished product of the Messiah/Complex took my breath away."

The production features a diverse cast of BIPOC soloists, many of whom sang the various arias in their native language, including Dene, Inuktitut, Arabic and French. This innovative approach allowed the soloists to claim their part of the piece as their own, which transformed this colonial holiday staple into a celebration of Canada's multiculturalism.

Filmed in various locations across Canada, this visually stunning performance of Messiah/Complex can be viewed on the Against the Grain Theatre website here, where you can also make a donation if you wish, or it can be viewed on YouTube until Jan. 7.

Winter Solstice walk

Lanterns created by Ian McFarlane and Megan Stewart and collaborators for a winter celebration in Nova Scotia in 2019. (Submitted by Megan Stewart)

The River Clyde Pageant is inviting Islanders and those further afield to shine a light, together but apart, on Dec. 21, the winter solstice. The River Clyde Solstice Walk will illuminate the darkest day of the year with a dispersed event that anyone can participate in.

The idea for the walk emerged after "circuit-breaker" pandemic measures on P.E.I. forced organizers to cancel a winter parade scheduled in New Glasgow this weekend, said River Clyde Pageant artistic director Megan Stewart.

"Despite this disappointment, there was a great deal of enthusiasm and energy from those involved to find a new way forward," Stewart said. 

On Monday, Dec. 21, participants are invited to step into the darkness with a candle, light, or lantern and take a walk between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. to celebrate the return of the sun. Participants can share a photo or video of their walk using the hashtag #riverclydesolsticewalk if they wish.

The walk is the first winter event offered by The River Clyde Pageant, which produces large-scale, outdoor theatre performances featuring professional and emerging artists and community members. To learn more about the solstice walk and view lantern-making tutorials, visit www.riverclydepageant.com/solstice-walk.

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