The first glimpse of a crocus usually comes when snow is still on the ground. These brave, tiny flowers always surprise us when their slender green tips push through the grey remains of fading winter. It’s also a transitional moment for Burlington’s cultural and recreational scenes.
We’re accustomed to seeing sprouts of green around this time every year but a stubborn winter, while frustrating for eager gardeners, is good news for those hoping for one more day on the slopes. Burlington’s backyard ski resort, Glen Eden in Milton, was reporting a 50 cm base in mid-March, to the delight of idle students and parents striving to keep them busy during the break. With abundant snow reserves on hand and at least the possibility of one more, late season blast, the prospect of warm spring days on a snowy hill look more promising than usual. Given the recent dry winters in The Golden Horseshoe, skiers will embrace the chance to keep boots and boards close to the back door.
Burlington’s prime location on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere offers endless opportunities to witness the change of seasons at nearby parks and recreation areas including Rattlesnake Point and Mount Nemo. As our company President,Vince Molinaro, is fond of saying, this mid-size city is ideal for “spreading your wings” and lacks the “sense of confinement” found in communities hemmed in by suburbs and highways. A mounting body of scientific evidence suggests that outdoor activity is not only good for us in general, but essential to sound mental health. Paradigm Grand condominium residents, like other Burlingtonians, have the best of all worlds with both a beckoning waterfront and beguiling forest only minutes away. So, get outside if you’re able to.
Our monthly rundown of cultural highlights includes a variety of attractions at the local institutions we, at the Molinaro Group, love and support.
Royal Botanical Gardens
- The showcase winter exhibit FROGS!, continues through mid-April and invites nature enthusiasts of all ages to learn more about these fascinating amphibians. The program sheds light on their wintering habits and the threats they face from climate change that also hold lessons and warnings for humans (until Apr. 16).
- Not Just a Birding Club: Spring. It’s no surprise that the RBG is a magnet for migrating birds. This is your chance to have an expert guide you on a series of outdoor walks beginning April 7 and running until early June. You’ll learn how to identify different species, learn about habitat, breeding habits, and perhaps how to attract them to your own backyard.
Landscape for Life. Learn sustainable gardening techniques, rainwater management and use of native plants during this six-part course at the RGB Centre, running Tuesdays from March 21 until May 2.
Visit the RBG website for ticketing info and a full list of current and upcoming exhibits, courses and workshops.
Burlington Public Library
Burlington Lyrics & Poetry Festival (adults and teens). A terrific April lineup of poets, songwriters, and seminars, kicks off April 3 with an appearance by Hamilton (UK-born) hip-hop artist, LTtheMonk. His two full-length albums reference childhood influences Michael Jackson and Jay-Z, among others, plus classical music. Various artists will perform and discuss their own works and offer insights into the creative process. The festival wraps up with an open mic event on Apr. 23. Registration is required for most events.
Joseph Brant Museum
- Visit with the Easter Bunny. The JBM celebrates this major spring holiday with a weeks-long family event inviting you and yours to a meet-and-greet with you-know-who, including an egg hunt. The fun begins on March 25 and runs through mid-April. Click here for more details.
Heritage Workshop: Needle Felting. Jonesing for a craft project? Sculpt your own Easter rabbit under the guidance of a fibre artist and instructor at this one-day workshop event on April 2 at Ireland House Museum.
Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Music is at the top of the agenda for the city’s premier performance venue as we ease into spring.
- Twin Flames.This distinctive husband-and-wife duo from Ottawa is amassing a growing body of awards and accolades in the folk and indigenous musical genres. Their gentle harmonies, humour and genuine expressions of love for each other and their family provide the basis for an inspirational, soulful concert experience. It’s a rare chance to absorb their special chemistry and unique style in an intimate setting (Mar. 30).
- SING! The Toronto International Vocal Arts Festival Aca-Film Festival. This multimedia presentation combines a live a cappela concert by the Canadian touring ensemble Countermeasure with three short films and an audience Q and A with the directors and cast. Formed in 2010, Countermeasure has won international renown for its remarkable choreography and vocal prowess (Mar. 30).
- Lightwire Theater: The Ugly Duckling. An Easter weekend treat for the kids, this Lightwire Theater production re-tells the classic fairy tale through contemporary media including its trademark electronics, dance and puppetry tailored to a audience of pre-schoolers through age 8 (Apr. 7).
- Burlington Symphony Orchestra: The Music of John Williams. The legendary American composer and songwriter received his latest Academy Award nomination this year for The Fabelmans but is best-known for his thundering scores for the Star Wars movie franchise and Indiana Jones blockbusters. You’ll be enthralled by those and other famous soundtracks from Williams’ catalogue as rendered faithfully by the beloved BSO (Apr. 8).
- The Australian Bee Gees Show – A Tribute to the Bee Their timeless music is destined to resound through the ages. The infectious harmonies and danceable grooves of the Gibb brothers embodied the disco era like no other band. This loving tribute show by Paquette Productions comes direct from Las Vegas to delight lifelong fans of Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, and introduce their hits to a younger generation. Bell bottoms are approved attire (Apr. 11).
- Seán Cullen’s Comedy Cocktail. Burlington’s favourite goofball returns for the latest (honestly, we’ve lost count) instalment of his fractured laugh-fest. Be prepared for anything because Cullen and his comedic cohorts will do anything to try to make you double-over with laughter. Stand-up routines, songs, skits and general silliness will shake out the last of your wintertime blues (Apr. 12).
Village Theatre Waterdown
- Girl in the Goldfish Bowl. Billed as a “curious comedy”, this play by Morris Panych comes to the Village Theatre Waterdown for a 10-show run including several matinees. Prepare to suspend your sense of disbelief for this period tale set against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Without spoiling the fun, let’s just say it involves a cast of unusual characters, a dead goldfish and why it’s important to count our blessings (Apr. 21-May 7).
Speaking of which; enjoy the best of early spring in Burlington (and the crocus blossoms)!