The diversity of fiddle music within Canada was made possible by our ancestors immigrating to Canada from Ireland, Scotland, France, Europe and South America. The art of fiddle playing has a significant role in the cultural and social history of Canada and is practiced in all provincial and territorial regions.  It is in the interest of all Canadians to become more familiar with the traditional and contemporary importance of fiddling, to Canadian Heritage and Canadian Society.

On Saturday July 24, August 28 and September 18, 2021, we present a pilot project, “Fiddles on the Rideau”.  In the afternoon, we will have several pontoon boats carrying fiddlers performing music representing various regions in our great Nation.  Each pontoon boat will have a maximum of three musicians on board so that we can safely social distance as per the Ontario Public Health regulations. Boaters (motorized watercraft, kayaks, canoes and Stand up paddle boards) have an opportunity to paddle up and safely enjoy the music.  Bystanders have an opportunity to participate along the banks of the Rideau to enjoy this unique culture and heritage.  We will play at three locations: Mahogany Harbour dock from 1:00pm-1:40pm; Manotick boat launch/bridge 2:15-2:30pm; Long Island Locks 3:15-4:00pm.  Rain dates for all Saturday events will take place on Sunday of the same weekend. Parking is available at the Manotick Bridge public launch, Long Island Locks and along the Main Street by the Mahogany Harbour dock.  If you will be launching a canoe, kayak or paddle board to accompany the flotilla, you can use the Mahogany Harbour dock, the public launch at the Manotick Bridge, the public launch at the end of Van Vliet Rd. in Manotick or the public launch at the Long Island Locks site.  On the committee are prominent local musicians, Anna Ludlow from the Toronto production, “Come From Away”, Graham Lindsey who has helped in the planning and development of many festivals and local fiddler and step dancer, Chad Wolfe.

Juno Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee, Jann Arden said, “Listening to music became everything to me, my therapist, my comfort, my security, my teacher, my friend, my solace, my joy, my confidence, you get it.  Music is magic! It is unbelievably special and important to human life.  It always has been and it always will be.”  The current global pandemic decimated live music.  It not only affected musicians financially but it crushed their spirit and their entire being.  For the listener, music plays a role in brain function and mental health.  Musicians need this, we all need this!

The stress of the current pandemic has affected the mental health of everyone. There are several mental health centres and resources available in Ottawa but they need our financial help to keep up with the demand. As musicians, we are volunteering our time to give back, to bring the joy of music back in our lives, to rekindle our relationships, to bring people together and to boost our mental health. If you want to help support the event, please consider making a donation by visiting our “Donate to Rideauwood” page and click on the direct link to donate to the Rideauwood Addictions and Family Services Centre. They will issue you a donation receipt. We thank you in advance for your support!

Do you own a pontoon boat and would like to host a fiddler for the afternoon from 1:00-4:00pm?  Are you a fiddler that would like to participate in Fiddles on the Rideau?  All musicians and pontoon boat owners must pre-register for the event by contacting me by email.  All contact tracing and waiver forms for pontoon owners and musicians will be available in advance by email. We want to hear from you! 

It’s going to be a safe celebration with limited capacity and unlimited joy.  Get on Board! Send us an email from the “Contact Page” for more information.

You can also follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/fiddlesontherideau