Much to see and do at this year’s Hintonburg Happening 

By Joseph Hutt – 

It is time to clear your schedules, folks, because the Hintonburg Happening (HH) kicks off on May 6. For eight days, businesses around Wellington West will be opening their doors to local artists and makers in order to put together a collection of over 20 unique exhibitions and workshops.

Thanks to the organizational efforts of Hintonburg Public House owner, Summer Baird, Broadview Public School teacher, Alisa Viner, and communications expert, Mary Beth Wolicky, HH is filled to the brim with unique and interesting collaborations between local artists and businesses, starting with the May 6 launch party at Tamarack Wellington.

Hintonburg Happening organizers Summer Baird and Alisa Viner. This year’s Happening is taking place May 1 to 9, in “real life” and online. Photo by Ted Simpson.
Two of the three Hintonburg Happening organizers: Summer Baird and Alisa Viner. File photo by Ted Simpson.

Here, according to Summer, you can look forward to “an art show with local kids from the neighbourhood and professional artists, live music, food and drinks to sort of kick the week off, and give a little bit of the flavour of what’s to come.”

The launch party is also being used to unveil the Tamarack Wellington Hintonbird House, the latest addition to the community-based art project that earned Daniel Martelock and Craig O’Brien one of the two 2015 HH Art Grants. It will be one of the 10 birdhouses that have been installed around Hintonburg, each a tiny replica of the landmark building they have been mounted upon. Tours will also be organized to take groups to each of these permanent and functional art installations. [story continues below]

It’s like the best game of iSpy, ever! The Hintonbird House Project by Daniel Martelock and Craig O’Brien – winners of the 2015 Hintonburg Happening Arts Grant – highlights the relationship we have with our avian neighbours and is a cheerful of representation of our own community. Photos by Joseph Hutt




Making this kind of cultural impact on the neighbourhood is a goal that was adopted during last year’s celebration.

“The first year [the “Airing Your Dirty Laundry” exhibit, by Shawn McDonell] wasn’t permanent,” explains Summer. “We felt, going forward, that we’d like to have permanent things, so that we beautify the neighbourhood a little bit more.”

Summer says the call for such community-minded artists will go out the week before HH, adding: “Basically, it’s open to anyone,” Summer explains. “Anyone can apply with their idea. It can be any medium, anything they want.”

Once the festivities are over, it will then be up to the core HH volunteers to decide who will receive the grant, the amount of which depends on the funds HH raises from the closing party and donations throughout the week.

As for the rest of the week, Summer says each of the events will be really different. “It’s really showcasing either what the shop offers normally – with a bit of a twist – or it’s [the shop owners] wanting to be involved in the arts and bringing in an artist, a musician in to do something fun and unique that they wouldn’t normally do.”

There is also a special emphasis, this year, on keeping children engaged and entertained with a variety of activities and workshops, so that the experience is fun for the entire family.

Better still, the opportunity to meet and engage with all these artists and business owners is all free. All you need to pay for is the food you eat and the art you cannot bear to part with, which is perfect, because there is so much to see and do.

If you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, LOAM and Hintonburg Pottery will each be hosting clay and pottery workshops. If you have children, you certainly don’t want to miss LOAM’s Monster Making Workshop on May 8.

If you are more musically inclined, the Wellington Royal Oak and the Carleton Tavern will be offering some live performances from local bands. On May 11, The Record Centre will be hosting “Slam Painting to Surf Music,” where two local artists will live-paint to the jams of “Spy-Fi” surf band The Reverb Syndicate.

What is Summer herself looking forward to? “Twiss and Weber always does something weird and wonderful… so I’m excited to attend that one,” she says. Without giving away too much, this one involves four local sheep, a hacked knitting machine, and some woolly QR codes.

Summer is also putting together her own event on May 12 – in collaboration with Fabrications – at the Hintonburg Public House. Summer is hosting local artist Andrea Stokes’ latest show, WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING. Halifax hip-hop artist Jesse Dangerously will also be performing there during the launch.

The biggest day of the entire festival may be the closing ceremonies on May 14. HH will be taking over Somerset Square to host an afternoon and evening of interactive crafts, ukulele lessons taught by BigARTS, a makers market, the HH Open Mic with Jesse Cole, plenty of live music and much, much more.

There is so much going on we can’t list everything here, but you can find full event listings at


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