Orillia artist will be featured
at Coldwater Steampunk Festival 

 ~ Orillia Matters

Edwards, who comes from a family of artists, has been chosen as event's featured artist; 'I want to engage with people and have them engage with my pieces'

The Coldwater Steampunk Festival is pleased to announce Chris Edwards from Orillia, Ontario as the 2019 Featured Artist.

Edwards won the online Artist Competition in 2018 for his Oceanic Theme submission, judged by Likes on the Coldwater Steampunk Festival Facebook page. 

“My family has a lot of artists in it,” says Edwards. “My grandfather with art and woodworking, my mother with crafts and sewing, my uncle with metal work. I have always had family support and people to look up to when it comes to art.”

Chris Edwards was always given comic books as a child, which helped guide him towards art. He would stay up late making his own comics or be doodling in class at school.

“Shows like Beastwars and Dragonball Z gave me a variety of art styles to learn from and draw inspiration,” he says.  

As he got older, Edwards began to embrace the artistic style of his favourite artists. Todd McFarlane was his biggest inspiration. 

“I loved that he was great at detailing characters and scenes to look strong and sharp and menacing,” says Edwards. “I also loved the creepy style of Benjamin Roman but I found Alex Ross’s work on the DC series Justice and fell in love with his realistic use of watercolour. I wanted to lock down my art style that would distinguish me from other artists as much as Alex Ross did.”

Edwards was mostly self-taught until he attended Sheridan College of Art and Design in Oakville, Ontario. First taking Art Fundamentals and then Visual and Creative Arts. 

College gave him the experience with Photoshop and other computer programs as well as introducing him to his favourite medium, watercolor and ink.

“I learned a lot from my college professors, but I learned more from the other students around me,” says Edwards.

Edwards' goal when it comes to art is to have people connect on some sort of level, from the colours right through to the brush strokes, and to the story his art is telling.

“I want to engage with people and have them engage with my pieces,” he says.

For those of you familiar with Comicon’s and Steampunk Festivals, chances are you own something made by his mother, Angela Thompson of Christoria Creations. 

“My mom introduced me into, well…everything I absolutely love. Comics, sci-fi, kung fu, and Kaiju movies.” 

Edwards speaks proudly of his mom.

“She takes her craft in sewing, she is a great seamstress. My mom has a decent hand in painting and loves her craft, and that’s something that I myself look into," he said.

This story gets even better when Edwards talks about his sister, stating that she is talented in acting and music.

“She always could fake cry on demand or act out a scene with great body language and delivery,” he admits, “plus her vocal range is pretty great as well.”

Chris Edwards is currently working on a 2019 collectible button design to be sold at this year’s Coldwater Steampunk Festival, Aug. 9 and 10.

To meet Chris and his mom and sister, drop by the Christoria Creations booth at the corner of Mill Street and Mainstreet during the festival



What a Great Surprise!

The Coldwater Steampunk Festival's Suzy Burtenshaw has won THE PRESTIGIOUS CHARLIE KELLY TOURISM AWARD!

Surprised and humbled by this award, Suzy gave an immediate tip-of-the-hat to the incredible army of creative spirits that have contributed to the Festival over the years. 

"We couldn't have done it without YOU.  Thank you to our program partners, sponsors, volunteers, hardworking Festival Board Members, and spectacular Steampunks for sharing in our success. AND Thank you to Bayshore Broadcasting and BruceGreySimcoe (RTO7) for this INCREDIBLE HONOUR. It's full steam ahead!"

Photo courtesy of Bayshore Broadcasting and BruceGreySimcoe (RTO7) 

For Immediate Release by RT07

The Blue Mountains, ON (November 14, 2017)  

Title:  Suzanne Burtenshaw wins 2017 Charlie Kelly Award 

Suzanne Burtenshaw of the Coldwater Steampunk Festival is the winner of this year’s Charlie Kelly Award, presented at the BruceGreySimcoe Regional Tourism UnConference at Blue Mountain Resort on November 14th.

The award honours the memory of Charlie Kelly, who championed the idea of four-season tourism for Owen Sound.  It embodies his spirit and looks to recognize the person who has helped to grow the tourism industry the most over the last year, through initiative, innovation or by acting as a role model.

Burtenshaw is a dedicated volunteer with the Coldwater Steampunk Festival. The festival brings thousands of attendees to the village of Coldwater to celebrate the steampunk era. Visitors often come in elaborate costumes and this themed event had record attendance this year, bringing visitors from as far as the United States, packing local accommodations and making a great economic contribution to the region.

Having moved to Coldwater in 2009, Burtenshaw saw the potential for the festival and the community and has worked to grow the volunteer base as well as the town’s participation in the event. She works year-round to plan the festival and knows that it’s a great way to introduce visitors to the area’s other attractions. Burtenshaw and her partner also host an Antique Car meet every Thursday from May until September, further increasing traffic to downtown Coldwater.

Described as an idea person with boundless energy, Burtenshaw’s vision has contributed to the success of the Coldwater Steampunk Festival and has helped bring a new vibrancy to the village of Coldwater.

The Charlie Kelly award committee received 16 nominations this year for 12 individuals. Past winners include Mylisa Hendersen, Don Braden, Jeff Carver, Patti Kendall, Jack and Rick Salen, Ashley Miller, Bryan Plumstead, Chris Hughes and Jenny Amy.

Thanks to the support of Bayshore Broadcasting, this award has grown from recognizing tourism champions in Grey and Bruce counties to honouring those in Bruce, Grey and Simcoe counties.

About Regional Tourism Organization 7:
RTO7 provides strategic and collaborative leadership to build, sustain and grow tourism in the region comprised of Bruce, Grey and Simcoe Counties (BruceGreySimcoe). We are one of 13 RTOs – independent, not-for-profit corporations – to which the Ontario government provides approximately $40 million in annual funding to lead tourism planning, marketing and development in their respective regions.

Some quick facts about BruceGreySimcoe tourism:

  • Tourism across the region accounts for over 34,000* jobs that deliver millions more in economic outputs
  • BruceGreySimcoe has in excess of 25,000 accommodation rooms, including hotels, motels, camping and RV sites, commercial resorts, cabins and B&Bs**
  • There are over 400 attractions across the region, and over 600 festival and event days each year**

*From OMAFRA EMSI Analyst query (2014) ** From the 2010 AECOM Region Strategic Destination Plan


For more information:
Kim Clarke
Tourism Experience Development Specialist

#ColdSteam2017 Wins Award!

The Coldwater Steampunk Festival is where imagination and creativity collide with alternative realities - and it is now home of the Orillia District Arts Council’s 2017 Community Arts Award!

The Council is a vibrant, collaborative and interactive arts community that is meaningfully engaged with the public (https://orilliaartscouncil.ca/). It presented its community award to the #ColdwaterSteampunkFestival for making “a marked contribution to the cultural fabric of the community while possessing the highest standards of motivation and service.”

Many thanks go to our colourful Steampunks, jubilant volunteers, generous community partners, visionary founders, and the whirl-wind of energy that is Suzy Burtenshaw. Every year is a different experience, unleashing the artist in all of us, and it IS a wonderful ride. To learn more see www.steampunkfestivalcoldwater.com .

#ColdSteam 2017 sends compliments to fellow awards winner, Tyler Knight (http://knightvision.ca/). His outstanding artistic contributions to Orillia’s cultural life earned him ODAC’s Arts Achievement Award.

A tip of the hat also go out to this year’s nominees: Beth McKean (www.bethmckean.com) is a vibrant singer/songwriter/clothing designer inspiring change in Orillia; and Ruth Germain collaborates with more than 200 local artists each year to produce “Somniatis”, a wearable art fashion show and silent auction supporting the Museum of Art and History (www.facebook.com/pg/somniatis2016orillia).

WOW. We’re so lucky to be in this awesome company!

Thank you!

Pictured above: Suzy Burtenshaw and ODAC President, Marg Gurr, and Tyler Knight.

Photo by Deb Halbot

Graphic by Heather Keery