Stage Door News

Toronto: Canada’s cultural institutions open their doors to celebrate Ontario Culture Days September 27-29

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Ontario Culture Days proudly engages with some of Canada’s most iconic cultural institutions to produce a wide swath of engaging, educational, and richly diverse events throughout the Ottawa and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) from September 27–29, 2019 – in celebration of the rich tapestry of incredible creative expression on display across the province.

“As the capital of our nation and province, Ottawa and Toronto boast some of Canada’s foremost cultural landmarks. These institutions play an essential role in our society as educators, advocates, interpreters and recorders of our collective culture” says Ontario Culture Days Executive Director Ruth Burns. “The participation of these institutions in Ontario Culture Days is a definitive statement that creativity, expression, and art are for everyone; indeed, The National Gallery of Canada, National Arts Centre, and the Royal Ontario Museum have been supporters of Culture Days since our founding 10 years ago.”

In Ottawa, offerings include: The Art of Camping at the National Gallery of Canada; an art market and all-ages programming on the closing weekend of the National Art Centre’s Mòshkamo Indigenous Arts Festival; the Ottawa Animation Festival; and, Caribbean Culture Day. In Toronto, participants can venture to The Big Draw Festival Toronto 2019, a celebration of the universal power of drawing and creative expression; the Toronto Public Library, who host a special series on the melding of storytelling, creativity, and well-being; the Royal Ontario Museum; Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Film Reference Library, who are presenting a series of stress-reducing short films; and, audiences can explore Myseum’s Wigwam Chi-Chemung’s learning series, showcasing two art-making workshops with Elder Duke Redbird.

Ontario Culture Days celebrates the important role of art and expression in society with a kaleidoscope of free and engaging activities featuring painting, theatre, experimental performance art, literature, design, cinema, and much more. This year’s vibrant weekend brings special attention to the intersections of creativity, the arts, and well-being, programmed to help boost community engagement, foster deeper social connections, and build an understanding and appreciation for the collective artistic experience.

“The arts enrich our lives and add meaning to our collective culture,” said National Gallery of Canada Director and CEO,Dr. Sasha Suda. “To mark Culture Days 2019, the Gallery will provide free access and special programming to the public on September 29th. We invite the entire community to seize this great opportunity to appreciate art.”

"The National Arts Centre has been proud to be part of Culture Days from the very beginning," said NAC President and CEO Christopher Deacon. "This wonderful, national celebration reminds us that the arts, culture and creativity are a fundamental part of who we are, bringing us immeasurable joy and new understanding of ourselves, each other and our world."

Free events and activities taking place across Ottawa include:

  • The Art of Camping | September 29, 10am-4pm | National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Drive
    Families have a chance to join a campfire sing along, take an art hike, help owls find their way home, and more.
  • Mòshkamo Family Day | September 29, 1pm-5pm | National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St
    Arts-lovers can be part of the new Indigenous Theatre’s launch with an afternoon of hands-on activities. Free dance, music, theatre and craft workshops for the whole family. 
  • Indigenous Art Market | September 28, noon-6pm | National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St
    Come and support local Indigenous artists and artisans. Browse jewelry, beadwork, paintings, sculptures, mittens, moccasins, coffee, crafts, and much more.
  • InGenius Jr Day For Families at the Ottawa International Animation Festival | September 28, 8am–8pm | Ottawa Art Gallery, 2 Daly Avenue
    Children are welcomed to channel their inner animators with free hands-on workshops and screenings.
  • Caribbean Culture Day | September 28, 12-8pm | Ottawa Masonic Centre, 2140 Walkley Road
    Ottawa’s Caribbean community celebrates its vibrant culture and history with food, entertainment, workshops, and more.  

Free events and activities taking place across the Greater Toronto Area include:

  • Culture Days @ Toronto Public Library | September 27-28, Various Times | Toronto Public Library Branches
    Experiment with storytelling, personal growth and community at Toronto Public Library Branches across the city with numerous hands-on artist-led activities focused on storytelling of all kinds.
  • The Big Draw Festival Toronto 2019 | September 28–29, 10–5pm | Various locations around Toronto
    The world’s largest drawing festival celebrates the power of visual art through a far-reaching partnership with all ten of Toronto’s history museums.
  • TIFF Film Reference Library: Make Well Drop-In | September 28, 12–5pm | TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West
    Experience a series of interactive activities co-curated by TIFF’s Mental Health Outreach programme and de-stress with the power of film.
  • Myseum’s Wigwam Chi-Chemung Indigenous learning series: Art & Wellness: An Indigenous Perspective | September 28, 1–2:30pm | Trillium Park Pavilion, 955 Lake Shore Boulevard West
    Creativity, the arts, and well-being are explored through an Indigenous lens with two art-making workshops (drawing and dance) and talks with Elder Duke Redbird. The event is hosted on the Wigwam Chi-Chemung (Big Canoe House): an Indigenous Learning Centre situated on a forty-foot pontoon houseboat at the Ontario Place South Marina.

For more information on Ontario Culture Days, and all free events in your community, visit:

Illustration: Ontario Culture Days. © 2019 Elise Conlin.