2021 Spotlight Awards

The Spotlight Recognition Program celebrates exemplary programming taking place each year as part of the Ontario Culture Days Festival. As the festival has adapted over the past year, so too have the Spotlight categories shifted to identify current programming trends. These award categories look to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of program organisers who have created engaging events for Ontario audiences.

The 2021 Spotlight categories are:

  • Best Digital Program
  • Best In-Person Program
  • Inclusive Programming
  • People’s Choice

Full category descriptions below.

Nominations and People’s Choice voting is now closed. See the list of winners here.

Spotlight Categories

Best Digital Program

Digital programming is so much more than pivoting online. How can we reach through the screen to build a meaningful connection with audiences when we are spread apart? This category looks at the ways organizers thought outside the box to create engaging experiences online.

Best In-Person Program

The complexities of in-person programming have never been greater than this year, as the province begins to reopen. In what ways did organisers creatively think about participation to bring audiences together in a safe and meaningful way.

Inclusive Programming

There are many barriers that exist which stop people from participating in arts and culture, and unfortunately, such impediments frequently go unacknowledged. This category recognizes those who have created more inclusive programming by putting equity and accessibility at the forefront.

People’s Choice

People’s Choice is an open-category accolade that allows the general public to recognize any program and its overall contribution to the Culture Days festival. Spotlight jurors will choose their top five nominations from the People’s Choice category. The nominee that receives the greatest number of votes online will be awarded the Spotlight.

For a full listing of Ontario Culture Days hosted programming, visit:

Photo credits:
Header –
Meaghan Froh Metcalf
Spotlight Categories – Tabitha Turner, Jeswin Thomas, Natalie Wiseman – Seattle Art Museum, and Emily Webster.