Markham Arts Council Collaborative Art Project, Markham Culture Days 2022. Photo by Sarah Arfan.

Ontario Culture Days Festival Primer

November 10, 2023

The Ontario Culture Days festival is a yearly celebration of arts and culture that takes place from September 20 to October 13, 2024. Individuals, groups, and organizations can showcase their creativity and connect with their communities through various events across the province – and across the country!

Weekend for Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous Tourism Ontario and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Sault Ste. Marie Culture Days 2022. Photo by Kyrstiana Bourdage.


As an event organizer, here’s how you can benefit from registering your event:

  • Connect with visitors and show off your awesome community-engaged events
  • Increase your organization’s visibility and reach a wider audience with your inclusive arts and cultural experiences
  • Produce accessible activities that are either free or pay-what-you-may
  • Contribute to the growth and development of arts and culture in your region
  • Network and collaborate with other groups and organizations
  • Reap the rewards of festival marketing campaigns and resources for your event

How to Get Involved

Participating in Ontario Culture Days is easy and fun. Start by thinking about what kind of event you’ll produce. You don’t have to start from scratch! Here are some ideas:

  • Check if your current programming already meets the Ontario Culture Days criteria (see below)
  • Expand your existing offerings
  • Partner with other cultural organizations to create collaborative events. For example, a museum could collaborate with a local artist group to create a public art installation that ties in with a collection or theme
  • Share your online digital recordings and learning resources
  • Create new experiences that engage the public in unexpected ways

‘Migration in Print’ Project Monotype Workshop with Beth Shepherd, Ottawa-Gatineau Printmakers Connective, Ottawa Culture Days 2022. Photo by Kyrstiana Bourdage.

Festival organizers can offer a diverse range of events, including:

  • Visual arts exhibitions and interactive activities that will take your breath away
  • Music, dance, and theatre performances that will get your heart racing
  • Film screenings and talks that will transport you to another world
  • Workshops and learning opportunities that will broaden your horizons
  • Heritage walks and tours that will take you on a journey through time
  • Community and cultural sharing events that will warm your heart and connect you to others
  • And so much more! For more inspiration, check out the Spotlight Recognition Program

Event Criteria and Registration Process

Ontario Culture Days festival events must:

  • Have an arts and culture component
  • Encourage participation and engagement
  • Be either free or have a pay-what-you-may option
  • Be registered through the festival’s registration system via our Culture Days national affiliate. Registration opens in the Spring
  • Be located in Ontario
  • Take place on at least one (or all!) of the Ontario Culture Days festival dates
  • September 30, 2024 is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day is reserved for events that commemorate this day and honour Indigenous experiences, perspectives, and creative and cultural expressions

Theatre on the Ridge Pop-up at the Scugog Hub, Ontario Culture Days Festival 2022. Photo by Barry McCluskey.

Follow these steps for a successful Festival event:

  • Plan your event and make sure it fits the Ontario Culture Days criteria
  • Register your event as early as possible, providing details such as date, time, location, and description. Registration begins in the Spring
  • Check to see if there is a Ontario Culture Days Hub in your region. Hubs are local partners that act as community leads for the festival
    Promote your event using social media, email, and other marketing tools
  • Before the Ontario Culture Days festival, make sure your event is accessible and has clear signage
  • On the day of the Ontario Culture Days festival, focus on making sure your event runs smoothly and attendees are engaged and have a positive experience
  • Take photos to document and share on your social channels
  • Track attendance and gather feedback from participants to measure success and make improvements for future festivals
  • Celebrate your achievements and share your experiences with others

Milton Culture Days 2022. Photo by Olivia Brocklehurst.

So, what are you waiting for? Join the fun and get involved in the Ontario Culture Days festival today!

Did You Know?

  • Each year, over 10% of Ontarians participate in the Ontario Culture Days festival.
  • Over 30% of participants travel beyond their home community to participate.
  • Last year, organizers hosted events in 42 languages.

More Resources:

Organizer Information
10 Tips for Festival Organizers

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Interested in Culture Days across the country? Learn more from our National affiliate here.