2023 People’s Choice Award: Voting 

People’s Choice is an open-category accolade for the general public to recognize any program and its overall contribution to the Ontario Culture Days Festival.

Anyone can vote for their favourite program (see the full list of nominees below). The program that receives the greatest number of votes will be awarded the Spotlight.

Voting has closed. Check back soon for winners!

Photo by Sarah Arfan

Nomination 1:

Arts Milton
South Asian Mommies of Milton Cultural Hour

Taking place at FirstOntario Arts Centre, this event featured an hour of dance performances highlighting the diverse cultures of South Asia, evoking a sense of nostalgia through tastes, festivities, language, and audience participation.

Photo courtesy of Nipissing Culture Days

Nomination 2:

Les Compagnons des francs loisirs
Family Picnic and Culture Days Celebration

This celebration featured free music by Anishnabek dancer Cody McKenzie-Sackaney, Latin beats by DJ Samanta Left, African francophone hip-hop dance, puppet time with Masha, and a variety of family-friendly activities. Attendees were invited to bring a picnic or enjoy delicious food from vendors, creating a lively atmosphere outside the North Bay Museum.

Photo by Kyrstiana Bourdage

Nomination 3:

4elements Living Art
2023 Elemental Festival
The Elemental Festival on Mnidoo Mnising (Manitoulin Island) celebrated the beauty, bounty, and history of the island, emphasizing the connection between artists, environment, and community. The festival featured a local artisan market, gallery, workshops, and performances, providing a platform for creatives to showcase their work and explore their relationship with the layers of the land on the island.

Photo courtesy of Gananoque Arts Network

Nomination 4:

Gananoque Arts Network
GAN Arts Fest

Taking place in Gananoque, the GAN Arts Fest showcased diverse artistic activities such as live music, painting, pottery, ceramics, printmaking, and visual arts, as well as interactive experiences for kids.

Photo courtesy of Joan Minnery Enterprises

Nomination 5:

Joan Minnery
Home Brew – Local Fest

As part of the 2023 Brant County Culture Days, the Home Brew community event collaborated with the Adelaide Hoodless Hunter Homestead to host an in-person outdoor community festival showcasing local talent from Brant County and Brantford. The lineup included singers, dancers, musicians, and cultural performers celebrating community and culture.

Photo by Jenna Centra

Nomination 6:

Oakville Chinese Network Society
Chinese Culture Exploration

The Oakville Chinese Network Society hosted an inclusive and interactive cultural event that celebrated Chinese traditions. The event offered activities such as trying on Chinese costumes, learning Chinese knot making, trying on Chinese Folk Costumes, playing classic Chinese instruments, participating in the lively Lion Dance, and more.

Photo by Kyrstiana Bourdage

Nomination 7:

Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig and Indigenous Tourism Ontario
The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig and ITO
This Truth & Reconciliation event in Baawaating (Sault Ste Marie) engaged participants in meaningful activities to contribute to the ongoing process of Truth and Reconciliation. Events included a Leading for Excellence Workshop, Shingwauk Residential School Tour, Blanket Exercise, Truth Walk at the Shingwauk Residential School Centre and Algoma University, Residential School Survivor Panel, 2nd Generation Survivors Panel, Moccasin Workshop, Medicine Pouch Workshop and Performance: Healing Song, and Jingle Dress Healing Dance.

Photo courtesy of City of Vaughan

Nomination 8:

Vaughan Public Libraries
Kitchen Traditions
This event series at Vaughan Public Library’s VMC branch shared kitchen traditions and stories to foster intergenerational culinary connections. Participants learned from older adults to prepare diverse dishes reflecting cultural diversity across generations, with sessions on Potato Kugel and Middle-Eastern cuisine.

Photo by Sarah Arfan

Nomination 9:

World of Threads Festival
World of Threads

This showcase of contemporary fibre and textile art features Canadian and International fibre art. The festival featured 423 artworks by 114 artists in thematic group exhibitions, solo shows and installations throughout the Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre.