four pairs of couples dance in front of an outdoor stage Arts and Culture Under the Lights, Thunder Bay Culture Days 2023, photo by Ruth Burns.

Ontario Culture Days 2023 Highlights

December 20, 2023

December 20, 2023

From September 22 to October 15, 2023, Ontario Culture Days brought together over a million participants across the province for a lively celebration of artistic and cultural diversity. Organizers hosted open studios, hands-on crafts, cultural family fun, dance and music showcases, museum tours, and so much more – all highlighting Ontario’s unique creative spirit.

Festival Facts

The Festival featured 1,200 free activities across 97 municipalities during the three-week celebration. This year saw a noteworthy rise in independent organizers to a total of 487, a remarkable 13% increase from 2022. The events took place in a record 41 languages, highlighting Ontario’s rich multicultural diversity, including 62 Francophone events that added to the richness of the celebrations.

Adults in tour bus with speaker at the front holding a microphone
Neighbourhood Arts Tour, Windsor Culture Days 2023, photo courtesy of Alejandro Tamayo.

Cultural Tourism and Economic Impact

The economic impact of the 2023 Festival on Ontario was estimated at over $44 million. With 35% of Ontario Culture Days attendees travelling more than 40km to visit events, it’s clear that arts and culture tourism has an economic impact. Beyond financial gains, the cultural exchange facilitated by visitors from different regions enhances the overall experience, fostering community engagement and networking opportunities, strengthening the reputation of arts and culture organizations, and promoting a positive image that resonates beyond immediate communities.

Festival Hubs

In 2022, Ontario Culture Days worked with local municipalities and organizations to kick off the regional Festival Hub program. Hubs are local partners that act as community leads, playing a pivotal role connecting organizers and amplifying Festival events in Ontario. In its inaugural year, 10 Hubs hosted 570 events, representing over half of all provincial events and drawing in 23,369 people. In 2023, the program expanded to 13 Hubs, hosting 811 events that attracted a remarkable 43,974 attendees, constituting 63% of all provincial events.

Male and female looking at colourful art pieces
Queen West Art Crawl, Toronto Culture Days 2023, photo by Kevin Jones.Queen West Art Crawl, Toronto Culture Days 2023, photo by Kevin Jones.

Top Participating Communities in Ontario
The provincial list of Top Participating Communities acknowledges event organizers’ roles as champions of enrichment through arts, culture, and creativity. The top participating communities were:

See the list of national Top Participating Communities here.