Press Release

September 19, 2023

Ontario Culture Days Festival Runs September 22nd to October 15th

Province-Wide Festival Projected to Welcome Nearly 100 Participating Municipalities, Host More Than 1,000 Free Events, and Draw Attendance of Over 10% of Ontarians

Toronto, ON

The annual celebration of arts, culture and heritage, Ontario Culture Days Festival opens this Friday, September 22nd and runs until October 15th. This year, the Festival welcomes nearly 100 participating municipalities across Ontario and will host over one thousand free events over a three-week period. Each year, Ontario Culture Days works with organizers and artists of all disciplines to produce this province-wide festival. It is expected that over one in ten Ontario residents will visit the Festival.

“Culture plays an important role in Ontario’s economy, brings people together, strengthens communities and enriches our collective experiences. Our government is proud to support the sector and annual initiatives like the Ontario Cultural Days Festival. I encourage Ontarians in every part of the province to attend as many of the more than one thousand free events it offers to experience the diversity of culture and talent that has contributed to our province’s standing as the largest cultural producer and employer in the country.” —  Neil Lumsden, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Opening Celebration

The Festival will kick off with an Opening Day Celebration. The City of Thunder Bay was named the host city for the Friday, September 22nd grand opening event titled “Arts & Culture Under the Lights“. The event will bring the community together for an unforgettable night of dance, cultural performances, entertainment and artisans – all under the lights.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, September 30th

Ontario Culture Days has set September 30th aside to create space exclusively for events organized to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, including those sharing First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit experiences and perspectives, and celebrating the creative and cultural expressions of Indigenous people and communities.

Festival Hubs

Festival Hubs are local partners that act as community leads for the Festival, playing a crucial role in fostering artistic expression and visitor engagement. Last year the Festival launched this successful program with ten hubs, and this year Ontario Culture Days welcomes thirteen hubs across the province. The 2023 regional hubs are Elora/Fergus1,000 Islands and GananoqueGuelphHalton RegionOttawa RegionSault Ste. MarieScugogSouth Georgian BaySt. Catharines & Niagara RegionThunder BayToronto, Vaughan, and Windsor. Each Hub will have a dedicated event page allowing visitors to easily select what to do in that area during the Festival.

Over 1,000 Free Events

From dance classes, to singing performances, to participatory art classes, there are over 1,000 free events happening throughout the Festival all over the province in cities and in towns. The Festival has also collaborated with many established institutions like the Toronto Public Library, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, the Guelph Civic Museum and many more, to offer unique experiences throughout the three weeks.

Creatives in Residences

The Creatives in Residence artists engage in a 5-month-long residency program, collaborating closely with local communities to showcase the dynamism of Ontario’s arts and culture landscape. Their remarkable outcomes culminate in community-based activities and exhibits during the 2023 Fall Festival, this year inspired by the theme of material culture.

  • Toronto & Guelph: Alisa McRonald “Fables in Yarn” exhibition and collaborative art creation
  • Thunder Bay: Betty Carpick, “The Land is Dancing” artist talk, public art projection, and workshop
  • Temiskaming: Chelsea Smith “Maawanji’idiwag: They Come Together” exhibition, artist talk with experiential workshop
  • Ottawa: Juliane Foronda, “NOTES ON PLAY” public art installation, drop-in program, and artist talk
  • Toronto: Kevin A. Ormsby & KasheDance, “Kultcha Live Yah” workshops and showcase
  • Pickering: Mushtari Afroz, “Choreo-xperience Public Spaces” dancer takeover, artist talk with interactive performance
  • Toronto: Myung-Sun Kim, “Rituals for Belonging” exhibition and public program
  • Toronto: Owen Marshall, “Six and a Half Flags over Queen Street West” public art installation and artist tours

ON Culture Guides

The Festival marks an excellent opportunity to explore different regions of Ontario and be a cultural tourist. This year, Ontario Culture Days developed easy-to-follow travel guides for regions across the province. These guides are fool-proof resources for visitors to follow to get the most out of weekend activities this fall. ON Culture Guides can be found here.

For the most up-to-date information, visit the  Ontario Culture Days Festival website and follow along at @onculturedays.

LISTING INFORMATION         Ontario Culture Days                                      

Dates:                                       September 22 – October 15, 2023

Price:                                         FREE

 Event Link:                     

Hashtag:                                   #ONCultureDays

Photos of the 2023 Creatives in Residence can be found here.

Photos of the 2023 Festival Hubs can be found here.

For more information on Ontario Culture Days, visit our website at 

About Ontario Culture Days:

Ontario Culture Days is a not-for-profit organization that celebrates artists and cultural groups in our communities.

The Ontario Culture Days Festival is an annual celebration of arts, culture and heritage taking place each fall across the province. Each year, we work with organizers of all disciplines to produce this province-wide festival. Organizers host programs throughout Ontario and invite the public to participate for free. The next Ontario Culture Days Festival will take place between September 22nd to October 15th, 2023.

Ontario Culture Days lives at the local level. We support organizers from the smallest hamlets to the largest cities while coordinating with other national and provincial Culture Days partners. We support the success of our sector colleagues through resources and network development while highlighting the breadth and heterogeneity of Ontario’s arts and culture to the wider public.

A sincere thanks to Ontario Culture Days’ supporters, including Ivy Charging Network, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), VIA Rail Canada, Arterra Wines Canada, Destination Toronto, Destination Northern Ontario, Star Metroland Media and the Toronto Star.  

These programs would not be possible without the support of the Government of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Ontario, the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, and the Toronto Arts Council.

The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund is a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

For further media information, contact:

Deanne Moser. 647.888.9388