June: Harbourfront Centre’s 50th Anniversary, Westben, Kingsville-Essex Highland Games and more!

Dear OCAF Friends,
We’re well into our 25th Anniversary Celebration and in this issue you will read about events in Sudbury and Peterborough and in subsequent issues there will be Windsor and Thunder Bay news. We are thrilled to be able to visit great communities around the province where OCAF has provided support for amazing cultural tourism activities over the years.
Today I want to turn your attention to OCAF’s Founding Board Members. You read in an earlier issue about our Founding Chair, Murray Frum, and there are others who helped shape the history of the program in important ways.

John McKellar, former chair of many organizations including the Toronto Arts Council, Soulpepper and Tarragon Theatres, picked up the reins after Dr. Frum and ensured a stable direction until 2021 when Mary Hofstetter came on board as Chair. John worked with many of the Founders including Nalini Stewart who we must thank for ensuring diversity of all kinds on the board; Paul Hoffert, John Lawson, Michael Koerner and others.

OCAF has also been blessed, through the requirement of ex officio members from the Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario Heritage Trust, of having the guidance of such luminaries as Tom Symons, Lincoln Alexander, Allan Gotlieb, Hal Jackman, Julia Foster, Martha Durdin and Rita Davies over its history. Harvey McCue, who was Chair of the Trust, is now an OCAF board member on his own accord and John Ecker, the current Chair of the Trust, is now an ex-officio member.

It has been and continues to be an honour to work with these dedicated Ontarians who have made public service such an important component in their lives. Thank you to all!
This introduction is my last for the OCAF newsletter. The new Executive Director, Thomas Vaughan, will take over for the July issue. Watch this space – great things are coming!
Have a wonderful time in June sampling all the incredible events Ontario has on offer!

Kathleen Sharpe
Founding Executive Director Emerita

OCAF Celebrates its 25th Anniversary in Sudbury May 1

OCAF staff, Kathleen Sharpe and Thomas Vaughan, were in Sudbury on May 1st to participate in the City of Greater Sudbury’s Cultural Symposium at the Sudbury Theatre Centre. Organized by Emily Trottier, Business Development Officer for the City and stellar OCAF board member, we were pleased to participate, along with Business and the Arts in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Immediately after, OCAF hosted a reception at the spectacular Place des Arts, to say thank you to the Sudbury community for a quarter century of unique cultural tourism programming that OCAF has been proud to play a role in supporting. We were thrilled to hear from Mayor Paul Lefebvre and Councillor Rene Lapierre and guests were treated to some cool jazz, part of the regular Jazz Wednesdays at the PDA. 

The Canadian Canoe Museum Opens May 11th

The Canadian Canoe Museum had its grand opening in Peterborough on May 11th. Situated on the banks of the Otonabee River, the long-awaited Museum opened to great fanfare on a sunny Saturday afternoon. OCAF is proud to be a supporter of the new venue for its marketing in the first year of operations.

Speakers included the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Edith Dumont, The Honourable Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, MPP Dave Smith and many other dignitaries from all levels of government and from Indigenous groups in the area. The Museum, designed by Kearns Mancini Architects, is stunning and will, no doubt, serve as a tourism draw and hub for the area in the years to come. Congratulations to Carolyn Hyslop, Executive Director and the board and staff of the Museum for their commitment and perseverance – what a stunning testament to the iconic Canadian canoe!

Events On Now: Opening

Join the Harbourfront Centre for Elliott Brood, Good Enough Live Karaoke, and many family-friendly events as they celebrate turning 50 with a block party! 

The party includes a live performance by Canadian alternative country band Elliott Brood, family-friendly activities, a chance for you to sing on stage with Good Enough Live Karaoke band, a free social line dancing class, delicious street food and drinks and a birthday cake (of course)!  Kicking off the block party, starting from 12pm, is a Vendors Market, featuring food vendors and local crafts by Artists-in-Residence.

Learn more

Giraffe: A Heightened Experience opens at THEMUSEUM in June 2024.

In GIRAFFE | A Heightened Experience visitors will get up close and personal with this mysterious, intriguing, unique animal. The research of Canadian zoologist Anne Innis Dagg has provided the foundation for seven decades of “Giraffology,” bringing new understanding to the behaviour and morphology of giraffes and the threats that the species faces, particularly humanity’s growth and subsequent irreversible damage to the environment.  Featuring artifacts and original video footage from Anne’s life and studies in South Africa, fascinating facts and interactive exhibits about giraffes, immersive displays and environments, wildlife photography by Ana Carolina Esteves Dias, and VR experiences, visitors of all ages will find inspiration, hope, and play in this brand-new exhibition!
Learn more.

Westben celebrates 25 seasons of music in nature with a host of favourite artists alongside the incredible community that has surrounded and nurtured the organization since it first flung wide the Barn Doors on July 1, 2000.

On Sunday, June 30, celebrate with Westben at the Barn featuring Kim Dafoe, Mark DuBois, Virginia Hatfield, Robert Longo, Dave Mowat, Gabrielle Prata, Ken Tizzard and Music for Goats, Caitlin Wood, members of the Westben Choruses, Ben Finley, annais linares, Eve Parker Finley and Donna Bennett & Brian Finley.
Learn more.

The Canadian Transportation Museum presents the Kingsville-Essex Highland Games including pipe band and solo performances, highland dancing, heavy events, tug-of-war and a 5K walk/run!

Competitions include:

  • Grade 1 to 5 Pipe Bands Competition 
  • Highland Dancing Contest
  • Scottish Athletic Heavy Events Competition (athletes will compete in various events including the caber toss plus weights for height and distance)
  • Tug of War (top teams of ten will be awarded trophy and prize money in this test of strength)

Also, enjoy the trails throughout the beautiful Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village in this 5K celebration of Scottish and Celtic culture. Tartan and plaids are welcome with optional wearing of a kilt. Learn more.

This year Harbourfront Festival, a four-day Festival from June 28 to July 1, is back in Owen Sound including: 

  • June 28: “Canada’s Rock of Fame” tribute show, featuring the songs of some of Canada’s greatest song writers played by Owen Sound’s most talented musicians. 
  • June 29: Youth Day at Kelso Beach which features workshops, dance parties and youth performers.
  • June 30: Waterfront Day including Big Canoe tours, Dragon Boat showcase, Rowing Club performance, water activities, kayaking and SUP classes and more.
  • July 1:  the City of Owen Sound is throwing a FREE Canada Day extravaganza for the whole family at Kelso Beach at Nawash Park
  • Prepare for a day packed with delightful children’s activities, dog show, pony rides, music, and entertainment that will open to all.
  • And when the sun sets, make sure you stick around for the grand finale! At 10 pm, prepare to be dazzled by a spectacular custom fireworks display that will light up the night sky in a brilliant celebration.

Learn more.

Events On Now: Ongoing

For more June events on now throughout the province, take a look at the list below:

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