Dear Friends of OCAF,
I’ve been a member of the OCAF board since 2015 and am deeply invested in its vision for a strong cultural tourism sector in Ontario. My career has been largely in the public sector, whether working in the Ministry of Culture, developing policy at the Ontario Arts Council, or heading the Canada Council. I know first-hand how important OCAF’s mission is for the Government of Ontario, for the not-for-profit cultural sector it promotes, and for the citizenry it ultimately benefits.
Growing cultural tourism is a complex challenge. It assumes a network of communities and festivals be in place across an enormous geographic distance; it needs exciting programming to be developed by artists and organizations in every possible discipline; and it requires a sophisticated marketing capacity to ensure that people are aware of what’s available when, where, and at what cost. OCAF was established to ramp up support on all of these fronts, and for almost 25 years it has played a unique role in building capacity in the sector in every region of the province.
I hope you will take advantage of the rich cultural offering reflected in this bulletin, and look forward to meeting many of you during the busy summer months of festivals and performances ahead.
OCAF Board Member
OCAF Board Takes in Rumi at the Aga Khan Museum
Last week, the OCAF board had its second in-person meeting since the advent of the pandemic, this time at the Aga Khan Museum. It was an opportunity to see the Rumi exhibition, an OCAF supported event, as well as tour the museum and its outstanding building and gardens. A number of members attended from out of town including from Stratford, Thunder Bay, Whitby, Mississauga and Windsor.
The Museum enjoys the support of many volunteers who toured us through the building and ensured we had everything required for the meeting. The setting was inspiring and, no doubt, contributed to a productive session! Our thanks to the staff and volunteers of the AKM for making us feel so welcome. And for those of you who are interested in attending Rumi – here is the link!
Events On Now: Opening
Toronto’s Pride Festival is back this June with parades, events, performances, and more! It is more than just the vibrant parade that snakes up Yonge Street, Gerrard and Bloor in the Church-Wellesley Village. It’s a whole month of 2SLGBTQ+ programming capped off with a celebratory array of floats, costumes and revelry at the Trans March, Dyke March and Pride Parade. The annual events benefit the Pride Toronto non-profit organization that supports Toronto’s queer community throughout the year.
Come for the drag queens and ballroom culture, stay for the dancehall and musical performances by celebrities like Deborah Cox and Kelly Rowland. The calendar is packed with a street fair showcasing 2SLGBTQ+ artists, pool parties, performance art, Bi+ Pride happenings, and the Blockorama, Black Pride and Blackness Yes events that celebrate queer Canadians of colour and Afro-Caribbean culture.
Spring Reverb 2023
Spring Reverb is a four-day festival that showcases the Kingston music scene! With live music and concerts, panels and special guest talks, Spring Reverb will highlight local emerging acts, welcome cool out-of-town headliners, build connections between visiting industry guests and artists, provide opportunities for learning, and of course, be an awesome party in downtown Kingston. There is something for all budgets! Many concerts are free of charge and admission is first-come first-served. Arrive early to ensure entry! Panel events are free, but space is limited. Tickets are on sale now.
Huron Waves Music Festival
Huron Waves welcomes audiences to many events and performances throughout June including GAIA, a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. This extraordinary replica of Earth will be suspended from the ceiling of Trivitt Auditorium until July 3!
A specially made composition played in surround-sound by the distinguished British composer Dan Jones is played alongside the sculpture in 30-minute cycles. The voices of astronauts aboard spacecrafts, the resonance of the solar system and the composer’s own planetary interpretations are sounded in continuous play.
There are many more performances this June including:
- Water, An Environmental Oratorio
- Jazz of the Great Lakes
- Considering Matthew Shepard, Oratorio
- An Evening with Tomson Highway
- A June Strawberry Social
Ontario Science Centre: Voyage to the Deep: Underwater Adventures
Voyage to the Deep: Underwater Adventures brings to life the mythical world of Captain Nemo and the real wonders of ocean exploration. Based on Jules Verne’s classic novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, this interactive exhibition takes you on an exciting deep-sea adventure—perfect for families and kids ages 2-10.
Climb aboard Captain Nemo’s fantastical Nautilus submarine to discover the inner workings of an underwater vessel. Take up the controls at the helm, peer through the periscopes, crank the propeller and explore Captain Nemo’s Cabinet of Curiosities full of amazing marine specimens. Venture through the Octopus Garden, search for sea creatures in the Kelp Forest and explore the lost world of Atlantis.
2023 Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards
The 2023 Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards by Indigenous Experiences Canada will to recognize, celebrate and promote the rich contributions of our Indigenous music industry with the first live awards ceremony at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 6th, 2023, during National Indigenous History Month.
This year’s awards are comprised of 14 self-nominated categories, 2 international categories and a musical legacy and contribution award. Some of the 17 award categories hold special significance. Musical Legacy and Contribution recognizes artists who have impacted artistic and cultural heritage on behalf of the Indigenous community. The Social Voice award goes to an artist who raises awareness of social and/or environmental issues, from climate and language to LBGTQ2S+ concerns, and inspires change through positive messages in music
The awards will feature live performances by Joel Wood, Plex, Aysanabee, Indian City and Andrea Menard.
Luminato: Walk With Amal
This June, as part of Luminato, meet Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, who has travelled through 13 countries to 90 cities across Turkey, Europe and New York City. She arrives in Toronto on June 7. She will walk across the region for 5 days looking for hope and her new home. She will be welcomed by musicians, dancers, children and elders, civic leaders, community organizers, newcomers, fellow refugees and you in a journey of art and hope.
Greet her, walk with her, offer words of wisdom and cheers of encouragement. See the world through the eyes of a child who was forced to leave her war-torn home. On behalf of displaced children everywhere, she asks that we take note, offer support and hear her message to the world: “Don’t forget about us”.
Amal’s visit to Toronto will be a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Sound of Music Festival
Sound of Music Festival: Canada’s largest free outdoor music festival is back! Check out everything it has to offer this Father’s Day weekend in beautiful Downtown Burlington. There is something for everyone – from live family friendly performers on Streetfest, to rides and games at the Midway; a wide selection of eats at the food trucks to shopping and samples from craft & retail vendors; and of course three stages filled with filled with your favourite artists for four days!
General Admission to the Sound of Music is FREE – no tickets required!
The Festival franco-ontarien is a major festival for Ontario’s Francophones and Francophiles! This festival, with concerts and entertainment for adults and children alike is back this June with events for the whole family. It’s an opportunity to experience French cultural pride and also a time for English speakers to discover more about French culture around the world!
Programming includes performances from Gregory Charles, Michael Lalonde, From Flora and more!
Ontario Pops Orchestra Multiculturalism Day Celebration – Around the World in One Day
Ontario Pop’s eighth season continues June 27 with a concert titled “Around the World in One Day” to celebrate Multicultural Day in Canada. Led by Music Director Carlos Bastidas, the concert will feature a commissioned arrangement of El Condor Pasa by renowned Canadian composer Felipe Tellez with the brilliant soloist Giovanni Ruiz.
The performance will also feature works from countries around the world such as Argentina, France, USA, Spain, Peru, Ireland, Czech Republic, Italy, Korea, South Africa, and Canada.
The Multicultural Day Celebration will include a DJ, food trucks, arts and crafts for kids. Bring a lawn chair and have a picnic at Mel Lastman Square!