Year 2 / Issue 15 / Culture Days Canada

Culture Days Canada
Mark Your Calendar for September 30, October 1 & 2
By: Mei Shao

Canada is probably one of the most culturally vibrant countries in the world. With so many different ethnic groups living here, almost every day is a culture day for someone. To celebrate this culture diversity, in September 2010, for the first time, the whole nation embraced the idea of “Culture Days Canada”. Over the years similar events, including Quebec's Journées de la culture and Alberta's Arts Days, had been held, but last year marked the first time a coordinated, Canada-wide celebration had taken place.

Why to set aside a few days to celebrate culture? According to Antoni Cimolino, 2010 Culture Days' national steering committee chair and general director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, there was a misconception among people that culture suggested elitism, exclusion, and pretension, while culture actually touched all our lives — “ it's what we're immersed in, whoever we are.” Culture doesn’t have to be classic literature, ballet or opera. "Culture is also your favorite TV shows, the music you listen to, and even the ads you see in the bus shelters. If you have children who take dance or music lessons, if you sing in a choir, if you go to a play every now and then, if you read novels or go to movies, then culture is a part of your life."

 Culture Days has been conceived and initiated in response to the growing recognition in Canada and around the world that a vibrant arts and cultural sector contributes directly to a healthy and stable society. Initiated by The Canadian Arts Summit, Culture Days has been endorsed and supported from its early beginnings by the Canada Council for the Arts, Culture pour tous, and The Banff Centre, and continues to build on enthusiastic interest, commitment, and collaboration from a rapidly growing network of artists and private and public sector leaders across the country.

In 2010, there were about 4500 activities were offered across each province and territory. Most were free, family-friendly activities — classes and demonstrations, workshops, backstage tours, concerts, exhibitions, performances, screenings and more. This year, Culture Days are set for September 30th, October 1st and 2nd with a mission to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement by all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. Similar to last year, during these 3 days, you can participate in activities that celebrate the creative expression of your community. It features free, hands-on, interactive activities and “behind the scenes” experiences where you can get up close and discover a world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators and designers. Throughout Ontario, hundreds of  activities have been registered and will take place in communities of every size and description. These activities range from visual arts, heritage, theatre, dance and music, to avant-garde performance art, new/digital media and spoken word. Culture Days has something for everyone!

As a grassroots, collaborative movement, Culture Days relies on your participation. Whether as an art or cultural organization, an artist, a municipality, a school, a citizen, a business person…everyone can play a role in shaping this event. It is open to all communities and individuals who believe in the importance of arts and culture in Canadian life. Everyone is encouraged to get involved – whether you are a professional or amateur cultural creator.  If you think you have a free participatory or interactive arts or cultural activity to offer to the public, you can register your activity too. And the better part is there is no fee to register.

If you want to find out a list of the activities, or if you want to find out how you can register, please go to the official website for Culture Days at