Culture Days fever takes over 700 cities & towns

Hundreds of thousands celebrate first annual Canada-wide event
2011 dates announced: September 30 – October 2

October 1, 2010 – For three days, hundreds of thousands of Canadians in every province and territory celebrated arts and culture in their communities during the first annual edition of Culture Days, a free, grassroots, Canada-wide event designed to inspire and catalyze greater public participation in arts and culture.

From Sept. 24 to 26 (Sept. 17 to 19 for Alberta Arts Days), artists, groups, organizations and municipalities in more than 700 Canadian cities and towns opened their doors and offered 4500 free Culture Days hands-on classes, excursions, tours, demonstrations, seminars, panels and behind-the-scenes experiences.

Culture Days 2010 marked the biggest event of its kind in Canadian history.

“The first edition of Culture Days was a resounding success as thousands of artists and organizations opened their doors to Canadians in every province and territory simultaneously for the first time,” says Antoni Cimolino, Chairman of Culture Days’ national Steering Committee and General Director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. “Hundreds of thousands of Canadians in every corner of the country enjoyed an enormous variety of activities. Strong attendance and an enthusiastic response have been the common experience in communities large and small. We are thrilled at the response to the inaugural event and thank all activity organizers, volunteers, partners and collaborators for their participation and support.”

A snapshot of Culture Days activities that took place across the country:

Cross-Canada Activities

  • Over 20,000 came out to Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto on September 23 for CBC Live! A Culture Days Kick-Off featuring performances, special Culture Days programming and meet and greets with CBC stars.
  • Over 10,000 people took part in CBC open houses, meet and greets and other events at its broadcast facilities in St. John’s, Charlottetown, Fredericton, Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
  • 35 dance studios across Canada and the U.S. invited their students to participate in a live-streamed  Master Class by famed Canadian dancer Rex Harrington at the National Ballet of Canada. In Toronto, 30 participants took part and 50 observed. The session was also viewed in 450 homes across the nation.
  • Over 280,000 people took part in Word on the Street (WOTS) events in 5 cities: Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Saskatoon and Kitchener.

Western Canada

  • 1,600 people enjoyed 25 activities ranging from behind-the-scenes tours to performances to artist meet and greet events organized during Alberta Arts Days by The Banff Centre and galleries and museums around Banff.
  • 1,500 people came out for the Prince George BC Rivers Day Music Festival.
  • 70 people attended a rare open choir rehearsal for Lillian Alling at the Vancouver Opera.
  • The Artists on the River Festival at Fraser Discovery Centre in New Westminster attracted 2,500 people.

Prairie Provinces

  • The Saskatoon Community Wind Ensemble’s activity attracted over 200 people.
  • 4,500 attended the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s collaboration with the city’s first Nuit Blanche event.
  • In Flin Flon, MB a flash mob of over 300 gathered for an impromptu dance down Mainstreet. The small northern city, boasting a population of less than 6,000, attracted 5,000 people from across the region.
  • Over 800 people took part in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Dance Downtown! event.


  • Visual artist Ben Benedict welcomed 200 people into his home studio in London.
  • 46,000 people participated in the The Manifesto Festival activities in Toronto.
  • 60 people, ages 2 to 82-years-young, participated in the So heartFELT felting project in Peterborough.
  • The Liberian Cultural Festival welcomed 100 people in Toronto.


  • As part of Journées de la culture, the Théâtre de Quat’ Sous in Montreal was at full capacity with over 60 participants at a behind-the-scenes make-up and costume workshop which was followed by an open rehearsal of their latest production, Opium_37.
  • Over 600 people attended Montreal's Musée d'art contemporain’s Hommage to Paul-Émile Borduas, featuring signing by the Opéra de Montréal, aquarelle workshops, presentations by local artists and guided tours of the museum's current exhibits.


  • Over 250 people attended the Fall Harvest Day at the Albert County Museum in Hopewell Cape, NB.
  • Sing Out, presented by the N.S. Choral Federation and the Association of Canadian Choral Communities attracted 200 participants in Halifax.  
  • 3,000 people participated in Fall for Bear River Festival activities in Bear River, NS, a village of a few hundred.
  • 450 peopled dined with the Conseil scolaire-communautaire Évangéline in PEI at their back-to-school picnic.
  • 118 people participated in the Doors Open Day at the Musée acadien and Galerie d’art Louise et Reuben-Cohen at the University of Moncton, NB.

Newfoundland & Labrador

  • 750 people participated in Labrador Fishery Film Festival.
  • 100 people joined in the celebration at the Spirit of Newfoundland's Masonic Temple to hear the City of St. John's Pipe Band and to dance with the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.

Northern Canada

  • 175 visitors attended the Migratory Passages exhibition at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre where artists from Quebec and Northwest Territories demonstrated their craft.
  • Over 250 people participated in activities at the Yukon Arts Centre, including children and their parents creating Opera Capes.

To consult the activities that took place during Culture Days, please see   and search by postal code, city or town on the home page.

Across the country, thousands of enthusiastic comments are coming in from activity organizers and the public alike. Denis and Audrey Grantham of Niagara Falls, ON, commented on participating in the Shaw Festival’s Sing Like the Pros workshop: “We took part in the sing-along this morning, and thought it was fabulous. We were handed music by Kurt Weil, and got to sing this very complex music in 3 parts, finally providing a chorus for actual members of the cast. It was challenging, exhausting and utterly enjoyable. Thank you all so much for giving us the chance to do this. We look forward to next year.”

On presenting a hands-on felting workshop in Peterborough, ON, Raechelle Vyn from Blackbird Studio said “Thank you for making Culture Days happen and for giving me a great excuse to take art outside of my studio and into the heart of my community.”

Mark your calendars! Culture Days 2011 (Journées de la culture in Québec and Alberta Arts Days) will take place in every province and territory from Friday, Sept. 30 to Sunday, Oct. 2. You too can join the national Culture Days movement by hosting an activity in 2011 and following Culture Days conversations. Subscribe to the newsletter at  and connect with Culture Days on Twitter , Facebook   and YouTube . View Culture Days photos from celebrations across Canada on Flickr.

Culture Days is a volunteer-driven, grassroots movement led by arts-lovers, cultural aficionados and the arts and cultural sector in collaboration with municipalities, public funding agencies, provincial governments and the private sector. In coordination with a national Steering Committee, volunteer provincial Task Forces rallied professional and community-based cultural organizers to offer activities during Culture Days, and, supported by national promotional campaign, promoted the event to the public at the regional and local levels.

An initiative that brings the Canadian public and artists and cultural groups closer together, Culture Days was launched in 2010 to celebrate the creative vitality of every community across the country. The initiative was inspired by the 13-year success of Québec’s annual Journées de la culture event and spurred on by Alberta Arts Days, and the pilot project spOtlight in southern Ontario

About Culture Days

Culture Days ( is a collaborative pan-Canadian volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. Culture Days was initiated by four Founding Partners: The Canadian Arts Summit, Culture pour tous (producer of les Journées de la culture), Canada Council for the Arts and The Banff Centre. National partners supporting the development of Culture Days include Founding Lead Partner Sun Life Financial, Power Corporation of Canada, The Government of Alberta and the Department of Canadian Heritage. National Media partners include CBC, The Globe and Mail and St. Joseph Communications. Provincial partners include Government of Alberta, SaskCulture, Manitoba Homecoming, Government of Manitoba, Ontario Arts Council, Government of Ontario, Government of Prince Edward Island, Government of New Brunswick, Government of Newfoundland & Labrador, and the Government of Northwest Territories. Culture Days was inspired by Journées de la culture, produced by Culture pour tous in Québec since 1997.


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