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Fueling Arts, Culture and Creativity on Toronto’s Waterfront

Feb 9, 2017

Image: Ecstatic dance performed by Irene Cortes, Mary-Dora Bloch Hansen and Zach Olesinski, as part of The Gata: Water Ceremony at Sherbourne Common. Photo by Connie Tsang.

Building on the success of the last summer’s art in waterfront parks, in 2017 we’re doing even more to ensure that Toronto’s waterfront is a place for culture and creativity.

Image: Ecstatic dance performed by Irene Cortes, Mary-Dora Bloch Hansen and Zach Olesinski, as part of The Gata: Water Ceremony at Sherbourne Common. Photo by Connie Tsang.

By Christopher McKinnon

Beginning last year, Waterfront Toronto embarked on a series of new arts, culture and creative initiatives designed to engage Torontonians in our vision for the future of our city’s waterfront. As we continue to lead waterfront revitalization with a people-first planning approach and high-quality parks and public realm, we are increasingly focused on bringing our waterfront spaces to life. We’re hard at work imagining new ways to fuel creativity and cultural expression, and, ultimately, how to build a broader and more inclusive community of residents and visitors who feel like Toronto’s waterfront belongs to them.

We launched the wildly successful Sugar Shack TO last March. It brought the beloved Québécois traditions of the cabane à sucre – and 10,000 excited visitors – to Canada’s Sugar Beach. Through the summer months, we collaborated with a range of artists, collectives and not-for-profit organizations to present a wide variety of arts programs in waterfront parks and public spaces – storytelling, puppet-making, music, dance, contemporary art, opera, and more – all with the goal of inviting Torontonians and visitors to come out and experience the potential of our new waterfront neighbourhoods. 

Food vendor Young Animal served up tasty eats at Movies on the Common. (Image Credit: Connie Tsang)Movie-goers gathered on the south lawn of Corktown Common to enjoy an open-air movie screening along with stunning views of the downtown skyline. (Image Credit: Nicola Betts).

Left: Food vendor Young Animal served up tasty eats at Movies on the Common. (Image Credit: Connie Tsang) Right: Movie-goers gathered on the south lawn of Corktown Common to enjoy an open-air movie screening along with stunning views of the downtown skyline. (Image Credit: Nicola Betts).

In September we presented Future Cities talks. Hosted by Waterfront Toronto’s CEO William Fleissig, talks by Eb and Margie Zeidler, Vass Bednar, Susan Blight, Karen Carter and Kat Cizek challenged culture-makers and urbanists to reimagine what it means to be a city builder. Their talks examined the complicated ways that we talk about community, finding the courage to embrace the unknown, ways to restore Indigeneity in our urban spaces, and the challenges to citizenship in a digital age. Read a full recap of our summer and fall programs.

Bringing Arts and Culture to the Waterfront in 2017

We’re excited to continue this important part of our revitalization work in 2017 This week, we launch our call for proposals for summer arts programming. The Animating Our Waterfront grant program will award up to $10,000 to artists or arts organizations who seek to present arts and cultural programming in waterfront public spaces. We’re looking forward to another summer of dance, music, performance, literary and media arts, and maybe some art forms we haven’t even imagined yet! The deadline for applications is Friday, March 24, 2017.

Do you know an artist or arts organization who would like to apply for this program? Share this blog post or download the program application guidelines. Read more in the news release.

Click to download the program guidelines.

DOWNLOAD PROGRAM GUIDELINES [PDF] – 1.2MB

Tell us what events you’d like to see on Toronto’s waterfront. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter – and join the conversation using the #TOtheWaterfront hashtag.

post contributor

  • Christopher McKinnon

    Christopher McKinnon was previously a communications and public engagement Manager at Waterfront Toronto. He’s passionate about art, cycling in the city, public transit and building really amazing parks.