Founded in 2009, Culture Days is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a national network of cultural connections devoted to providing Canadians with opportunities to participate in, and appreciate, all forms of arts and culture. Through an annual three-day national celebration that always begins on the last Friday of September, hundreds of thousands of artists and cultural organizations in hundreds of cities and towns come together and invite Canadians to participate in free, interactive and “behind the scenes” activities to discover their cultural spirit and passion. Since its inception, 10 million Canadians have participated in 40,000 Culture Days activities and events in 900 cities and towns during the annual event.
As a leading national voice for the active and engaged cultural life of all Canadians, Culture Days provides support, tools and resources to a wide variety of artists and cultural organizations to help them unite the country through engagement in culture.
Culture Days raises the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. With the support of volunteer groups at the national, provincial and local levels, hundreds of thousands of artists, cultural workers, organizations and groups, volunteers and supporters self-mobilize to host free participatory public activities that take place in hundreds of cities and towns throughout the country over the last weekend of September each year.
Culture Days offers an incredible opportunity for Canadians across the country to not only explore but to participate in the cultural communities and activities that exist in their areas that they may have not even be aware of before.
Udayan (Oakville, ON)
The seventh annual Culture Days weekend will take place September 30, October 1 and 2, 2016, and will feature thousands of free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to participate “behind-the-scenes,” to discover the world of artists, creators, heritage experts, architects, curators, designers and other creative people in their communities.
With thousands of activities registered at culturedays.ca, Culture Days drives a multi-level national communications and public relations campaign designed to inspire and catalyze greater public participation in the arts and cultural life of our communities. A variety of free, useful Resources are available to support activity organizers throughout their process of planning, promoting, hosting and sharing their Culture Days experiences.
Culture Days is a collaborative initiative that welcomes your participation. Everyone can play a role in Culture Days: Whether you are already passionate about arts and culture or curious to discover new cultural experiences, an artist, arts or cultural organization, community group, municipality, library, school, citizen, or business person, you can participate in and contribute to Culture Days!
See the impact of Culture Days in the Reports page.
Culture Days aims to:
Culture Days believes that every individual — regardless of age, location or experience — has the right to access and participate actively in arts and culture.
Culture Days also believes that the arts and cultural sector makes a vital contribution to the economic and social development of Canada and contributes to the overall health of the country.
People who had never participated in the arts before found it exciting and rewarding, finding a side of themselves they did not think existed. To us, that is what Culture Days is all about.
-Pam MacKenzie, Consolidated Artist Group of 7s (North Bay, ON)
Culture Days was created in response to the growing recognition that a vibrant arts and cultural sector contributes directly to a healthy and stable society.
In 2007, inspired by the success and impact of Quebec’s Journées de la culture weekend, leaders of Canada’s largest arts organizations (as participants in The Canadian Arts Summit commissioned a feasibility study to assess the viability and appropriateness of launching an annual cross-country celebration of arts and culture.
Journées de la culture, a three-day event produced annually by Culture pour tous since 1997, is an internationally-recognized Canadian model for promoting public participation and engagement, that:
In April 2008, the Summit participants voted and agreed unanimously to initiate and support a strategic collaboration with Culture pour tous, producer of Journées de la culture, to encourage and facilitate a similar event across Canada. The Banff Centre in Alberta was also a key participant, serving as national secretariat assuming all relevant fiduciary responsibilities.
Conceived as a citizen-focused volunteer initiative, Culture Days was also seen as a timely Canadian initiative in the global context responding directly to issues addressed by the UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, of which Canada is a founding member.
Initiated by The Canadian Arts Summit, Culture Days was endorsed and supported from its early beginnings by the Canada Council for the Arts, Culture pour tous and The Banff Centre. Since its official launch in 2010, Culture Days has generated enthusiastic interest, participation and support from a rapidly growing network of artists, organizations, municipalities, as well as the private and public sector and media across the country.
You don’t need to develop a completely new event to join Culture Days. Existing outreach or arts education programs can be included in Culture Days - check out this tip sheet for ideas on how to get started.