Past Spotlight Winners

2018 Spotlight Winners

Best Corridor

Kingsville expanded their Main Street Corridor in 2018 to include two full blocks of programming. The organizers did a great job at getting local businesses including a barber shop, a butcher, and a seniors residence, to open up their doors and host arts programming during this exciting Saturday.

Halton Hills Georgetown
Not only did the Halton Hills Georgetown Corridor act as an excellent link between the bustling Farmers Market, Library and Cultural Centre, it also connected the audience with programming at participating venues throughout the downtown. Volunteers at the Market were available to answer questions and give directions, while live music and outdoor workshops ensured the downtown felt lively and engaging to passersby.

Image: courtesy of Halton Hill Georgetown

Best Hub

Burlington Centre performing Arts
The Burlington Performing Arts Centre hosted Burlington’s first Cultural Diversity Festival, supported by The City of Burlington’s “Cultural Diversity Initiative”. Together with local cultural partners, including the Black History Awareness Society and Redleaf Cultural Integration, BPAC presented a diverse line-up of performances, workshops, lectures, activities, demonstration for all ages.

Perth Museum
The Culture Days saw every inch of the Perth Museum filled with activity. Outdoors, museum staff baked scones in the new outdoor baking oven. Inside the historic house, visitors could find textile-making demonstrations, a meet-and-greet with an author, and a new exhibition from The Perth and District Sports Hall of Fame.


NAC Pow Wow DJ
Algonquin dancer Josée Bourgeois guided participants through modern POW wow drum music sampled with techno/house music remixed by Mohawk artist, DJ Shub. With a mix of traditional dance movements, Hip Hop and contemporary dance movements, this class was perfect for experienced dancers, total beginners, and everyone in between.

Halton Hills – OnBeat on the Hills
Runner-up Three prominent Halton Hills musical groups joined forces to offer a unique magical, musical evening. OnBeat in the Hills was organized by The Halton Hills Concert Band, The Georgetown Choral Society and the Gaudeamus Choir. Participants were invited to experiment with the instruments, try their hand at conducting, or sing along with the choir.

Best Partnership

Barrie Performing Musicians Showcase
In partnership with the City of Barrie, the Downtown Barrie Business Association and Ontario Musicians Cooperative, the Performing Musicians Showcase featured emerging musicians performing on the street corners of downtown Barrie. This program supported local revitalization efforts by creating a lively and dynamic atmosphere in the city’s core.

The Lyndhurst Art and Culture Tour showcased 13 venues and a wealth of local musicians, artists and artisans. The group put together their own tour map and website with recommendations on places to stop, sights to see, and recommended restaurants to visit. Points of interest also included the Barn Quilt Trail, a collection of murals mounted on barns and historic houses throughout the community.

Image: courtesy of Sarah Trudell

Outstanding Participatory Programming

Making Room Community Arts
Making Room is guided by its core value of radical inclusion, using arts as a way of community engagement and relationship building. ‘Pathways: Choose Your Own Adventure’ was a culmination of two summer workshop series, and brought together diverse community members at a park in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood to share in community art, music, and food.

Guelph invited visitors to its City Hall and Market Square for its second annual Culture Hub and Makers Market. Programs, including pottery, paper marbling and sparked conversation, encouraged collaboration and celebrated creativity. The community was invited to explore:

  • Collective mosaic creation with Lelkessen
  • Free henna designs by Megan Firth
  • Clay Pinch Pot Critter making with Guelph Potters’ Guild
  • Iron-on Guelph-themed patch making with Steph Sew Sublime
  • Landscape postcard painting with Art Studio Guelph
  • Suminagashi Japanese paper marbling with rock.paper.scissors
  • Good luck charm crafting with Snowdrop & Co
  • Interactive weaving installation with Alisa McRonald
  • Instrument making and rhythm circle with Earth Tones Studio
  • Children’s Art Factory Makers Table
  • Live broadcast from CFRU 93.3 FM All activity organizers were paid for their time and many chose to participate as vendors for the Makers Market as well. Space was offered to vendors, free of charge, and no commission was taken on any sales. The result was a well attended, highly engaged celebration of #GuelphCulture!

Image: courtesy of Guelph

People’s Choice

Norval Community Association
The Norval Community Association hosted a Kairos Blanket Exercise as part of the Culture Days weekend. Developed by Kairos in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history in a two hour participatory workshop.

As part of the exercise, participants were invited to take on the roles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Standing on blankets that represent the land, they walk through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization, resistance, and culture appropriation. They are directed by a Kairos-trained facilitator who takes on the role of narrator and acts as the European colonizers. Participants are drawn into the experience by reading scrolls and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcomes, and can watch as events directly effecting their lives unfold around them.

By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise serves as a tool for education and empathy. The exercise is followed by a debriefing session in which participants have the opportunity to discuss the experience as a group with the facilitators.

Art Gallery of Algoma and Indian Friendship Centre
Sault Ste Marie’s Art Gallery of Algoma and Indian Friendship Centre partnered together to host programs over the Culture Days weekend. A Medicine Walk invited visitors to walk with hosts from the Friendship Centre along the shores of the St Mary’s River. The program guides taught participants about natural medicines and edible plants that traditionally grow in the region.

At the Art Gallery of Algoma, performers from the Friendship Centre filled the space with the sounds and artistry of Jingle Dress Dancers. According to gallery staff, everyone in the building was drawn to the sounds of the drumming in the gallery, making for a very special day.

Image: courtesy of Michael Billy Boyce

Removing Barriers to Access

Department of Imaginary Affairs
The Department of Imaginary Affairs seeks, collects, and shares stories of new and developing Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Every story helps us learn more about the people who live in Canada. Through various public projects, the organization shares these stories in the hopes of creating a nation of empathetic citizens, public services, and policies. Stories are the key to challenging assumptions, nurturing and fostering creativity, and giving rise to citizen voices. In collaboration with Culture Days @ the Library, the Department of Imaginary Affairs held a workshop/program entitled “The Stories of Us”. Newcomers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds were encouraged to attend the afternoon program, connect with one another, and share their stories of coming to Canada. The goal of the project was to collect said stories and eventually build an ESL library of journeys for all readers to enjoy.

Kingston BAG Project
The Tett Centre hosted The Begin Again Group (B.A.G. Project) who creates eco-friendly, vegan purses and designer bags, made out of recycled rubber. This group of talented, Kingston Newcomer artisans invited participants to try their hand at creating and designing parts of handbags. A display of completed bags, which represent new beginnings, were on view and up for sale, and the ladies took turns sharing aspects of their cultures with participants. Every bag purchased supported newcomer women and their families. The Begin Again Group is a collaboration between newcomer refugee women, Bon Eco Design and KEYS Job Centre in Kingston, Ontario. Together we are forming an exciting social enterprise providing teaching and training for newcomer women to start and run a business in Canada. The Bag Project is our first initiative making purses and totes from recycled rubber. Each bag represents new beginnings for the material and the makers.