The fifth annual Culture Days is coming to Humber Lakeshore campus this weekend. The free community event aims to create a sense of cultural pride and inspire participation in the local arts happenings of Etobicoke and its surrounding area.
The organization behind the initiative has been growing “exponentially” for five years, reaching to over 7,000 activities across all of Canada, said Aubrey Reeves, co-ordinator of Culture Days Ontario
“Even though [Culture Days] is a national event, it’s really about driving people to see what’s happening in their own backyards, celebrating the culture of their own neighbourhood,” Reeves said.
This year’s programming, which kicks off at 4 p.m. today and runs through to Sunday, is all hands-on and wildly varied. A pow-wow, a Ukrainian perogy-making class, open mic nights, and Bollywood-style dance workshops are among the more than 50 activities scheduled to take place over the weekend.
Reeves said that the wide scope is part of Culture Days’ mission to be “more than just getting people to an event. It’s about getting more people deeply engaged in their local arts and cultural community and to have a positive understanding of what the arts do for our lives.”
She said attendees of past Culture Days events were more motivated to further pursue similar activities.
“We’ve had participants become fans of groups they work with and some of them start volunteering in their local arts community, which is interesting and exciting for us,” said Reeves.
Humber Culture Days co-ordinator Joelle Berlet is also excited about the 2014 edition of the festivities.
“This is the very first year we’re having a special kickoff on the first day,” said Berlet. A marketplace for artists and artisans to display their work and the Beatles tribute band Day Tripper will be part of this inaugural Culture Days opening block.
Berlet is directly involved with many of the activities this year, including an effort to build what the Culture Days website describes as “the largest food tin wave Toronto has ever seen” using thousands of donated canned goods.
“We’ve been really lucky this year to have the Lakeshore Arts (program) as a major partner in organizing this,” Berlet said. “It’s a great spot in Etobicoke for holding an event of this nature.”
Reeves in turn called Lakeshore campus a “natural hub” for community events of this scale. Berlet feels Culture Days is “good for involvement” and inspires participation in Etobicoke’s thriving cultural life.
“We hope to be an inspiration on those who decide to check us out,” said Berlet.
For more information, visit www.culturedays.ca.