THUNDER BAY — The Ontario Culture Days Festival will officially open in Thunder Bay with a night of dance and cultural performances later this month.
The grand opening for the festival will be held at Thunder Bay’s waterfront on Friday, Sept. 22, showcasing local dancers, artisans, visual artists, and literary talents.
In addition to hosting the opening, Thunder Bay is one of the festival’s “hub cities,” representing Ontario Culture Days through its run.
The festival is an annual celebration of arts, culture, and heritage that takes place in communities across Ontario, and is part of a national culture days movement.
Mayor Ken Boshcoff called the city’s participation an opportunity to showcase its cultural diversity and artistic talent.
"Thunder Bay is honoured to host the official grand opening celebration of the Ontario Culture Days Festival,” he said in a statement. “Our city is home to some of the best talent in Ontario, and we are proud to showcase our diverse and vibrant culture. I look forward to seeing the community come out on September 22nd for an evening of entertainment and fun."
Ruth Burns, executive director of Ontario Culture Days, said the selection of Thunder Bay as a hub and host for the grand opening reflected a recognition of the region’s cultural role.
“Thunder Bay is Northwestern Ontario's largest city and is home to a remarkable community of artists and creatives that deserves its own spotlight,” Burns said. “We are thrilled to have partnered with the City of Thunder Bay to launch this epic opening event.”
The grand opening will begin at the waterfront at 6 p.m. on Sept. 22, concluding at 10 p.m.
A main stage set up at the Market Square area, adjacent to the splash pad, will showcase live dance and cultural performances from 6 to 7 p.m.
The official opening ceremonies will occur at 7 p.m. with remarks from local dignitaries, followed by a variety of cultural dance demonstrations and performances, including Latin dance audience lessons, and concluding with an open-air dance.
The event will also feature food vendors and a “Cultural Expo and Artisan Night Market,” inviting attendees to celebrate Thunder Bay’s diverse community and engage with local artists.
The grand opening will also show off achievements by local visual artists, with the Baggage Building Arts Centre hosting The Art of the Mushroom, a new exhibition by three local artists that explores the astounding nature of mushrooms.
The exhibition features photography, painting, illustration and digital art by Mark Nisenholt, Janna Zachary, and Ryan Wilkie
A literary stage, meanwhile, located in the mezzanine of the Baggage Building, will host live spoken word, readings, storytelling, and poetry in partnership with Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop throughout the evening.
Residents can find more information and updates at the city’s culture and events Facebook page.