Culture Days 2019: Celebrating 10 Years of Creativity

September 19, 2019 | Diana L.

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Culture Days is a national celebration of arts and culture and this year Toronto Public Library (TPL) is excited to celebrate Culture Days' 10th anniversary with over 15 free programs across the city on September 27 and 28. Culture Days 2019 logo In partnership with Ontario Culture Days and Neighbourhood Arts Network, TPL invites Torontonians to get hands-on and behind-the-scenes with creators in various programs to explore the intersections of creativity, the arts, and well-being. From bellydancing to ballet, poetry-writing to clay-sculpting, there is something for everyone!


Featured Culture Days Programs at TPL

The Stories of Us with Department of Imaginary Affairs

Learn how to share your story in a way that can help improve your English as well as help others. Participants can tell, write or draw their story with the help from The Department of Imaginary Affairs, a national non-profit that aims to grow the collection of stories written by newcomers for newcomers.

A member from Department of Imaginary Affairs talking to a program participant.
Members from the non-profit group, Department of Imaginary Affairs engaging with participants.


Collaborative Dreamcatcher Workshop with Jaene Castrillon

Participants are invited to weave their goals and positive thoughts into a large dreamcatcher, while learning how to create their own personal dreamcatchers. Presented by Jaene Castrillon, a 2spirit multi-disciplinary artist who explores her relationship to the world through various spiritual teachings and the wisdom of the land. 


Jaene Castrillon
Photo Courtesy of Jackie Lozer.
  • Bloor/Gladstone Branch - Saturday, September 28. Presentation will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 am. Jaene will be present throughout the day. Please contact the branch for more details.


Gratitude Cards with Kanika Gupta

Design greeting cards focused on sentiments of thankfulness as part of an exercise for increasing well-being. Grounded in her lived experiences, Kanika Gupta uses art as her language to break invisible barriers and create a dialogue that generates greater compassion and understanding for those who find themselves on the fringes of “normalcy”. 

Kanika Gupta
Artist Kanika Gupta.


Collaborative Textile Landscapes with Kat Singer

Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist, activist and educator, Kat Singer will lead a collaborative textile project that focuses on the creative use of recycled materials. The installation will encourage participants to discuss concepts of resiliency and adaptability within their own community while reflecting on their individuality and how it relates to their own personal networks.

Colourful example of Kat Singer's textile art using watercolour paint and yarn.
Kat Singer's textile project features recycled materials.


  • Runnymede - Saturday, September 28, 2 to 4 pm.


Shakespeare Fusion Hip Hop Project

Youth ages 13-17 will explore the synthesis of rhythm, music, and lyricism inherent in both Hip-Hop music and Shakespeare's theatre. Led by members from The Shakespeare Hip Hop Fusion Project, this program connects youth to professionals skilled in both genres to explore and create great performance pieces, and assist participants in discovering their voices.

A member from the Shakespeare Fusion Hip Hop Project
Participants can create an original Rap, Spoken Word, or performance piece in this Youth Performance Program.



Clay Sculpture Creating with Mariana Bolaños

Mariana Bolanos, a Mexican artist based in Toronto will lead participants through a hands-on clay sculpture workshop, inviting participants to explore some of their inner thoughts and feelings through meditation while connecting with the work and turning off your brain to just create.

Artist Mariana and a child working on a clay sculpture.
Learn the benefits of working with ones hands to produce tactile clay sculptures.



Read more about how Culture Days at the Library programming is connected to Resilience, Beauty and Joy in this special Ontario Culture Days blog post.


Additional Programs by Subject 


Ballet - Let's Talk About It

East meets west on the ballet stage! invites participants to explore how classical ballet's balances, turns and jumps are molded to reflect Asian cultures in which their narrative is set. From Turkey in the west to Japan in the east there's even going be an elephant on stage!

Ballet dancers from The National Ballet of China.
Light the Red Lantern - The National Ballet of China. Photo source: Culture Days

Hillcrest Branch - Friday, September 27, 1 to 2 pm.


Ceilidh Dancing

Ceilidh ("KAY LEE") dance, the "party dance" of Scotland and Ireland is a fun way to exercise and enjoy social time together. No experience necessary. Space is limited. Registration is required. Please call the branch to register at 416-395-5710.

Don Mills Branch - Friday, September 27, 2 to 3 pm.


Quintessential Bellydance

Dancer Evyenia Karmi offers a glimpse into the exotic world of bellydance. Participants will observe and learn a short choreography with movements from her book Quintessential Bellydance. Drop-in, no registration is required.

Main Street - Saturday, September 28, 2 to 3 pm.


Hands-on Creation 


Mount Dennis Branch - Saturday, September 28, 1 to 3 pm. CANCELLED

Canvas Bags

Black Creek Branch - Saturday, September 28, 2 to 3 pm.


Two kids writing and drawing
Photo source: Ontario Culture Days.


Poetry & Writing

Living Hyphen - a Writing Workshop

Living Hyphen is a magazine that explores the experiences of hyphenated Canadians- individuals who call Canada home but who have roots in different, often faraway places. This workshop encourages all writers, from a diversity of ethnic backgrounds, religions, and Indigenous nations to share their stories, regardless of writing experience.

Malvern Branch - Friday, September 27, 3:30 to 5:30 pm. 


Love...or Something

Join in on a celebration of words and an exploration of emotional connections with past, present & personal poetry. Drawing from the North York Central Library's vast and varied collections, poetry performance artist Anto Chan will be reading romantic pieces from many favourite poets.

North York Central Library - Friday, September 27, 7 to 8 pm.


If You Like a Bit of Everything 

I Am Me: A Picture Book of You and All of Us

Join Jamii Esplanade to celebrate mighty female characters in children's books and stories that inspire us to be whoever we are. 

St. Lawrence Branch - Saturday, September 28:

10 am - Music and crafts
10:30 am - Storytime
11 am to 12 pm - Drawing workshop
12 pm - Storytime
12:30 to 1:30 pm - Drawing workshop
1:30 pm - Storytime



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During the same time, TPL will also be celebrating Nuit Blanche 2019 with free Choreography Workshops and various comics and manga creation workshops with illustrator and comic artist Eric Kim.


With so many programs celebrating Culture Days' 10 year anniversary, what program will you check out?


Updated September 25, 2019. Mount Dennis Branch's Origami program has been cancelled.