Call for Participation: Take Part in Culture Days at Toronto Public Library

April 1, 2016 | Media Relations

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I have presented activities at five library branches as a participant in Culture Days at the Library. In all cases I had fantastic co-operation from library staff and librarians. This enthusiastic support helped me to better engage with workshop participants to present a high quality experience that was satisfying for everyone involved.

Nina Shah
Independent artist
 Culture Days at the Library participating artist 2015 and 2013


Toronto Public Library, the Neighbourhood Arts Network and Ontario Culture Days are pleased to announce the sixth year of Culture Days at The Library. During the previous five years of this popular   program, nearly 9,000 people have participated in 260 activities at library branches in every corner of the city. The program was created as a way to help artists and arts groups share their creative work with the public during Culture Days, a pan-Canadian celebration of arts and culture. Now in its seventh year, Culture Days takes place annually on the last weekend in September. For more information, visit

Toronto Public Library is offering free venues to Toronto-based artists and cultural groups wishing to be part of Culture Days on September 30 and October 1, 2016. This partnership enables artists to take their practice out of their private studios into the accessible spaces of library branches so that the public can discover and engage with their work. Past participants describe Culture Days @ the Library as a great opportunity to connect with new audiences and to build strong community relationships. From Etobicoke to Scarborough, North York and downtown Toronto, some 50 TPL branches spanning the city will provide venues at no cost.

Toronto-based individual artists, small and medium-sized professional arts groups as well as volunteer-run cultural organizations, collectives or groups that wish to organize their events at a Toronto Public Library branch are invited to submit an application by May 13, 2016. Activities in all artistic disciplines are encouraged as well as those that appeal to families and audiences of diverse ages. To be considered for a space, the arts activity must be free and interactive.

Toronto Public Library staff will review the applications, make their selections and contact activity organizers directly for any additional information they may require and to make arrangements. Library branches are providing free space but cannot provide any financial assistance, including funds for supplies or equipment. Participants do receive substantial administrative, marketing and promotional support for their activity via the joint efforts of Culture Days, Toronto Public Library and Neighbourhood Arts Network.

New this year: Early bird Deadline April 22!

Want to increase your chances of being selected to participate? Submit your application before April 22nd to be included in the first round of applications sent to branch managers. Applications received early will be sent to branch managers 3 weeks before the rest of the applications and will therefore have a higher possibility of being selected, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply!

50 Toronto Public Library Branches Open their Doors

At the moment there is great interest in making things from natural products. Each participant in the Culture Days wet felting activity went home with a beautiful handmade cell phone case. 

Cell Phone Case
Participants rolled up their sleeves to make a cell phone case at Culture Days @ the Library: Felting workshop at Yorkville Branch Culture Days 2015. Photo by Alejandra Higuera

The two facilitators provided excellent on-on-one assistance so the participants could produce something beautiful in a short space of time.

We had such overwhelming interest in the felting that I asked the facilitators to return for a program in February. We had to turn away so many people that we will offer it a third time.

Zoe Johnstone, Branch Head
Yorkville Branch
Culture Days @ the Library participating branch

Each year approximately 50 Library branches participate in Culture Days across the city. Artists applying to the program are asked to select from the following regions of the city:

  • East Toronto (Eastwards from Don Valley)
  • West Toronto (Westwards from High Park)
  • Central/Downtown (South of St. Clair, between High Park and Don Valley)
  • North Toronto (Northwards from St. Clair
  • Any area of the city

Downtown locations are in high demand so we strongly urge applicants to choose at least one other area of the city to improve their chances of being selected for the program. Many branches outside of the downtown experienced excellent attendance at their Culture Days activities in 2015.

How to Participate

A simple application form is now on-line. Applications will be accepted from now until midnight May 13, 2016. Apply before April 22nd to take advantage of the Early Bird Promotion.

Applicants will be matched with the appropriate library branches based on the suitability and interactive nature of the activity. Those applicants who meet the criteria will be contacted by Toronto Public Library Branch Heads in May and June to discuss in detail their activity and may be required to submit further information related to space requirements, equipment, etc.

Notification and Confirmation

Culture Days will send out a confirmation email by June 17, 2016.


About Culture Days

Culture Days is a collaborative, Canada-wide volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. Launched in 2010, the annual Culture Days event takes place in nearly 900 Canadian cities and towns during the last weekend of September, generating an extraordinary amount of enthusiasm in the process. This year’s Culture Days weekend will take place on September 29, October 1 and 2, 2016. Once again, the event will feature free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to participate “behind the scenes”— and to discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators, and designers at work in their community. To learn more, please visit

Ontario Culture Days is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and the Government of Ontario in recognition of Celebrate the Artist Weekend. 

About Toronto Public Library

Toronto Public Library is one of the world's busiest urban public library systems. Every year, 19 million people visit our branches in neighbourhoods across the city and borrow 32 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit our website at or call Answerline at 416-393-7131. To get the most current updates on what's happening at the library, follow us on Twitter @torontolibrary.

About Neighbourhood Arts Network

Neighbourhood Arts Network is the place where arts and community engagement meet. Neighbourhood Arts Network helps artists and community organizations do what they do best: enrich Toronto and transform it into a more vibrant, beautiful, and liveable city. We catalyze new relationships and conversations, collect research and share information. We envision a Toronto where all residents are empowered to discover and shape the cultural life of their communities. Neighbourhood Arts Network is a signature initiative of Toronto Arts Foundation. To learn more, please visit

For more information about Culture Days @ The Library, please visit


Culture Days contact:
Aubrey Reeves
Executive Director,
Ontario Culture Days
(416) 964-7555

Toronto Public Library contact:
Ana-Maria Critchley
Stakeholder Relations
Communications, Programming and Customer Engagement
Toronto Public Library
(416) 393-7212 

Neighbourhood Arts Network contact:
Angie Aranda
Manager of Strategic Partnerships & Operations
Neighbourhood Arts Network
Toronto Arts Foundation
(416) 392-6802 etc. 218