Public Programmes at Harbourfront Centre

Over 4,000 events a year across 10 acres! Discover the incredible scope of possibilities at our beautiful waterfront site.

A vibrant home for the culture of our time, Harbourfront Centre showcases the work of contemporary Canadian artists in all creative disciplines simultaneously with leading-edge artists from around the world. Harbourfront Centre works in collaboration with some 450 community-based organizations to offer an impressive array of innovative multidisciplinary programming exploring diverse cultures through the arts.

Our Community Engagement & Activation department works with a wide range of local, national and international communities to explore collaborative innovation, learning opportunities, new ideas, residencies and new artistic creation. These explorations result in cultural festivals, public forums, popular music and special interest programmes. A major initiative of this department is the annual series of large, cultural festivals held each weekend during the summer. As well there are festivals throughout the year. The department also provides learning and recreational programmes with a special focus on youth, including school visits and summer camps.

The Craft Department is home to four working studios in metal, ceramics, glass and textiles on view to the public, as well as classes, lectures and exhibitions. Internationally renowned and recognized for its support of emerging craftspeople, The Craft Department's Artist-in-Residence programme is Canada’s foremost training centre for Canadian professional craftspeople offering a unique post graduate programme. The Centre Shop, the retail shop affiliated with the studio, opened in 1979 and sells medium to high prices functional contemporary Canadian craft.

International Festival of Authors (IFOA) brings authors from Canada and around the globe to participate in readings, interviews, panel discussions, book signings, and a host of other events. Programmes include a IFOA Weekly, from September to June; the annual International Festival of Authors (IFOA), inaugurated in 1980 with a mandate to bring together the best writers of contemporary world literature; ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers bringing hundreds of children to Harbourfront Centre for three days of boisterous bookishness; and Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees™, an action-packed festival of readings, award ceremonies, workshops and activities, presented in partnership with the Ontario Library Association.

Our Performing Arts department presents contemporary, leading-edge presentations from the world’s most innovative artists in theatre, dance and new music. Interdisciplinary performance and new Canadian work are of significant interest and wherever possible we offer professional development opportunities through conferences and networking initiatives. World Stage season features national and international theatre, dance and music performances that excite and provoke with innovation and excellence. The dance series NextSteps features the huge diversity of local and national contemporary dance expressions available in Toronto. HATCH is an annual series for new and emerging performance companies with a mandate to encourage and stimulate new performance and artist development. HarbourKIDS is a new generation in Family programming that inspires imagination and aspires to promote understanding, creativity, expression and discovery, all through our lens of arts and culture.

The Power Plant is celebrating more than 20 years as Canada's leading public gallery devoted exclusively to the art of our time. The Power Plant has three major exhibition galleries and smaller, adjacent indoor and outdoor sites which lend themselves to virtually any presentation circumstance. The Power Plant compliments also presents a variety of programming year-round with lectures, panel, films and special events.

Our Visual Arts department is committed to the promotion and exhibition of a broad range of local, national and international contemporary fine art, new media, design and craft. Throughout York Quay Centre works are showcased in 10 traditional and non-traditional exhibition venues. In Spring 2008, a new gallery space opened devoted to contemporary architecture and exhibitions that reflect contemporary responses to current issues. Additionally, a large-scale, outdoor photo exhibition is featured year-round in Exhibition Common.

Fresh Ground new works, Harbourfront Centre's national commissioning programme, is an exciting legacy programme with funding which aims to be the catalyst for new, collaborative artistic creations that incorporate more than one discipline or field. Harbourfront Centre has committed over $200,000 toward the creation of ten new Canadian works to date. To see the lineup of new creations to be presented this season click here.

On any given day, there are dozens of ideas to explore at Harbourfront Centre, across a broad range of artistic disciplines and cultural programmes. Our curators have an eye for original trends and connections in contemporary culture – and they want you to see what they see.

Often, we observe a recurring idea emerging across various disciplines and events. We call this "The Big IDEA" and present it for you to consider as part of your Harbourfront Centre experience. It's our way of highlighting just one of the many ideas you'll find here year-round.

Summer Festivals Festivals School Visits Camps The Craft Department The Centre Shop International Festival of Authors (IFOA) World Stage NextSteps HATCH HarbourKIDS The Power Plant Visual Arts Fresh Ground new works The Big IDEA
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Harbourfront Centre is a registered Canadian charity and we rely on the generosity of people like you to help us deliver the incredible programming we offer throughout the year.

Charitable Registration Number: 10746 6575 RR0003