Arts & Culture
From music, art and dance to museums, film and theatre, Ontario has something for everyone! Each year, Ontario’s many cities and towns also celebrate their peoples’ rich heritage with colourful festivals, events and celebrations.
Wagner’s Ring, a cycle of four operas, requires an orchestra of more than 100 musicians. The orchestra pit at Toronto’s new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts allows even the largest opera production. The Four Seasons is the permanent home of the Canadian Opera Company. The National Ballet of Canada often performs there.
Toronto attracts the third largest theatre-going audience in the English-speaking world. Toronto also has a world class symphony, as well as famous opera and ballet companies.
World-renowned architect Frank Gehry re-designed the new Art Gallery of Ontario in 2003. He was born and raised in Toronto, and is best known for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. You can also visit A Celebration of Ontario Artists.
The Toronto International Film Festival started out as a small event that showed films from other festivals around the world. Billed as the “Festival of Festivals” at its launch in 1976, it has become one of the world’s most important film festivals. Toronto’s festival organizers take pride in welcoming the entire community, showing a diverse range of films from many cultures, and celebrating Canadian films.
About six million objects are on display at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, showing both natural history and world cultures in various themed galleries. In June 2007, the ROM unveiled the Michael Lee Chin Crystal, considered among the most challenging construction projects in North America for its engineering complexity. The Lee-Chin Crystal is composed of five interlocking pieces. The new building was designed by Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind.
The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto has over 10,000 shoes on display! Their exhibits range from Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut crushing clogs and high fashion platform shoes.
Ontario’s ethnic diversity is celebrated with many local festivals, such as:
- the Scottish Highland Games in Fergus
- Caribana in Toronto Carnival (one of North America’s biggest cultural street festivals, attracting one million revellers each year)
- The Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo
Music events such as:
- Jazz festivals in Orillia, Markham, Guelph, Aurora, Ottawa, Prince Edward County and Toronto
- Classical music in Elora
- Bluesfest in Ottawa
World-famous theatre including:
Capital for the Arts
Visit the McMichael Canadian Art Collection to see the finest works of Canada’s famous Group of Seven, as well as Emily Carr, David Milne and acclaimed Inuit artists. Their work is dramatically displayed in a log-and-fieldstone gallery in the charming village of Kleinburg.
As a newcomer to Ontario, you may have many questions. The Province of Ontario has many services and programs to help you find the answers, information and support you need to succeed.
February 15 marks the day in 1965 when Canada’s red-and-white maple leaf flag was first raised over Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The maple leaf has been used as a national symbol since the early 18th century. Red and white were designated as Canada’s official colours in 1921 by King George V. Learn more about National Flag of Canada Day.