On Common Ground festival animates Fort York National Historic Site

Kaeja d'Dance- photo by Aria Evans

The On Common Ground festival, from September 15 to 17, will highlight and celebrate Canada’s cultural diversity through performance, citizenship ceremonies, art installations and interactive workshops. Admission is free and events are appropriate for all ages. On Common Ground is part of the City’s TO Canada with Love Canada 150 program. 

“This festival shows how our diversity is the common element that binds us as Torontonians and as Canadians,” said Mayor John Tory. “Our desire to share in the experiences and talents we all have to offer will help create stronger ties between us.” 

“This year, Canadians across the country are coming together to celebrate the many things that make our communities unique,” said Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “Activities like the On Common Ground festival, organized as part of Canada 150 and TO Canada with Love, provide exciting activities for the whole family to engage with the rich cultural diversity that is at the heart of who we are as Canadians.” 

“As we mark our 150th anniversary, I’m reminded of how fortunate we are to live in a province that is so incredibly diverse, inclusive and culturally rich,” said Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “With support from our Ontario150 program, the On Common Ground Festival provides a celebratory platform to welcome new citizens, express our uniqueness and learn from and about each other – this is truly what makes our province such a great place to live.”

The festival, open from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Sunday to 6 p.m.), will feature the world premiere of Miigis by Red Sky Performance on Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Melding contemporary Indigenous dance and live music, Miigis explores the catalysts, trade routes and stories of a journey from the Atlantic Coast to the Great Lakes, and the seven prophecies marked by Miigis. On Sunday, there will be a Miigis-inspired live music performance. 

On Common Ground will also have unique opportunities to experience a community citizenship ceremony on Friday and to be part of reaffirmation ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday. These events will be hosted by Fort York and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

Live music performances will feature artists NEFE, Pan Fantasy, The Monkey Bunch, Tich Meredza & Ruben Esguerra, Baque de Bama, Amadou Kienou, Ritmo Flamenco and T.Dot Bangerz Brass. Interactive events will range from T-shirt printing using car parts to making apple pies using historic recipes.

Additional programming highlights include a PEACES Artisan Market and the MomenTO Pop-up Museum. The full event schedule is available at: http://www.toronto.ca/oncommonground.
The Bentway – a new and innovative public space that will activate the area underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street with events, performances and more – will kick off its programming by presenting a number of events and interactive workshops at the festival, including the creation of a large-scale mural. More information on those events is available at: http://www.thebentway.ca/join-us-common-ground/.

On Common Ground is produced in partnership with the Province of Ontario’s Ontario150 Program and the Government of Canada. Red Sky Performance’s Miigis is co-commissioned by Fort York National Historic Site, City of Toronto, and the Bentway Conservancy, with the support of Canadian Heritage.



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