2016 Cultural Summit highlights Oshawa’s achievements

Photo by Trusha Patel

Catherine Richards, Manager of Culture and Central Recreation Services gives an overview of what more is to come in 2017.

Oshawa is making a name for itself in the arts and culture communities.

That’s the message Oshawa mayor John Henry delivered at the 2016 Cultural Summit, an annual event organized by the City of Oshawa to provide updates regarding the city’s activities regarding arts, culture, and heritage in the past year.

“Oshawa has been in the shadow of Toronto for so long,” Henry said, noting 2016 has been a year of achievements for the city.

Among the highlights, according to the 2016 Cultural Summit achievements and highlights guide:

  • More than 6,000 attendees for the 2016 Peony Festival, an event where 300 to 400 different types of peonies were displayed, along with live music, food, and gardening seminars.
  • More than 1,400 people attended Concerts in the Park, a free outdoor concert at Memorial Park, in which 14 bands performed.
  • There were also seven local organizations that partnered with the city for Culture Squared, an event that hosts an artists marketplace at Civic Square for individuals and enthusiasts interested in arts, culture, and heritage. This year’s partners were Oshawa Museum, Oshawa Public Libraries, LivingRoom Community Art Studio, Ontario Regiment Museum, Oshawa Senior Citizens Centre, Oshawa Little Theatre, and Oshawa Art Association.

“We work with so many local organizations, almost too many to even speak about,” said Catherine Richards, Manager of Culture and Central Recreation Services.

Culture Squared also had more than 30 performers, musicians, and bands this year, with 90 per cent being local groups.

This year there were more than 40 festivals and events held across the city. Eight city-run events included Oshawa Celebrates, Peony Festival, Canada Day, Culture Square, Concerts in the Park, Tree Lighting, Deck the Halls, and Doors Open.

Nineteen sites participated in the 2016 Doors Open event, including three new ones, which were Pine Ridge Model Train Club, Lakeridge Health Oshawa LHEARN Centre, and Science and spectacle – Walking Tour through Alexandra Park.

Oshawa showed its support for art by displaying four new public art pieces, one community mural at Civic Square, and three pianos – at City Hall, Northview Community Centre, and South Oshawa Community Centre.

Yolanda Beasley, an Oshawa resident who directed and acted in her own movie filmed in Oshawa, also screened her film’s trailer for the first time during the Cultural Summit.

“The (Oshawa) city has definitely helped me a lot in my journey,” said Beasley.

Durham College’s faculty of Media, Art and Design also teamed up with Cultural Collaborations for Civic Square collaboration, Arts Resource Centre (ARC) Window Installation, and a Civic Square Banner partnership with RMG.

DC students and the city engaged the community to design and select a mural which is now located at Civic Square. Students will also be creating artwork to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, and the artwork will be installed on the ARC windows next year May. There will also be an installation of five ‘Culture Lives Here’ banners, which lead up to Civic Square and RMG.

The presentation also included a brief list of priorities that will be focused on in 2017. According to Richards, the collaboration with Durham College, 150th Anniversary of Canada, public art community, event planning guide, partnership development, and the collaboration with the cultural leadership council are some activities that will be worked on next year.

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Trusha Patel is a second-year journalism student at Durham College. She enjoys writing about campus, entertainment, and Op-Ed for The Chronicle. Trusha is an avid reader who loves hiking and travelling to new places. She hopes to cover entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle stories for a Canadian magazine.

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