Cultura 2017 (July 7, 14, 21 & 28)

The Cultura Festival returns Friday July 7 for our annual outdoor summer celebration of music, food, dance and film in Mel Lastman Square.

The free festival, enjoyed by all ages, begins at 6 p.m. each Friday in July with strolling musicians, street performers, tango dancing, activities for families, and some of the city’s best food vendors serving specialties from around the world. Great music on the main stage begins at 8 p.m., followed each evening by a world-class busker and an award-winning feature film.

From its founding by John Filion eight years ago, Cultura has grown into Toronto’s best neighbourhood arts festival. John continues to present the festival in partnership with North York Arts.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mainstage Performance by Coreyah.  A new breed of performance that breaks the barrier between traditional and contemporary popular Korean music. Coreyah’s unique, freewheeling, polystylistic vision of Korean music has delighted audiences around the world.

The feature film is Hidden Figures.  Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner, and ominated for Best Picture at 2017 Academy Awards.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Mainstage Performance by New Canadian Global Music Orchestra.  In a major initiative from the Royal Conservatory of Music, these 12 musicians from all corners of the globe explore and celebrate the cultural diversity and pluralism of Canada, communicating in ways that words cannot, and helping us to find a common language.

The feature film is Arrival.  Starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, winner of a 2017 Oscar for Sound Editing and Best Picture nominee.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mainstage Performance by Okavango African Orchestra.  12 instruments, 10 languages, 7 countries…one special concert. Okavango African Orchestra features a cast of nine accomplished African-born musicians who now live in Canada and were winners of a 2017 Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year.

The feature film is La La Land.  Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, this modern day musical won six 2017 Academy Awards in addition to a Best Picture nomination.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Mainstage Performance by Donnell Leahy.  There are fiddlers and then there is Donnell Leahy, whose lifelong devotion to playing and performing, both as a solo artist and fronting the group Leahy, has cemented his reputation as a peerless instrumentalist synthesizing traditional influences with more contemporary Celtic/folk music.

The feature film is Moana.  Walt Disney studios’ latest animated epic was nominated for two 2017 Academy Awards for music and best animated film.

For more information on the complete listing of 2017 performers, films, food vendors and more, visit

On beautiful Friday evenings in July, there's nowhere I'd rather be than with you in Mel Lastman Square. For more than 10 years, it's been my joy to be there on those nights, satisfying my creative ur