Preamble – The Canadian Spirit Festival

I recently read a post written by an Aussie describing Canadians, for the benefit of those unfortunate few who haven’t had a chance to meet one of us yet. It states:

“Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian.”

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Holding true to this kind testament, The TOM (Tom Thomson Art Gallery) in Owen Sound is very proud to be hosting this years Canadian Spirit Festival happening Sept 21st-22nd at Kelso Beach Park on the shoreline of Owen Sound Bay. Now in its’ second year, this unique multi-arts festival celebrates our area’s rich cultural diversity through a dynamic partnership with the Saugeen First Nation, offering a plethora of on-site programming, including traditional Aboriginal arts and crafts workshops, demonstrations, storytelling, dance and drum circles, interactive art and culinary sessions, keynote speakers and food stalls.

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The TOM and Saugeen First Nation have also collaborated on a portrait project engaging the youth and elders in the community, wherein they engaged a group of elders and youth and asked them to get to know each other. Out of this session came a series of portraits that were submitted to the INSIDE OUT project (a worldwide phenomenon which was started by French street artist “JR” after winning a TED art prize in 2011). The portraits will be hung both in Owen Sound and at Saugeen First Nation.


Festival Highlights and Attractions include:

· The Artists’ Alley – workshops, exhibition and sale of work by artists and craftspeople (including traditional arts and crafts from Saugeen First Nation)

· A fun and educational Children’s Area curated by Elephant Thoughts (including a 75’ “hamster ball” race track and human gyroscope!)

· Fresh and delicious food from local food vendors

· On-site art installations, films and community mural projects

After 6PM, the Saturday night headlining concert features a performance by Polaris Prize shortlisted act A Tribe Called Red and The Darcys (Arts & Crafts Records). Tickets are $30 and available from

Admission on Saturday is $5 (Children 12 and under are free). Check out for more details, and be sure to come out and embrace your own Canadian Spirit.