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June 14, 2017
National Aboriginal Day and Indigenous Arts Festival celebrations at Fort York National Historic Site begin June 21
This news release is also available in French at

In acknowledgement of National Aboriginal History Month, the City of Toronto continues its tradition of producing and presenting the largest free National Aboriginal Day celebrations in Toronto, with the Indigenous Arts Festival from June 21 to 25 at Fort York National Historic Site.

The five-day festival will include more than 30 performances by indigenous artists from across Canada, featuring traditional and contemporary music, dance, theatre, storytelling, visual arts, crafts and food. The full program is available at

“Toronto joins cities across the country in celebrating National Aboriginal History Month and National Aboriginal Day,” said Mayor John Tory. "We recognize the unique culture, history and significant contributions made by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to our city and to Canadian society. I encourage all residents to join in the celebrations."

“No relationship is more important to the Government of Canada than the one we have with Indigenous Peoples. This is why we are proud to support National Aboriginal Day, which will feature exciting events and programming across the country, including right here in Toronto," said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. "This day offers Canadians a one-of-a-kind opportunity to deepen their knowledge of Indigenous cultures and be in a better position to discover their rich heritage. I invite Canadians to make the most of this important day. Let’s come together in the spirit of reconciliation, now and in the years to come, to celebrate National Aboriginal Day.”

Highlights of the festival include the following performances/events starting June 21:

- Performances by Susan Aglukark, Nunavut’s first ever Juno Award-winning Inuk singer/songwriter, and William Prince, 2017 Juno Award winner for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year, on June 21.

- Aboriginal Day Live, an eight-city event and live concert broadcast by Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) featuring Classified, Derek Miller, Eagle & Hawk, Eekwol and Willows on June 21.

- A free outdoor screening of the acclaimed National Film Board (NFB) musical documentary The Road Forward by Marie Clements on June 22. The film connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history – the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s – with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today.

- Jumblies Theatre: Talking Treaties Pageant, a multi-arts project and immersive performance installation that brings together professional and community performers with the goal of artfully sharing local indigenous knowledge and awareness on June 23.

- Performances by Canadian Country Music Award and Juno Award winner Crystal Shawanda and "the voice in the wilderness” singer/songwriter Nick Sherman on June 24.

- Performances by captivating singer/songwriter duo Twin Flames, rising star Shawnee and Ulali (featuring traditional hand drumming, choral singing and pre-Columbian music) on June 25.

National Aboriginal Day is funded in part by the Government of Canada. Aboriginal Day Live is produced by APTN in partnership with the City of Toronto and with the financial support of the Government of Canada, Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Investors Group and TD Bank Group.

The Indigenous Arts Festival is presented by TD and produced in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation with the financial support of the Government of Canada and Tim Hortons.

Media note: Artist and spokesperson interviews may be arranged in advance through the contact below. High resolution images can be downloaded for promotional use at

Social media updates on National Aboriginal Day and the Indigenous Arts Festival are available at The event hashtags are #NationalAboriginalDay and #IAF17.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada's 150th birthday with "TO Canada with Love," a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at and on Instagram at

Media Contact
Justine Palinska
Economic Development and Culture



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