Culture Days Fills the Bill and Two New “Festivals”

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The 2017 Brockville Culture Days ranked fourth in Canada for communities with a population below 50,000 based on participation levels. This is testimony to our robust arts and culture sector and to the fact that people and groups in that sector feel it is an ideal vehicle to help them connect to the city at large. Attendance and participation were up over the 2016 event.

The advantages that Culture Days overs over other similar events are numerous. Cost to participate is free. The venue, King Street West, is stunning. Support from the businesses along the street is phenomenal. The public are knowledgeable about the event and look forward to it every year. Participants, layout and flavour change each year and keep the event fresh and compelling.

At January 3rd’s Summit in the Basement participants were discussing the possible demise of a similarly flavoured event. One of the drawbacks was that there was an overall cost to be part of the province wide event. I was curious why and was told that in return for the fee organizers were connected to the overall website and received marketing materials.

Brockville Culture Days and participants receive all of that for free. The SWAG (Stuff We All Get), as marketing materials are referred to, are the best, bar none, in the region. Brockville Culture Days events are featured on the Ontario Culture Days website.

In 2016, the Ontario Culture Days campaign was valued at over $400 thousand, and garnered more than 170 million impressions (more than double the previous year). We tie into a nationwide network and national advertising campaign valued at over $3 million and generated over 250 million impressions.

Wouldn’t you want to be part of that network and leverage that coverage for you or your group? But wait there’s more… Ontario Culture Days is developing a Travel Itinerary Program to facilitate tourism during the Culture Days weekend in select regions of the province. The goal will be to link arts and culture assets between different communities, to simplify planning for tourists and tie into local eating and overnight destinations.

In order to develop this program, Ontario Culture Days is reaching out to members of its Task Force to identify potential partners. For a Travel Itinerary in a region to move forward, we will require representatives/leads from both the arts and culture sector and the tourism sector in their respective part of the province. We will work closely with these representatives to develop the Travel Itinerary; to tie into arts and culture assets that are both registered and non-registered Culture Days events and feature destinations for participants to patron.
Brockville and area are one of those partners. You may know that this year Brockville Culture Days had new partners in Delta, Frankville, Lyndhurst and Mallorytown. You can develop quite the Culture Trek itinerary in our little area. Ontario Culture Days’ new Outreach Manager will be coming to Brockville and area this March to discuss this opportunity and get to meet the arts and culture community. Once we have a firm date we’ll share it with you. If you think this is an opportunity you would like to investigate by all means plan on attending. Drop us a line at and we’ll make sure to contact you with the date and save you a spot.
I know I promised news on a couple of new festivals and I will touch on them quickly and expand on it next newsletter. Work has begun on an organ festival here in Brockville using the classic organs in some of our downtown churches. It’s early days but the target dates are for an early shoulder season festival in late April or early May. One result of the Summit in the Basement is the possibility of walking tours in conjunction with this, that would include the participating churches.

The other initiative isn’t really a festival, but could be developing into one. The Heritage Classic Weekend 2018 was/are looking for groups to develop events in conjunction with theirs to flesh out activities the week leading up to the Heritage Classic. So a few of us got together and cobbled out a coalition to work on this. It isn’t a coincidence that the partners are all Culture Days veterans, Brockville DBIA and the Brockville Museum.

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So on Saturday February 17th there will be Party at the Parkette, with family style activities galore at the John & King Street parkette from 10:30 to 2:30. Monday February 19th, Family Day, there will be snow sculpturing at the patio of the Brockville Museum, 5 Henry Street. More details next newsletter. 
It’s only January 19th and we’re already “cooking with gas”.