Harbourfront Centre
June 6, 2023

Harbourfront Centre unveils spectacular summer 2023 festival programming with performances by The Strumbellas, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Gina Yashere, Kailash Kher, and more 

May 31, 2023 TORONTO – Harbourfront Centre is the place for bold and diverse programming. With its beautiful lakeside venues, Harbourfront Centre offers the best of summer, where community, creativity and connection thrive. An exciting lineup of live performances in music, comedy and dance by award-winning Canadian and international artists makes Harbourfront Centre the place for locals and visitors alike to visit and enjoy every weekend. 

  • Kicking off the festival season, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, featuring Broadway star Jewelle Blackman, will play a free pops concert on Canada Day. The July long weekend will be filled with free performances by JUNO award-winning rock band The Strumbellas, Crystal Shawanda, the Toronto All-Star Big Band and many more. Harbourfront Centre will be bustling with art, comedy, food and activities for kids. 
  • Returning August 4–7 is the beloved Island Soul Festival featuring award-winning DJ Power and Nailah Blackman and celebrating the unique blend of Island cultures through music, film and food. Island Soul invites you to a wave of interactive, multidisciplinary arts and cultural activities, as well as performances by Rayzalution Band, JUNO award-winning Kirk Diamond and more. 
  • Closing out the summer is the Hot and Spicy Festival spotlighting India. Audiences will enjoy Bollywood folk music from Padmashri Kailash Kher, backed by his Indian fusion band Kailasa on the Concert Stage, laugh with Abish Mathew at his comedy special and indulge in delicious food representing the diverse culinary culture of India. 
  • Also returning this summer are fan-favourite festivals, Tirgan 2023, Habari Africa and TAIWANfest, promising a rich exploration of cuisine and culture. 

Summer Music in the Garden returns to the Toronto Music Garden most Thursdays and Sundays between June 21 and August 27, with 18 free concerts. 

Sharing the Stage, a special collaboration between The National Ballet of Canada and Harbourfront Centre, is once again presenting free twilight performances on our Concert Stage by the water’s edge, offering audiences the opportunity to experience classical and contemporary dance. 

“It is such a gift to invite artists to share their work with audiences at this beautiful lakefront,” says Iris Nemani, Chief Programming Officer. “Our programming offers everyone – visitors and artists alike – the opportunity for creative connection by the water. This summer’s program – filled with incredible performances by artists from across the globe – is not to be missed.” 

Detailed information and dates for all summer programming, and food and market vendors can be found at HarbourfrontCentre.com. 


June 30 – July 3 

All Free, All Weekend 


HEADLINER: The Strumbellas, with opener Cat Clyde 

WHEN: June 30, 810:45pm 

WHERE: Concert Stage 

Formed in 2008, multi-award winning internationally renowned alternative rock band The Strumbellas have built their career on crafting memorable songs, easily connecting with fans through their honest and relatable lyricism and versatile sound. The two-time JUNO Award winners have spent much of their time on the road, delivering standout performances at notable festivals such as Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits – and Harbourfront Centre. The Strumbellas take the stage at 9:30pm. 

Cat Clyde is a Canadian folk singer-songwriter. Her third album Down Rounder (out now), is a wonder of deeply felt songwriting, a record that finds her marveling at what is around her while considering her place within it all. Cat opens for The Strumbellas from 8–9pm. 

HEADLINER: Toronto Symphony Orchestra with opener Martha Chaves 

WHEN: July 1, 810:30pm 

WHERE: Concert Stage 

Celebrate the grand finale of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Centennial season with a dazzling free outdoor concert at Harbourfront Centre this Canada Day! The evening opens with the hilarity of comedian Martha Chaves, followed by TSO, led by Barrett Principal Education Conductor & Community Ambassador, Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser with special guest Jewelle Blackman, star of the hit Broadway show Hadestown, in a program of celebratory classics and familiar favourites. Gather the whole family for a spectacular night of music and merriment with TSO in the heart of downtown Toronto. 

IZimba Arts 

WHEN: July 1, 1212:45pm 

WHERE: Stage in the Park 

IZimba Arts is a music and dance group specializing in Southern African traditional music, Gumboot, Township dances, Afro-fusion and workshops. Enjoy the performance then join them at 3pm in the Lakeside Terrace for an all-ages workshop where they will lead participants in Afro-fusion and traditional Zimbabwe dances and songs/chants. 


WHEN: July 1, 34pm 

WHERE: Stage in the Park 

Toronto’s Polky is composed of singer Ewelina Ferenc, dancer Ala Stasiuk and multi-instrumentalist Marta Solek. Polky, meaning “Polish women,” came together through a shared passion for Eastern European music’s enigmatic and upbeat style. They will take guests on a musical journey to Poland with Ukrainian, Jewish and Slovak musical influences. 

Amai Kuda et Les Bois 

WHEN: July 1, 56pm 

WHERE: Stage in the Park 

Amai Kuda et Les Bois is not a band or a solo act: They prefer to call themselves “a movement.” Whether Afro-soul or pop, soothing acoustic ballads, alt-rock or hip hop–infused political tracks, this boundary-breaking performance is not to be missed. 

Crystal Shawanda 

WHEN: July 1, 78pm 

WHERE: Stage in the Park 

JUNO award-winning blues powerhouse Crystal Shawanda takes the Stage in the Park for the first time in an unforgettable performance showcasing the power of her full-throttle voice. 

Toronto All-Star Big Band 

WHEN: July 2, 12:301:30pm, 3-4pm 

WHERE: Stage in the Park 

The Toronto All-Star Big Band will get people moving as they revive the spirit, style and sound of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s with not one but two performances. Swing dance lessons by Swing Toronto are offered before each set. 

Janice Jo Lee 

WHEN: July 2, 56pm 

WHERE: Stage in the Park 

Janice Jo Lee (she/they) is a poet provocateur, drawing inspiration from her island-dwelling family roots in South Korea to offer folk songs with rousing melodies supported by expansive jazz harmonies. 


WHEN: July 2, 78pm 

WHERE: Stage in the Park 

Fusing Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk and global rhythms in songs about immigration, resistance and love, OKAN takes their name from the word for heart in their Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria. 


WHEN: July 2, 89pm 

WHERE: Concert Stage 

Multiple award-winning artist Rommel is a Brazilian singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer whose talent and versatility has him mixing elements of popular Brazilian music with Afro-Beat, Reggae, Funk and Jazz. 

Kalàscima feat. Andrea Ramolo 

WHEN: July 2, 9:3010:45pm 

WHERE: Concert Stage 

Andrea Ramolo with Kalàscima is an exciting new international collaboration of world music featuring southern Italian electronic/folk band Kalàscima and multiple Canadian Folk Music Award nominee and alternative songwriter Andrea Ramolo. 

Inn Echo 

WHEN: July 3, 121pm 

WHERE: Stage in the Park 

A Celtic fusion export from Prince Edward Island, Inn Echo weaves hundreds of years of traditional tunes with contemporary originals and arrangements, making them the talk of the national and international folk music scene. 

Lula All Stars 

WHEN: July 3, 3–4pm, 5–6pm 

WHERE: Stage in the Park 

Lula All Stars are a high energy, hard-hitting salsa ensemble made up of the very best musicians of Toronto’s Latin music scene. Get ready to move and groove and join the band’s salsa lesson at 4:30pm. 

Workshops & More 

Red Phone 

WHEN: June 30 – July 3 

WHERE: West Corridor Bays 

Part theatre and part social intervention, Boca del Lupo’s Red Phone is an audience-to-audience performance that utilizes the intimacy of a phone call and the technology of a teleprompter. Two at a time, from within a bespoke constructed phone booth, audience members partake in a five- to ten-minute dialogue about some of the day’s big questions as written by a prominent Canadian playwright. With a Canadian catalogue of over two-dozen scripts, Red Phone is a truly national project. 

Power Kids Craft 

WHEN: July 1, 15pm 

WHERE: Harbour Kids Tent 

Join Power Kids and make some 3-D art! This activity is inspired by Jen Aitken’s exhibition at The Power Plant Contemporary Gallery. 

Sankofa Stories (Decolonization 101 Series) with Amai Kuda 

WHEN: July 1, 1:30–2:30pm 

WHERE: Lakeside Terrace 

Through an African-centred retelling of human history, participants will take part in collective music-making, learn about African deities and lore and explore an African Indigenous approach to connecting more deeply with nature. 

INCIRQUE Site Performers 

WHEN: July 13, various times between 12–5pm 

WHERE: North Orchard 

INCIRQUE inspires smiles with their joyful performances, including: 

  • July 1 & 2: Bex in Motion (a dazzling show that combines comedy, acrobatics, juggling and hula hoop tricks) 
  • July 1 & 2: Dawn Dreams Circus (stilts performer) 
  • July 3: Lucky Barber (juggler, crowd performer and dad jokes aficionado) 

Bead Art Painting/Dot Art Inspired by Métis Beadwork 

WHEN: July 2 & 3, 14pm 

WHERE: HarbourKids Tent 

This workshop is fun and educational for kids – and the kids in us all! Led by Marissa Magneson (Cree Métis, Citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario), artist, photographer, educator and workshop facilitator, participants will learn about the traditional floral beadwork of the Métis people through bead painting/dot art, after which they are invited to create their own work of art. 

Aperitivo Workshop! Meet-and-Greet with Kalàscima and Andrea Ramolo 

WHEN: July 2, 67pm 

WHERE: Lakeside Terrace 

Join southern Italian world music supergroup Kalàscima and Andrea Ramolo for a pre-show meet-and-greet to explore southern Italy-s ancestral music, dance and folklore. 

Play Play: Music and Theatre Games Jam with Janice Jo Lee 

WHEN: July 2, 2–3pm 

WHERE: Lakeside Terrace 

Join Janice Jo Lee for a fun and interactive workshop with body percussion, improvisation, harmonies, rhythm and poetry. It is a cypher (jam) for people of all ages and experience. 

Harbourfront Centre Summer Festival Season 

Island Soul 

The Caribbean Current 

WHEN: August 47 

During the August long weekend, Harbourfront Centre presents the 25th edition of the Island Soul Festival. This year’s theme, the Caribbean Current, is inspired by the many different flavours of the islands; how one palette delicately flows to another – adequate and subtly distinctive. The festival will showcase the creative dynamism of these identities, highlighting the seamless flow from one ripple to the next, celebrating the unique blend of cultures through music, film, food, comedy and creating a wave of interactive and multidisciplinary arts and cultural activities. 

In addition to delicious eats and a vendor market, audiences can expect to see performances from: 

  • August 4: The Recipee Band 
  • August 4 and 6: Carnival Spice, Canada’s top provider of Caribbean dance and fitness 
  • August 5: Empress Mashup featuring female reggae band and solo performers Tiffanie Malvo, Donna Makeda, Chelsea Stewart and Natural Fyah 
  • August 5: DJ Starting From Scratch 
  • August 6: Kirk Diamond, JUNO award-winning, singer, songwriter, producer and social activist 

Island Soul also offers art exhibitions and film screenings, including Kelly Fyffe-Marshall’s debut feature film, When Morning Comes, on August 5. Additional events to be announced. Visit harbourfrontcentre.com for the most up-to-date information. 

Hot and Spicy 

Reflections on India: Celebrating 75 years of independence 

WHEN: September 14 

Over the Labour Day long weekend, Hot and Spicy returns to Harbourfront Centre with thought-provoking multidisciplinary arts, food and more. Enjoy performances by: 

  • September 1: JoSH The Band, Canadian Indo-Pakistani Bhangra music group 
  • September 2: Mausiqui, where viewers will be taken on a journey of the world in search of love through the strings of the sitar 
  • September 2: Autorickshaw, a refreshing blend of jazz, folk, pop, Indian classical music and originals 
  • September 2: Padmashri Kailash Kher and Kailasa Live 
  • September 3: Comedy act ABYYZ (Abish Mathew) 

Hot and Spicy will also feature exhibitions, such as Matters of India (working title), which explores contemporary design through materiality, process and technique crafted by hand, and Drawing Say Dhaga, an international textile arts collaboration between Canada and Pakistan showcasing the multi-sensorial richness of embroidery. Additional events to be announced. Visit harbourfrontcentre.com for the most up-to-date information. 


Harbourfront Centre presents the return of its beloved annual concert series, Summer Music in the Garden. Curated by Gregory Oh with associate curator Rebecca Cuddy, it features 18 free concerts in the Toronto Music Garden on most Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer, from June 21 to August 27, 2023. Visit harbourfrontcentre.com for the most up-to-date information. 

A major showing of work by the celebrated costume designer Machine Dazzle is also coming to the gallery at Harbourfront Centre – details to follow! 

New Artists-in-Residence will be hard at work within Harbourfront Centre’s Craft & Design Studios. Watch them work and see what they’ve created within the display vitrines throughout Harbourfront Centre’s main building at 235 Queens Quay West. 

Partner Festivals at Harbourfront Centre 

Harbourfront Centre is delighted to welcome back our longtime partners for more rich, diverse and exciting festival programming. 


WHEN: July 2023 

This summer, the world’s largest celebration of Iranian art and culture, Tirgan, returns to Harbourfront from July 20 to 23 with 250+ artists, and 140+ performances, talks, presentations and workshops. 

Habari Africa 

WHEN: August 1113 

Batuki Music Society brings Habari Africa – the multidisciplinary art and music festival that highlights Africa’s rich and diverse cultures – back to Harbourfront Centre from August 11 to 13. 


WHEN: August 2527 

From August 25 to 27, the Asian-Canadian Special Events Association brings TAIWANfest to Harbourfront Centre for a weekend full of music, art, food, conversations and more. 

About Harbourfront Centre 

Harbourfront Centre is a leading international centre for contemporary arts, culture and ideas, and a registered, charitable not-for-profit cultural organization operating a 10-acre campus on Toronto’s central waterfront. Harbourfront Centre provides year-round programming 52 weeks a year, seven days a week, supporting a wide range of artists and communities. We inspire audiences and visitors with a breadth of bold, ambitious and engaging experiences, and champion contemporary Canadian artists throughout their careers, presenting them alongside international artists, and fostering national and international artistic exchange between disciplines and cultures. 

Harbourfront Centre gratefully acknowledges its Programming Partners: Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and City of Toronto, as well as its Corporate Site Partner: Labatt. 

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For more information, please contact: 

Bri Bijman, Craft Public Relations | 416.206.5242| bri@craftpublicrelations.com