Harbourfront Centre

Harbourfront Centre operates the 10 prime acres of Toronto’s central waterfront as a free and open public space. We nurture the growth of new cultural expression, stimulate Canadian and international interchange and provide a dynamic, accessible environment for the public to experience the culture of our time. We generate wonder, illuminate understanding and spark insight at the heart of Toronto’s waterfront.

Our Impact Why We Exist

Harbourfront Centre’s programming mandate is to showcase the work of contemporary Canadian artists in all creative disciplines and to place those artistic achievements within a broad international context by simultaneously presenting leading-edge artists from around the world.  Care is taken to ensure there is a diverse cultural representation in all professional artistic programmes.  Harbourfront Centre is also committed to working with artists from diverse cultural communities who have not yet worked with a mainstream organization.  Harbourfront Centre provides professional resources to support the development of artistic efforts in these communities.  By offering a variety of performance venues for their use, as well as programming and production assistance and promoting them to a large and diverse audience, Harbourfront Centre helps artists reach beyond their own communities to a broader public, raising awareness of their cultural traditions.

Our Story What We Do

For over 40 years, Harbourfront Centre has been showcasing the work of contemporary Canadian artists in the areas of theatre, dance, literature, music, film, visual arts, new media, fine craft, community arts and diverse cultural representation and celebration. Harbourfront Centre is a primary window through which the best in contemporary arts work by Canadian and international artists reaches Canadian audiences. It is also the only arts organization in Ontario that has made a significant contribution to professional development and excellence of the art form and artist in every arts discipline. Harbourfront Centre was incorporated in November 1990 as a non-profit charitable organization with a mandate to organize and present public events and to operate a 10-acre site along Toronto’s waterfront. Harbourfront Centre grew out of the public programming mandate of the original Crown Corporation established in 1974. Since its inception, Harbourfront Centre has been dedicated to introducing, establishing and encouraging the development of artists through annual festival and series programming and creating a context in which to experience community-based culture.

Accolades and Accomplishments

  • Harbourfront Centre is the most prolific arts presenter in Canada, presenting over 4,000 events and programmes (over 70% of which are free) in the realm of theatre, dance, literature, music, film, visual arts, architecture, and fine craft each year

Our Programs How We Do It

Every year, Harbourfront Centre offers an impressive array of innovative multidisciplinary programming exploring diverse cultures through the arts.  Harbourfront Centre has always been a bold and innovative force in Toronto and Canada’s cultural scene, introducing audiences to brilliant new artists and art forms.  Our Performing Arts department presents contemporary, leading-edge presentations from the world’s most innovative artists in theatre, dance and new music.  Our World Stage season features national and international theatre, dance and music performances that excite and provoke with innovation and excellence. NextSteps features the huge diversity of local and national contemporary dance expressions available in Toronto. HATCH is an annual series for new and emerging performance companies with a mandate to encourage and stimulate new performance and artist development. HarbourKIDS is a new generation in Family programming that inspires imagination and aspires to promote understanding, creativity, expression and discovery, all through our lens of arts and culture.

Our Community and Educational Programmes department works with a wide range of local, national and international communities to explore collaborative innovation, learning opportunities, new ideas, residencies and new artistic creation. These explorations result in cultural festivals, public forums, popular music and special interest programmes.  A major initiative of this department is a series of large multi-discipline festivals held each weekend during the summer, and other festivals throughout the year.  The department also provides learning and recreational programmes with a special focus on youth, including school visits and summer camps.

Our Visual Arts department is committed to the promotion and exhibition of a broad range of local, national and international contemporary fine art, new media, design and craft.  Works are showcased in 10 traditional and non-traditional exhibition venues including a new gallery devoted to contemporary architecture.  The Craft Studio is also home to four working studios in metal, ceramics, glass and textiles on view to the public, as well as classes, lectures and exhibitions. Our Artist-in-Residence programme is Canada’s foremost training centre for Canadian professional craftspeople offering a unique post graduate programme.

Craft and Design Residency Programme

We will be enhancing our Craft Artists-in-Residence programme by expanding into a Craft and Design Studio, creating a design lab and increasing the number of emerging craft and design artists we can support.

Our residency-- the only nationally recognized post-graduate craft training programme in Canada-- allows artists the space, support and mentoring they need to bridge their academic training and a successful career and business.

We transform artists into entrepreneurs. Through our programme, artists-in-residence engage in critical thinking with leading artists and their peers, develop knowledge and confidence, and make the link between academic training and contemporary craft and design production.

Each year, we receive approximately 60 applicants for the six to seven residencies that become available.

By vitalizing the Craft Studio and adding a dedicated design lab, we will not only enhance the residency, but add 10 artists-in-residence for a total of 31 residencies.

Program Impact

Funds will support the crucial mentoring, entreprenurial and business instruction, presentation preparation, conference attendance and master classes and seminars that Harbourfront Centre provides.


Neil Kerr
Chief Development Officer
Charitable Number: 107466575RR0003

Finance & Governance


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