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Harbourfront Centre announces 30th Anniversary Initiatives

30th Anniversary

Six Special

New website address

TORONTO, April 19, 2004 – The 2004/2005 season marks a momentous year for Canada’s leading centre for contemporary culture. Harbourfront Centre is celebrating its 30th year of providing provocative and leading-edge explorations of Canadian and international culture. To mark this milestone, William J.S. Boyle, Chief Executive Officer of Harbourfront Centre, today unveiled six new special initiatives to take place over the coming year: Fresh Ground, the commissioning of up to five new Canadian works nurturing artistic innovation and collaboration; Mobile Fun, an astonishing and provocative outdoor art installation; Planet IndigenUs, one of the largest-ever cultural celebrations of world indigenous peoples; SUPERDANISH: Newfangled Danish Culture, the most ambitious and exciting exploration of Danish culture ever undertaken in North America; Flying Solo: World Stage, a new incarnation of the Centre’s much-loved international theatre festival; and ALOUD: A Celebration for Young Readers, an international literary event for young people.

“We are proud of Harbourfront Centre’s position as a world leader of contemporary cultural explorations,” said William Boyle. “The Centre is known around the world as an outstanding example of how cultural enterprise can revitalize abandoned and derelict urban waterfronts, transforming them into active and vital public spaces. Harbourfront Centre remains committed to nurturing new ideas, fostering local and international cultural communities and incubating new relationships between artists and other disciplines. The initiatives we are announcing today are exciting, innovative, will engage a diverse audience, and are great signposts to mark Harbourfront Centre’s unparalleled 30 year contribution to global culture.”

To mark its longstanding commitment to foster artistic innovation and expression, Harbourfront Centre proudly heralds the creation of Fresh Ground. Through this programme up to five special new Canadian art works will be commissioned. These commissions will be collaborations among different fields, encouraging unique partnerships of artistic discovery. The five awards of $20,000 will stimulate and provide much-needed support for exciting new cross-disciplinary explorations. Details and submission guidelines for the commissions will be announced in the near future.

Mobile Fun is a fitting example of the innovative role that The Power Plant contemporary art gallery at Harbourfront Centre plays in visual arts. One of the largest art installations ever constructed in Canada, a giant ferris wheel will fly visitors high over the Toronto waterfront throughout June and July. This remarkable work of art features automobiles, suspended from the rim, that rotate around the giant wheel instead of the traditional seats. Created by Eindhoven-based artist-architect John Körmeling, Mobile Fun is part of the first-ever North American exhibition by this ingenious artist.

Indigenous cultures from around the world gather at Harbourfront Centre August 13 - 22, 2004 as part of a provocative and ambitious celebration titled Planet IndigenUs. With its co-presenting partner, the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario, Harbourfront Centre focuses on the incredible artistic achievements of aboriginal cultures from around the globe. Seven major cultural institutions in Toronto join in with complementary presentations in this ground-breaking city-wide festival exploring the wealth of cultural expressions from Indigenous artists. Details of Planet IndigenUs will be released shortly.

From September 27 through to the end of October 2004, SUPERDANISH, Newfangled Danish Culture will take over the Harbourfront Centre site and other locations in the city. The 9-week festival will be the largest North American exploration of Danish contemporary culture ever undertaken. Already announced as part of this celebration, the North American premiere of the much heralded Margaret Atwood opera, The Handmaid’s Tale, will be presented as part of the Canadian Opera Company's Fall season. Celebrated Toronto designer Bruce Mau is curating an exhibition for Harbourfront Centre’s Power Plant gallery that looks at the future of Danish architecture and design and pays homage to its past. Mau's presentation will be triplicated with identical exhibitions simultaneously mounted in Copenhagen and in Venice as this SUPERDANISH exhibition has also been chosen as Denmark’s entry in the prestigious Venice Biennale of Architecture. In addition the International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront Centre, celebrating its 25th anniversary this Fall, has announced a festival concentration of eight Danish writers for its October gathering of the world's best authors. Complete SUPERDANISH programming will be announced at the end of the month.

April has traditionally been the month for Harbourfront Centre’s acclaimed biennial international World Stage theatre festival, until federal cigarette sponsorship regulations put a spanner in the works of this popular programme. As part of its 30th anniversary plans, Harbourfront Centre is proud to present the newest incarnation of this important festival, Flying Solo: World Stage, in April 2005. In celebration of a recent theatre world phenomenon, the crème de la crème of international performing artists and theatre practitioners will gather in Toronto to share their one-person tours de force. Details of this new international festival will be released early in 2005.

To complete the anniversary year, Harbourfront Centre is especially proud to announce a brand-new international celebration featuring readings, signings and special literary events designed specifically for young readers. ALOUD: A Celebration for Young Readers, a programme to involve, enlighten, inform and entertain young reading and writing minds, will take place in June 2005. Plans for this eagerly anticipated new festival are still being put in place and will be announced at a later date. This will be a fitting companion to Harbourfront Centre’s world-renowned International Festival of Authors.

To begin the 30th anniversary year the popular 10-acre site is currently undergoing a physical revitalization with the construction of a new water’s edge promenade. The commencement of a three-level government initiative to develop a large stretch of Toronto waterfront, the Harbourfront Centre site revitalization initiative includes public boardwalks plus floating piers scheduled for installation in the Fall of 2004. Mirroring this physical site facelift, Harbourfront Centre is also undertaking a reshaping of its programming. To provide another perspective from which the public can view the Centre’s diverse offerings, an overall idea or concept will be explored on a regular basis. Various programmes will examine the central idea from many different viewpoints. Visitors can then build an understanding of the concept being investigated, as well as appreciate connections between what they may have previously viewed as disparate art forms. The first concept to be explored, from April through August 2004, is "Cultural Collisions.” When two cultures meet and begin to intermingle, the result can be innovative, exciting and rich with new artistic expression. The programming over the summer will look at several cultural collisions and the resultant creative outpouring.

As Harbourfront Centre enters its 30th year of programming the Centre is changing its URL address from to, effective immediately. Persons entering the old web address will be redirected to the new address and urged to update all web bookmarks. To inaugurate the new address, the Centre is bringing back its popular I Want it All web contest. Patrons are urged to check out details at and enter to win special prizes.

For 30 years Harbourfront Centre has been one of this city’s most popular and prolific cultural institutions. The 10-acre site at the heart of Toronto’s waterfront continues to be a beacon for local and regional visitors who return many times each year for the diverse programming, as well as national and international guests who consistently place Harbourfront Centre at the top of their list of must-see locations. With the physical site revitalization currently taking place and these spectacular new 30th anniversary initiatives, 2004-2005 certainly will be a year to remember.


Media contact: Bruce Hutchinson, Director, Marketing & Media Relations
416-973-4677 or
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