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Celebrate the departed at Harbourfront Centre’s
Day of the Dead Festival

Join the fiesta Nov. 6 & 7, 2010!

TORONTO, ON (Oct. 7, 2010) – Celebrate the memory of the departed and the spirit of Mexico with music, dance, film, food at Harbourfront Centre’s Day of the Dead Festival. Produced in partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico, this FREE, family-friendly festival is an opportunity to experience the vibrant cultural traditions, history and spiritual aspects of this popular Mexican holiday.

This fall, Harbourfront Centre presents programming that questions the BIG iDEA of witness. On Nov. 6 & 7, 2010 from noon to 6 p.m., the public are invited to witness a variety of daily hands-on activities, demonstrations and performances that reflect the traditions associated with Day of the Dead. Visitors can rock out with Toronto’s favorite Mexi-rockers Dirty Maria, experience authentic Mexican mariachi tunes with Viva Mexico Mariachi, partake in delicious food demos courtesy of Chef Francisco Alejandri and peruse our Mexican Craft Market for Day of the Dead figurines, jewellery, sugar skulls, Day of the Dead bread (pan de muerto) and more!

Harbourfront Centre will host a number of beautiful ofrendas (altars), built by local community groups. These special altars are built to honour the dead and offer them their favorite treats and gifts. Kids can also join in the fun by making their own crafts to decorate ofrendas.

Day of the Dead History:
Day of the Dead is a time for families to celebrate and commemorate loved ones who have died. The origins of this celebration can be traced back at least 3,000 years among Mexico’s pre-Hispanic indigenous cultures. Although its roots are pre-Colombian, the holiday continues to be observed as one of the most important holidays in Mexico as well as other Central and South American countries.

For additional information and complete event listings, the public may visit or call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay W, in the heart of Toronto’s downtown waterfront.



Viva Mexico Mariachi
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, 2–3 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Wearing their elegant and beautiful costumes, Mariachi Viva Mexico will use guitars, violins, trumpets to stir the audience to sing along and dance to authentic Mariachi songs!

Dirty Maria
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, 4:30–5:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Toronto’s own Latin-alternative rock band, Dirty Maria, recorded their first album in 2005. Since then they have been nominated for best world music album at the Toronto Independent Music Awards.


A Taste of Mexico
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, noon–5:30 p.m.( West Arcade)
All weekend long, some of Toronto’s best Mexican food vendors serve up tortillas, burritos, carnitas and tamales…and that’s just a taste!

Chef Francisco Alejandri
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, 3–4 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Chef Francisco Alejandri demonstrates how to make delicious Mexican tinga mini tostadas (chicken) and a refreshing lime and chia agua fresca beverage. Alejandri has worked at top Toronto restaurants inclusing Sassafraz, Scaramouche and Opus. He prides himself in his cooking being simple and unpretentious, so, as Francisco says, “To your pots! And let’s start cooking with our hearts.”


The Skulls of Posada:
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, 4 p.m.–5 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
The Skulls of Posada combine spoken word, dance and music into a theatrical recreation of a funeral procession.


Hasta Los Huesos (Down to the Bone)
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, 1p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Directed by René Castillo this 12 -minute film is an inventive and animated look at death. It tells the story of one man’s arrival in the land of the dead. Once he gets there, he realizes that it’s not so bad (some subject matter may not be suitable for younger children).

Un Retrato de Diego: la Revolucion de la Mirada" (A Portrait of Diego: The Revolutionary Gaze)
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, 2:30- 3:40 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Directors Gabriel Figueroa Flores & Diego Lopez Rivera combine archival footage from the 1940s and interviews from Rivera's friends and relatives. Film clips from Mexico's "Golden Age of Cinema" provide a historical context for the film setting. A noted muralist, Rivera was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, in 1886 and died in Mexico City in 1957. He is commonly known for his turbulent marriage to Frida Kahlo. Images from the Day of the Dead are found in many of Rivera’s murals.


Community Ofrendas (altars)
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, noon–6 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace, Marilyn Brewer Community Space, West Arcade)
Mexican community and social organizations create ofrendas that reflect the traditions and creativity of the Mexican people in Toronto. Ofrendas are altars or shrines that usually contain a cross, pictures or a statue of the Virgin Mary, candles, as well as pictures of relatives that have passed on.


Day of the Dead Kids Crafts
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, 1 p.m.–5 p.m. (Miss Lou’s Room)
Kids can make crafts to decorate an ofrenda (altar)!


Mexican Market Place
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, noon–6 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
Come enjoy a variety of crafts including Day of the Dead figurines, crafts, jewelry, sugar skulls, Day of the Dead bread (pan de muerto) and more!

Skeleton at the Feast
Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 6 & 7, 4 p.m.–5 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Chloë Sayer brings her personal reflections and observations to Harbourfront Centre in this one-hour presentation about Day of the Dead history and customs.


Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, all within a collection of distinctive venues on the 10-acre site it operates in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront.

Media Contact:
Althea Linton
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