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On the Pulse Festival (July 2-3)

A two-day exploration of the experiential, the boundary-pushing and the unpredictable

TORONTO, ON (Thursday, May 26, 2011)Harbourfront Centre and its lead summer partner, the Toronto Port Authority, present the inaugural On the Pulse Festival filled with surprises and adventures in music, theatre, film and dance.

Audiences are invited to indulge in the unknown and check their inhibitions at the door as former Thunderheist front-woman Isis, New Zealand’s Maori roots band Moana & The Tribe, DJ and beatboxer extraordinaire Scratch from The Roots, and Colombia’s favorite Latin-fusion band Systema Solar take to the WestJet Stage. Another music highlight is Harbourfront Centre's Music Award, SoundClash, presented by NOW Magazine. At On the Pulse, the first of five shortlisted bands compete for $10,000 in cash and prizes. The public can also vote for their favourite band to win following each performance!

The element of surprise is also highlighted throughout this weekend with unpredictable flash mobs and a real life Where’s Waldo? game by Improv in Toronto, as well as with interactive improv performances from Second City’s Absolutely Positively Completely Made-Up Show and The Carnegie Hall Show, featuring some of the world’s top improv performers and comedians.

On the Pulse culinary events include a special focus on BBQ culture around the world. American Iron Chef and Food Network personality Kevin Brauch, Chef Steve Gonzalez from Origin Restaurant, Chef Mario Cassini from Caju Restaurant, Chef Favio Barenbaum from Sky Ranch Restaurant and other surprise guests take audiences on a grilling tour around the world and create delicious BBQ dishes from Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and more.

Join us this summer as we explore “Hot Spots” of intensity, artistic brilliance, connectivity, and regions of conflict that shape the impressions we have of ourselves and our world. This theme is programmed into each weekend festival to bring together rich artistic traditions from our own backyard and around the globe! It also presents a unique opportunity to experience top Canadian and international artists in a fun, family-friendly environment without ever leaving the city!

Hot spots may not always be comfortable, but they are conduits of change. Embrace change or defy it – it is ultimately up to you. This summer, Harbourfront Centre presents programming that asks: What’s your hot spot?

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 West in the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront.

Full Event Listings by Genre:

¡A Cumbiar! With DJ El Machetero
Saturday, July 2, 2-3:30 p.m., 5-6 p.m., 7-8 p.m. (Boulevard Tent)
DJ Machetero, will have audiences on their feet and ready to dance with his experimental mix of cumbia, boogaloo, afro-rock, soul, reggae and doo wop.

SoundClash Presented by NOW Magazine, Harbourfront Centre’s Music Award
Saturday, July 2, 3:30-4 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
The first of five shortlisted artists and/or bands from across the GTA compete for Harbourfront Centre’s SoundClash Music Award, presented by NOW Magazine. Five local bands have been selected by a jury to showcase their talents and compete for cash and other prizes.

Systema Solar
Saturday, July 2, 9:30-11 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
The diverse group Systema Solar uses audio and visual techniques to electrify traditional Columbian music. Systema Solar fuses the sounds of cumbia, bullerengue, porro and chamepeta using electronic tools and contemporary rhythms to create a performance that is stunning for the eyes and ears.

Scratch (from The Roots)
Saturday, July 2, 7:30-8:15 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Grammy Award-winner Scratch is an emcee and a talented beatboxer who has toured the world with The Roots. The composer of two critically acclaimed albums has worked alongside musicians like Gorillaz and Kanye West.

Saturday, July 2, 8-9 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
The eclectic singer Isis has ventured off from the signature hard-hitting rhymes of her past project, Thunderheist, and invented a new sound for her new 80s-inspired synth-pop album.

Tropical Bass Party with DJ eLman
Saturday, July 2, 9-10 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
DJ eLman redefines Latin music with his original mix of tropical bass from around the world and has a groundbreaking radio show. DJ eLman specializes in the emerging underground music of Latin America.

Moana & The Tribe
Sunday, July 3, 5-6:30 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
These New Zealand natives have created their own unique sound by mixing reggae and funk with traditional Maori (New Zealand) rhythms. Moana & The Tribe use vocal harmonies around lyrics that tell of Maori culture and connect it with the globe.


• Global Grilling: Colombian-inspired BBQ with Food Network Top Chef Steve Gonzalez, Origin Restaurant
Saturday, July 2, 4-5 p.m.,(South Orchard Tent)
American Iron Chef and Food Network personality Kevin Brauch takes audiences on a Global Grilling journey that showcases various forms of barbeque grilling around the world. Food Network Top Chef Steve Gonzalez of Origin Restaurant demonstrates how to create Colombian-inspired BBQ dishes.

• Global Grilling: Argentinean Parrillada (BBQ) by Sky Ranch Restaurant
Saturday, July 2, 6-7 p.m. (South Orchard Tent)
American Iron Chef and Food Network personality Kevin Brauch takes audiences on a Global Grilling journey that showcase barbeque grilling around the world. Chef Favio Barenbaum of Sky Ranch will demonstrate the various meats and grilling techniques of Argentinean Parrillada (BBQ).

• Global Grilling: Brazilian-inspired BBQ with Chef Mario Cassini, Caju Restaurant
Sunday, July 3, 2-3 p.m. (South Orchard Tent)
American Iron Chef and Food Network personality Kevin Brauch takes audiences on a Global Grilling journey that showcases various forms of barbeque grilling around the world. Chef and owner of Caju Restaurant, Mario Cassini will create BBQ dishes inspired by Brazilian flavours and ingredients.


• Canadian Improv Games’ Intro to Improv
Saturday, July 2, 2-3 p.m., 4-5 p.m., 6-7 p.m. (North Orchard)
Intro to Improv will introduce participants to the wonderful world of spur-of-the-moment entertainment. Stories, narratives and character work will be a part of this interactive performance.

• The Carnegie Hall Show
Saturday, July 2, 5-6 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Four of Toronto’s finest comedic and improv minds (Matt Baram, Ron Pederson, Chris Gibbs and Naomi Snieckus) come together with evening dress and mindless optimism to celebrate the ordinary and glamorize the mundane! 2010 Canadian Comedy Award Winners for best comedy or Improv Troupe.


• Second City’s Absolutely Positively Completely Made-Up Show
Saturday, July 2, 3p.m. (Redpath Stage)
At Second City’s Absolutely Positively Completely Made-Up Show, the deeply imaginative performers create original stories and songs, on the spot, entertaining audiences of all ages. Young and old alike are sure to experience side-splitting laughter while they watch the interactive improvisation and theatre games of the completely made up show.

• HarbourKIDS – The Real Life Where’s Waldo Game
Sunday, July 3, 3-5 p.m. (Redpath Stage and Harbourfront Centre Site)
Harbourfront Centre and Improv in Toronto take the classic renowned book and brings it to life. The pages will jump out of the book as fake Waldos are placed around the Harbourfront site. With help from the fake Waldos, who will be giving clues and handing out tasks, and with some clever sleuthing skills, families will be able to solve the mystery to find the real Waldo.

• Pemetawe (Come & Play): Games of the Plains Cree
Sunday, July 3, 1-5 p.m. (Boulevard Tent)
Come learn an exciting cree hand game, the Messekuche Kunek and Wolf and Deer games led by Kehewin Native Dance Theatre.

• Flash Mobs by Improv in Toronto
Saturday, July 2, TBD
Improv in Toronto will be surprising audiences with unexpected flash mobs.


• Cumbia with Me
Saturday, July 2, 1:30 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
From one of the most popular music and dance methods from South America, cumbia, this workshop led by Caliente Drum & Danz will not only teach audiences the dance steps, but trace the progression from it folkloric roots to its growth across South America and beyond.

• Hoop Dance Workshop with Beany John
Sunday, July 3, 4:30-5 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Audiences will learn the rich form of storytelling dance as Beany John performs and leads a hoop dance workshop, using up to 30 hoops.


• Maori with Attitude!
Sunday, July 3, 1-2 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Members of Moana & The Tribe host this workshop exploring the traditions of Maori music that originates from New Zealand. The interactive workshop is led by members who are skilled in haka (traditional Maori posture dance), poi (Maori performance art), taonga puoro (traditional Maori instruments) and waiata-a-ringa (Maori action song dance).

• Hot Thoughts: Moana & The Tribe: Q & A
Sunday, July 3, 2-2:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
The power of the thought has never been more hot, and the Hot Thought series running all summer long will allow you to enter the mind of some of the great thinkers and artists of our time, artists whose work will be integrally connected to the Harbourfront Centre summer season. Prepare to engage with some of the most interesting minds to land on the shores of Toronto. This edition features the unmistakably New Zealand, proudly Maori group, Moana & The Tribe.


SoundClash presented by NOW Magazine, Harbourfront Centre's Music Award
The summer’s hottest music competition happens at Harbourfront Centre with $10,000 in cash prizes up for grabs! Toronto’s hottest artists and bands take centre stage to compete for the SoundClash music award. A panel of music critics, bloggers, artists and industry reps will create a short list (revealed May 25) from the submissions received, then each artist and/or band will play the WestJet Stage this July to compete for three cash prizes and a variety of giveaways. The winner will be determined by a combination of jury selections and public votes.

Longo’s Free Flicks
Tuesdays at dusk, July 5 through August 9 (WestJet Stage)
Join us outdoors by the lake for a screening of six different films, each highlighting the experience of living in a different city! Come explore Toronto, New York, Paris, New Delhi and Toyko and vote on the final film selection (Venice, Toronto or Cairo).

Longo’s Friday Picnics
Fridays, June 24 through Sept. 2, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Ann Tindal Park)
Buy a sandwich, a snack, or an internationally inspired meal at the World Café and then enjoy it sitting on the Ann Tindal lawn, or pack your cooler with your favorite feast! Live entertainment will vary each week.

Hot off the Grill
Come and enjoy the flavour of the season as our festivals put a spotlight on grilled foods from around the globe. Whether you prefer your grill from the Deep South or the Far East, a whole summer’s worth of food demonstrations is waiting for you!

Sundays, 3 p.m. (locations vary)
A hot summer series devoted to young people and families, HarbourKIDS presents a hot lineup of artists and activities that will move, shake-up and entertain.

Dancing on the Pier
Thursdays, June 23 to Sept. 1 (Various locations on the waterfront)
Explore culturally hot dance trends and movements from across globe that will heat up the Harbourfront Centre site and its surroundings! The waterfront will be filled with sizzling flavors, movement and sounds from the best choreographers, social dance clubs and DJs to heat up the boardwalk!

World Café
Open weekends, June 21 to Oct. 10
World Café offers a variety of international cuisine prepared by a rotating selection of popular Toronto restaurants and caterers. Come check out our new location and patio seating area!

International Marketplace
Open weekends, May 28 to Oct. 2
Shop for delightful gifts and treasures from around the globe!

Canoe Rides on the Natrel® Pond
Daily, May to October
Our famous canoe rides will be available at the Natrel® Pond all summer long! Take a break and enjoy a fun float beside our picturesque boardwalk.

Hot spots may not always be comfortable, but they are conduits of change. Embrace change or defy it – it is ultimately up to you. This summer, Harbourfront Centre presents programming that asks: What’s your hot spot?

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 a 10-acre site in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront. For more information visit

The Toronto Port Authority, Harbourfront Centre’s lead summer partner, owns and operates the Port of Toronto, the Billy Bishop Airport, and the Outer Harbour Marina. It is committed to building a waterfront community that is vibrant and enjoyable for Torontonians and visitors, by working with partners to create a clean, green, prosperous water’s edge. For more information visit


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Althea Linton

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