Purple Culture Days logo


Culture Days is Canada's biggest national arts and culture event that takes place each year the last weekend in September. Attendees join in free activities and performances hosted by artists, cultural organizations and the City. This event gives behind-the-scenes access to local arts, culture and heritage over three incredible days of free activities.

The City participates each year as a local organizer of Culture Days events. There's something for everyone!

Culture Days 2018

Culture Days 2018 logo

It’s time to get creative and plan your schedule for this year’s Culture Days weekend! 

The City of Thunder Bay invites you to celebrate your love of art and culture during Culture Days weekend this September 28th, 29th and 30th. This year’s national theme is ‘OnBeat’, so get ready for some rhythm inspired fun.

Culture Days is a nation-wide event that celebrates and encourages participation in cultural activity. It’s your chance to get ‘behind-the-scenes’ glimpses into the art forms you love. Check out what is going on in Thunder Bay during Culture Days. All activities are FREE and there are more than 30 registered across Thunder Bay this year. You can search activities by keyword, location, and region to find out what's happening.


Download your own 2018 Culture Days Activity Guide for Thunder Bay.

Here are some highlights!

Indian Horse - Free Screening w/ Edna Manitowabi

Still from the Film Indian Horse - Naomi crouches in bushes with grandsons

Saturday September 29th | 3-5:30pm at Magnus Theatre

Join the City this Culture Days | Fête de la culture for a free screening of the film 'Indian Horse' and discussion with actor Edna Manitowabi.

An adaptation of Richard Wagamese’s award winning novel, this moving and important drama sheds light on the dark history of Canada’s Residential Schools and the indomitable spirit of Indigenous people. Check out the film trailer.

Edna Manitowabi (Naomi) is a knowledge keeper and wonderful speaker. She will join us after the screening for a talk, discussion & Q&A. Manitowabi, Anishnaabekwe, is Bear Clan, a Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother, of Ojibway/Odawa ancestry originally from Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island. A fifth degree Midewewin teacher and seeker of Indigenous knowledge, Edna is one of the founders and teachers of Minwaywaygaan Midewewiwin Lodge, Rosseau River, Manitoba.
Though recently retired, as Professor Emeritus, Edna Manitowabi, maintains her connections to the Indigenous Studies Department at Trent University. Here over the years, she has developed and taught courses in Tradition and Culture, Aboriginal Knowledge, Indigenous Theatre, Aboriginal Women, and has been instrumental in the development of, as well as teaching, components of this university’s PhD program in Indigenous Knowledge.

Northern Lights (a UFO Documentary) - Premiere w/ Dee McCullay

 Film poster from Northern Lights a UFO Documentary

Saturday September 29th | 10:30am at Magnus Theatre

Join the City this Culture Days | Fête de la culture for the premiere of Northern Lights (A UFO Documentary). This will be followed by an artist talk and Q&A session with Director Dee McCullay - Dark History of Thunderstryker Films. Get 'behind-the-scenes' insight into the film-making process.

Dee McCullay is a Producer/ Director from the Thunder Bay area creating Horror and paranormal documentaries since 2012 including Thunder Bay Paranormal Society, Dark History, Sasquatch on Lake Superior I & II and has been seen on Destination America, T+E & TruTV. 

Dee McCullay's Northern Lights (A UFO Documentary) - An exploration into Northern Ontario's UFO and Unexplained Aerial Phenomenon as told through historic case files, witness statements, interviews and Native beliefs. This will be it's premiere!

Check out the trailer.

YAAP Artist Talk and Film Screening w/ Benjamin Murray

Photograph of Ben Murray with youth participating in his Youth Arts Ambassador project for Culture Days 2018

Saturday September 29th | 1:30pm - 2:30pm @ Magnus Theatre

Musician, artist and producer Benjamin Murray has been selected as one of the 2018 participants in the Ontario Culture Days Youth Artist Ambassador Program (YAAP).

As part of YAAP, Murray organized a youth hip hop music project. Murray will be provided an opportunity for Thunder Bay youth to develop their own music through collaborative song writing and music video production workshops. 

The resulting songs and videos will be premiered at the Magnus Theatre during the Culture Days weekend alongside an artist talk with Murray and participating youth. 

Waterfront Public Art & Cultural Heritage Walk

Photograph of Gathering Circle panels at the Spirit Garden in Marina Park

Saturday September 29th | 10:30am - 12:30pm

Join the City this Culture Days | Fête de la culture for a guided walk through history and contemporary art. The walk will highlight key public art installations and heritage structures in Marina Park, the harbour and parts of the Waterfront District. 

Meet at the boat launch near the Spirit Garden. Ends near at St. Paul and Cooke Streets.

Mini field note-books will be provided, and participants will be invited to creatively engage with their surroundings, by taking notes, quick observational sketches, rubbings, etc.

Your guides will be Heritage Researcher, Lauria Abthorpe of the City Archives, and Julie Cosgrove of Thunder Bay's Public Art Committee and Lakehead University.

#OnBeat themed Events

Franco-Festival | September 27, 28, 29th

Open Rehearsals and Interactive Workshops at Morgan's School | September 30th, 1pm - 3pm

Boogie Down with Dream Dance | September 28th, 2:30 - 3:30pm & 3:45 - 4:45pm

Adult Creative Movement and Dance & Family Move and Groove  with Image Studio | September 29th

The Gryphon Trio: Up Close and Personal! | September 29th, 2 - 3:30pm

Soundwalk - Ways of Listening (led by Artist: Zoe Gordon) | September 30th, 1 -2pm

Chinese Erhu Music | September 30th, 2 - 4pm

Argentine Tango with Tango North | September 30th, 7-9pm


Plus many more activities from local organizers

Saturday film screenings at Magnus Theatre are presented by:

Gold sponsors

Silver sponsors

Bronze sponsors

Add your business to this distinguished list - become an event sponsor!

If you would like to give your brand a boost, consider our region's most popular and well-attended special events. If your company is interested in participating as a sponsor for the City of Thunder Bay's award-winning events, please email our Cultural Development Supervisor or call 625-2487.

"Like" Thunder Bay Culture & Events to keep up to date on the local arts and culture scene.

Culture Days 2017

Highlights from last year's event:

The tale of a town - multi-media performance

Tale of a Town completed their three-week residency culminated in the presentation of a multimedia performance of stories from the community's colourful history, incorporating audio, archives, music and soundscape!

Open Streets

From noon to 3pm on Sunday, October 1, EcoSuperior opened up Court Street from John all the way to Boulevard Lake for pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers, skateboarders and dog walkers. There were special Culture Days activities all along the route!

Fall Pow Wow - Bringing Community Together

From noon to 10pm on Saturday, September 30th, Fort William First Nation hosted their Fall Pow Wow at the Pow Wow Grounds on Anemki Wajiw-Mount McKay. Grand Entry was at noon. The theme was Bringing Community Together.

Movie Night Screening of Sleeping Giant

The City presented a special screening of locally-made feature film Sleeping Giant. To open, there was a screening of the short film The Giant Awakens made this summer by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery's Youth Art Group!


Many thanks to our 2017 Sponsor:

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