Photo Credit: iStock/AndreaObzerova; 

Intercultural Arts Fest

Confederation Basin & Springer Market Square Kingston, Ont.

It’s a bit of a drive from Durham Region, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the incredible festival hosted by our eastern Ontario neighbours in Kingston. Celebrating the area’s rich diversity, this free festival focuses on music, art, culture and food. This year’s events include a headlining show by Tocani, a contemporary-fusion act that features dance, music, theatre and costume. There’s food from all over the world in the International Pavilion, and we highly recommend attending the drag makeup workshop presented by Kingston Pride. September 17, 2023

Durham Blues Festival 

Regent Theatre & Victoria Street Parkette (adjacent to 50 King Street East, Oshawa)

For four days and three nights this September, lovers of blues music are in for a treat. Spend your days under a tent at Victoria Street Parkette, where you’ll watch local bands perform at no cost to you. (Confirmed this year are Cold Shot and The Blues Junkies. Food and craft vendors will also be on site.) The show moves into the Regent Theatre each evening, with ticketed headlining events featuring the likes of the Official Blues Brothers Revue and Epic Eagles 2023. September 14 to September 17, 2023

Port Hope Arts Festival

Various locations, downtown Port Hope

August is arts month in Port Hope, so it makes sense that the arts festival is the highlight of the programming. Taking place in the downtown core, there’s lots of fun to be had by families who come to experience art and culture in the community. This year’s edition featured the much-loved 10-minute play series, food vendors, artisan and farmers’ markets, songwriters’ circles, wagon rides, movies in the park and Art Around Town, where the work of more than a dozen artists are featured in the windows of downtown shops. August 2024


Multiple locations, downtown Oshawa

This is the event folks wait for. Held throughout downtown Oshawa, Convergence celebrates all things music and art. It’s free (though there are ticketed events, too) and you’d be hard-pressed not to find something you’re into. The big news this year is The Strumbellas (the JUNO-award-winning rock band) will be taking the stage. If that’s not reason enough to show up, we’re big fans of the Convergence “portals” or alleys, where you can find cool vendors. (Nerd Alley rocks if you’re into sci-fi, comic books, video games, cosplay, etc.) September 22 to 24, 2023

Uxbridge Art on the Fringe Festival

Uxbridge Museum, Concession 6, Uxbridge

Come out to meet and support budding and long-time artists as they showcase their impressive wares. There’s something for everyone at this two-day show, including ceramic pieces, fibre arts, paintings, photography, handmade jewellery and gifts, custom furniture, knitted products, stationary, candles, soaps, fabric sculptures and unique recycled and botanical art. Local musicians will be playing for guests and the Gangster Cheese Food Truck will be on site. September 16 to September 17, 2023

Cultivate Festival

1166 5th Line, Port Hope

Dubbed the “feel-good festival,” Cultivate was born a local food fest, but it’s since morphed into part-picnic, part-block party and part- music festival. Held at Haute Goat Farm (we love our friends at Haute Goat!), you’ll find plenty of live musical acts (including Sarah Harmer on the main stage), Cultivate Kids (activities allowing kids to explore music, art and nature) and farm-to-festival foods celebrating everything the Region has to offer in agriculture and hand-crafted beverages. On-site camping is available. Tickets on sale now. September 22 to September 24, 2023

Uxbridge’s Art on the Fringe
Loreley Youth Dancers during Fiesta Week
Photo Credit: (top left) Courtesy Artists of Uxbridge, (right) Courtesy of Club Loreley, Oshawa.

Nuit Blanche


With Durham Region and Toronto being neighbours, we felt it was necessary to remind you about Nuit Blanche. This year’s theme is “Breaking Ground,” which “speaks to ideas centred around the natural world and being on the vanguard of change and innovation.” (And you know Spark Centre is passionate about innovation.) The all-night event brings pop-art installations to life in three exhibitions: There’s one downtown, one in Etobicoke and one in Scarborough, led by curator Noa Bronstein. September 23, 2023

Oshawa Fiesta Week

Various locations, Oshawa

For nearly 50 years, the volunteers who make up the Oshawa Folk Arts Council have organized a weeklong multicultural celebration they call “Fiesta Week.” Usually beginning on a Sunday in June (next year’s dates weren’t available at press time) with a concert at Memorial Park (there are vendors, representatives from local cultural groups and a beer tent, too), the festivities run until the following Saturday. Visit Fiesta Pavilions every day, where you’ll learn about a specific culture, enjoy their authentic fare and stay for performances. June 2024

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