5 don’t-miss highlights from the Luminato international arts festival

5 don’t-miss highlights from the Luminato international arts festival

Top theatre, music and visual arts picks for one of North America’s biggest art festivals, starting June 9.

Photo by David Leyes

Each June, Toronto’s annual international arts festival takes over the city’s stages, parks and public spaces and fills them with theatre, dance, music and visual arts. Luminato is one of the biggest art festivals in North America, blending street fair vibes with highbrow contemporary art experiences. With the new Luminato membership, you will get access to exclusive events, drinks, entertainment, and discounts throughout the festival! Here are five must-see highlights from the Luminato 2022 program, bound to stimulate your senses and reignite your creativity this summer. 

Edward Burtynsky’s In the Wake of Progress

Massive digital screens around the shopping epicentre of Yonge-Dundas Square, normally filled with advertisements, will display photos and film from Edward Burtynsky’s 40-year career. Powerful images of global industrial landscapes by the renowned Canadian photographer, meant as metaphors for the dilemma of our modern existence, are set to Phil Strong’s equally epic original score. Music by award-winning musical artist iskwē, as well as musicians of The Glenn Gould School at The Royal Conservatory of Music, underscore this breathtaking exploration of humanity’s staggering impact on the earth. June 11-12 from 8pm to 11pm, Yonge-Dundas Square. Free.

What You Won’t Do For Love featuring David Suzuki and Tara Cullis
Photo by Why Not Theatre

This intimate theatre experience, directed by Ravi Jain, glimpses inside the life and love of Canada’s beloved environmentalist David Suzuki and his life partner of 50 years, Tara Cullis. Along with Suzuki and Cullis, real-life couple and actors Miriam Fernandes and Sturla Alvsvaag navigate the poetic and playful dialogue in this unique stage production. The stories, insights and lively conversation leave us contemplating love’s capacity to inspire action toward a healthier and sustainable planet. What if we loved the planet as deeply as David and Tara love each other? An informal Q&A with special guests will follow the show. June 9-12, 17-19, Canadian Opera Company Theatre. Ticketed.

Beloved: A Celebration of Toni Morrison and Black Women Writers with Donna Bailey Nurse

Toni Morrison deftly explored black identity in America and was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. To honour the novelist’s legacy and her indelible impact on Black women writers around the world, acclaimed authors engage in talks with Canadian curator and literary critic Donna Bailey Nurse, accompanied by readings and music. Authors include Aminatta Forna (The Memory of Love), Myriam J. A. Chancy (What Storm, What Thunder), Francesca Ekwuyasi (Butter Honey Pig Bread), Rebecca Fisseha (Daughters of Silence), Zalika Reid-Benta (Frying Plantain), Cheluchi Onyemelukwe Onuobia (The Son of the House), Dawnie Walton (The Final Revival of Opal & Nev) plus a special video appearance by two-time Giller Prize winner Esi Edugyan (Washington Black). June 17-18, The Winter Garden Theatre. Ticketed.

Luminato Live at Yonge-Dundas Square!
Photo by Nick Bostick

This four-day multi-disciplinary program brings art and climate activism to life in the heart of the city. Artists and performers explore themes of sustainability and inclusion while local collaborators and climate experts come together for an eco-art fair. Catch free mainstage concerts by the Molinari Quartet, Queer Songbook Orchestra featuring Beverly Glenn-Copeland and others. See a live performance from Juno-award-winning artist iskwē, an Indigenous two-spirited singer-songwriter who will shares the stories of her ancestors in acākosīk (the stars) on June 9th at 7pm. And don’t miss the rare opportunity to see Pam Palmater, David Suzuki and Edward Burtynsky share the stage in conversation for the “Pearls of Wisdom” talk on June 11 at 3pm as part of the Illuminating Ideas program. June 9-12, Yonge-Dundas Square. Free.

Woodbine Weekend

Launch your summer with two days of fabulous free music, art, conversation and food, when we transform Woodbine Park into a magical urban fairground. Catch free concerts from a lineup featuring reggae favourite and Massive Attack vocalist Horace Andy, Indigenous MC and Juno-award-winning DJ Shub, Ukraine’s GO_A Ґоу_Ей, Sudan Archives fresh from Coachella, Australian Indigenous rapper Baker Boy, Juno-winner Dominique Fils-Aimé, Witch Prophet, The Lemon Bucket Orkestra and more. June 18-19, Woodbine Park. Free.

Mark your calendars as Luminato Festival Toronto returns June 9 to 19. To buy tickets or our new membership to explore the full festival line-up, visit luminatofestival.com.