Guelph Fall Festivals and Arts Events


By Mike Baker

Fall is here and with the change of season there are local things to see and do to ‘stay in touch’ with local art initiatives.

The changing times have been a challenge to us and events have had to ‘pivot’ due to current circumstances.  Here’s a list of fall ‘happenings’ that remain a part of our landscape that are presenting opportunities for us all, be they business as usual, a different format or promise of a return during the same period this time next year.

Culture Days: Sept 25-Oct 25

A national celebration of arts and culture, inviting the public to get hands-on and behind-the-scenes to highlight the importance of arts and culture in our communities. This year the celebrations have been extended beyond the traditional Culture Days weekend, to a more inclusive and interactive 4-week schedule of activities. Kicking off September 25th and running until October 25th, Culture Days invites everyone to participate in and show appreciation for arts and culture in their own communities and nationwide! Check out virtual and in-person Culture Days activities in Guelph.

Guelph Film Festival is On(Line): Nov 6 -14

The Guelph Film Festival is going ahead this year, but with a different look.

“We will be presenting our 2020 Festival online (November 6-14). This is a challenging time, and while we cannot be together in the ways we want to be, our stories are more important than ever.

Which is why we will be presenting an amazing festival of documentary films that embody and explore our commitment to social justice, our environment, and community building. We believe documentary film can be a catalyst for conversations about change in a time of crisis, as well as being an opportunity to learn and uplift.

Our program is an amazing way to explore the wider world without leaving your home through films like The Dilemma of Desire, an exploration of “cliteracy” and the clash between gender politics and female sexual desire, and Coded Bias which explores the intersection of facial recognition software and racism. These, along with a groundbreaking line-up of Indigenous-made shorts, exclusive feature length and short documentaries, entertaining kids’ programming (including Tiny Docs by Tiny People), exciting community partnerships, and dynamic panel discussions means that our 2020 festival will be one to remember.” – Guelph Film Festival

Full Festival Passes will be available starting in October 2020 on a sliding scale from $35-$75 (you choose your price point!). Each pass will allow you full access to all of our films On-Demand for the duration of the festival (9 days). Guelph Film Festival will also be presenting four exclusive live streaming events featuring panel discussions, short films, and exciting guests from around the world. The GFF is a recognized artistic leader in our community because of their unique mission to challenge the norms of the film industry and society, spark community conversations, and highlight marginalized voices.

Bumaroo Livestream: Sept 26

Bumaroo is proud to present their annual music and arts festival this year, live streamed to you from their headquarters in Guelph, Ontario.

“We’ve been working tirelessly to bring you a myriad of amazing talent and entertainment this September 26th 2020. Bumaroo was founded on the goal of showcasing and supporting emerging artists and musicians in the local community by providing digital and event-based platforms. With the absence of live events these days, we’ve decided to move Bumaroo Festival to an online live-streamed format. It will combine performances from local bands, art-making workshops, fashion & design, live art, a prize giveaway, and local business promotions.”

 – Bumaroo

Behind the scenes with Bumaroo. Photo credit Bumaroo.

Eden Mills Writers’ Festival: Upcoming Online Events in October

The EMWF’s 2020 online series concludes in October, but three special events remain. On October 1, journey with Wade Davis, Steven Heighton and James Raffan as they reveal the research, expeditions, consultation, and documentation behind their compelling new books.

Kenneth Oppel shares his new novel Hatch on October 6 as part of an event for students (both school groups and online learners), presented in partnership with Wellington County Library.

And don’t miss our final event; an all-star book club featuring Terry Fallis, Drew Hayden Taylor and Karen McBride, who will be discussing Thomas King’s new novel Indians on Vacation on October 8. Presented in partnership with Guelph Public Library.

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The Guelph Studio Tour. Online Oct 17-31

“The Guelph studio tour will be held online this year from 17 October- 31 October. Browse our brand new website and explore our artists and their creations. We have over 6 different media represented.

We also have an exhibit at the Red Brick Cafe ( until October 5 2020) showcasing a selection of artwork from our members should you wish to peruse in person. 

Keep in touch, visit our website for up to date information on purchasing and in person studio visits. “

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Artwork and photo credit by Mary Karavos.

Silence Sounds: Upcoming events and scheduled programs and rentals

As of the end of August ‘Silence’ was ready to begin accepting rentals for small gatherings, rehearsals, classes, and recording sessions. They have developed a policy and procedures document which you can find here

“We are so excited to be able to once again be a place where folks come together in community and craft wonderful experiences. While we are not resuming our own programming in all the ways we wish we could, we are working on a few special projects and I hope you’ll stay tuned for those announcements.” – Executive Director Scarlett Raczycki

While the past several months have been difficult, and there seems to be an uphill journey ahead for them and venues like Silence, they are confident and determined to keep Silence running and  they appreciate all of your support in the coming months.

For more information on renting Silence in the coming months, please contact Scarlett at [email protected]

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The Guelph Jazz Festival: Planning Ahead

“The Guelph Jazz Festival Artistic Direction and Board of Directors made the uncontroversial — but doubtlessly sad — decision not to convene a festival in September 2020, and are exploring the possibility of presenting concerts later in 2020 or early in 2021 if it can be done safely, responsibly, and festively. From here, we have every intention to present our September 2021 festival, but will of course respond to changes in official policy and cultural expectations around live music presentation and public gatherings more generally. In the meanwhile, we wish everyone good health and joyful moments, the kinds of which under normal circumstances live music offers in abundance.” – Guelph Jazz Festival

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GJF Assistant Artistic and General Director, Karen Ng and Scott Thomson, GJF Artistic and General Director. Photo by Karen Ng.

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