All city events

The City of Waterloo has cancelled its in-person arts and culture events for 2020, replacing some with online versions, in support of physical distancing guidelines.  The City’s arts and culture team will be hosting special “pop-up” events, when permitted by public health guidelines.

Find information on all events hosted by the city. Stay updated by following the city events team on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, or by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.

Current Programming

Create 31

Challenge yourself to 31 minutes of creativity for 31 days. Take the Create 31 challenge with your community, friends, and family by following along on Instagram @create_waterloo.

Create 31 requires no particular skill level. Simply spend 31 minutes per day engaging in a prompt delivered by Waterloo local artists, influencers, businesses, and political representatives. Starting January 1st, prompts will be posted on Instagram. Follow along and use the hashtag #create31 to share the creativity you unfold.

People of all ages can participate but those under 12 may need a hand. Stay motivated and inspired around your home this winter.

Prompts have started! Head to @create_waterloo on Instagram to get started. To find out more information about Create 31 visit create31.ca

 The Community Happiness Project 

The Community Happiness Project aims to connect community members by sharing messages of hope, positivity, welcoming, and connectivity from participants across Waterloo.

Throughout January 2021, Create Waterloo will be accepting submissions of self-recorded audio messages and accompanying images (portraits, pictures, and/or art).

Audio messages/voice memos should reflect the caring spirit of the community and can include stories, messages, poems, and notes to combat the feelings of isolation that have grown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Recordings should be no more than 30 seconds in length. Share your message through this online form.

Starting in March 2021, selected messages can be accessed by using a phone to scan QR codes featured on signage placed in different locations throughout Waterloo. Signage will feature QR codes and the image submitted alongside the message. An online map will show the locations of each of the installations.

Community members are encouraged to both record a message and to visit and listen to the messages from other community members. 

Help us share the hopeful community spirit that Waterloo is known for by showing your support of The Community Happiness Project by submitting a recording and image that reminds us all that we are in it together and will get through it as a community. 

Share your message through this online form. 

Trail Mix - Local Trails & Local Artists

Trail Mix is an auditory accompaniment for Waterloo trails. 

  • Step #1: Select your favourite local Waterloo trail
  • Step #2: Strap on some hiking shoes/boots
  • Step #3: Find the hidden QR codes along the trail
  • Step #4: Use your phones camera to scan the QR code
  • Step #5: Put on your headphones and listen to the Trail Mix!


Right now, the Trail Mix pilot project is only featured on the Forwell Trail and the Walter Bean Grand River Trail.

 

Trail Mix #1

Forwell Trail (University Ave - Manulife/King Street): Google Map Link

Featured artists: Eiyn SofYoung PilotRich BurnettElsa JayneJoJo WorthingtonChrista MercyBlankie 

 

Trail Mix #2

Walter Bean Grand River Trail (Park Rd/Grey Silo - Grand River Drive): Google Map Link

Featured artists: Tragedy Anne, Rufus John, Transstar, Mandippal, Sons of Shanley, STEVEDAVE, Preetam Sengupta, JP SUNGA, Alysha Brilla, Jenna Kessler

 

Are you an artist that wants to be featured on a Trail Mix? Sign up to be on the Artist Roster.

Uptown Tunes

Scan the QR code featured on the kiosk or the trailer in the Waterloo Public Square. The playlist features local artists and will be changed multiple times throughout the year.

Now playing: Skating Mix

Featured artists: Elsa Jayne, I, The Mountain, Tim Moher, Itamar Danziger, and Natassja Debra.

 Waterloo Park Art Walk

The Waterloo Park Art Walk is an outdoor exhibit that stretches though Waterloo Park from Caroline Street to Seagram Drive. 

The Art Walk features the work of 24 local artists who were selected by a jury to be part of the program. Each of the 24 pieces makes reference to the nature, scenery, and/or landscape of the park. The project is available for viewing through 2021.

Participating artists: Anneliese AlonsoAshley GuenetteAugust SwinsonCynthia MatthewsHolly KurmisJackie LevittJax RulaJenna Kessler, Jennifer Lynn Cutting-Roy, Jonah KamphorstJulie LaceyKaliska GibsonKatelyn Dunstall, Kitahna Roy, Lee AngoldLucy Bilson, Melika Hashemi, Margarita KuznetsovaNancy Pengnik harronNikolina KupcevicPeter SchachtSalma NasreldinTrisha Abe

Winter 2021

New Year's Eve

There will be no New Year’s Eve celebrations in uptown Waterloo this year, but there is still fun to be had. If you're walking uptown, enjoy curated holiday playlists, or watch augmented reality fireworks from wherever you are.

Uptown Holiday Playlist

While walking uptown, enjoy a curated playlist of holiday tunes by local artists. QR codes are posted on the kiosk by the tree in Waterloo Public Square, or on the trailer on the north side of The Shops. Local artists featured on the playlist include Elsa Jayne, I, The Mountain, Tim Moher, Itamar Danziger, and Natassja Debra.

Virtual Fireworks

Stay safe at home with virtual fireworks that can be seen from wherever you are.

The City of Waterloo has partnered with Snap’d KW to to host an augmented reality fireworks display. The show will be visible to those who download the free Snap’d HUB app onto their mobile device. Hold your device up to the sky and view the fireworks show from wherever you are. From now until December 28 enjoy a “Virtual Snowfall” effect in the app, and then on New Year’s Eve open the app to do a virtual countdown and watch the fireworks. Residents can download the free app on a mobile device from the Google Play store or the App Store. Once downloaded, select “Holiday Fun & Fireworks” under Events.

Winterloo (January 23 to 31)

Winterloo is an annual, free festival for all ages that is open to the public and run by the City of Waterloo’s arts and culture team, Create Waterloo. Traditionally hosting winter-themed activities in uptown Waterloo, this year, the festival is adapted to accommodate for the safety procedures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Break away from the winter blues with indoor and outdoor winter-themed activities. This year, Winterloo lets you choose your own adventure with things to see and do on your own schedule. Check out all the fun and exciting things around Waterloo, at home, and online below.

Visit WinterlooFestival.ca for more information.

Spring and Summer 2020 

Regular programming that may have been cancelled due to physical distancing measures.

Author Afternoons
Join us at the Visitor and Heritage Information Centre every Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for an afternoon celebrating the great authors, publishers, writers’ groups, and storytellers in our region.

Cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines.
Campfire (Multiple dates May to October)

Bring a blanket or your favourite hoodie and head uptown. Gather around the campfire with friends and neighbours for music, food, fire and more.

  • May 20 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • June 17 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • July 15 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • August 19 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • September 16 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • October 23 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
Canada Day (July 1)
This year, the City celebrated July 1st with a Community Artist Showcase video. The 30 minute video features musical performances by Elsa Jayne, Rufus John and 12 Mile Island, a poetry performance by Bashar Lulu Jabbour, and greetings from Mayor Jaworsky and city council. Visit our Canada Day page for more information. 
Day of Play (July 26)

Day of Play is a family-friendly day of crafts, fun physical activities, treats, fun and fresh air. Featuring various local artists and performers and hosted on the Waterloo Park Promenade.

Featured artists and activities to be announced. 

Cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines.

Duels (Multiple dates May to August)
Hosted alongside the Art Market, Duels features different artists battling head to head to showcase their talent. 

Cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines.
Final Fridays (Multiple dates May to August)
On the last Friday of the month (from May to August), everyone is invited to explore arts, culture and cuisine in the city's core. 

Cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines.

Movies in the Park-ing Lot (July to September)

We know we're used to Movies in the Park, but let's try the Parking Lot this summer. It's a pop-up drive-in! This is a free event. Find out more information on our Facebook Event Page.

Movies:

  • Wonder Park (July 23)
  • The Princess Bride (July 30)
  • Call of the Wild (August 6)
  • Ford v Ferrari (August 13)
  • Dolittle (September 10)
  • American Graffiti (September 17)

Registration is required. 

 

About the registration:
  1. Each registration enters into a lottery system.
  2. All entries will get an email the day after registration closes to say if they have won a spot or not for the upcoming film.
  3. If you’ve won a spot, we’ll share all the details you’ll need (location, arrival time, concessions, etc).
  4. Didn’t get a spot? Enter for another night! We’ll also keep a wait list in case someone has to cancel.
  5. The registration form asks for the license plate and make of the vehicle you will be using. This will confirm entry to the lot and to ensure all attendees can see the screen from their vehicle. If you have questions or accessibility concerns please contact festivals@waterloo.ca.

Movies in the Park (Multiple dates July to September)

Join us for another year of Movies in the Park with Princess Cinemas and the Beat Goes On. On four nights this summer we will turn the Waterloo Park bandshell into a giant movie theatre. Starting at dusk, Canada's largest outdoor movie projector screen will be showing Movies in the Park. 

  • July 9 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • July 23 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • August 6 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • August 20 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • September 10 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)

Movie titles to be announced.

National Indigenous Peoples Days (June 21)

Sunday, June 21, 2020 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. City of Waterloo has been marking the occasion annually for the past five years, and for the last three years we have partnered with artist Luke Swinson who has created and installed an original art piece on the surface of Waterloo Public Square. This artwork serves as a visual reminder of the territory and land on which our city was founded. 

The artist, Luke Swinson has released his mural design and made a video discussing the significance of the design and his recognition of the day. You can watch Luke Swinson's video on the Create Waterloo YouTube page here.

Due to the public nature of the mural installation, Arts & Culture postponed the installation of the planned mural in Waterloo Public Square until July 21, 2020 when safety protocols and procedures could be maintained.

Watch a time lapse video of the mural installation on Create Waterloo's YouTube channel.

Open Streets (June 20, August 15)

Open Streets celebrates the livable cities movement, and has taken many forms since its inception. 

  • June 20 – “Street Art” theme (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • August 15 – “Word Play” theme (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)

Soap Opera in the Square (Multiple dates in July)

A four-part soap opera series featuring walk-on appearances by local celebrities. Originally planned for July 3, 10, 17, and 24. 

Cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines.

True North Waterloo Festival (June 2)

A festival featuring live music and more. In partnership with the True North Waterloo conference. 

 

Conference and Festival cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines.
Virtual Art Market (Multiple dates April to August)

Art Market takes place on Final Fridays. Art Market features artists, crafters, and makers from Waterloo and surrounding area selling in the public square. 

Due to the current public health concern, Create Waterloo has moved the Art Market online. Visit our virtual marketplace on Google Maps to shop the booths. Visit our Facebook page for more up to date event listings.

Want to be vendor at a market?
Apply today

"We Are Waterloo" Community Anthem - Artist in Residence project

Join the City of Waterloo's 2020 Artists in Residence, Richard Burrows and Christa Mercey as they  invite the community to participate in an art project culminating in a community anthem for an original song, "We are Waterloo".  

Each week, new elements of the song (vocals, drums, guitar, ukulele, and more) were added and taught through videos hosted on YouTube. Participants of every level are encouraged to follow along, create their own videos, and submit their creations. These will be assembled into a final version of the song which will premiere at the end of September as part of the City’s Culture Days programming.

Watch all the We Are Waterloo videos released so far on Create Waterloo's YouTube Channel. 

Find out more information on the Artist in Residence program on its web page.

We-Dance-Days (Multiple dates May to August)

Each month new instructors will be teaching a new style of dance. This fun-filled evening will get you moving to a new beat.

  • May 6, 12, and 27 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • June 3, 10 and 24 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • July 8, 22, and 29 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)
  • August 5, 12 and 26 (cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines)

Fall 2020

Lumen (September - November)

Lumen showcases light based new media, media art, and projection based installations - illuminating Waterloo through art and technology. With the Province of Ontario’s new changes to gathering limits, Lumen Lite moved to an online format with Lumen at Home.

Lumen at Home featured a selection of film, music, and virtual art installations in various formats throughout the month. Artist have adapted their installations into engaging online content launching on Saturday September 26, with more content to be released throughout the month.

Visit lumenfestival.ca to see an overview of what happened at 2020. 

Culture Days (September 25 to 27)

Culture Days is a national celebration of arts and culture and promotes interaction between artists and their community. Visit the Culture Days website for more information on events.

Amplify Culture Summit (October 28)

Amplify is a full day summit celebrating creativity and innovation in Waterloo. Visit our Amplify page for full details.

Cancelled due to physical distancing guidelines.