Attractions & Culture – Performing Arts
Northeastern Ontario is home to vibrant performing arts communities and venues across the region. From independent, original theatre to the boisterous fun of our large music festivals, you’ll enjoy great performances in great venues – there’s no better way to cap off a great adventure in the Northeast.
Big skies, big sounds
Northeastern Ontario is a BIG place – with big skies and big views – which means we have a lot of room to host amazing outdoor music festivals. From Mattawa Voyageur Days to Festival de la St-Jean in Kapuskasing, Northeastern Ontario is a premier destination for outdoor musical events. Away from the ever-present crowds found in the south, you’ll find a wide range of accommodation and dining options to complement your festival getaway.
Keeping the campfire burning
Northeastern Ontario offers music festival experiences close to nature with scenery to soothe your soul. Take in the Northern Lights, Canada’s longest continually running outdoor music festival, on the picturesque shores of Sudbury’s Ramsey Lake. And with the best of Canadian Indie and Northeastern Ontario camping, River & Sky Festival brings you simple good times – with a focus on sustainability – on the Sturgeon River.
Beautiful theatres, cozy jazz clubs, raucous pub nights and gritty basement punk rock. When it comes to live music venues, Northeastern Ontario has it all. Whether you visit for a destination event on a weekend getaway or just happen to take in a show while you’re here, you won’t be disappointed. Get your hands in the air in the audience of an international touring artist at the Sudbury Arena, or enjoy an intimate concert in comfort at the century-old Capitol Theatre in North Bay. Northeastern Ontario is also home to several Symphony Orchestras.
Northeastern Ontario’s theatre companies bring the region’s unique culture and heritage to life on stage. Sudbury’s Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario showcases contemporary works by Franco-Ontarian authors and Canadian playwrights. Take Two Theatre in Timmins offers comedy, farce and dinner theatre. And in North Bay, Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre provides musical theatre for children. With theatre companies small and large performing throughout the year across the region, you’ll be able to find the perfect show to complement your stay in the Northeast.
If you’re looking for a theatrical experience like no other, there’s nothing more unique than a performance by the Debahjemujig Theatre Company in the old mission ruins in Wiikwemikoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island. Debajehmujig is the only Indigenous theatre operating on a reserve, the only theatre owned and operated by an Indigenous group in Canada, and the longest-running Indigenous theatre in North America. Essentially, there’s nothing like it in the world.
Celebrate the ancestors at a powwow
The rhythm of voices carries outside the tent where the drummers play, the scent of cedar on the breeze as the tinkling of the bells on the jingle dancers’ regalia signals the start of another competition. If you’ve never been to a powwow, now is the time to plan on attending one on your next trip to Northeastern Ontario.
Traditionally a celebration to honour the ancestors, a powwow is a great place to learn about First Nations’ life and culture through music, song, food, dance and storytelling – and it’s also a great privilege to experience. If you have the chance to attend, don’t pass up the opportunity.
Generally held on weekends from June to late August across Northeastern Ontario, each community’s celebration is unique. Some are only a few years old, while the Wiikwemikoong Annual Cultural Festival – one of the largest, longest running powwows in North Eastern North America – has been held annually since 1961.