Explore Indigenous fashion, visual arts, film, media and culture in Toronto this summer into fall.

Festival season is here, and so are Indigenous-led arts and cultural events, giving visitors and locals the opportunity to witness the brilliance of First Nations, Métis and Inuit artistry.

From festivals to theatre stages, art installations to gallery exhibits (and even a pow wow), these six can’t-miss events will keep you busy through fall!

Indigenous Fashion Arts

The Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival (May 30–June 2, 2024) puts a spotlight on and celebrates the unique styles and innovations of Indigenous design. 

Attendees can look forward to runway shows featuring 25 Indigenous fashion designers and artisans from coast to coast to coast and a marketplace where they can find textiles, fashion and crafts that were learned from Indigenous aunties and grandmas around the kitchen table.

The Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival also features a Fashioning Resurgence Symposium alongside workshops throughout the four days for people to sit in on, listen to renowned Indigenous fashion icons, and practice hands-on skills such as quill weaving and metalwork.

International Indigenous Music Summit

Celebrate Indigenous storytelling and music at the International Indigenous Music Summit (June 10–14, 2024). This four-day event brings together artists, musicians and performers from all across Canada to perform and speak on keynotes and panels.  

There’s something for everyone here, from soulful music to hype trap songs—you can find something new and special at one of the showcases that happen each night of the event. 

Featured artists include Haisla Nation hip hop artists Snotty Nose Rez Kids, traditional Anishinaabe singing group Manitou Mkwa Singers, and Cree non-binary pop singer Siibii, just to name a few. 

Elders dressed in traditional clothing at the Indigenous Arts Festival at Fort York in Toronto
Arrive early to see 100+ drummers and dancers share their skills for the Grand Entry

Indigenous Arts Festival at Fort York

Spend a summer weekend with friends and family at the Indigenous Arts Festival (June 15 & 16, 2024). 

This two-day festival is hosted at Fort York National Historic Site’s Garrison Common and is home to the annual Na-Me-Res Pow Wow, Indigenous Food Market and thrilling stage performances. 

Arrive at the pow wow before noon on Saturday to witness the Grand Entry, where over 100 drummers and dancers will share their skills. 

Stick around for the day to gather with others, connect with vendors and enjoy food options, including traditional fare like tacos or corn soup with bannock.

Tarralik Duffy: Let’s Go Quickstop at the AGO

Tarralik Duffy is an Inuk writer, multidisciplinary artist and designer from Salliq, Nunavut. She entitled her Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) exhibition “Let’s Go Quickstop” (ongoing) to pay homage to Inuit contemporary culture, referencing a common phrase in Nunavut that addresses a no longer operating convenience store. 

Her drawings and sculptural works featured in the AGO exhibition tie her language, Inuktitut, with childhood staples that were found in Quickstop such as cigarettes, Red Rose Tea and China Lily Soya Sauce. 

Musical artists at The Ex

Everyone loves the Canadian National Exhibition (aka CNE or The Ex, August 16–September 2, 2024) for its midway, over-the-top carnival foods and live concerts. The Ex is also beloved as an accessible and fun music venue, with multiple stages showcasing up-and-coming talent and well-known artists alike. 

In previous years, live shows have included Indigenous artists like Buffy St. Marie and the Halluci Nation (previously known as A Tribe Called Red). Check online for updates as 2024 performers are announced.

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 

Taking a break in 2024, the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (June 3–8, 2025) returns next year and is worth planning a future visit around. 

The world’s biggest Indigenous screen content festival is heading into its 25th year of showcasing video, audio, digital and interactive media that celebrate the works of contemporary Indigenous artists who promote narrative sovereignty within the film and media arts industry. 

Visit the festival website for programming updates in the months to come.

Since time immemorial, Indigenous communities have recognized and honoured the importance of art for connection, community and joy. For arts and culture lovers, these events offer a unique opportunity to engage in celebrations of Indigenous artistry—this summer and beyond.