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One for All: It’s Your Festival

After a three-year pandemic pause, one of Ontario's largest Canada Day celebrations makes its return to Gage Park.

Returning to Gage Park after a three-year absence is the venerable It’s Your Festival. Presented by the Hamilton Folk Arts Heritage Council, the three-day event held over the Canada Day long weekend is a multi-cultural celebration of our country’s birthday and the multitude of cultures that make it what it is.

After two years of organizing a digital festival, program director Lloyd Turner is thrilled about the return to an in-person event and he’s not alone.

“What we’re hearing from Hamiltonians is actually how excited they are that we are back in person again. Nothing is as good as the feeling of live music and entertainment in a beautiful urban setting like Gage Park.” 

Traditionally the largest Canada Day celebration in Ontario over its 54-year run, think of the festival as a celebratory block party kicked up a few notches. Due to its long-awaited return, 2023 is shaping up to be a banner year, with over 150,000 weekend visitors of all ages expected to hit the park to help wish our country a happy 156th.

Like any good community block party, there will be food – the volunteer-run festival boasts a varied selection of foods of the world – as well as live music from a diverse lineup of Canadian artists spread over four stages. Be sure to check out the talents of the musical up-and-comers at the New Music Expo stage before hitting the vendor market and the midway (pro-tip: visit the midway before the food). Staying true to the Hamilton Arts Council’s mandate to nurture and promote multicultural heritage throughout Canada, festival-goers will also enjoy various cultural events during its run, including the parade of cultures, traditional Indigenous performances and perhaps most poignantly, a Canadian citizenship ceremony, where over 50 participants will officially become Canadians.

It's Your Festival is our festival, because Canada – and Hamilton – is greater than the sum of its parts. We love a great party, especially one celebrating culture, music and community. We’ll see you at Gage Park, so be sure to say hi. We’ll be wearing red.

It's Your Festival last came to Gage Park in 2019 when it attracted large Canada Day crowds. Photo: Anita Levesque
Arts for All