Open main menu

Harbourfront Centre

Harbourfront Centre is a key cultural organization on the waterfront of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated at 235 Queens Quay West. Established as a crown corporation in 1972[dubious ] by the federal government to create a waterfront park, it became a non-profit organization in 1991. Funding comes from corporate sponsors, government grants, individual donors and entrepreneurial activities. Harbourfront Centre has a seating capacity of 2,000.

Harbourfront Centre
Aerial shot of Harbourfront Centre site
Harbourfront Centre is located in Toronto
Harbourfront Centre
Location within Toronto
EstablishedJanuary 1, 1991 (1991-01-01)
Location235 Queens Quay West
Toronto, Ontario
M5J 2G8
Coordinates43°38′20″N 79°22′55″W / 43.638834°N 79.3818785°W / 43.638834; -79.3818785Coordinates: 43°38′20″N 79°22′55″W / 43.638834°N 79.3818785°W / 43.638834; -79.3818785
Visitors12 million/year
DirectorMarah Braye
Public transit access509 Exhibition or 510 Spadina streetcar from Union Station
WebsiteHarbourfront Centre
Westjet Stage
Harbourfront Centre and high rises on Queens Quay W, Toronto

Harbourfront Centre works with over 450 community organizations, and hosts more than 4,000 events a year in many disciplines such as theatre, dance, literature, music, film, visual arts and craft.[1]



The federal government faced mounting criticism from the City of Toronto due to the amount of money being spent for Montreal on both Expo 67 and the 1976 Summer Olympics. Hence, the city decided that it would build Harbourfront Centre and the province would build nearby Ontario Place in order to revitalize Toronto's industrial harbour and increase tourism to the city with help from the federal government. As a result, the federal government committed to buying 100 hectares of land to be appropriated for public use. In 1972 "Harbourfront Corporation" was established as a federal Crown Corporation.

Harbourfront Centre was formed on January 1, 1991, as a non-profit charitable organization with a mandate to organize and present public events and to operate a 10-acre (40,000 m2) site encompassing York Quay and John Quay (south of Queens Quay West).

In 1982, Queen's Quay Terminal was remodelled by Zeidler Partnership Architects (the same firm that designed the Toronto Eaton Centre). The project transformed the industrial space into a mixed-use building that included shops, restaurants, offices, and exclusive residential condos (it once was the home for Premier Mike Harris).

Since its inception, Harbourfront Centre has been introducing Toronto audiences to artists and art forms that would not normally be seen in commercial venues.

Harbourfront Centre is patrolled by its own in-house security team, which works closely with police to ensure the property to protected.


Harbourfront Centre runs year-round programming with a combination of indoor and outdoor events. In the winter months more emphasis is put on theatre shows.

Cultural programmingEdit

Main events:

Title Date Disciplines
Authors at Harbourfront Centre September to June Literary
International Festival of Authors October Literary
NextSteps September to June Dance
Summer Festivals May to October Multidisciplinary - Free multicultural festival series
World Stage February to May Theatre, dance, multidisciplinary performance

Educational programmingEdit

Main events:

Title Date Age group Details
School Visits October to May Grades K-12 Elementary and secondary programmes
Camps March and July–August Ages 3–17 March Break and summer camps


  • Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly known as the Enwave Theatre) — 420-seat theatre
  • Fleck Dance Theatre
  • The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
  • Visual Arts galleries; exhibition space
  • Harbourfront Stage — outdoor concert venue (formerly Westjet Stage)
  • Natrel Rink — outdoor skating rink
  • Lakeview Market
  • World Café
  • Toronto Music Garden — designed by Yo Yo Ma and Julie Moir Messervy
  • Studio Theatre
  • Brigantine Room
  • Marilyn Brewer Community Space
  • Lakeside Terrace
  • Miss Lou's Room
  • Craft & Design — studio for artists creating ceramic, glass, metal and textiles
  • Harbourfront Centre Shop


See alsoEdit


External linksEdit