Skip to main content

About

Built on shared values of creativity, innovation, inclusivity, resilience and sustainability, this festival will serve to connect the Nordic Region – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland – and Canada through collaborations between artists, innovators and thinkers.

From January to December 2022, this national initiative will highlight contemporary Nordic art and culture in a range of disciplines, including performing arts (dance, theatre, circus and music), visual and digital arts, craft and design, literature, film, and culinary arts.

As one of Canada’s leading contemporary, multidisciplinary arts and culture institutions, Harbourfront Centre will lead the programming of Nordic Bridges, working with cultural organizations across Canada. The initiative will spark dialogue between Canadian audiences and artists while highlighting Nordic innovation.

This exciting initiative is seeded by a grant from the Nordic Council of Ministers, an intergovernmental organization dedicated to Nordic collaboration.

Four key pillars inform Nordic Bridges programming:

Artistic
Innovation

Programming that challenges the status quo

Accessibility
and Inclusion

Fostering belonging and participation through art and the engagement of diverse audiences

Indigenous
Perspectives

Engaging Indigenous voices from Canada and the Nordic Region, in particular the Arctic dimension of these conversations

Resilience and
Sustainability

Exploring how our shared, rugged, natural landscapes inform and shape our art and design, and the measures that are being put in place to preserve these landscapes for future generations

Harbourfront Centre

For more than 40 years, Harbourfront Centre has been at the cutting edge of all that is current and creative. It provides year-round programming 52 weeks a year, seven days a week, supporting a wide range of artists and communities.

Harbourfront Centre is a leading international centre for contemporary arts, culture and ideas, operating a ten-acre campus on Toronto’s downtown waterfront. We inspire audiences and visitors with a breadth of bold, ambitious and engaging experiences. We champion contemporary Canadian artists throughout their careers, presenting them alongside international artists, and fostering national and international artistic exchange between disciplines and cultures.

Harbourfront Centre was awarded a grant to produce Nordic Bridges in 2022, the third joint Nordic cultural initiative initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Previous initiatives include Nordic Cool in 2013 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and Nordic Matters in 2017 at the Southbank Centre in London, England.

harbourfrontcentre.com

The Nordic Council of Ministers

The co-operation between the Nordic countries is the world’s oldest regional partnership, and in 2021 the Nordic Council of Ministers is celebrating its 50-year anniversary.

The Council is the official body for co-operation between the governments of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland. The work is led by the Nordic prime ministers, whose vision for the Nordics is to become the most integrated and sustainable region in the world by 2030.

Nordic Bridges in Canada is supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Culture as the newest instalment of joint Nordic cultural initiatives outside the Nordic Region.

norden.org

(Map is an artist rendering)

Flag of IcelandIceland

Flag of FaroeFaroe Islands

Flag of SwedenSweden

Flag of DenmarkDenmark

Flag of FinlandFinland

Flag of GreenlandGreenland

Flag of AlandÅland

Flag of NorwayNorway

Flag of IcelandIceland

"Bite the Molar" is one of the many unique Icelandic sayings and it loosely translates to 'persevering even when things get tough'. And while the landscape is tough – the rugged, active volcanoes with lava fields and glaciers throughout – what truly drives the prolific, engaged arts and culture scene is the sense of community, family and social support. "Never underestimate what knowing that you will always have food, shelter, childcare, and education will do for your creativity."

Flag of GreenlandGreenland

A chilly island – and the world's largest – it is perhaps best known for the fact that 81 percent of it is covered by an ice sheet. A self-governing region within the Kingdom of Denmark, more than 56,000 people call Greenland home. Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) is the official language, though Danish is taught in schools and most people speak and understand English. Perhaps the spirit of its people is best summed up by Greenlandic rock band Small Time Giants with their song We are the Arctic: With flames in our souls/we can beat the cold/we accept no defeat/we have the power/to give all we have/cause all we have is all we have to give.

Flag of AlandÅland

The Åland Islands, or Åland, are also called The Islands of Peace. This archipelago consists of 6,700 islands with 30,000 inhabitants from 87 different origins, though all are Swedish speakers. In addition to being known for their commitment to sustainability and the environment (Åland won a 2019 European Sustainability Award) Ålanders enjoy the fruits of their local terroir — prize-winning cheeses, authentic butter, and a variety of fresh fish. Their traditional business of shipping is ever-present, but their entrepreneurial spirit is an equal driver of the economy. Åland is a self-governing region within the Republic of Finland.

Flag of FinlandFinland

The next time you're in Whitehorse, Yukon imagine looking directly into the eyes of someone from Helsinki – that's because both Whitehorse and Helsinki (the capital of Finland) share the same latitude at 60 degrees. Finland is the easternmost of the Nordic countries and in this country of 5.5 million people, hockey is the national sport. If you need to choose a location in Europe to take a "forest bath" choose Finland as not only is it the most forested country in Europe, Finland has some 188,000 lakes, 76,000 islands and 3 million saunas.

Flag of NorwayNorway

Norway is known for its breathtaking landscapes of mountains and fjords and being the land of the Midnight Sun in the summer and Northern Lights in the winter. The majority of the 5.5 million Norwegians enjoy the outdoors and pride themselves on being active and healthy. Sustainability, gender equality and social responsibility are important values in Norway, as reflected in statistics such as the number of female leaders or the number of electric vehicles sold. The capital Oslo is home to major cultural institutions such as the Munch Museum and the new National Museum set to open in 2022.

Flag of SwedenSweden

Located in Northern Europe, Sweden makes up 0.14 percent of the world's population with 10.5 million people. It has a population density of 25 people per km2 and 97 percent of the country is uninhabited. Sweden is the third largest music exporter in the world, and streaming is a part of their everyday lives. Unsurprising, Spotify was invented by two Swedes! This is but one of many startups to gain international recognition. Sweden's free education system and non-hierarchical society is often credited as being a fertile ground for new ideas.

Flag of FaroeFaroe Islands

The Faroe Islands are a mountainous archipelago of 18 islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Iceland and Scotland. The islands are a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark, with a population of approximately 53,000 people. The Faroe Islanders speak Faroese, a language that is not yet available on Google Translate! The main industry in the Faroe Islands is fishing and fish farming.

Flag of DenmarkDenmark

In Denmark, you are never more than 50km from the sea! Once populated by brutal Vikings, Denmark is now one of the world's most peaceful societies. It has also been named the world's happiest country on numerous occasions. With a size of 42,943.9 km2, Denmark has a population of 5.8 million. The official language is Danish, and the swan is Denmark's national bird.

The Nordic Region

The Nordic countries are often grouped together and characterized by their common ideas and values: broadminded and forward-thinking. The region includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland.

The region is populated by over 27 million people, stretching from Greenland in the west to Finland in the east. Together, they cover a geographical area equivalent to the seventh largest nation in the world. The Nordic Region are situated above 50 degrees north in latitude, passing at several points through the Arctic Circle, and are home to the Indigenous populations of the Saami in Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the Inuit in Greenland.

Though each country and area is unique, the important cornerstones binding the Nordic countries together include a common history, cultural traditions, and progressive and diverse arts and culture.

Accessibility

Nordic Bridges aims to meet the best standards of inclusive practice.

As this initiative involves partners from multiple provinces, differing contributors bring differing standards of inclusion, for audiences with a diverse range of access requirements.

Harbourfront Centre is committed to a diverse understanding of accessibility.

For Deaf and disabled audiences, we will provide access to programming in ways that include, but are not limited to): audio description, assistive listening systems, sign language interpretation, transcription and captioning, use of Braille or accessible print formats for printed materials such as program guides or artwork labels.  

Most Nordic Bridges programming is free to the public,  thus ensuring that socio-economic barriers are removed,  enabling greater participation beyond the cost of a ticket.

The Nordic Bridges website will meet international accessibility standards as outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA). 

Each Programming Partner is responsible for ensuring best practices in accessibility as it pertains to the work they are presenting as well as the province in which they are operating. It is possible that some linked external websites may not meet our accessibility standards. For example, they may contain undescribed photos and inaccessible menus.  Please contact us to let us know how we may be able to support your engagement with Nordic Bridges as we value your participation. 

nordicbridges@harbourfrontcentre.com

Sustainability

Nordic Bridges aims to be net carbon neutral.

All programming-related travel will be offset by the purchase of carbon-offset credits. The initiative aims to have a zero-waste/single-use policy at all events, and all paper products including house programs will be recyclable.

The Nordic Bridges initiative will generate dialogue between Canada and the Nordic Region on culture’s role in the creation and promotion of sustainable societies. The United Nations 2030 Agenda and Nordic shared values serve as guiding principles for the programming and execution of Nordic Bridges.

The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals will be integrated with four key programming pillars: Artistic Innovation, Accessibility and Inclusion, Indigenous Perspectives, and Resilience and Sustainability.

The CO2 Neutral Website certification in the website footer enables us to compensate for the total CO2 emissions generated by the operation of this website.

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

Our Common Future (The Brundtland Report)

FAQ

Building on the shared values of creativity, innovation, inclusivity, resilience and sustainability, Nordic Bridges serves to connect the Nordic countries and Canada through collaborations between artists, innovators and thinkers.

Nordic Bridges showcases contemporary Nordic art and culture in a range of disciplines: performing arts, visual and digital arts, craft and design, literature, film, and culinary arts.

Programming will be presented as part of the each cultural partners’ scheduled programming seasons, festivals and tours, as well as industry and stand-alone events.

Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre was awarded the 2022 Joint Nordic Cultural Initiative. The project, entitled Nordic Bridges, will promote and raise the profile of the Nordic cultural sectors in Canada and is supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Embassies of Canada.

Programming begins January 2022 and will span the entire calendar year.

Nordic Bridges will begin programming announcements in summer 2021 and moving forward, will align future announcements with Programming Partners.

Ticket purchases will be handled directly through programming partners once programming in announced. Click through to programming partners' websites to buy your tickets.

Thank you for your interest in Nordic Bridges. Please contact Andrea Switzer, Development Manager, at aswitzer@harbourfrontcentre.com for more information about how you can get involved.

Visit our Contact Us page to get in touch.