Mississauga Culture Days took place this past Friday with a plethora of activities for everyone in the community, including a variety of DJ sets in Celebration Square, an interactive digital experience commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Civic Centre, and the presentation of the Mississauga Urban Design awards.

Culture Days is a weekend-long, nationwide volunteer movement to engage Canadians more in their communities’ arts and culture. Mississauga’s Culture Days gave a free, in-depth look at the work of a variety of artists, heritage workers, and different cultural organizations.

Celebration Square was buzzing on Friday evening, when the event began with an audio-video disco party. Simon Jain, the FranDiscos, Kill Them with Colour, Gray Moonen, and the Kwikfiks took turns filling the square with musical entertainment. They were accompanied by a video show on the big screens, which included live video of the events happening all over the Civic Centre.

Despite the fantastic sets, the crowd was very reluctant to begin dancing. However, as the sun began to fade, the atmosphere was apparently right for some of the younger people, including 15-year-old St. Francis Xavier student David Philip. He livened up the evening with an impromptu breakdancing performance, which drew quite a crowd.

“Different cultures are great,” said Phillip afterwards. “You get to try new things, meet new people. And if you go out of your way to try these things, it can be pretty awesome.”

Later on, Mayor Hazel McCallion thrilled the crowd when she got on stage to try her hand at DJing.

The music was not the only entertainment the crowd got to experience. There was also a live digital media performance by Faisal Anwar, which looks back on the 25-year history of the Civic Centre. His project, entitled “/Titra”, included an interactive experience on tablets that allowed people in the community to experience and interact with the history of the Civic Centre. Youth from the Dixie Neighborhood Centre walked through the crowd with the tablets to allow the piece to reach as many people as possible.

“/Titra is a project that I’ve been working on for about a year now, and this is one component of it,” Anwar explained. “It basically looks into the whole notion of how in the past we looked at time travel, and what that means to the present. I think it’s happening now because the data, video, and information is moving so fast that technology is providing us with the feeling that we are travelling in time. What I’m doing for the 25th anniversary celebration is creating an interactive experience on iPads. It’s sort of looking back 25 years, while also focussing on the present and the future.”

The Civic Centre presented the Mississauga Urban Design awards at the same time. This was followed by a reception featuring music by Rob Tardik, a local favourite and a frequent performer at cultural events in Mississauga.

“They provide a lot of opportunities for me to perform and to showcase my particular art,” reflected Tardik. “It’s very important; these events are a part of the lifeblood of any city to bring people together. It’s a community bond that brings people of all cultures together. It helps to bring people out and let them see things from art to architecture to dance and music. I’m glad to be part of it, and it’s an honour for me to perform at these events.”

The event in the Civic Centre was finished with a cake-cutting ceremony. As the evening wound down, people gathered to listen to the jazz performance by Tardik, who was accompanied by pianist Davor Jordanovski.

Some of the crowd were architects who had received awards, others were local politicians, and there were many regular citizens just enjoying an eventful evening provided by the city. Above all, they were members of a community so diverse and yet so close that it’s second nature to come together and experience our local art and culture together.