HarbourKids was started in 2007, and it celebrates three holidays which are specifically: Victoria Day, Family day, and Thanksgiving.
“HarbourKids is a program for children under 12. Instead of doing Shakespeare, or something, we do contemporary art. It is a place that children have fun and gather,” introduced by Katherine Sanders, the Artistic Associate of HarbourKids program. Katherine has worked with Harbourfront for 7 years and done the HarbourKids festival for 5 years.
There are similar events in different cities around Canada. A lot of different art centers also have activities for kids, but what makes HarbourKids unique? “It is free and we do so many different kinds of art. We don’t do just theatre, or music, or crafts. We do everything,” Katherine told us proudly.
While you see all the interesting things in HarbourKids, have you ever wondered about the background effort? Katherine had to face many difficulties while setting up HarbourKids events, such as filing up the massive building with as much cool stuff as she could. Katherine told us, “My favorite part of this event is seeing kids like you have a good time. That’s the payoff. I spend all year working on programming to make this festival awesome. When I see kids actually show up and enjoy, it is the best part for sure.”
This fall, there were more than 15 activities being setup inside and outside of the Harbourfront Center. The festival was fun for everyone and it wouldn’t be hard to keep you busy for the day.
The Arts and Crafts are certainly one thing many children love. The place looked crowded with youngsters even with its size. The activities attracted kids from all ages. Kids were eager to check out the “Lego Construction Zone”, “Cool Crafts with Mary Breen & Friends”, “Let’s Talk Science”, and “Stroller Salon.”
When I stepped into the LEGO room, the display table was filled with creations by other children. Very quickly, I built a temple and a face of an alien, and squeezed them on the table.
The idea of Stroller Salon was really cool too. You can design a stroller for the Natrel Stroller Parade. I made a car in blue, black and yellow color, with a pair of plastic sticks attached to the top as the windshield. During the parade, my stroller box was selected by a family to decorate their double stroller to be a wedding carriage. I felt happy to see my stroller box get marched down the fields.
Among all these activities, I have to say my favorite one is “Cool Crafts with Mary Breen & Friends”. It was amusing to make paper pumpkins and design them, and create pins with your own drawings. I created a pin whose face shows ‘Voice K’, and a pumpkin with a red eye.
At the corner of the same tent, a nice lady wearing a wool jacket was showing kids how to make yarn with spindle tools used in the old times. It’s pretty impressive to see the raw wool be spun into yarn string. Of course people nowadays don’t use this inefficient tool anymore, but it reminded me about pioneers. These activities definitely inspired children to think and design creatively.
You must admire how these great performers can translate the music into such a breathtaking piece. Would you also like to try? It’s possible here. HarbourKids has brought you a chance to try out different instruments, demonstrated by Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo” with Sistema Toronto. I bet your fist experience of playing an instrument is surly memorable.
In the theater of the West Arcade, I watched a series of 17 films named “Handmade Puppet Dreams”, presented by Heather Henson. I actually loved them more than cartoons. Although the word ‘puppets’ might sound immature, when it is funny, you won’t describe it that way. Every few seconds, the entire stage would burst into a cry of laughter. Also, the music was nicely attached to the film. Nearby, there was also a storytelling session called “Imagination on the Loose”. It was presented in 2 different languages by Nathalie Vachon.
Do you like comics as much as I do? Little Island Comics store is a good place for you to explore. You can also create hilarious comics in a neighboring room. I had a chance to interview a lady named Betina Krebs, who was a library service coordinator in Little Island Comics. She was enthusiastic about the interview and told me, “We get a lot of books from different categories, and schools also order from us.” Although it’s much smaller comparing with Chapter and Scholastic, so far Little Island Comics is the only store that carries the most kid comic books in Canada.
After a busy day exploring all the activities, you must feel hungry and thirsty. Soymilk, ice cream, burgers …feel free to enjoy the yummy refreshments with your parents and friends.
HarbourKids events are well-known in Toronto for many years. But how can HarbourKids keep the reputation going forward the same way? Katherine told us that the biggest challenge is funding. Turning a really big budget from a large requirement to smaller budget is never easy. Besides of that, finding all of these attractive ideas is tough too. This year, organizers thought of a fresh new idea of gathering for fall, as a title of Fall 4 U. No matter what the theme is for the next holiday, I pretty sure it will be an awesome event that people have long awaited.
Hi there! My name is Raymond Qiu. I’m 10 years old and go to Vista Heights P.S, which I’m really proud of. My favorite sports are swimming, skiing, and volleyball. I also enjoy playing Chess and Lego with my friends. On the breaks, I love to travel to cool destinations to take pictures and enjoy the delicious food. When I’m tired of homework, I like to create random pieces on the piano and be my own audience. I admire those who can speak many different languages, and I wish I could learn more too. This great skill can help me communicate and make friends when I travel, and also support me become a businessman with a global business in the future. Let’s start from VoiceK.