BY SARA MILLER
On Sunday July 24th , 2016, Yonge-Dundas Square will be transformed to host the 10th annual Youth Day Toronto festival. Deemed the largest youth festival of its kind, the event includes twelve hours of non-stop live entertainment from some of Toronto’s most talented performers including singers, dancers and artists. The theme for this year’s festival will be “The Mosaic of Canada”, an ode to Canada’s diverse and colourful community.
Since its inception, Youth Day Toronto has brought exciting and new features to the event every year and this year is no different. Highlights for the day include two fashion shows produced by the Toronto Fashion Academy featuring the work of Canadian designers and a special presentation by Akashic Rekords, who will be rewarding recording contracts to three of the young artists performing on stage.
Other annual features include the Flag Parade, lead by drumming youth which will open up the festival and a moment of silence at 6pm, which was designed as a reflective to remember youth who have been affected or lost to violence.
Special hosts and guest for this year includes The Honourable Jean Augustine, Degrassi Actress, singer and YD Ambassador Kate Todd, Paralympic Motivational Speaker Karl Ludwig, Magical Artist Specialist Jack Spade and motivational speaker Xavier DeGuzman.
Created in 2007, founder Tylaine Duggan was inspired to create Youth Day Toronto after the city’s deadly and violent “Summer of the Gun” year in 2005. Listening to the concerns and suggestions of young adults who had nowhere to express or show their talents, Duggan then created Youth Day Toronto to engage and showcase the artistic and creative talents of youth in the arts, music, photography and dance categories. Beyond the fun, the event is also a chance for youth to engage with other participants and to develop their self-esteem, which in the long run, can help them pursue and achieve their goals fearlessly in the future.
Dressed in all white with sky-high heels, Duggan took to the stage at the Youth Day Toronto press conference located at the Hard Rock Café in Toronto to announce the finalized event roster and give a sneak peek of what’s to come on July 24th.
“This is a big celebration [ten years], but I can’t take all credit for it. There are hundreds of people involved in Youth Day and the most beautiful part is that it’s warranted. I want [youth] to have a free stage to showcase your positive achievements,” Duggan spoke during her opening speech.
“I love to see youth shine so I am looking forward to seeing you all on July 24th!”
Hosted by the Disability Channel founder, Jay Stoyan and renowned community activist Dewitt Lee, family members, colleagues and volunteers were treated to performances by the participants scheduled to perform on July 24th. Duggan also gave a special announcement, which was the creation of a new app set to release in 2017. Named TYPOINTS, the app is designed to reward youth and young adults with points anytime they volunteer. Afterwards, with enough points collected, youth can then redeem the points at participating stores.
“I want to thank everyone for being here and sharing this with us. I hope we can make more great memories together” Duggan said.