Touching Ground Festival

Welcome to the Touching Ground Festival - a suite of new works on a common theme - the culmination of many activities with many people over the past three years of inhabiting this brand new and ancient location – now called CityPlace, in this place now called Toronto. During our time here, we have delved into the Indigenous and layered histories and current sounds, sights and voices of the area, while also making connections across the city and the country. Threads from all of these explorations appear in the activities taking place over the coming weeks.


From mid-May until the end of June, Touching Ground events will be taking place in three main areas: The Ground Floor, Evergreen Brick Works, and Historic Fort York. In addition, Jumblies will be collaborating in events with our partners elsewhere in the city.


Click on the Menu or scroll down to learn about the activities, people involved, & how you can join in!


We hope you’ll join us to celebrate the work of our many artists, participants and partners.


All events are free or pwyc, fully accessible, and everyone is welcome!

What lifetimes and footprints are under the concrete of our streets, yards, and towers?






Since Jumblies arrived at The Ground Floor in 2013, we have been exploring the hidden histories, contemporary voices, and quirks of this rapidly growing community. We are proud to share some of the results from this home location.


Directions: The Ground Floor is located at 132 Fort York Blvd at Dan Leckie Way (just East of Bathurst between the Lakeshore and Front St.).

On Tuesdays

May 13 - June 30


A local audio-musical walking tour, as told (and sung) by those who live and wander there.


Composer: Kyle Brenders

Libretto: Ange Loft

Musicians: Allison Au, Vania Chan, Christine Duncan, Ryan

Scott, Martin van de Ven, with the Making Room and Ground Floor


Festival Launch

May 13, 2 - 6 pm

An afternoon of indoor and outdoor creative activities, light refreshments, and a chance to find out more about what’s coming up, and will launch all the following new works:

CityPlace Chronicles

May 13 - June 25


Artefacts and ephemera from Jumblies’ three year residency at The Ground Floor, with, for and about the people, histories and stories residing there.

Parallel Tracks

June 29, 6:30 - 8:30 pm


A performative sharing and reception celebrating the culmination of a program for Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour community artists.

All welcome.

More info:


Producer/Director: Nikki Shaffeeullah

Lead artists: Jamie Milay, Kama La Mackerel,

Aliya Jamal & others

What Was My Backyard?

May 17, 7:30 pm,

The Ground Floor

May 27, 2 pm,

Cedar Ridge Creative Centre, Scarborough


Workshop presentation of a new musical in-development, featuring a jigging mastodon.


Composer/Lyricist: Britta Johnson

Director: Beth Helmers

Musical Director: Shifra Cooper

Choreographer: Aria Evans

Designer: Adrienne Marcus Raja

Musicians:  Rosary Spence (voice), Mark Blouin (Clarinet), Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk (Fiddle), Johnny Spence (Piano)

with The Ground Floor Choir

Designer: Adrienne Marcus Raja, Parker Dirks

Puppeteers: Nikki Shaffeeullah, Sasha Tate Howarth, Julia Hune-Brown

Stage Manager: Jackie Omstead

Three Short Films &

Book Launch

June 13, 8 - 9:30 pm


A showcase of short videos inspired by Jumblies’ time at CityPlace and the launch of ‘Museum of Found Objects’, by Miranda Sharp including comics by participants at The Ground Floor. The screenings will be followed by a short Q & A session with the filmmakers.

The lineup includes:


The View From Here

A whimsical comic opera inspired by comics created with CityPlace residents.


Composer: Norbert Palej

Librettist: Liz Rucker

Film-maker: Sofia Bohdanowicz

Comic Artist: Miranda Sharp

Musicians: Vania Chan, Keith Klassen, Christine Duncan, Ryan Scott, Martin van de Ven and Erika Crino, conductor Samuel Tam, with The Ground Floor Choir


Walking Treaties

The journey of tiny hand-made shoes along Spadina to the Chinese Railway Workers monument.


Edited by: Adrienne Marcus Raja

Filmed by: Liam Coo & Adrienne Marcus Raja

Soundtrack: Arie Verheuil-van de Ven

Fabric Artists: Marianne Alas with Mackenzie Konecny, Parker Dirks & Rhonda Lucy

Created in partnership with Alpha Alternative School and Gingko Sistas (Emily Chan & Maria Hupfield)


From the Shores of Scarborough to the Sands of CityPlace

A puppetry improvisation on moving to The Ground Floor


Filmmaker: Adrienne Marcus Raja

Soundtrack: David Schulman

Soft CityPlace

Fort York Library

May 13, 10:30-11 am & 2-4 pm


A plush playland version of the neighbourhood, for all ages including the very young created by Jumblies artists & participants.


Designers: Marianne Alas, Parker Dirks, Mackenzie Konecny, with many community participants

Animators: Nikki Shaffeeullah, Jackie Omstead, Marc Blouin


Four Lands is a Jumblies’ project that has been touring the country and is coming to Toronto as a residency at Evergreen Brick Works. It explores and expresses people’s relationships to a place: what they like, want to change, remember, have learned, hold in memory from different places and times, wish for and imagine. Artists and community members create and bring to life their Goodlands, Badlands, Lostlands and Dreamlands, through images, words, miniature models, music, conversation and performance.

Miniature Making

Tuesdays May 16 & 30

2 - 5 pm

Saturday May 20

11 am - 4 pm

Tuesday May 23

2 - 9 pm


Make images, text & miniatures

for the installation. Contact us for other times and locations.

Pedal Potter Workshop

with Danica Drago

Friday May 28

11 - 2 pm

(register at


Four Lands Tile Making

Facilitated by Danica Drago

Friday May 26

1 - 4 pm

(register at


Composers: Jason Doell, Juliet Palmer, Erik Griswold

Musicians: Sarah Albu (soprano), Leslie Newman & Kaili Maimets (flute),

Anthony Thompson & Graham Lord (clarinet), Graham Mackenzie (oboe),

Ryan Scott, Daniel Morphy, Adam Campbell & Julia Chien (percussion), Raphael Arsenault (improviser)

with The Ground Floor Choir

Guest Choral Conductor: Hussein Janmohamed

Choreographer: Shula Strassfeld

Consulting Director: Varrick Grimes

Production/Stage Manager: Dylan Tate-Howarth

Lighting Designer: Jenny Jimenez

Installation Designer: Adrienne Marcus Raja, Parker Dirks

Site Sponsor: Evergreen Brick Works

Four Lands Performance

with Continuum Contemporary Music

June 3, 7:30 pm


Jumblies is partnering with Continuum to present two new works responding to the Four Lands project: one composed by Jason Doell (voices dangle like bells) and the other by Juliet Palmer (Quarry). The program will also include Spill, performed by Ryan Scott, and a structured improvisation by Jumblies’ artists and participants.

   To Reserve Tickets email


Evergreen Brick Works Suite 103

550 Bayview Ave

In Partnership with:

Site Sponsor:


Talking Treaties is a participatory multi-arts project, with the goal of artfully sharing local Indigenous knowledge and awareness. Talking Treaties engaged over 300 participants in its research and development, generating symbols, poetry, and expressive maps, which have influenced and are now featured as content in the production. This project strives to expand meaning, knowledge, and personal relationships to encompass the historical and contemporary responsibilities we share as treaty people.

Talking Treaties Spectacle

Friday, June 23, 6:30 pm

Saturday, June 24, 12-6 pm (installation only)

Sunday, June 25, 5 pm


A large-scale immersive performance and installation, bringing together professional and community performers.


Lead Artist, Director, & Co-Writer: Ange Loft

Historian and Co-Writer: Victoria Freeman

Choreographers: Lilia Leon & Brian Solomon

Composers/Musicians: Alaska B, Melody McKiver, Rosary Spence, Brandon Valdivia

Creative Consultant/Performer: Jill Carter

Performers: Candy Blair, Tomas Cavalheiro-Chin, Karis Jones Pard, Rozina Kazi, Ashley Riley, Kitsune Soleil, Nikki Shaffeeullah, Jesse Wabegijig

Props & Puppet Designers: Sonja Rainey, Parker Dirks

Costume Designer: Marianne Alas

Stage/Production Manager: Sasha Tate-Howarth

Assistant Stage Manager: Iehente Foote



With participants from The Ground Floor, the Children’s Peace Theatre & the AMY Project.


Admission is PWYC for the Friday and Sunday shows.

If you come on Saturday or early on Sunday to enjoy the Indigenous Arts Festival, there is an additional $5 charge to Fort York.

For advance reservations contact:

Fort York National Historic Site is accessible through the Bathurst gate, just north of Fort York Blvd. on Bathurst St. (west side), as well as through the main entrance at 250 Fort York Blvd.

TTC: The 511 Bathurst streetcar Fort York Blvd. stop is directly by the Bathurst gate. The site is also served by the accessible 509 Harbourfront streetcar.

Car: Metered parking is available at 800 Fleet St. - a 10 minute walk from the site. Please get in contact if this presents an accessibility barrier.

Under the Concrete

Friday, June 23, 8 pm

Sunday, June 25, 6:30 pm


A choral reflection on our themes of history, questioning, learning and acknowledging for all of who now live on this land.


Composer: Martin van de Ven

Original and traditional songs created and sung by Rosary Spence

Libretto: Ruth Howard, arranging fragments of poetry by Victoria Freeman, text from the Toronto Purchase (Treaty 13), news articles and words of many community members.

Musicians: Vania Chan (Soprano), Brian Katz (Guitar), Arie van de Ven (Viola), Johnny Spence (Keyboard), Rick Sacks (Percussion), with The Ground Floor Choir, conducted by Shifra Cooper

250 Fort York Blvd

In Partnership with:

Site Sponsor:


During the Touching Ground Festival time, Jumblies is also proud to be contributing to  events produced across Toronto by our partners, including:

Outside In

Community Arts Guild

Cedar Ridge Creative Centre

Open daily May 23 to June 1


An interactive, evolving art installation about lesser-known histories and stories of East Scarborough.

More Info



at the Canadian Association

for Theatre Research Conference

The Great Hall (1087 Queen St. West)

May 29

Workshop 7pm, Performance 8pm


Sharing our approach to collaborative and inclusive choreography for Talking Treaties.

More Info

Composing Community

at the Toronto Creative Music Lab

Canadian Music Centre

(20 St. Joseph St.)

June 18, 7 pm


Performing the results of a day long workshop for musicians and composers, facilitated by Jumblies artists.

More Info

Red Dress Productions

Drift Seeds

Winchester Park

June 9 &10, 7pm & June 11, 1pm


An outdoor theatre performance with and in the St. James Town community.

More Info

Platform A

The A Show

Artscape Young Place

23 June

7 - 11 pm


A showcase of work created by this year’s Toronto Arts Council micro-grant recipients, produced by Jumblies, Artstarts, SKETCH/CUE and VIBE Arts.

More Info

Here Is My Friend!

Arts 4 All

Perth Square (350 Perth Ave.)

1 July, 12pm


A parade celebrating community stories of first friendship.

More Info



Serpent People

The Citadel (304 Parliament St.)

June 15-17

8 pm


Artists and communities of Nipissing First Nation/North Bay explore Indigenous serpent stories and figures.

Iftar Nights


Mabelle Park, Etobicoke

Every Thursday in June



Artful feasts, celebrating the breaking of the fast during the month of Ramadan.

More Info

Turtle Quilt

On display:

May 13: The Ground Floor Festival Launch

May 23 - June 1: The Community Arts Guild Evolving Gallery

June 3 & 4: Four Lands at Evergreen Brick Works

June 23 - 25: Talking Treaties at Historic Fort York

July 2017 onwards: Scarborough Child and Family Life Centre


Embroidered and beaded by many hands, this seven-foot square Turtle Quilt displays the 13 Anishnaabe moons and individual images of inheritance.


Designers: Philip Cote and Rhonda Lucy

Fabric Artist: Marianne Alas

Created in partnership with

The Community Arts Guild


Get Involved

As well as attending the events, you can still participate in the art-making.

Free and accessible - experience welcomed but not required!


For more info and to join in, contact us at:,, 416 203 8428,

or drop by The Ground Floor (126 & 132 Fort York Blvd).



1. In Four Lands, in partnership with Continuum Contemporary Music, with music by Jason Doell and Juliet Palmer, and in the workshop of a musical by Britta Johnson: What Was My Backyard?



Wed. May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

6:30 to 8:30 pm

The Ground Floor

Sun. May 28

5:00 to 9:00 pm

Evergreen Brick Works

Fri. June 2 (Dress Rehearsal)

5:00 to 9:00 pm

Evergreen Brick Works

2. In Talking Treaties & Under the Concrete, music by Martin van de Ven, Melody McKiver and Rosary Spence.



Wed. June 7, 14, 21

6:30 to 8:30 pm

The Ground Floor

Thurs. June 22

5:30 to 8:30 pm

Historic Fort York




1. Drawings and miniatures for our Four Lands Installation.


May 16 to 30

at the Evergreen Brick Works,

The Ground Floor

and other locations


Ask us for more details, or if you’d like to invite this project to your community.


2. Scenic elements for Talking Treaties and other art activities.


May 4 to June 15


2:00 to 5:00 pm


dance WITH US


1. In Four Lands, with choreographer Shula Strassfeld, assisted by Julia Hune Brown.



Thurs. May 18, 25, June 1

7:00 to 8:30pm

150 Dan Leckie Way

Sun. May 28 & Fri. June 2

4:00 to 9:00pm

Evergreen Brick Works

(dinner provided)


2. In our Talking Treaties Spectacle, with choreographers Brian Solomon and Lilia Leon.



Thurs. June 8, 15

7:00 to 8:30pm

150 Dan Leckie Way

Thurs. June 22

5:30 to 8:30pm

Historic Fort York





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The Ground Floor

126 & 132 Fort York Blvd

Toronto, ON

M5V 0E3


For media inquiries contact

Rachel Penny

Festival Credits

Jumblies Staff

Artistic Director: Ruth Howard

Development & Partnership Director: Keith McNair

Associate Artistic Director: Ange Loft

Assistant Artistic Director: Nikki Shaffeeullah1

Operations Manager: Sam Egan

Fabric & Culinary Artist: Marianne Alas

Communications Manager: Liam Coo

Programming Coordinator: Jackie Omstead

Lead Artist: Julia Hune-Brown1

Media Artist & Assistant Arts Manager:

Adrienne Marcus Raja2

Visual Arts Coordinator: Parker Dirks3

Artist-Facilitator: Fiona Clarke

Artist Interns: Karis Jones-Pard4, Bianca Morgan5

Summer Students: Candy Blair, Tomas Cavalheiro-Chin,

Theresa Cutknife,6  Kaia’tanoron Dumoulin, Jamie Milay

Bookkeeper & Finances: Michaela Otto

Cleaner: Liz McCarthy


with thanks for funding from:

1 Metcalf Foundation Performing Arts Internship

2 Ontario Arts Council Compass Program

3 Cultural Human Resources Council

4 Miziwe Biik

5 St. Stephen’s Community House

6 Canada Summer Jobs

Ground Floor Choir

Director: Shifra Cooper

Accompanist: Johnny Spence

Coordinator: Jackie Omstead

Singers: Ava Bailey, Margaret Bojin, Lisa Marie DiLiberto & Zevon, Jon Field, Ken Harrower, Sandra Kanagasabai, Shelley La Hay, Anna Li, John Norkus, Mario Pietrantoni, Janis Proctor, Lily Rovillos, Jennielea Roxon, Shifra Saltzman, Marlene Sheehan-Carey, Margie Sumadh, Herold van de Ven, Vivian Qing Wei, Jumblies staff,

& others


Ground Floor Dancers

Lead Facilitator & Choreographer: Lilia Leon

Coordinator & Assistant: Julia Hune-Brown

Dancers: Betty Chou, Susan Chou, Mark Faucett, Victoria Freeman, Ken Harrower, Caroline Manjaly, Janis Procotor, John Pyette, Vivian Qing Wei, Lena Valenzuela, Lenoardo Vega, AMY Project participants, Jumblies staff, & others


Ground Floor Artmakers

Ava Bailey, Destiny Laldo, Bill Livingstone, John Pyette, Vidia Soran Persad, Daniella Pollari, Daniela, Lachlan, Lucy, Shari, Mikayla, Ronin, Victoria and many other volunteer participants who made this festival possible

Festival Staff

Producer: Rachel Penny

Publicity: Sarah Shepherd

Technical Director: Steafan Hannigan

Production Assistant: Heather Long

Childcare: Destiny Laldeo, Nika Lennox

Hayley Karskens-Edwards

Alpha Alternative School, Canadian Music Centre and the Toronto Composers Music Lab, Children’s Peace Theatre, Fort York Library, Parallel Tracks Project, Platform A (Art Starts, SKETCH/CUE, VIBE Arts), Red Dress Productions, Scarborough Child and Family Life Centre, Tamil Seniors’ Programs fromW Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, Toronto Community Housing, Toronto Community Living, Grand Valley Institution for Women


Other Partners

Practicum Students

Sanjana Eswar (George Brown College)

Kelly King (York University)

Carolenys Tovar (Create Institute)

Chiamaka Ugwu (Generator)

Participating Youth Artist Exchangee's*

Kelty McKerracher (from Vancouver)

Julia Siedlanowska (from Vancouver)

Brooke Leifso (from Edmonton)

Candace Neveau (from Sault Ste Marie)

Ashley Riley (from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation)

Jonas Gilbert (from Kahnawake)

Iehente Foote (from Kahnawake)

Adriana Aristo (from Kahnawake)

Sarah Albu (from Montreal)

Raphaël Arsenault (from Rimouski)

Eric Diolola (from Halifax)

Merle Harley (from Halifax)

Jayal Chung (from Thunder Bay)


*thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation & Inspirit Foundation