Toronto is known for many things, but rarely for Christian events since it’s not in the American “Bible Belt.” However, Encounter Ontario, a first-of-its-kind provincial Christian heritage day, incorporating Christian music and an expo, will put Toronto on the Christian festivals and event map and give Jesus His due when it takes place for the first time ever, on Saturday, August 20, 2005. Encounter Ontario will be held on prime waterfront space at the prestigious Ontario Place/Molson Amphitheatre complex, at 955 Lakeshore Boulevard West, Toronto.
Admission to Encounter Ontario, which takes place from 10am to 11pm, includes, as a bonus, admission to Ontario Place amusements, including water park rides, as well as entry into the legendary Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), where some 25,000 people are already expected for the CNE’s opening day.
So how did Encounter Ontario come into existence? Ted Tomlin and Michelle Dunk, who have over 20 years of event management experience between them, had organized a family day event in nearby Kitchener last year. The province of Ontario took notice, and asked them to plan something similar for downtown Toronto, and Encounter Ontario was born. A contract for at least five years means Encounter Ontario will be a growing, annual event at Ontario Place.
For the first Encounter Ontario this August, Dove Award-winning worship band Casting Crowns, one of the fastest selling bands of its kind in the contemporary Christian music industry, along with Stellar Award-winning gospel great Kurt Carr, will co-headline the event with family-friendly evening concerts at the Molson Amphitheatre. Also on the bill, spread out over three stages, is plenty of Canadian talent all day long, including British Columbia’s Juno Award-winning pianist Greg Sczebel (with a style similar to Justin Timberlake), Brampton’s girl group Carried Away, Oakville’s hard rockin’ Manic Drive, Waterloo’s Kevin Pauls, and Titus, a hip-hop artist from Kitchener. Rounding out the line-up are Toronto’s Hetti-Marie, a singer-songwriter, gospel singer Patricia Shirley, and the Rhema Worship Band. For the kids, Burlington’s God Rocks, which is like a cartoon come to life appealing to both kids and their parents, adds a unique element to the musical/theatrical offerings. You can expect a few surprise guests, and all artists are subject to change.
Besides music, Encounter Ontario also includes speakers like Phil Callaway, workshops, and an expo tent filled with representatives from several international ministries.
With an award winning line-up, Encounter Ontario will be a multi-cultural melting pot of people, bringing together Christians from all over the province and beyond. The event is being marketed all over Eastern Canada and the Great Lakes region of the United States.
Get tickets early, as seating is assigned for the headline concerts. Tickets are $42.50 Canadian (includes Ontario Place, CNE admissions and the evening concerts) and can be charged by calling Ticketmaster at 416-870-8000. They’re also available at most provincial Christian bookstores, by calling 866-620-7827 (works from the U.S. or Canada) or at the festival’s informative website, www.encounterontario.com.
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