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Get Ready for PANAMANIA in the Summer of 2015!

Renowned Canadian artists Robert Lepage, Crystal Pite and Veronica Tennant to showcase new works at five-week festival presented by CIBC for TORONTO 2015 Games

TORONTO, April 1, 2014 /CNW/ - Get ready, Toronto — PANAMANIA, presented by CIBC, is coming!

For five weeks in the summer of 2015, PANAMANIA, the TORONTO 2015 Arts and Culture Festival, will wrap the Games region in festivities that celebrate the people and art of the Americas and Caribbean.

Newly commissioned world premieres by Canadian luminaries such as Robert Lepage, Crystal Pite and Veronica Tennant will be a highlights of the festival, which will run from the opening of the Pan Am Games on July 10, 2015, and continue until the closing of the Parapan Am Games on August 15, 2015.

"The TORONTO 2015 Games are about creating lasting legacies in our communities," said David Peterson, chairman of the board of directors for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015). "With the support of CIBC, PANAMANIA is not only celebrating our cultural diversity and the incredible talents of Canadian artists, it's supporting the creation of original Canadian works that will be exhibited, performed and displayed for years to come."

PANAMANIA is an ambitious, progressive and diverse multidisciplinary arts and cultural festival that is investing in originality and excellence in the arts. At its heart will be more than 25 unique commissioned works by Canadian artists in theatre, photography, dance, music, spoken word, fashion and visual arts.

The projects — which will touch on the themes of water, immigration and Canadian identity — are sharing $1.5 million in seed funding from TO2015's Innovation and New Creation Commission and Legacy Fund.

The projects, by established and emerging artists, have a special focus on Ontario and Canadian artists connected to the 41 nations participating in the Games. They were selected based on their artistic excellence and merit; innovation and transformative abilities; and the ability to engage broad public and audience involvement. For the full list of commissioned projects, visit TORONTO2015.org/PANAMANIA.

"We are excited to bring the world premiere of our newest work to Toronto as a signature project of PANAMANIA," said famed playwright and director Robert Lepage, who helped announce the festival today. "As we learned in Vancouver, international multi-sport Games are a wonderful vehicle to draw new people to the arts and increase the international profile of our culture and artists."

The festival in 2015 will be the culmination of a series of public cultural events in support of the Games, including the phenomenally successful Play Me, I'm Yours street piano project that in 2012 invited everyone to sit down and play a tune at locations across downtown Toronto, and the mobile music festival STREETSIDE, that last summer used a fleet of vintage pickup trucks to bring the music of the Caribbean and Americas to the streets of Toronto, Hamilton and Markham.

"As presenting sponsor of PANAMANIA, CIBC is proud to help bring the Games to life through exciting arts and culture initiatives," said Richard Nesbitt, Chief Operating Officer, CIBC. "Since 2012, this program has been bringing our communities together to celebrate vibrant Pan-American culture and showcase Canada's rich diversity. We're proud to support our Canadian artists as they create original artworks and look forward to their exciting world premieres in Toronto next summer."

The commissioned projects will be staged in venues throughout Toronto, including Nathan Phillips Square, The Power Plant, the St. Lawrence Centre, The Distillery Historic District and online sites.

They will challenge our sense of memory; revisit a seminal ode to Niagara Falls by famed Cuban poet José Maria Heredia; explore humankind's tenuous relationship with water through the lens of photographers in the Americas and Caribbean; and celebrate heroes such as Six Nations marathon runner Tom Longboat and the first African-Canadian postman Albert Jackson.

PANAMANIA will feature free and ticketed events, including live celebration sites and partnerships with existing cultural institutions, which will be announced closer to the Games in early 2015.

"The Government of Canada is proud to support the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games," said the Honorable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. "In addition to being an international multi-sport event, the Games will be an opportunity to put our heritage in the spotlight and promote Canadian culture."

Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, added: "The 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games will ignite a celebration of sport and culture unlike anything ever experienced before in Ontario. Cultural celebrations like TO2015's PANAMANIA along with events in municipalities across the province will showcase our unique talent, diversity and cultures alongside our athletes who will perform at the Games."

"Toronto's streets, public squares, concert halls and museums will come alive as never before in the summer of 2015 as we welcome the world to the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games," said City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

About TO2015
The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) is tasked with the responsibility of planning, managing and delivering the Games. Its mission is to ignite the spirit through a celebration of sport and culture. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10−26 and the Parapan American Games August 7–15.

The 2015 Games are funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, as well as other partners and sponsors. CIBC is the Lead Partner of the Games.

For more information about the Games, please visit TORONTO2015.org.

SOURCE Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

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