• What is it?

    Salon West is a forum for much-needed dialogue on the arts and public policy in Toronto. Through Salon West, we can create positive change through the arts. Guests can participate in the conversations that matter while enjoying good eats and good company. Artists will have an opportunity to discuss their work and share their thoughts on how we build our city.  Together we can inspire actionable solutions to the issues facing our great city. 

  • Social Feed

    Check out our latest updates!

  • Salons



    We started off producing salons, podcasts, a YouTube channel, and the occasional concert, but have expanded our scope to include music festivals and an original operetta.


    February 7-14, 2019 Love Winter music festival

    TBD Bombgirl operetta



    Love Winter: Pereto, Italy

    Bombgirl: Toronto, Washington DC, Rome, Pereto, Zurich


  • L'essentiel

    A few details about Salon West

    Why does Toronto need Salon West? 

    Although Toronto has a vibrant cultural sector it's genuinely difficult for many people to find company to enjoy it with and to engage with the arts at a more meaningful level.  There are barriers to meeting people from different sectors, barriers to entry in certain spaces, and barriers to participating in the conversations that matter. 


    There are plenty of exclusive events for industry professionals and the elite to meet each other and to discuss the latest developments in Canadian arts and policy, but what about the rest of  Toronto? As our city evolves and tough questions need to be asked, more diverse audiences need to have a voice in these conversations.  


    We all have a stake in Toronto being a liveable city with a vibrant culture sector, so why not have a forum to exchange ideas, to make friends, and to build it together? 


    Salon West aims to bring together a group of thoughtful individuals from different sectors to talk about arts in the context of public policy. Salon West will  break down barriers and facilitate stimulating conversations. Speakers and guests can expect to learn something new, share their thoughts, and have some good eats too. 

    Nuts and bolts

    Dress code: bow tie optional.  

    (Translation: business casual)


    Feel free to take notes or photos or even video, but if a session is held in camera then a strict non-attribution and no recording rule applies. 


    Be passionate but respectful.  Even though you may hear something you disagree with or run into a controversial figure, cordiality is key.

  • what kind of city should Toronto be for the arts to thrive?

    August 2014 Speakers:

    Cathryn Gregor Executive Director of Canada's National Ballet School

    Marshall Pynkoski Co-Artistic Director of Opera Atelier

    Karin Eaton Executive Director of Mural Routes

    With remarks from Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Coteau and Mayoral Candidates Olivia Chow, Rob Ford, and David Socknacki

    Toronto the Good, The bad, and the ugly: The art of public space

    September 2014 Speakers:

    Javid Jah Architect and Graffiti Artist

    Elle Alconcel Curator at Daniels Spectrum

    Themes: The absence of public space in Toronto, identity, democracy, freedom of expression

    Lifting the curtain on venues

    Theme: The challenge of staging productions in different spaces

    November 2014 Speakers:

    Lawrence Cherney Artistic Director of Soundstreams

    Joel Ivany Director Against the Grain Theatre

    Rory McLeod Violist and Co-Director Pocket Concerts

    Chamber performance by Bryan Holt (cello) Rory McLeod (viola) Emily Rho (piano)

    Behind the scenes with richard rose

    Themes: the economics of theatre, diversity on stage, theatre outside the downtown core

    December 2014 speaker: Richard Rose Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre

    Salon followed by performance of Sextet, a play by Morris Panych

    Empowering women through the arts

    February 2015 Speaker: Lindsey Fischer Ballet Master of the National Ballet of Canada

    Themes: Strong female leads, role models, sex and love behind the curtain

    the politics of music

    March 2015 speakers:

    Hilario Duran Pianist and Composer

    Ahmed Mitchell Cuban Drummer

    Themes: Jazz music in Cuba, freedom of expression, banned music, cultural fusion

    Followed by performance by Ahmed Mitchell Trio at Lula Lounge

    Your city, your symphony

    April 2015 speaker:

    Jeff Melanson then President and CEO of Toronto Symphony Orchestra

    Themes: city-building, accessibility, the decision not to have Valentina Lisitsa perform, multiculturalism

    Toronto music city

    May 2015 Speakers:

    Joel Ivany Director of Against the Grain Theatre

    Topher Mokrzewski Maestro Calgary Opera

    Themes: Toronto Music City Plan, Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance, indie opera

    From medici madness to vanderbilt vanity: the ultimate opera tour

    June 2015 Speakers:

    Professor Linda Hutcheon PhD, O.C.

    Professor Michael Hutcheon M.D.

    Themes: opera throughout history, scandal, death and desire


    An intimate chat and performance with Aline morales

    July 2015 speaker and performer Aline Morales

    Themes: cultural exchange, Pan Am Games, motherhood's impact on her music

    De-colonizing the arts co-hosted with Toronto arts foundation

    October 2015 Speakers:

    Historian Victoria Freeman

    Jennifer Jimenez and Stephen Sillett co-founders and co-executive directors of “Aiding Dramatic Change ~ in development”

    Themes: colonialism and the arts, identity, First Nations history and symbolism, peacebuilding

    Who's running the show? governance in the arts

    December 2015 speakers:

    Jeff Melanson then President and CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

    Robert Foster President and CEO of Capital Canada

    Themes: board governance, composition, engagement, and dysfunction

    is classical a problem? re-defining the c-word

    March 2016 speaker: Tafelmusik Managing Director William Norris

    Baroque violin demonstration and performance by Julia Wedman

    East Meets west: a conversation with choral composer hussein Janmohamed

    July 2016 speaker Hussein Janmohamed Choral Composer

    Themes: Islam and the arts, Islamophobia, cultural exchange

  • Tickets:

  • Subscriptions

    Create your own personalized salon series with a trio of tickets.  Pick up a trio and attend any 3 salons you wish.  Even better, subscribe for a full year of exclusive access to senior arts leaders, fun artists, and a motley crew of politicos too. We'll be hosting salons in the private gallery at the Spoke Club, Lula Lounge, and the Dignam Gallery in the Women's Art Association of Canada mansion too.  

  • Donate

    Salon West operates without reliance on grants. Ticket sales and volunteer work are the only contributions that keep the lights on. If you are able please consider donating so we can continue our mission of making Toronto a better place to live through inclusive dialogue.


    Curious what happened at the last salon? Listen to the podcast!  Nothing beats being there in person though.  


    Participating organizations and confirmed speakers

    Thank you!

    We are over the moon to have such wonderful organizations, artists, and academics participating in Salon West.   

    Against the Grain Theatre


    Against the Grain Theatre is a collective of artists who perform classic works in unconventional ways and in unconventional spaces.

    Canadian Opera Company


    The Canadian Opera Company is Canada's largest opera company and one of the largest in North America. 

    Professor Linda Hutcheon O.C. and Professor Michael Hutcheon M.D. 

    Linda Hutcheon is a University Professor in the Department of English and the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto.  In 2005 she won the Canada Council’s Killam Prize for the Humanities for scholarly achievement and in 2010, the Molson Prize of the Canada Council. In 2011, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.


    Michael Hutcheon is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Deputy Physician-in-Chief Education for the University Health Network/Mount Sinai Hospital.  His research has been supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 


    They're not siblings, they're hitched. 

    Mural Routes


    Mural Routes is the only member-based not-for-profit arts service organization in Canada dedicated to the creation, development and promotion of public wall art.



    Tafelmusik is an award-winning period instrument orchestra founded in 1979.  They perform works from the baroque and classical eras (and more) at the Trinity-St. Paul's Centre and tour extensively.

    Art Gallery of Ontario


    The Art Gallery of Ontario is one of North America's largest art museums.  It also offers a range of art classes for the public.

    Opera Atelier


    A world leader in period opera and ballet, particularly works from the Baroque era.  They are housed in the wonderful Elgin Theatre and tour extensively. 



    Led by Artistic Director Lawrence Cherney and Executive Director Susan Worthington, Soundstreams is a Toronto-based music presenter that commissions, develops, and showcases the work of contemporary Canadian composers and their international counterparts. 

    Tarragon Theatre


    Tarragon Theatre’s mission is to create, develop and produce new plays and to provide the conditions for new work to thrive. As a complement to the new work created here, Tarragon presents new plays from all parts of the country, revives significant Canadian plays and produces international work, contemporary and classical.

    Toronto Symphony Orchestra


    Founded in 1922, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is one of Canada's most important cultural institutions.

  • See you at the salon!

    Thank you

  • Email updates

    Never miss a beat! Sign up here for email updates about what's going on with the salon.  We send out one monthly newsletter and one reminder before each salon.

  • Corporate Sponsors, Donors, and Volunteers

    Thank you to our corporate sponsors, donors, and volunteers. Without their help it wouldn't be possible to continue producing high quality programming.


    Burgundy Asset Management

    Burgundy Asset Management was our presenting sponsor for the Canadian Opera Company edition of Salon West featuring Alexander Neef on October 23, 2015. 

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