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The Quilt of Belonging

The Iconic Celebration of Canadian Diversity Comes to Hamilton

Between July 10th and August 16th,  The Heart of Ontario with The Cotton Factory will host the Quilt of Belonging; a 120-foot textile art project comprised of 263 blocks each of which was created to recognize a different part of Canadian diversity. It is a celebration of common humanity and promotes compassion among people.

Although the installation will be a sight to behold on its own, The Heart of Ontario has also organized a myriad of daily activities presented by different cultural groups within the region of Hamilton, Halton, and Brant.

Side angle of the quilt of belonging

History of the Quilt

Photo of the Quilt's founder Esther Bryan

The creation of the quilt began with artist Esther Bryan in the fall of 1998. The dream of making this artwork was born when she recognized that everyone has a story to tell. She believed that each culture holds a unique beauty and that the experiences and values of our past inform who we are today. In this textile mosaic, each person can experience a sense of belonging and find a place in the overall design – there is “A Place for All”. Together they record human history in textile, illustrating the beauty, complexity and sheer size of the human story.

The project’s foundation relied on extensive research into Canada’s many cultural faces. Through thousands of letters, calls, and visits to immigration centers, embassies, churches, and various other cultural organizations, it took more than 6 years for volunteers to locate representatives from each of the 263 cultural groups represented on the Quilt. Their research revealed information on design, fabrics, and techniques that were integrated into the Quilt and also went towards to informing textbooks and educational websites throughout Canada.

quilt of belonging belgiumblock_128_Denmark-1 quilt block of Shuswap

Each block on the Quilt portrays the rich cultural legacy of all the First People in Canada and every nation of the world at the dawn of the new Millennium. The range of materials used is as diverse as the cultures that they hail from. From sealskin to African mud-moths, and embroidered silk to gossamer wings of butterflies, each block is distinct both in the types materials used and their originating culture. The Quilt of Belonging website has created an interactive online tool, that allows you to view each block of the Quilt and discover which country it comes from and the history behind the materials and their native culture. You can view it here.


Daily Programing and Exhibition Schedule

The Quilt of Belonging Exhibition will host a variety of daily activities throughout its stay at Hamilton’s Cotton Factory. These include weekly demonstrations, weekend workshops, Thursday night talks, Friday night performances, Saturday night concerts and a grand opening event (July 10th)

The Peace by Piece; Stitching Together Canadian Stories Exhibition and weekday programming is free of charge during visitation hours.

Monday 10:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday 10:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday 10:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m.

Thursday 10:00 a.m – 9:00 p.m.

Friday 10:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday 12:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday 12:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m.

NOTE: All weekend workshops have a minimum charge to participate and online registration is required.

To view the full list of events and to register visit www.bruha.com

For groups of 8 or more, group booking is required for personalized tours. Please contact bev.scott@theheartofontario.com for more information.  

Front view of the quilt of belonging

The Quilt of Belonging is an immense dedication to the Canadian ideology of diversity and acceptance. Be sure not to miss this awestriking work of art. To learn more about the Quilt and its history visit the Quilt’s website.