Arts and Culture
Arts, sport and culture are key contributors to a thriving community. Our yearly slate of food festivals, cultural events and sports programmes provides something for everyone to enjoy. Our collection of public art – the largest in London – features some of today’s most well-respected artists. Whether it’s attending a concert or simply taking a walk through our parks, the opportunities to take in art and culture at Canary Wharf are endless.
In 2019 we hosted 160 events, which attracted an estimated 720,000 people. Visitors enjoyed a variety of live music, art exhibitions, sports competitions and theatre throughout the year, including our popular summer concert series held in Canada Square Park. This year, in support of our Breaking the Plastic Habit programme we removed all single-use plastic from our events and provided performers and staff with canned water as an alternative to bottled water. We also switched to fully biodegradable picnic mats, which are endorsed by the Oxobiodegradable Plastics Association.
Outside of the Estate, our summer sports programme supports local people in getting active in the summer across 23 different programmes, including sports such as swimming, karate, football and cricket clubs. In 2019, 3,200 people participated in activities funded through the programme.
Short Story Stations
In the UK, over 53 million books are left unfinished every year, and 30% of people in the UK admit it’s been over six months since they last finished a book…
In the UK, over 53 million books are left unfinished every year, and 30% of people in the UK admit it’s been over six months since they last finished a book. The findings prompted us to install the UK’s first Short Story Stations – vending machines that dispense free one, three and five-minute stories at the touch of a button. The four stations located throughout Canary Wharf aim to help people get back in touch with reading, offering short, accessible stories covering a range of genres including classical literature, crime and feel-good fiction. With 70% of people saying they would rather read a book than scroll through social media, the stations are designed to help people unwind on their breaks and commutes and fall back in love with reading. In 2019, over 80,000 stories were printed on FSC®-certified paper using 100% vegetable-based ink.
Our annual Winter Lights festival was a hit yet again in 2019, with approximately 500,000 visitors braving the cold to take in 21 light installations across Canary Wharf. Artists were asked to consider the theme of sustainability and the environment, and many of the pieces were created using recycled and sustainable materials, while others conveyed strong messaging about the environment and the climate crisis. These included Zac Greening’s Blue Neuron made entirely out of reused plastic bottles, and Alexander Reichstein’s Last Parade, which showcased endangered animals in a breath-taking light display on the quayside walls.
The mixed-use scheme will provide 1.9 million sq. ft of office space, 490,000 sq. ft of retail and over 3,000 new homes, and will feature 9 acres of riverside parks and gardens.
Since opening in 2015 we have invited the local community to bring to life the performance space at the Crossrail Place Roof Garden. Local dance, music and amateur dramatics groups and schools can use the space to show their work to friends and family and working with The Space, we curated two community art festivals, Early Bloom and Late Bloom, which featured local acts. Over 200 individuals took part in the festivals, which were attended by over 1,200 audience members and featured 37 different acts including Band for Life, an organisation that brings music therapy to people living with chronic illnesses.
Sports Personality of the Year
Our 18th annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards were held in April 2019, and nine-year-old Karissa Ho impressed the judges enough to win the Sports Personality of the Year accolade. Karissa competes in Goju Ryu Karate and represented Great Britain at the Japan Karate Federation Goju Kai World Championships.
Karissa attended the awards ceremony in Canary Wharf’s East Wintergarden and received her trophy from international cricketer Monty Panesar. Local sporting groups were also recognised for their achievements, including Karissa’s own club Ko Yudansha Karate, Vallance Disability Football Team and the London Cricket League.