'Happy Little Trees' by Cyrc at 313 Design Market. Part of the 2023 DesignTO Festival. Photo by Sandra Soghomonian.

Application Deadline
Friday, July 7, 2023 by 11:59pm ET

The DesignTO Festival brings people together to celebrate contemporary design across the city January 19-28, 2024.

DesignTO Festival is Canada’s leading and largest annual design festival that celebrates design as a multidisciplinary form of creative thinking and making, with over 100 exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week each January. Since 2011, the DesignTO Festival has welcomed almost one million visitors, showcased the work of 6K+ artists and designers, and reached 1.8 billion users through print and digital media.

If you have a venue you’d like to have activated with a window installation, event, or exhibition, we want to hear from you!

Potential venues include spaces in the City of Toronto such as shops, galleries, studios, cafés, schools, and lobbies.

How this works:

By applying to this call for host venues, you agree to host a creative project by an artist or designer during Festival Week, January 19-28, 2024. The duration and type of participation is entirely determined by you when you make your application. Here is an outline of project types:

  • A window installation runs the whole duration of Festival Week, and is visible to the public 24 hours a day from the outside of your venue. Depending on the space, the installation may also be viewable from inside your venue during regular business/gallery hours.
  • An event runs one day during Festival Week, for a set period of time. For example, events can include a talk, tour, product launch, film screening, party, or workshop.
  • An exhibition runs more than one day during Festival Week. It is open to the public during regular business/gallery hours, and may include a window component. It can start before Festival Week, and end after Festival Week. It may also include an opening or closing reception, or artist/designer’s talk.

If there is a preference for the type of work (e.g. product design or art) please let us know when you register. After we receive your application, we will work to pair you with an artist or designer. You will not be involved in the selection process, but you will receive information about the designer, and see their online portfolio or get information about what they are proposing to show. At that time, you will have 7 days to review this material, and make your final decision. If you decide that the project is unsuitable, we will try to propose another designer, or cancel your participation in this program. The review period occurs July through September 2023, and its success is based on your timely replies.

Dates and details are mutually determined by you and the designer. Your venue will be mentioned (by name and address) where and when applicable in relation to the listing of the project you are hosting. Details are provided below.

Each project listing includes the following:

  • A listing on the online Festival Schedule (one page with up to 6 images, 300-word description, and associated reception or other events);
  • A listing on the Festival mobile app (one page with up to 6 images, 40-word description, and associated reception or other events);
  • Inclusion in one “What to do” daily e-newsletter; and
  • DesignTO venue signage (e.g. Festival window cling, not project-specific).

To learn more and see examples of these benefits click here.


  • Small businesses (including shops, artist-run centres, and private galleries) $290 + HST
  • Large businesses and institutions $370 + HST

As a host venue, you agree to pay the registration fee as described below, and provide your venue free-of-charge to the designer. The designer is responsible for all costs of creating and mounting the creative project. All fees already include a $25 early registration discount. All fees will be invoiced after the designer pairing is confirmed.

Matchmaking Timeline

Jul 7, 2023

Host Venue Application Deadline (this application)

Jul 17 – Sep 11, 2023

Pairing Review Period

DesignTO will review Guest Designer applications on a rolling basis, assessing the characteristics and fit of the project with the selected venues. We will send proposed matches to the Host Venues for review. Host Venues will receive information about the designer, and see their online portfolio or get information about what they are proposing. At that time, Host Venues will have 7 days to review this material, and make their final decision. If they decide that the project is unsuitable, we will try to propose another designer, or cancel their participation in the program. Final deadline for Guest Designer Applications is September 11, 2023. 

Oct 6, 2023

All Venue-Designers pairings will be confirmed by this date.

Oct 20, 2023

Event Listing Deadline

Guest Designers will work with their Host Venues to compile the information for the event listing and submit it to DesignTO by this deadline.

Jan 19-28, 2024

14th Annual DesignTO Festival

Venues & Designers will work together to mount the project during Festival Week. Window installations must run for the entire week, events must take place during the week, and exhibitions must run during some part of the week. Window installations and exhibitions can start before and/or end after Festival Week. Please allow additional days for installation and tear-down, as mutually determined by you and the designer.


The 14th annual DesignTO Festival runs for 10 days from January 19-28, 2024.

You can read about the different ways to participate in the Festival and key deadlines here.

See last year’s roster of events, exhibitions, and window installations here.

– Be a part of Toronto’s vibrant art and design community
– Support the creative work of artists and designers
– Get exposure through the Festival’s website, mobile app, social media, press releases, and e-newsletters
– Meet and build relationships with new artists, designers, educators, curators, and manufacturers
– Engage your target audience for below market advertising rates

No. If you have both a venue and a creative project, then you should apply to the Festival as an Independent Project.

The host venue pays the registration fee.

Host Venues will be invoiced for the registration fee after the designer pairing is confirmed. Once confirmed, payment is required by e-transfer within 14 days. Institutions have the option to pay by cheque within 30 days. Late payments will incur a $50 fee.

If you withdraw your registration before November 1, 2023 we will refund your fee minus a $50 administration charge. After November 1, 2023 we cannot refund your fee.

The Event Listing Deadline is Friday, October 20, 2023. 

This is the deadline for submitting information about your project, as well as representative images, for your online event listing. For example, this information includes the title of your project, venue name and address, list of participating artists/designers, a short and long description of your project, and relevant dates and times, including venue/gallery hours for exhibitions. This information will be used to create your listings on the online Festival Schedule, Festival mobile app, “What to do” daily e-newsletter and website posts. 

If you would like to be notified when registration opens for the 2024 DesignTO Festival, click here to join our newsletter, ensuring you select ‘DesignTO Calls for Submissions: Exhibitions, Talks, Installations, Venues’.

Email questions to Olga Klosowski Schellenberg, Programs Coordinator, at [email protected] with this subject line: Host Venue Call + your name.