The History of Small World Music
Countless multicultural backgrounds, histories and customs

Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Countless multicultural backgrounds, histories and customs make up the fabric of this proud country, with citizens who not only celebrate their Canadian pride but their own international ancestries as well. Toronto-based music charity, Small World Music Society, celebrates this rich, culturally diverse world through a language everyone understands–Music.

In 1997, veteran musician Alan Davis became inspired to use music as a means to connect communities together and celebrate diversity. Davis, who felt motivated by the actions of musicians who showcased different cultures of music, created Small World Music as a way to both “share cultural experience” and “build bridges between cultures.” With the mission of educating, celebrating and showcasing cultural diversity and Toronto’s multicultural talent, he built a small team to begin hosting music events in the city.

After a series of successful events, the Small World Music team felt it was time to expand and provide a way to showcase talent to the people of Toronto on a larger scale. In 2002, Davis and team kicked off the first ever Small World Music Festival with a selection of music performances. 

Now in its 15th year, the festival comprises of 10 music-filled days of must-hear international music at some of Toronto’s hottest venues. The festival, as well as the charity itself, has gained a reputation for creating innovative programming and debuting both great local and global artists. Performers like Dakha Brakha, Calypso Rose and Kobo Town, Bajofondo, Zakir Hussain and Aline Morales have graced the Small World Music stage. 

From the big performances to the in-house space, Small World Music has found its home in concert venues across the city, as well as their charity headquarters in downtown Toronto. But in 2014, the charity opened a mainstay performance and development centre. The Small World Music Centre at Toronto Artscape’s Youngplace facility serves as a hub for music lovers, performers and members of the community to enjoy global music.

The Shaw Street-located theatre in Toronto houses an ongoing lineup of performances, workshops and lectures. In its beautiful hardwood stage, more than 70 guests can take in the intimate shows and experience the culture of Small World Music’s diverse lineup. The Centre is also known for its “Virtual Concert Hall,” which features video and audio recording to display concert footage well outside of the location.

With almost two decades serving as ‘the beat of the globe in the heart of Toronto’, the charity has helped to run over 500 events–and that number isn’t slowing down. In 2016, Small World Music will celebrate the 15th anniversary of their festival by teaming up with Art Spin, a bicycle and arts initiative, to present in/FUTURE, a multidisciplinary arts event at Ontario Place.

For more information about Small World Music Society, head to

Written By: Justin Carreiro