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October 31, 2017
Toronto designated a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts
The City of Toronto and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) are proud to announce that Toronto is the first Canadian city to be designated a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts for its leadership in film, music, digital media and forms of cultural expression using technology. Toronto joins the 116 existing member cities in UNESCO's Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

"Having helped to start the creative cities movement, I am proud to announce today Toronto's entry into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network," said Mayor John Tory. "This designation affirms that we are an international hub for innovation and inspiration. It affirms that Toronto's creative communities enhance our quality of life and economic vitality. We are pleased to be able to broaden our global connections through UNESCO's initiatives."

“Media Arts is such a powerful tool that can be used to create a sense of belonging as well as to help foster more inclusive cities," said Christina Cameron, President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. “We extend our congratulations to the City of Toronto for its leadership and are looking forward to working together in advancing creative solutions to today’s urban challenges.”

"It is ideal that Toronto is receiving this achievement on the United Nation's annual World Cities Day," said Councillor Michelle Holland (Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest), the Mayor's Innovation Economy Advocate, who first moved a motion that Toronto seek the designation. "This year's theme of Innovative Governance, Open Cities reinforces the positive role that cities can have in utilizing urbanization as a source of global development and social inclusion."

Created in 2004, the UCCN is organized into seven fields: crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts and music. Toronto is the 10th city to be designated a UNESCO Media Arts City. Other designated cities include Austin, Texas; Tel-Aviv, Israel; and Dakar, Senegal.

The designation is the result of a collaboration between the City and faculty from the University of Toronto and it is one of the ways that the City and the university will support existing and future relationships in order to achieve common goals, as outlined in a recent memorandum of understanding signed by the City and university.

For more information about the UCCN, visit

Toronto's arts and culture sector employs nearly 174,000 people and annually contributes $11.3 billion to the city's economy. In 2016, investment in Toronto's domestic and foreign film, television and digital productions rose to an all-time record of $2.01 billion. Investment in the animation and visual effects industries has increased by 363 per cent since 2014.

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO serves as a bridge between Canadians and the vital work of UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. By promoting UNESCO values, priorities and programs in Canada and by bringing the voices of Canadian experts to the international stage, the commission contributes to a peaceful, equitable and sustainable future that leaves no one behind.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto is honouring Canada's 150th birthday with "TO Canada with Love," a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at and on Instagram at

Media Contact
Shane Gerard
Strategic Communications

Angèle Cyr
Canadian Commission for UNESCO
1-800-263-5588 ext. 4168



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