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May 3, 2001
Council accepts first stage towards Toronto's new culture plan
  
Economic Development, Culture & Tourism -- Toronto City Council has endorsed a
report from the Culture Division that details why and how culture, heritage and
knowledge industries will bootstrap Toronto into a select group of global
cities.

"As The Culture Workprint points out, the challenges are great, but the
opportunities are huge," says Councillor Michael Feldman (Ward 10, York
Centre), Chair of the Economic Development and Parks Committee. "If we want to
make our mark on the world stage, we have to rethink the way we put money into
the arts and culture sector, bearing in mind the central role it will play in
the city's economic and social future."

The Culture Workprint lays out the facts about the current state of the arts,
culture, heritage and knowledge industries in the amalgamated city, and looks
toward opening a public discussion on the development of Toronto as the
Creative City of the future:

The Culture Workprint points out that

- More than 10 per cent of Toronto's taxpayers are employed in cultural,
knowledge and heritage industries.

- Every dollar Toronto invests in its cultural and heritage institutions
produces $2 in tax revenue, and calls up $10 in grants and donations from
public and private donors. The City's $11 million in annual arts grants levers
hundreds of millions in economic activity.

- Toronto is asset rich but cash poor, with the Culture Division responsible
for 60 cultural facilities and a real estate portfolio worth $360 million, but
with maintenance obligations roughly double its current budget.

- The City of Toronto spends $11 (the equivalent of six subway tokens a person
per year) on culture. New York City spends $63, and Vancouver, half our size,
spends $21 a person annually. Each of those municipalities has a range of
revenues available that do not exist here. Toronto is trying to compete with
its hands tied.

- Our cultural diversity is our greatest asset, linking us to the stories and
dreams of every culture in the world.

The Culture Workprint proposals include:

· Creation of a 21st century museum of Toronto, a tourist destination on the
waterfront where Toronto's story can be told

- Outreach to underserviced communities to harness art to make a difference for
troubled youth, and to connect the city to our flourishing youth culture

- Consideration of allocating one per cent of Toronto's capital budget to fund
public art

- Changing the City's relationship to its major cultural institutions from
donor to partner in Creative City building

- Review of the City's management of its cultural assets

- Exploration of the City's management of its cultural assets

- Establishment of City-wide heritage preservation policies

- Promotion of Toronto as a pre-Broadway venue

- Establishment of a marketing grants program to promote what's happening
downtown to the GTA and to bring Toronto to the attention of the burgeoning
U.S. and European markets

During the coming months, Toronto's Culture Division will conduct a series of
open community forums to discuss these proposals, which will lead to the
development of the Culture Plan, to be reviewed by Council early in 2002.

"The Culture Plan will be shaped by Torontonians and be reflective of Toronto's
social and economic realities," said Rita Davies, Managing Director of Toronto
Culture Division. "Toronto's Culture Plan will celebrate our cultural vitality
and diversity and will provide the strategic direction to enhance Toronto's
economic competitiveness through the growth of the cultural sector."


Media Contact
Access Toronto
416-338-0338

 

 

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