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June 10, 2003
Council Committee gives green light to new culture masterplan
Council's Economic Development and Parks Committee today approved a bold new
blueprint to position Toronto as an international cultural capital and define
culture's role as an engine of economic and social development.

Supporters of the 10-year action plan say that it will enable Toronto's economy
to compete more effectively on the world stage.

"Promoting Toronto as an international cultural capital will provide us with
the high quality of life that we need to attract educated investors,
entrepreneurs and professionals, and to keep our best and brightest right here
at home where they belong," said Councillor Michael Feldman, the Committee's
Vice Chair.

The city's cultural industries currently employ 190,000 people and contribute
$9 billion to Toronto's annual gross domestic product.

The Culture Plan proposes 60 recommendations that will allow Toronto to fulfill
its potential as a 'Creative City,' or global cultural capital, including:

· Developing University Avenue as an Avenue of the Arts, linking cultural
showpieces along this corridor from the new Opera House to the Royal Ontario
· Building a landmark cultural and historical showcase that will tell the story
of Toronto to residents and visitors from around the world;
· Turning Toronto into a global cultural magnet by capitalizing on $233 million
in new federal and provincial funding for major cultural projects;
· Beautifying Toronto by committing one per cent of the budgets of public and
private developments for public art;
· Introducing new measures to preserve and promote Torontonians' most beloved
heritage buildings;
· Benchmarking Toronto's financial support for culture to levels of spending in
cities that compete against Toronto for new investment and jobs.

Many of the recommendations focus on providing Torontonians with new
opportunities to join in cultural activities.

"Community arts strengthen the health and social well-being of Toronto because
they draw people into the mainstream of community activities. These programs
enhance Toronto's uniqueness and diversity because they help Torontonians from
all walks of life take pride in their contributions to their communities," said
Rita Davies, Executive Director of Toronto Culture.

Several leading members of Toronto's cultural sector appeared before the
Committee to voice their support for the plan.

"The Toronto Culture Plan gets a standing ovation," said Karen Kain, National
Ballet of Canada spokesperson. "It masterfully choreographs for us a Cultural
Renaissance for this city, one long overdue!"

"It's a great plan and it couldn't come at a better time," said Canadian
Filmmaker Atom Egoyan.

The plan will now be forwarded to Council for discussion at its meeting in
June. To view the plan, visit

Media Contact
Rita Davies
Executive Director, Toronto Culture



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