Municipal Cultural Investment in Five Large Canadian Cities

A study prepared for the City of Vancouver, the City of Calgary, the City of Toronto, the City of Ottawa and the Ville de Montréal

This report compares the municipal cultural investment in five of Canada's largest cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal.

The municipal cultural investments included in this study are operating, grant and capital expenditures related to the performing arts, visual and media arts, crafts, design, museums, heritage, special events, multidisciplinary activities, creative and cultural industries, city-owned cultural facilities, cultural districts, public art, and other art purchases. The net investment figures reported in this summary exclude funds transferred from other levels of government as well as other sources of revenue. The net investment figures therefore provide estimates of what was spent from the municipal tax base. The full report contains more information about gross investment figures.

In each city, the net cultural investment in 2009 was:

  • $27.4 million in Vancouver (population 578,000)
  • $22.4 million in Ottawa (population 812,100)
  • $41.9 million in Calgary (population 988,200)
  • $89.0 million in Montréal (population 1,620,700)
  • $47.5 million in Toronto (population 2,503,300)

In the five cities combined, the average total net cultural investment amounted to $35 per resident in 2009. In each of the five cities:

  • Montréal's cultural investment of $55 per capita ranked first in 2009.
  • Vancouver ranked second, with a net amount of $47 per person invested in the cultural sector in 2009.
  • Calgary's net cultural investment was $42 per capita in 2009, ranking the city third among the five cities.
  • The City of Ottawa's net cultural investment of $28 per capita in 2009 ranked fourth.
  • Toronto's net cultural investment of $19 per person in 2009 ranked last among the five cities.

The average net cultural investment of $35 per resident in 2009 represents an increase from the levels in prior years ($24 in 2006 and 2007, and $29 in 2008). Net cultural investment increased in all five cities during this timeframe. Calgary's growth in net cultural investment (175%) was much larger than any other city. Ottawa's growth (90%) was also well above the five-city average (48%). The growth rates in Vancouver (44%) and Montréal (34%) fell somewhat below the five-city average. The growth in net cultural investment in Toronto (14%) was much lower than in the other cities. (These figures have not been adjusted for inflation or population growth.)

The report also includes brief information about library operating support.

The full report, Executive Summary, and media summary are available below. The full report examines in much greater detail the cultural investments by the five large cities and also provides a brief summary of each city's policies, plans and non-financial supports for the cultural sector.

Read the full report
Related documentation
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Executive Summary337.74 KB
Media release
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Media summary132.52 KB