Cultural and Heritage Activities of Canadians in 2005
IssueArts attendance / Consumer spending / Local information
Based on Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey, this recent report from Hill Strategies Research provides statistical information about the cultural and heritage activities of Canadians in 2005 as well as changes in these activities between 1992 and 2005.
Overall, the report finds that most cultural and heritage activities attracted roughly the same percentage of Canadians in 2005 as in 1992. Given the population growth between 1992 and 2005, all cultural and heritage activities saw an increase in the absolute number of Canadians attending, visiting, reading, watching or listening.
One of the most striking findings of the report is that there was a strong and consistent increase in art gallery visitors between 1992 and 2005. The overall percentage of Canadians visiting an art gallery increased from 19.6% in 1992 to 26.7% in 2005. Exactly 7 million Canadians visited an art gallery in 2005.
There was also an increase, albeit much less pronounced, in the percentage of Canadians visiting any type of museum. Just over one-third of Canadians (35.2%) 15 years of age or older, or 9.2 million people, visited a museum in 2005, an increase from 32.7% in 1992.
Regarding the performing arts, 41.2% of the population 15 or older (10.8 million Canadians) attended a concert or performance by professional artists of music, dance, theatre or opera (excluding cultural festivals) in 2005. This is very close to the performing arts attendance rate in 1992 (42.4%), and a distinct increase from the 1998 rate (37.6%).
Contrary to fears concerning a general decline of classical audiences, classical music saw a slight increase in the percentage of the population attending a performance between 1992 and 2005.
In 2005, as a leisure activity (not for paid work or studies):
- 86.7% of the population 15 or older read a newspaper (22.6 million Canadians);
- 78.2% read a magazine (20.4 million Canadians); and
- 66.6% read at least one book (17.4 million Canadians).
About four in 10 Canadians read at least one book each month in 2005.
The 17.4 million Canadians reading at least one book is slightly larger than the 15.9 million Canadians going to at least one movie at a theatre or drive-in.
Between 1992 and 2005, the rate of book reading remained stable, with two-thirds of the population reading at least one book in 1992, 1998 and 2005. Magazine reading decreased slightly and newspaper reading decreased more substantially between 1992 and 2005.
One in three Canadians visited an historic site in 2005 (almost 9 million people), and the same number visited a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, planetarium or observatory. Nearly one in two Canadians visited a conservation area or nature park in 2005 (12 million people). One in six Canadians visited conservation areas or nature parks at least five times during the year.
Between 1992 and 2005:
- There was a significant increase in the percentage of Canadians visiting an historic site;
- The percentage of Canadians visiting a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, planetarium or observatory decreased slightly; and
- The percentage of Canadians visiting a conservation area or nature park changed very little.
In 2005, six in 10 Canadians went to at least one movie at a theatre or drive-in (about 16 million people), while eight in 10 watched a video (over 20 million people). Both activities showed increases between 1992 and 2005.
The report also highlights the music listening activities of Canadians: 28.6% listened to downloaded music in 2005 (7.5 million people), compared with 83.9% who listened to music recorded on CDs or other formats (about 22 million people). Very few Canadians relied exclusively on downloaded music in 2005.