Artists in Small and Rural Municipalities in Canada
IssueCulture in small and rural communities
This report provides an analysis of artists residing in small and rural municipalities in Canada. “Small and rural” municipalities are defined as those municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents. Artists include actors, choreographers, craftspeople, composers, conductors, dancers, directors, musicians, producers, singers, visual artists and writers. Individuals are classified in the occupation in which they worked the most hours between May 7 and 13, 2006 (the census reference week).
One-quarter of the 140,000 artists in Canada reside in small and rural municipalities (36,500 artists, or 26%). This is almost exactly the same number of artists that reside in the cities of Toronto and Montreal combined (35,700).
West Bolton (in Quebec’s Eastern Townships) is the only municipality in Canada with over 10% of its labour force in arts occupations. West Bolton’s concentration of artists (10.47%) is over 13 times the Canadian average (0.77%) and more than four times the level in Vancouver, the large city with the highest concentration of artists (2.35%).
Cape Dorset, Nunavut, is the second-ranked municipality (9.47% of its labour force in arts occupations). According to Cape Dorset’s website, carving and printmaking are major economic activities in the municipality that calls itself the “Inuit Art Capital of Canada”.
The third-ranked municipality is Comox-Strathcona K, a Regional District Electoral Area encompassing Denman and Hornby Islands in British Columbia (9.17% of its labour force in arts occupations). Just off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, the islands are known to both tourists and residents for their strong artistic communities.
As shown in Figure 1, of the ten small and rural municipalities with the highest concentration of artists, six are in British Columbia, three are in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, and one is in Nunavut. These 10 small and rural municipalities have much higher artistic concentrations than larger Canadian municipalities (i.e., those with a population of 50,000 or more). In fact, Vancouver, the large municipality with the highest concentration of artists, would rank only 21st among the smaller municipalities.
The full report contains many more details about artists in small and rural municipalities in each province and territory, including interesting details about artists in municipalities such as Rocky View (Alberta), Corman Park and Yorkton in Saskatchewan, Steinbach (Manitoba), Niagara-on-the-Lake and Meaford in Ontario, Hampton (New Brunswick), Wolfville (Nova Scotia), as well as Portugal Cove-St. Philips and Corner Brook in Newfoundland and Labrador.