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Digging for Data Gold: Ottawa Cultural Statistics

September 11, 201911 September 2019

Local and provincial data on arts and culture

Ottawa Cultural Alliance


Kelly Hill, Hill Strategies Research Inc.

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This presentation, conducted at the Ottawa Cultural Summit, delves into local statistics related to cultural activities, the diversity of cultural participation, cultural charities, volunteers, and donors.

Regarding cultural activities, the research team commissioned data from Statistics Canada on six indicators of cultural participation at the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) level and prepared comparisons between residents of Ottawa-Gatineau and the seven other largest CMAs in Canada (Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver).

A key finding of the presentation is that participation rates of Ottawa-Gatineau residents are higher than the national average for all six cultural activities and “higher than or (essentially) equal to the average in 7 other large Census Metropolitan Areas”. In particular, the museum and art gallery attendance rate is higher for Ottawa-Gatineau residents than residents of any other CMA and any province.

Regarding the diversity of cultural participation, the presentation provides data for all large urban areas in Ontario, given that local data were not available at this level of detail. The presentation outlines two key findings in this area: female cultural participation is generally higher than that of men; and cultural participation rates are similar between racialized and non-racialized Ontarians.

The presentation includes an analysis of the number of registered cultural charities in Ottawa-Gatineau and comparison CMAs, using Canada Revenue Agency data. The research team found that there are 251 cultural charities in Ottawa-Gatineau, representing 8.7% of all local charities in the area. This is essentially equal to the average of the seven other CMAs (8.8%). The Vancouver CMA has the largest number of cultural charities as a proportion of all local charities (10.2%). On a per-capita basis, Ottawa-Gatineau has 19.0 cultural charities per 100,000 population, above the average for the seven other CMAs (17.6). The Winnipeg CMA has the highest per-capita figure: 25.9 cultural charities per 100,000 population.

The presentation provides indirect estimates of cultural volunteers and donors based on provincial data for cultural volunteers and donors combined with local data for all volunteers and donors. In Ontario, 2.5% of residents volunteered in a cultural organization in 2013. The presentation estimates that 2.8% of Ottawa-Gatineau volunteered in a cultural organization during the year. In 2013, 3.4% of Ontario residents donated to a cultural organization, compared with an estimate of 3.3% for Ottawa-Gatineau residents.

The presentation also includes a summary of a number of other reports containing cultural data relevant to Ottawa-Gatineau as well as a brief overview of research into culture and well-being.

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