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Canadians’ Arts, Culture and Heritage Activities in 2010

Record levels of participation in arts, culture and heritage activities in 2010

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February 15, 201215 February 2012

This report provides insights into the number and percentage of Canadians 15 or older who, in 2010:

  • Attended live performances;
  • Visited art galleries and other museums;
  • Visited historic sites and other heritage organizations;
  • Read a newspaper, magazine or book;
  • Watched movies or videos; or
  • Listened to recorded music.

The report summarizes data on participation in arts, culture and heritage activities during the 12 months prior to the survey, including information about the frequency of participation. Where comparable data is available, trends in participation between 1992 and 2010 are also highlighted. The data is drawn from Statistics Canada’s General Social Surveys of 1992, 1998, 2005 and 2010, in-depth telephone surveys of Canadians 15 years of age or older.

Canadians’ participation in arts, culture and heritage activities reached record levels in 2010

The percentage of Canadians participating in most of the 18 activities measured in the report – including art galleries, museums, festivals, historic sites, book reading, and more – reached record levels in 2010, higher than in 1992, 1998 and 2005, when this type of survey was also conducted.

The report also shows that, for many activities, there was a substantial recent increase in participation (i.e., between 2005 and 2010).

This means that a broader range of Canadians participated in arts, culture and heritage activities in 2010 than in prior survey years. However, this does not necessarily mean that arts, culture and heritage organizations are achieving record attendance levels, as the survey questions regarding frequency of participation are not specific enough to calculate overall attendance. In addition, the increase in attendance may be spread over a larger number of arts, culture and heritage organizations in 2010 than in 1992.

All Canadians participated in an arts, culture or heritage activity in 2010

In 2010, all Canadians 15 or older (99.7%, or 28.0 million people) participated in at least one of the 18 arts, culture or heritage activities. Because of changes in the survey wording over time, trends in overall participation rates cannot be calculated between 1992 and 2010.

Other key groupings of the participation data show that:

  • 47.8% of Canadians 15 or older visited a museum in 2010.
  • 72.4% attended a performing arts event or a cultural festival in 2010.
  • 73.8% visited a heritage venue (including historic sites, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, planetariums, observatories, conservation areas and nature parks) in 2010.
  • 97.5% read a newspaper, magazine or book in 2010.
  • 87.2% watched a movie or a video in 2010.
  • 86.7% listened to downloaded music or music on CDs in 2010.

Detailed statistics

As noted above, there was an increase in participation in many arts, culture and heritage activities between 1992 and 2010, including the percentage of Canadians:

  • Visiting an art gallery: from 19.6% in 1992 to 35.7% in 2010.
  • Visiting a museum: from 32.7% in 1992 to 47.8% in 2010.
  • Attending a cultural festival: from 24.6% in 1998 to 37.2% in 2010. (This question was not asked in 1992.)
  • Attending a cultural or heritage performance: from 11.8% in 1992 to 23.0% in 2010.
  • Visiting an historic site: from 27.1% in 1992 to 45.7% in 2010.
  • Visiting a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, planetarium or observatory: from 35.7% in 1992 to 42.3% in 2010.
  • Visiting a conservation area or nature park: from 46.7% in 1992 to 57.9% in 2010.
  • Reading at least one book: from 66.8% in 1992 to 75.7% in 2010.
  • Going to at least one movie: from 49.2% in 1992 to 67.9% in 2010.
  • Watching at least one video (“rented or purchased, VHS or DVD format”): from 71.8% in 1992 to 79.1% in 2010.
  • Listening to downloaded music: from 28.6% in 2005 to 50.9% in 2010. (This question was not asked in 1992 or 1998.)

The percentage of Canadians listening to music on CDs decreased from 81.7% in 1992 to 75.8% in 2010. In addition, newspaper reading decreased from 93.2% of the population in 1992 to 86.4% in 2010.

The overall rate of magazine reading was at essentially the same level in 2010 (82.0%) as in 1992 (80.8%).

Given changes in the survey questionnaire, the theatre, pop music and classical music attendance statistics in 2010 are not comparable to previous years’ data.

Questions about other performing arts disciplines, such as dance or opera, were not asked in the 2005 or 2010 General Social Survey.

The full report, available below, provides much greater detail about the arts, culture and heritage activities of Canadians.

Full Report

Download full report

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