The cultural planning documents cited below reflect the wishes and goals of many communities articulated during hundreds of public consultations across the city. As Toronto has evolved, the passion that ignites cultural development has remained steadfast; arts and culture are vital to neighbourhoods and community life, fundamental to long-term economic prosperity and key to building Toronto's local, national and international reputation as a creative city.
To help guide future potential investment when opportunities arise, Toronto Cultural Services conducted a ward-by-ward consultation and planning process to determine local priorities. This 2014 report contains the meeting findings along with individual ward profiles.
Applause filled the City Hall Council Chamber May 18, 2011, as Councillors voted unanimously to approve a revamped culture plan. Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of the City’s Economic Development Committee, pictured, rose to thank Robert Foster, Karen Kain and Jim Prentice who co-chaired an advisory council of arts and business experts who worked with City staff to draft the report in record time.
"We believe that the recommendations and action plan it contains can help strengthen Toronto’s economy and enhance our competitive advantage on the world stage,” said Councillor Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre). “Culture is an economic catalyst we can and must maximize for the benefit of all our communities."
The Creative City Planning Framework was developed as a major supporting document for the Mayor's economic development strategy, the Agenda for Prosperity (2008).
The document argues that in order to compete for top talent in the international labour market, Toronto can gain a competitive advantage by maintaining robust cultural and creative industries.
A healthy creative sector also helps to increase productivity and economic growth through research, development and the commercialization of ideas.
A cultural planning model that leverages the connections between place, culture and the economy, encourages investment in emerging sectors and nurtures creative hubs and districts in the city.
- Creative City Planning Framework - AuthentiCity; City of Toronto
- Funding to Arts and Cultural Organizations by the City of Toronto, 1990-2008 - Martin Prosperity Institute
On October 24, 2008, the Schulich School of Business, York University Robarts Center for Canadian Studies, in partnership with the City of Toronto, invited the authors and leaders of four major cultural policy documents to tell the stories behind the policies and plans, which were developed from 1974-2008 in Toronto.
The symposium proceedings and the documents have been digitized and installed on a new website that also includes an extensive bibliography and timeline of cultural policy development in Toronto over the past 35 years. Audio files are available on the Presentations page.
Adopted by City Council in 2003, Culture Plan for the Creative City is a 10-year strategy outlining 63 recommendations aimed at positioning Toronto as an international cultural capital and placing culture at the heart of the city's economic and social agenda.
During 2001 and 2002, Toronto Culture held numerous public meetings and focus groups across the city with stakeholders and interested citizens.
Through this series of consultations and ongoing research, a plan was developed that addressed a wide range of issues including resources for growth and change, cultural facilities and infrastructure, public and private partnership, and innovative financing.
- Culture Plan for the Creative City- City of Toronto, Toronto Culture (3.78MB)
- Hear Rita Davies on development of this plan on the Presentations page of Toronto's Cultural Policy and Plans 1974-2008: Examining the Legacy.
When Toronto was amalgamated in 1998, the newly formed City of Toronto Council requested that a Culture Plan be drafted to help guide the city's cultural development for the next decade.
In April 2001, Council received the preliminary working document, The Creative City: A Workprint. The document provided the foundation for public consultation and engagement; it called for Toronto to use its arts, culture and heritage assets to position itself as a Creative City, a global cultural capital.
This discussion document was developed with a growing understanding that in addition to being fundamental to our quality of life, arts, culture and heritage are the vital centre of Toronto's expanding economy.
- The Creative City: A Workprint - City of Toronto, Toronto Culture
In 2001 E.R.A. Architects Inc. and Jeff Evenson completed a report for the City of Toronto examining the cultural and heritage opportunities to revitalize the city’s waterfront. Canada's Urban Waterfront - Waterfront Culture and Heritage Plan presented seven cultural corridors, identified to create a planning framework to support the resources that comprise the cultural landscape of the central waterfront. It is a platform on which to structure plans, identify projects and manage implementation strategies based on cultural resources.
Metro's Culture Plan was the first attempt by the Metro government to re-define the region's scope of responsibilies and to broaden the definition of culture to include arts, heritage, libraries and cultural industries.
A similar approach was simultaneously adopted by the federal and provincial governments.
The report was developed after more than three years of public consultation, research and discussion and was adopted at the beginning of a major recession that hit Toronto in the early 1990's. New statistics on the economic dimension of culture in Toronto are included in this report.
- Metro's Culture Plan: Redefining Our Cultural Framework - Metro Toronto Government (3.6MB)
- Hear Kathleen Sharpe on the development of this plan on the Presentations page of Toronto's Cultural Policy and Plans 1974-2008: Examining the Legacy.
At the request of the Toronto Arts Council, Tom Hendry developed this policy document for the City of Toronto. This piece, along with No Vacancy (1988), laid the foundation for the establishment of Artscape.
Cultural Capital chronicles the role of the Toronto Arts Council as the voice of the artistic and cultural communities in the city. Hendry, a playwright, arts activist and accountant, delivered the first major study of financial impact of the arts and cultural sector in Toronto.
Major recommendations in the report include a call for the City of Toronto to increase municipal spending on arts and culture on a per capita basis, to reaffirm the commitment to arm's length funding for the arts, and to offer low-cost or no-cost studios to visual artists, designers and City-supported arts organizations.
- Cultural Capital: The Care and Feeding of Toronto's Artistic Assets - Toronto Arts Council, Tom Hendry (1.9MB)
- Hear Tom Hendry on the development of this plan on the Presentations page of Toronto's Cultural Policy and Plans 1974-2008: Examining the Legacy.