Given that some of the chatter surrounding the big Pride/Mammoliti/QuAIA story has bled into general debates about the city’s funding for cultural events, with some asking why Pride can’t be self-sufficient and operate without an annual city grant, I though it worth a second to refer back to a council vote that took place on May 18, 2011. With unanimous support — including from Mayor Rob Ford — council approved a report titled “Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan for Toronto.”
Here’s an excerpt:
The City’s investment achieves greater leverage when the City provides support that would otherwise go wanting. The City is in the best position to understand, evaluate, and facilitate support for a myriad of events and organizations across the entire city. The City’s investment can also be the initiator for a whole stream of additional funding from a wide variety of other sources. Often, the City’s support can come via in-kind services or the waiving of fees or other charges. Although highly leveraged by funding from other sources, the City’s investment in culture is tremendously important. To maintain and build significant competitive advantage, the City needs to bring its commitment to culture to be more in line with that of other global creative capitals.
We recommend that the City keep pace with international competitors by making a firm commitment to sustain Toronto’s cultural sector and to position Toronto as a leading, globally competitive Creative Capital.
We care deeply about the future of our city. We recognize that in a time of necessary fiscal restraint, the City must think carefully about its investments in order to ensure they are working for the good of all taxpayers. This report details how targeted investments in the cultural economy can generate significant returns for the people who live and work here, and come to visit our great city. Toronto can create jobs and wealth, attract and retain talent, build stronger neighbourhoods, and build a prosperous city through culture. We have an opportunity to capitalize on our strong economic position relative to many of our competitors by recognizing that culture is the fundamental driver of Toronto’s future prosperity. The stage is set. The curtain has gone up. We must act now.
So if any councillor starts making noises about why should the city fund cultural events, point them to this report. They probably voted for it.