Making Space for Culture in Ontario’s Cities

Yesterday, Ontario’s Minister of Culture Caroline Di Cocco came by the Centre for Social Innovation to give her thanks and congratulations for the work of the Municipal Cultural Planning Partnership commemorating an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant of $230,500.

BubblebattleMunicipal cultural planning is an emerging global practice designed to support the development of culturally vibrant cities, towns and villages: the arts, creative industries, cultural tourism, downtown revitalization, for social inclusion and engaging youth. In a province where for many citizens big-C “Culture” is seen as a big city frill, this shift is nothing less than a revolution. (Dare I call it a “renaissance”?)

The power of the tools and practices of cultural planning comes from their authentic, grassroots, community-driven approach.

The community defines what culture means to it. For citizens of the lovely Lake Huron town of Goderich, a walk down the beach and the unique octagonal town square are cultural experiences. For communities with strong connections to native roots, the preservation of oral traditions is more relevant and critical than the next performance of The Marriage of Figaro at the Canadian Opera Company’s fabulous new opera house in Toronto. In communities everywhere, providing young people with the tools of creativity and self-expression is critical for our long-term prosperity and social well-being.

I look forward to working with this group as we develop a community strategy for a province-wide community of practice as well as a communication strategy that makes good use of a new website currently in development to be hosted at http://www.ontariomcp.ca/.

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