Arts and Culture

Unleash your creativity in Ontario

Arts and Culture

Unleash your creativity
in Ontario

Global Arts and Culture Industry

A catalyst for creativity and economic resilience
The global Arts and Culture industry is a diverse sector that encompasses various markets dedicated to artistic value, cultural goods, and creative endeavours. It plays a vital role in defining identities and values while driving economic growth and development worldwide. Key segments include the art market, museums and galleries, theatre and performing arts, and cultural events.
Despite challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has shown resilience, with the art market rebounding swiftly and embracing digitalization. Online art sales surged during lockdowns, fueled by trends like Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and crypto art. Leading auction houses like Christie's and Sotheby's dominate global sales.
UNESCO estimates that there are approximately 104,000 museums worldwide. Roughly 60% of these institutions are located in North America and Western Europe. Overall, the art and culture industry's diversity, innovation, and adaptability underscore its role as a driver of creativity, economic activity, and societal enrichment on a global scale.

Canadian Arts and Culture Industry

A catalyst for creativity and economic resilience
The evolution of unique Canadian traditions in art, literature, and theatre has been a gradual journey marked by shifts in perception and priority.
Historically, Canada's elite primarily imported cultural works from Europe and America, showing little regard for homegrown talent. However, the early 20th century brought a wave of nationalism fueled by war, prompting a newfound emphasis on building a uniquely Canadian culture. This shift led to increased recognition, respect, and support for Canadian artists, writers, and playwrights.
When tracking the creative industries in Canada they comprise of six primary sub-sectors as identified by the Trade Commissioner Service, audiovisual productions, music, written and published works, performing arts, visual and applied arts, as well as heritage and museums. Each of these sectors plays an important role in shaping Canada's cultural landscape in fostering creativity, preserving heritage, and contributing significantly to the country's economic growth.
Data as of the first quarter of 2023 shows that the arts, culture, and heritage sector made a significant impact on GDP, reaching CA $12.5 billion, the highest level since 2012. The number of jobs in this sector also reached a peak of 717,000 in the first quarter of 2023, representing a substantial 16% increase compared to the same period in 2012.
Notably in the calendar year of 2023, the heritage and libraries segment stood out with impressive growth of 12.4%. Additionally, live performance experienced significant growth of 8.8%, reflecting the sector's rebound from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2024, spending in the Arts and Culture sector is anticipated to rise. A recent national survey conducted revealed that the average planned spending on arts and cultural events per person is CA $1,377 for this year.

Canadian Arts and Culture Industry

A catalyst for creativity and economic resilience
The evolution of unique Canadian traditions in art, literature, and theatre has been a gradual journey marked by shifts in perception and priority.
Historically, Canada's elite primarily imported cultural works from Europe and America, showing little regard for homegrown talent. However, the early 20th century brought a wave of nationalism fueled by war, prompting a newfound emphasis on building a uniquely Canadian culture. This shift led to increased recognition, respect, and support for Canadian artists, writers, and playwrights.
When tracking the creative industries in Canada they comprise of six primary sub-sectors as identified by the Trade Commissioner Service, audiovisual productions, music, written and published works, performing arts, visual and applied arts, as well as heritage and museums. Each of these sectors plays an important role in shaping Canada's cultural landscape in fostering creativity, preserving heritage, and contributing significantly to the country's economic growth.
Data as of the first quarter of 2023 shows that the arts, culture, and heritage sector made a significant impact on GDP, reaching CA $12.5 billion, the highest level since 2012. The number of jobs in this sector also reached a peak of 717,000 in the first quarter of 2023, representing a substantial 16% increase compared to the same period in 2012.
Notably in the calendar year of 2023, the heritage and libraries segment stood out with impressive growth of 12.4%. Additionally, live performance experienced significant growth of 8.8%, reflecting the sector's rebound from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2024, spending in the Arts and Culture sector is anticipated to rise. A recent national survey conducted revealed that the average planned spending on arts and cultural events per person is CA $1,377 for this year.

Why Choose Ontario
For Arts and Culture

Host to a vibrantly thriving array of exciting events
Ontario is a hotbed for Arts and Culture in the country.
Some famous draws include renowned institutions like the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Niagara Falls - a globally recognized natural wonder, drawing millions of visitors each year, the Stratford Festival, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, venues like Massey Hall, vibrant street art in neighbourhoods like Graffiti Alley, cultural festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), iconic places like Ben McNally Books, and historic sites such as Fort Henry in Kingston. Ontario has a truly dynamic and diverse Arts and Culture landscape that is captivating.
Ontario's Arts and Culture sector contributes CA $28.2 billion of the GDP and employs 269,035 people. The province is responsible for nearly half of Canada's culture GDP and 42% of culture jobs. Over a decade from 2010 to 2020, Ontario saw a 29% increase in the GDP of its Arts and Culture products.
The province also hosts numerous events, festivals, and institutions that attract visitors from around the world. Arts and Culture tourism is a particularly thriving sub-sector in the Ontario scene, worth CA $11.4 billion in spend, contributing CA $5.7 billion in direct value-add to Ontario. In fact, art tourists have triple the impact on the Ontario economy than non-art tourists; they represent 13% of trips but contribute 30% of spending, with an average spending of $618 per trip.
  • Toronto is at the heart of Canada’s creative and cultural economy. Arts and culture contribute 27.5 million annually to Toronto’s GDP and employ 174,000 people. The city hosts a significant number of artists. Renowned for its film production industry and thriving music scene, Toronto ranks among the top centres in North America, rivalling cities like Los Angeles and New York City. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a major highlight. Additionally, Ontario’s comprehensive tax incentives for film, television, and digital media, along with initiatives like the Ontario Music Fund, underscore the province’s commitment to supporting the creative sector’s growth, which plays a substantial role in the economy.
  • Niagara is a thriving hub for Arts and Culture startups because of its robust tourism industry, which attracts over 13 million tourists annually. These tourists contribute to an annual tourism spending of CA $2.4 billion. The region boasts 2,800 tourism-oriented establishments, including performing arts establishments, wineries, and entertainment venues.
  • Hamilton is a promising place for Arts and Culture startups, with a growing Creative Industries Sector. The sector has seen a 16% increase in employment and is home to over 2,500 businesses. Hamilton has a large number of film workers and businesses, making it Canada’s third-largest cluster of film businesses. The city attracts diverse productions year-round and offers various quality filming locations. Additionally, Hamilton’s music industry is boasting a large number of independent musicians and being a top destination for music occupations in Canada.
Ontario is home to a rich tapestry of talent and academia in the arts and culture sector. Institutions like the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) in Toronto and the University of Waterloo's Department of Fine Arts in Waterloo are popular for visual arts, design, and media studies. Additionally, McMaster University's School of the Arts and Sheridan College's Faculty of Animation, Arts, and Design are renowned for their programs in fine arts, animation, and design. Recently, York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) was ranked #1 among Ontario universities and colleges, for offering the most culturally diverse music and dance undergraduate programs.
Academic institutions and cultural organisations in Ontario such as the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), come together often to foster a collaborative environment for artistic expression, learning, and exploration.
Canada’s trade agreements cover markets valued at over US $50 trillion with 1.7 billion consumers. Canada has free trade agreements with the largest manufacturing markets in the world: the United States (USMCA), the European Union (CETA) and Asia-Pacific (CPTPP).

Your business can have access to 187 million consumers within a day’s drive of the Greater Toronto Area. Ontario has 4 international and 300 regional airports, 250,000 km of roads and highways, a dozen border crossings and the 6th most internationally connected airport in the world.

Ontario’s Arts and Culture Industry Facts

1st

largest Arts and Culture sector in Canada

270,000

employees

$618

in average tourist spend
on Arts and Culture

700+

museums, galleries
and heritage sites

$28.2B

contribution to GDP

9.2M

annual tourists

Ontario’s Arts and Culture Industry Facts

1st

largest Arts and Culture sector in Canada

270,000

employees

$618

in average tourist spend on Arts and Culture

700+

museums, galleries
and heritage sites

$28.2B

contribution to GDP

9.2M

annual tourists

Arts and Culture Funding, Resources and Organizations

Using the Business Benefit Finder, you can find many more government grants and incentives relevant to your tech startup.

Department of Canadian Heritage’s Creative Export Strategy supports cultural industries in expanding their reach internationally.

The Youth Cultural Incubators Stabilization Initiative (YCISI) focuses on enhancing the growth, capacity and long-term sustainability of Toronto’s small and mid-sized youth-serving or youth-led arts organizations.

Local Arts Service Organizations (LASOs)

supports the City of Toronto’s Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy in underserved geographic areas. Visit Site

offers government funding for arts, culture, and creative industries. Visit Site

provides grants and support to artists and arts organizations across Ontario. Visit Site

Arts and Culture Companies in Ontario

logo of arts and culture company art gallery of toronto
Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, Canada
logo of arts and culture company shoe bata museum
Bata Shoe Museum
327 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W7, Canada
logo of arts and culture company canadian opera company
Canadian Opera Company
145 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 4G1, Canada
logo of arts and culture company harbourfront centre
Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8, Canada
logo of arts and culture company living arts centre
Living Arts Centre
4141 Living Arts Dr, Mississauga, ON L5B 4B8, Canada
logo of arts and culture company mcmichael canadian art collection
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Ave, Kleinburg, ON L0J 1C0, Canada
logo of arts and culture company museum of contemporary art
Museum of Contemporary Art
158 Sterling Rd #100, Toronto, ON M6R 2B7, Canada
logo of arts and culture company national ballet of canada
National Ballet of Canada
400 Jarvis St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2G6, Canada
logo of arts and culture company royal ontario museum
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada
logo of arts and culture company shaw festival theatre
Shaw Festival Theatre
10 Queen's Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0, Canada
logo of arts and culture company stratford festival
Stratford Festival
55 Queen St, Stratford, ON N5A 6V2, Canada
logo of arts and culture company toronto international film festival
Toronto International Film Festival
350 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3X5, Canada
logo of arts and culture company toronto symphony orchestra
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
60 Simcoe St, Toronto, ON M5J 2H5, Canada
Show Companies
logo of arts and culture company art gallery of toronto
Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, Canada
logo of arts and culture company shoe bata museum
Bata Shoe Museum
327 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W7, Canada
logo of arts and culture company canadian opera company
Canadian Opera Company
145 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 4G1, Canada
logo of arts and culture company harbourfront centre
Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8, Canada
logo of arts and culture company living arts centre
Living Arts Centre
4141 Living Arts Dr, Mississauga, ON L5B 4B8, Canada
logo of arts and culture company mcmichael canadian art collection
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Ave, Kleinburg, ON L0J 1C0, Canada
logo of arts and culture company museum of contemporary art
Museum of Contemporary Art
158 Sterling Rd #100, Toronto, ON M6R 2B7, Canada
logo of arts and culture company national ballet of canada
National Ballet of Canada
400 Jarvis St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2G6, Canada
logo of arts and culture company royal ontario museum
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada
logo of arts and culture company shaw festival theatre
Shaw Festival Theatre
10 Queen's Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0, Canada
logo of arts and culture company stratford festival
Stratford Festival
55 Queen St, Stratford, ON N5A 6V2, Canada
logo of arts and culture company toronto international film festival
Toronto International Film Festival
350 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3X5, Canada
logo of arts and culture company toronto symphony orchestra
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
60 Simcoe St, Toronto, ON M5J 2H5, Canada
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