Toronto has a strong history of progressive research, analysis, and mapping of cultural resources at a variety of scales. However, until now, this history had never been brought together in one place. The content here demonstrates that local cultural resources in Toronto have been mapped in a variety of ways including: natural and cultural heritage; cultural facilities; intangible culture; cultural enterprises; culture in the public realm; and cultural occupations.
From the Ground Up: Growing Toronto's Cultural Sector, 2011
Growing Toronto's cultural sector begins with identifying cultural locations from the ground up. Once identified, the impact of conditions, policies, and official plans can be evaluated to facilitate the growth of existing locations, establish new culturally fertile ground, and prevent losses to important cultural jobs and businesses.
A strong cultural sector feeds into a vibrant urban economy. With a new model for visualizing Toronto's cultural economy, this report from the Martin Prosperity Institute offers novel planning resources for maintaining Toronto's strong growth in creative industries. The report provides tools for leveraging that growth and enhancing Toronto’s competitive position on the world stage. From the Ground Up offers policy-makers and citizens a deeper understanding of where cultural work occurs and where it could be further cultivated.
Mapping Artists and Cultural Workers in Canada's Large Cities, 2010
In 2010 the City of Toronto partnered with the City of Vancouver, the City of Calgary, the City of Ottawa and the Ville de Montréal to develop a study that maps where artists and cultural workers live by neighbourhood using Statistics Canada's 2006 Census data.
The study, a unique collaboration between cultural staff at the five large cities, provides an analysis of artists and cultural workers in 48 categories, residing in various postal regions – "neighbourhoods" – in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver in 2006.
This landmark study shows that Toronto has Canada's largest community of artists and cultural workers, the culture sector is a significant part of Toronto's labour force, and that artists and cultural workers been pivotal in establishing vibrant downtown neighbourhoods for all Torontonians to enjoy.
- The total number of artists and cultural workers (48 occupations) in Toronto was 82,600 in the Statistics Canada 2006 census, or 5.9 per cent of the overall labour force. Data for cultural workers from the Statistics Canada 2001 census is not available.
- Toronto has the highest total number of artists and cultural workers in Canada, but ranks second (to Vancouver) in terms of artists as a percentage of the overall labour force and third (to Vancouver and Montreal) in term of cultural workers as a percentage of the overall labour force.
- The level of concentration of artists in the Toronto’s top ten neighbourhoods (as defined by the study) has increased from an average of 4.19 per cent in 2001 to 4.68 per cent in 2006, or 12 per cent.
Cultural Institutions in the Public Realm, 2008
Drawing upon the identification of the clustering of cultural institutions, the Cultural Institutions in the Public Realm study was premised on a simple consideration: how does the public realm act as an extension of cultural institutions in the city, and what are the implications of this relationship?
In addition to assessing and analyzing current conditions of cultural institutions in Toronto, the report identified issues and concerns related to the design of the public realm. Recommendations were provided regarding the beautification and enhancement of these public spaces, including promotional strategies to strengthen and improve the identity of these focal points in the urban landscape.
The study was divided into two phases. The first phase was an accumulation of information from a number of resources and presented research and analysis that framed the subsequent phase. The second phase of this study identified and analyzed the institutions through an expanded lens, and at three scales: the major cultural institution, the cultural precinct, and the city. These scales were used to present a set of opportunities and recommendations such as improvements to pedestrian conditions around the clusters of institutions on the basis that an improved urban environment will lead to growth in cultural activity.
“Cultural institutions are inevitably about place. They are situated temporally and physically. Understanding the particular circumstances of their placement and their history is in many ways a key to understanding their nature as institutions”. – E.R.A. Architects 2008
West Queen West Triangle, Selected Cultural Enterprises, 2006
With a high concentration of artists and cultural workers, a mix of work studios, performance and exhibition spaces, the West Queen West Triangle is a vital cultural cluster in Canada.
When three large residential development projects in the area were proposed in the span of a year, many feared that the area's affordability, some of its key cultural assets, and its character were at risk.
Staff at the City of Toronto responded by organizing a cross-departmental team from Planning, Culture and Economic Development, and working with Artscape and the community group Active 18 to identify and map cultural enterprises in the area. By combining City Planning base-maps, the City's Annual Employment Survey Data, the cultural facilities database and community knowledge, the map helped bring stakeholders onside to make the case for retaining the area's strengths.
As a part of the City's settlement process, an innovative "no-net-loss" policy was introduced by the City's Planning Department and Economic Development and Culture Division to retain cultural employment uses and protect affordable space for artists and cultural industries.
[murmur] Spadina (2005)
[murmur] is an audio storytelling archival project for the City of Toronto created by Gabe Sawhney and Shawn Micallef as part of the Live With Culture celebration. This intangible cultural mapping project uses first-person narratives to share location-specific stories, delivered by mobile phones.
On Spadina Avenue, from the lake to Bloor Street, green [murmur] signs featuring a telephone number and location code indicate the availability of stories. By dialing the number on a mobile phone and entering the code, participants can hear one or more short stories about the place where they are standing. The stories are in the storyteller's own voice, and are personal and anecdotal in nature, highlighting the "hidden" stories of the city. They serve as another layer, complementing the official history of the city and its neighbourhoods.
A Map of Toronto's Cultural Facilities – A Cultural Facilities Analysis, 2003
In 2003 the City of Toronto commissioned E.R.A. Architects Inc. to produce an analysis of the city’s cultural facilities for the City of Toronto titled A Map of Toronto's Cultural Facilities – A Cultural Facilities Analysis. The mapping served as a ‘snapshot’ of the city’s cultural infrastructure of over 763 buildings then.
Recognizing differences between cultural facilities, the Cultural Facilities Analysis organized the facilities into four “cultural categories”. This helped catalogue a wide range of institutions for both the arts and the larger context of cultural facilities, and showed that they played remarkably different roles in the city. The four cultural facility categories indentified in the report include:
- Hubs: Hubs provide support for cultural activity throughout all of the city’s diverse communities. They tend to be community-driven and nurture cultural activities at a local level.
- Incubators: Incubators provide support for Toronto’s artists. They tend to be artist-run facilities, heavily clustered in specific urban neighbourhoods.
- Cultural Memory Sites: These sites provide support for culture as a heritage resource, and they include museums, archival collections, and historic buildings that are programmed for cultural uses.
- Showcases: Showcases provide support for culture as part of the City’s Economic Development and Tourism strategy. These facilities often have regional, national or international profile. They are directed to more than a local community and are key tourist destinations or attractions.
The data found that arts and cultural facilities were grouped in clusters not evenly dispersed across the city. The majority of all cultural facilities were located in the downtown core (67%), now called the South District. The downtown core also showed the greatest extent of non-city owned facilities (70%) and, by category, the downtown core had a majority of the Hubs (59%) and Cultural Memory Sites (69%), and the vast majority of Incubators (81%), and Showcases (93%).
The density of cultural facilities in the downtown core made it clear that cultural facilities are intricately linked with communities and neighbourhoods were found in clusters and corridors, as closely grouped areas of preference. These findings underscored the importance of the cluster, and the purposeful grouping of cultural facilities together as a significant pattern for cultural growth.
From this cultural mapping it was apparent that cultural facilities are located in areas with high pedestrian traffic, near an abundance of public transportation, and that they wanted to be a part of a critical mass of similar facilities. All of these criteria were met in the downtown core of the city. This mapping underscored the strong relationship between cultural facilities and a vibrant urban context, and the mutual dependency that exists between the two.
Canada's Urban Waterfront - Waterfront Culture and Heritage Plan, 2001
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 was developed to present a distinctive framework to visualize the cultural landscape of Toronto’s central waterfront, integrate it with important cultural and heritage resources in the city core, propose connections between disparate elements of the city and connect the waterfront to Toronto's present and historic waterways.
The 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.
This map is still actively used by City staff and community groups today, and many of the identified cultural opportunities have been captured in the past 10 years including: Fort York; John Street; Roundhouse; Union Station; and Exhibition Place.