Thank you, Madam Chairman and committee members. I feel honoured for this opportunity to present evidence to the standing committee on the state of museums.
The Bellevue Underground Mine, of which I am Past-President, is an Alberta provincial historic resource and a recognized museum by the Alberta Museums Association. I am the Past-President, Past Executive Director, for the Bellevue Underground Mine in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. I'm currently completing a diploma in cultural resource management. I was the first director at the mine with any prior knowledge or experience of museums.
The Bellevue Underground Mine is the only historically authentic underground mine that is accessible to the public in western Canada. It is open from May to early September for walk-in tours, and the rest of the year it takes pre-booked tours. Staff interpret the history of coal mining in the Crowsnest Pass in relationship to immigration, community building, economic growth in the area, and the CPR. The Bellevue Underground Mine receives 22,000 visitors a year. This is a significant achievement, considering that the sight is 200 kilometres away from the nearest urban centre and is in a community with only 5,589 people.
As indicated in the evidence by previous witnesses, museums, historic sites, and cultural institutions benefit Canada's health, well-being, economy, and the environment. The mine supports spin-off revenue in a town that is small and has a dwindling commercial tax base.
The mine's situation is comparable to the circumstances faced by other rural museums and historic sites. However, it has the additional burden of maintaining 1,000 feet, 300 metres, of authentic haulage tunnel, and concrete entry portals. The prime concern of the Bellevue Underground Mine is retaining its authenticity while securing the site's longevity and sustainability. Some of the challenges we face are that, in addition to maintaining the tunnel, the organization must also raise funds for the rehabilitation of concrete mine portals. Both are expensive projects. However, the volunteer work of skilled coal miners reduces the cost of labour and materials in the tunnel.
These aging volunteer miners spend thousands of hours retimbering and sourcing materials and equipment. During the last 10 years, they have kept the cost of maintaining the tunnel to under $30,000 a year. Should their expertise be lost, the alternative would be engaging consultants, engineers, and contractors, which could conceivably run into millions of dollars.
Cost is one of the reasons that the tunnel and the portal have not had the benefit of an engineering study in recent years. It's disconcerting to see these men—many of whom are over the age of 60—striving to keep the site running with little outside support. The miners would also maintain the portals in addition to the tunnel, but this is a separate rehabilitation project requiring geotechnical studies, engineers, architects, and historical conservationists. A significant injection of funding is essential to the rehabilitation of the portals and the mine tunnel. It's unrealistic to believe that eight people—and that's pretty much it—can raise the capital to secure and rehabilitate this site.
While the Bellevue Underground Mine's visitorship and popularity continue to increase, with national and international visitors, there is a complacency about its future. It is inconceivable that this small group will ever be able to have the capacity to meet the overwhelming financial needs of the Bellevue Underground Mine. Without a significant infusion of capital, Alberta will lose this historic site.
There's a large discrepancy between our funding and resources and those of government-operated national museums and not-for-profit sites. For example, the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, a provincial site two kilometres from the mine, receives the same school tours and visitors as the Bellevue Underground Mine. As a government-run centre, Frank Slide employs greeters, janitors, and programmers. They also have spacious facilities that can accommodate large tours.
In contrast, the mine's orientation building is a series of two-garage packages. It barely holds 30 people, or one average-sized school tour. When there are back-to-back tours, the second group must wait outside regardless of the weather. The two washrooms are substandard and inadequate for average-sized school and bus tours. The executive director does everything from administration to cleaning washrooms. The Frank Slide Interpretive Centre pays their interpreters $18 an hour, while the mine stretches to pay theirs $15. The mine's executive director receives $3 more per hour than an interpreter at the Frank Slide. The gap in pay rates and working conditions between the two sites makes it challenging to entice professional museum staff and to retain trained interpreters.
Even though the Bellevue Mine does not have the benefit of a programmer or professional exhibits, it gets consistently high ratings and return visits. It's disheartening for the staff and volunteers to know that despite their diligence and the popularity of the site, they have been unable to offer new programs or services after 30 years of operation. The inadequate infrastructure and insufficient number of staff cannot continue to cope with yearly increases in visitors. This is a popular site.
However, this is secondary to the problem of raising funds to keep the tunnel and the portal safe. At one time, local mining companies gave the Bellevue Underground Mine large corporate donations and sponsorship. Currently, their focus is on health and wellness, which is admirable but doesn't help the mine with long-term sustainability. Conversations with a B.C. mining company revealed that before they could commit large donations they would need to confirm that there's a substantial commitment from the government.
We have a few recommendations, mostly for all museums.
First, we need grants that are flexible and fit the needs of Canadian museums of all sizes. On page 3 of the Canadian Museums Association's brief to the standing committee is a sample of museum sizes and operational budgets across Canada. The sample shows that 62% of museums operate on budgets of less than $500,000. Given the number of small museums existing on subsistent funding, it would be welcome news to see a fairer disbursement of funds between government-run and not-for-profit museums. New grants allocated to meet the specific needs of rural museums would be a bonus.
Grants that support each stage of growth in museums or historic sites are also needed. They should support an organization's development toward becoming a recognized museum. The library model could be incorporated to raise additional funds for museums and historic sites. Endowment funds, like those set up for visual and performing arts, could give tired museums and historic sites a boost.
The above recommendations are general, and would be helpful to museums in the long term. However, time is running our for the Bellevue Underground Mine, which is a shame when it has such a compelling history and the number of visitors to justify investing in its future. It will never reach its full potential if it doesn't get timely and substantial funding from the provincial or federal government.
Thank you once again for initiating this important study and for your time this morning.
Many thanks for your invitation to speak today. I feel honoured to be here and share my thoughts.
I thought it would be useful to provide some biographical information. I was born in Toronto and completed an undergraduate degree in fine arts. I moved to the U.K. in the 1990s to complete a graduate degree in art history at the University of Leeds, and subsequently held management and leadership positions in Vancouver, at Tate Gallery in London for eight years, and most recently at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, before returning to Canada to take on the role of executive director and CEO of the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada.
As many of you may know, MOCA will soon open a new five-storey space to the public in an industrial heritage building with over 55,000 square feet of exhibition, public programs, learning, and office space. The museum will boast a full-time permanent staff of 20 and an annual operating budget of $8 million.
My career migration and breadth of experience within different institutions across different disciplines, with international colleagues and in various countries, has shaped my sensibilities and I think made me an unusual hybrid in the museum world. Though my outlook may be viewed as progressive or even groundbreaking, I know that museum professionals around the world are attempting to understand a new world context for the 21st-century museum. There is a lot to think about.
I believe the experience of art, the inspiration, and the instigation that art provokes can serve as a way for people to understand themselves and the world. I think contemporary art and artists ask hard questions and provoke audiences to think and imagine in new and different ways, with more curiosity and, we hope, with more civility.
Museums are the vestibules where an exchange between art, artists, and visitors happen. Our job as professionals really is to create relevant spaces that ensure that museums reflect the world we're in and the diversity and plurality.
At the moment, I'd suggest that museums are in trouble, because they aren't nimble enough to reimagine themselves. They hold too much currency in their expertise and thus purport to be authorities on cultural relevancy. I believe they either haven't considered how the world has changed around them or they don't know how to evolve with these changes. It's worth highlighting that many small and mid-sized museums are slow to change.
For me, the question of relevancy has been top of mind for decades, and it's fairly exciting. The need for museums to consider this has been formative in many best practices in the world. I think it's worth considering, and asking the question in our own context, how museums can become more relevant in the 21st century for Canadians.
I'd like to suggest first that we have to consider the audience, the public. Most large-scale and mid-sized museums are struggling to retain audiences and attract a younger visitor base. The visitor demographic of most museums is predominantly white and mature, at least in the visual arts, not to mention the demographics of the staff, the board, and the individual donor base. In all of these cases, numbers and support are dwindling. If we don't fulfill a cultural contract that demands we serve audiences beyond traditional patrons, our continued relevance into this century will be seriously at risk because it's not reflective of the plural and diverse cultural practices or of the diverse communities we serve.
According to the 2017 “Culture Track” study, an initiative of the U.S.-based consultancy company LaPlaca Cohen—which I know you've heard about—audiences no longer distinguish between high and low culture. For the cultural consumer, going to a street fair is of equal value to attending an opera. The visitor measures a successful experience by way of learning, doing something new, finding enjoyment and fun, and being socially engaged. Museums that uphold an idea that their sole responsibility is to be the singular and notable custodians of objects and those that believe that theirs is a special and unique position are potentially out of step with the contemporary public.
I believe the challenge for museums is figuring out how to differentiate an experience from other opportunities, to do this with integrity, and to figure out how best to connect art and ideas with interests and ambitions of relevant communities in the world. At MOCA we aim to be a listening museum, a welcoming place in which we will seek a reciprocal relationship with our community, public, and the world, and we are committed to ongoing dialogue through everything we do. Museums need to listen.
Twenty years ago, the Harvard Business Review ran an article entitled “How the Arts Can Prosper Through Strategic Collaborations”. The piece declared,
|| The arts have been hard hit by shrinking audiences and rising debt. Cuts in government funding have become severe, and many sources of funding....have been earmarking grants for specific programs so that less is available for general operating budgets.
This looked specifically at the U.S., yet the sentiment could be relevant today in Canada. Arts and cultural organizations around the world have to up their game when it comes to forging collaborations with business, industry, and tech companies. They need to seek engaging and relevant visitor experience and generate much-needed revenue.
As our industry seeks to create relevancy and connect with audiences, it would benefit us immeasurably to have the government play a role in facilitating collaborations between culture and the private sector with a mind to sharing best practices. These practices could include technological advances, expertise in customer experience strategy, research intelligence, consumer psychology, and so forth.
A dynamic example of such collaboration is one that the Cooper Hewitt design museum launched in 2014 in New York. It was an interactive pen that allowed visitors to design new projects in response to the permanent collection and to contribute this work to an ongoing archive. It was created in partnership with Hewlett Packard, Local Projects, and Sistelnetworks, a company leading in wireless technology. The federal government could nurture such partnerships by building cross-disciplinary networks in leading the charge to collect data on new and best practice, best-in-class research.
I'm interested in how the government might lead a national conversation about culture and economic growth. A very well-documented example is the U.K.'s New Labour party launch of the “Cool Britannia” brand in the nineties. This was an interesting model of a campaign that celebrated a modern public face for Britain with a new kind of industry and workforce. Living in London at the time, I think it was seen as a chance to redefine what the economic future would be about. It was an attempt to reimagine England, not just as a place of factories and Fleet Street bankers but creative entrepreneurs from across society.
“Cool Britannia” fuelled the creative industries and increased prosperity. It turned once ordinary industrial cities like Manchester into cultural destinations, interconnected the arts and businesses, revitalized urban areas, and attracted skilled workers. Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain by Robert Hewison, published by Verso in 2014, is a great read and worth citing here.
Museums like MOCA are committed to generating and supporting Canadian content. Our role, as we nurture young artists and cultural producers, would be assisted by an ambassadorial international spotlight that advocates and underlines the unique qualities, benefits, ingenuity, talent, and plurality of Canadian culture on a global scale.
Finally, leadership and mentorship is a common theme across the many presentations you've heard to date, and is something that I feel would be beneficial to Canadians as well as to MOCA. To that end, there are two stellar leadership programs to be considered or looked at, and one has opportunities for Canadians. The U.K. Clore Leadership Programme aids the professional growth of museum professionals, and in the U.S., the Getty Leadership Institute, which I have completed, assists experienced top-level museum and cultural executives from around the world in becoming better leaders, with the aim of strengthening their own institutional capabilities as well as advancing the international museum field.
I also think there's an opportunity, as so much talent has migrated to Canada in recent years, for the government to initiate a formal mentorship program whereby directors from large to mid-sized museums, especially those who have gained experience elsewhere, are encouraged to partner with mentor colleagues from smaller institutions. Mentoring is a key element of programs like the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York, and extends learning outside the classroom.
Towards the same notion is the subject of capacity building and philanthropy in Canada. Although they're a different history and system, we know that $373 billion is handed out by individuals, foundations, and businesses in the United States, and rates of giving are two to 20 times higher in the U.S.
From my years at MCA in Chicago, I developed an appreciation of the history of philanthropy in America, and the social and political traditions behind it. I think it would be advantageous for Canada to learn from this best practice, and I think professionals in mid-size museums could gain, and need to gain, more proficiency skills in donor cultivation.
Lastly, on the question of access, equity, and inclusion, it's a challenge, as we know, of deepening the talent and leadership pool within the Canadian museum sector. There's a small pipeline in this country. The challenge is also great, in that the museum profession does not represent the socio-economic and racial demographics of the country. As someone building a leading international contemporary art museum in Canada that hopes to lead with best practice, it's challenging to find the skills and industry expertise within the country. It's also challenging to build the team that reflects the diversity and plural voices of this country. An initiative that allows for the growth of mentorship and leadership, as well as helping to diversify the museum field in Canada to reflect the complexity and brilliance of this country, would be welcome.
I want to thank you for the invitation and this opportunity to share my thoughts.
Madam Chair and members of the committee, thank you for inviting us.
Given the Hockey Hall of Fame's position as a very well-funded not-for-profit corporation and registered charity that honours and preserves the history of our great national winter sport, when first asked to appear before the committee it wasn't clear to me what meaningful value we could bring to this discussion. Both Phil and I are sports management graduates. Phil is our Vice-President and Curator. He's been with the Hockey Hall of Fame for 30 years. I'm in my 32nd year, and for 20 of them I've been President and CEO of the corporation.
As I mentioned, we are in a unique position in our country, not only in the country but in the museum field as one of the “big four” major single sport halls of fame in North America. Our counterparts in basketball, football, and baseball are all based in the United States. The foundation of our success is certainly built on strategic partnerships, not only within the hockey world but within the corporate world, and certainly in our strong relationship with the City of Toronto that dates back to the first museum, which was opened on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in 1961.
We have already circulated a background summary, so I won't spend a lot of time on it this morning. It certainly answers a lot of questions and gives background that we thought was relevant information. We compiled for the committee the public benefits; the government support, which has been minimal certainly at the federal and provincial levels; and the support we get from the City of Toronto through tax exemptions and the development agreement that established the Hockey Hall of Fame, which are certainly valuable to our existence.
As a self-sufficient operation, success and sustainability stretch far beyond the gate admissions. Being self-sufficient and well funded does not come from a lack of effort. We have a retail merchandising business, corporate events and hospitality, sponsorships, and the licensing of our intellectual property rights. Leveraging those rights is certainly something we enjoy that perhaps other museums do not have privilege to, because of our position in the national game and certainly the professional game.
Outreach is a key to our success, with travelling programs and education. We have a curriculum with Seneca College called “Hockey Hall of Fame Presents”. We provide field services. We're the official photographer of the International Ice Hockey Federation, responsible for all photographic assignments at their major five world and Olympic championships. Another example is our new relationship and long-term partnership with the Edmonton Oilers. They built their new arena facility two years ago. We were involved in designing, in part, some of their exhibition facilities, and we have an ongoing curatorial relationship.
Having said all that, we do face similar challenges to those in the museum industry, particularly in the cataloguing and preservation of our vast archival and museum collections. In 2009 we established the D.K. (Doc) Seaman Hockey Resource Centre. Doc Seaman was the former owner of the Calgary Flames and a great philanthropist. Through the Calgary Foundation and the Doc Seaman Canadian hockey fund, we were able to receive funding to build a new remote archival facility to house our collections. In fact, with the Canadian cultural spaces program, through specialized equipment, we were able to receive some funding for that particular project. Still, as our collections grow, financial resources are limited and reinvestments in the public museum attractions generally take priority. It really is a challenge to keep up with the cataloguing and preservation of our collections.
With that, this is a special year for the Hockey Hall of Fame. It's our “75/25” anniversary, 75 years since the inception of the Hockey Hall of Fame and 25 years at its present location in downtown Toronto. It's been a great success at the corner of Yonge and Front streets. This is a major year for us. We recently established a new endowment fund, called the Hockey Hall of Fame development and preservation fund. This anniversary year we will fund our inaugural fundraising campaign. We've been successful in getting seed contributions from the National Hockey League. We have a major gala fundraiser this June. Our first named endowment program, from the Tanenbaum family, will create the legends of hockey scholars fund in support of indigenous youth educational initiatives. We're quite proud of that program.
In talking about what matters to the Hockey Hall of Fame in this discussion, it is really relationships with donors and enhancing the benefits to donors, both from an endowment and a sustainability perspective, but also particularly with respect to gift-in-kind collections. This is Phil's domain as our curator. He can speak to that and certainly answer any questions.
When I look at key recommendations, certainly on the endowment side, expanding the mandate of the Canada culture investment fund, which is generally, I believe, directed towards arts organizations, is certainly something the museum sector could benefit from. It's quite relevant to what we're doing in this early stage of developing this endowment fund.
On the gift-in-kind donation side, for our marketplace it's highly competitive in terms of sports memorabilia. I believe that some of the benefits that accrue to cultural property that's certified under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act ought to be considered as general to museums because of the competitiveness and certainly the tax benefits such as the elimination of capital gains tax and the extended deduction limits. Those sorts of things would matter a lot to the Hockey Hall of Fame because I think we're losing a lot of great material from our collections to private collectors. Not only that, but the Canadian Museum of History recently purchased a collection for $3 million from a Toronto-based collector, and I would think that a lot of that collection should be with the Hockey Hall of Fame.
We really appreciate the opportunity to be here today. Hopefully there is some value we can add, certainly from a philosophical point of view, museology. We do have people on staff who are engaged in that particular area.
I commend the eloquence of the other two speakers. In terms of museums generally across the country and their challenges, we can appreciate that certainly from a collections standpoint. We are well funded and well supported, not only, as I said, in the hockey world but outside. Our government funding is very limited. Really, that's not why we're here today. We're here more to talk about donor relations and enhancing those benefits.
Thank you to the committee for inviting us.
I'm going to speak on behalf of our archives. First of all, thank you very much for having us here. We are thrilled to be here. I think halls of fame and museums in Canada play a special place in our society.
Speaking from the Hockey Hall of Fame side, hockey has grown up with Canada. There is a special bond with Canada. It's Canada's sport. It's played in over 80 countries around the world now. People who move to Canada love the sport, and they become part of it because of what it means to Canadians.
We've seen in the last week across Canada how Canada and society have grown together, but as Jeff mentioned, we do a lot with archives and outreach. We have a course at Seneca College that teaches about the history of the game. That course is fully multicultural. We talk about diversity. We talk about the history of the game and how the game has grown within Canada and around the world.
We've been fortunate in the past couple of years to be contacted by the Chinese government, the Czech Republic's government, and the Kazakhstan government, and next week we're going to Hungary to do a display on what hockey means to Canadians and how it can influence their country. They're hoping it can influence their countries as well.
On behalf of the archives, we are a member of the Canadian Association for Sport Heritage and a member of the international sports halls of fame and museums. We speak as a whole on preserving sport. It's an important part of our society. Hockey is obviously close to us, but every sport plays a different role within Canada, and preserving that history and preserving the archives is one of our main goals.
As Jeff mentioned, the collectors' world plays a huge role in artifacts these days, and the mighty dollar is always at stake. We have to somehow compete with that, and as Jeff mentioned, with work from the government and Canadian Heritage, I think we could all work together on preserving not only our national sport but every museum and hall of fame across Canada, and show Canadians what it really means to be a Canadian.
Thank you very much for your time. We look forward to talking with you and answering questions.
Those were three excellent presentations, three very different presentations, so I want to say thank you very much.
I only have seven minutes, which sounds long, but it isn't, so I'll probably direct most of my questions to Ms. Reitmaier.
You make a lot of recommendations. You said them quite quickly, so I want to delve into them a little, just to have you flesh them out a little. I'd be really appreciative if you could submit your notes formally to the committee so that we could look at them in more detail.
One of the first things that you mentioned is that the world is changing very quickly, and I think some museums can be slow to change, but they're always trying to find ways to stay relevant. You also mentioned that there's an aging population for most museums. We're looking at the state of museums in Canada, but we're also looking at how the federal government can be helpful.
When you have an aging audience, I think you're always trying to build an audience 30 years from now, 50 years from now, and there's probably some data that you need to do that. It would be important, as well, to know the state of play of what's happening in the world.
What type of data can the federal government help gather that might be beneficial to the museum sector, and particularly for museums like MOCA?
Fifty per cent of our gate comes from Ontario, about 15% from the rest of Canada, about 22% from the U.S., and then the is rest from overseas. There was a day when the U.S. number was much higher, but 9/11 and all the border issues, etc., brought that down.
Because the Hockey Hall of Fame has not only national relevance but international and global relevance, marketing it is a challenge in terms of the use of our limited marketing dollars. That's where leveraged partnerships come in for us. We have strong corporate partners such as TSN, Imperial Oil, and others. Always activating partnerships and getting the Hockey Hall of Fame out beyond, without having to draw on our own financial resources, has been the key to driving the gate.
In terms of sustainability, we're at an interesting point after 25 years. Particularly in the past 10 years, we've had an intense growth period as far as development goes. We are uniquely situated in a class A office development in downtown Toronto, whereas the other major halls are in smaller communities. In particular, there is Cooperstown, a community of only a couple of thousand people in upstate New York, Canton, Ohio, for football, and Springfield, Massachusetts, for basketball.
Our challenges will include growing or expanding the facility in a class A office development in downtown Toronto, where rents are quite significant and space is at a premium, with very little space available. Then there's the question of how much growth is too much growth, because there's always a requirement to reinvest. That was the founding principle of the Hockey Hall of Fame: to continually reinvest and change and make sure we're relevant. It's not only about the past but about the present. In our research, we find that fans want to see as much of hockey today as they want to see the history, so that's been important to us.
From some of our initial market studies, we saw that when we first opened at the current location people thought the Hockey Hall of Fame was just the historical building at the corner of Yonge and Front. It connoted “museum”. For hockey fans, that wasn't a positive, so we came out very strong on emphasizing the hands-on interactive elements of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Most of our advertising campaigns draw on that, and that I think is why we have great success.
There was an article a few years ago in The Wall Street Journal about the Internet generation snubbing Cooperstown—
Thank you very much for inviting me to speak to you today.
My name is Tim Jones, and I'm the CEO of Artscape in Toronto.
I'm going to sort of make five recommendations to you today with respect to community cultural hubs, and I want to first start by thanking the government and the Department of Canadian Heritage for the recent changes to the Canada cultural spaces fund changes to the criteria that recognize community hubs. It's a very good and important step.
Today, I'd like to talk to you about the things the Government of Canada can do to strengthen the enabling environment for those of us who are developing community hubs in Canada. It starts with building capacity for those who are hub developers, doing a little bit of research on impact, making changes to the CRA regulations on how charities can invest in properties, and increasing the investment that the government makes in community hubs as well as exploring the re-use of government facilities for these purposes.
I'm going to give you a little bit of background on Artscape. We're a 32-year-old, not-for-profit urban development organization, and our mission is to make space for creativity and to transform communities. In Toronto, we've developed a portfolio of real estate projects that, on the one hand, provide affordable space to the creative community, but have also been a major catalyst for the revitalization of the communities and neighbourhoods that they're a part of.
We've been a pioneer in Canada in the development of this new form of facility called a community cultural hub. Sometimes it involves repurposing former schools, public buildings, or transit facilities, and sometimes building new places, as we've done in Regent Park.
Currently, we have four new projects under construction. Two of them kind of fall into the category of community hubs. One is something called Artscape Daniels Launchpad, part of the larger City of the Arts development opening later this year. It's a centre for art and design entrepreneurship, which we're very excited about, and one that we think will have a big impact on artists and designers across southern Ontario.
We're also in the business of trying to proliferate the development of community cultural hubs outside of the core, in Toronto. This is the first iteration of that exercise in the village of Weston. We hope to build a network of these facilities in the coming years.
In total, we have 11 different projects in operation and four under construction, about 2,800 creative people who are working and, in some cases, also living in our facilities, and about 140 different organizations and 42 public venues in our portfolio—just to give you a sense of the scale and reach of the work that we're doing.
One of the things that's really important to understand about community hubs is the impact they have on the community. We design them and build them from the ground up in the community through a community design process, and that's key to the kind of positive social, cultural, economic, and environmental impacts that they can have in all of those areas. The importance of understanding that work and taking advantage of that in the development of these places is really important.
About a dozen years ago, we coined the phrase “creative placemaking” to describe our work. We define that as leveraging the power of art and culture to be a catalyst for change, growth, and transformation of place. There's a real growing field of international practice in this area, and probably nothing could better illustrate it than the role that we've played in the revitalization of Regent Park and the creation of Daniels Spectrum.
Regent Park, as you may know, is Canada's oldest and largest public housing development. It was built in the 1940s by the federal government. Over a number of decades, many things proved to be wrong with the design and development of Regent Park. The warehousing of poor people in one area, the lack of services and amenities, and the design of the space itself made it a place where all the vestiges of poverty were very present. It's well known by reputation, across the country.
About 12 years ago, a bold decision was made to tear it all down and start over. We're now well along in that process, a process that involves temporarily relocating people and then reintroducing them into a new community. As part of the plan, which is, I think, very important, the social development plan was given equal importance to the master plan for the community, and that has had a huge impact on the way that this community has grown and evolved.
A lot of social infrastructure has been developed as part of this revitalization strategy, and our particular role was to look at the importance of culture and, when a community is going through this kind of transformation, how culture helps bring people together. How does it actually build social cohesion and how can it provide a platform for cultural exchange and expression? There are 46 different countries of origin represented in Regent Park, speaking 67 different languages, so there is a big opportunity to leverage culture for change and write a new narrative around this in what had become a very stigmatized community.
Through a community steering committee, we grew this idea of creating a place that was rooted in Regent Park but open to the world. It's been open now going on six years, and I'm happy to say that it's had a very profound impact on the community and neighbourhood around it. The young people like Mustafa the Poet, who you saw a minute ago, have helped to rewrite an important, more positive narrative around the community and not just sugar-coat the kinds of challenges with revitalization, of which there are many.
But I would say that largely this community is succeeding in its revitalization, and the community cultural hub has provided a platform for people to come together to help, as the Toronto Community Housing Corporation was looking to do, to build social cohesion. It gives local artists a platform for exchange and expression. For people who are community activists, it's a place to come and hang out, which I think is really important, but it's also been a key part of building a multi-billion dollar market for residential development in a place where people thought, 10 years ago, that you couldn't sell a single condominium.
That, I think, speaks to the power, on multiple levels, that community cultural hubs can have. I'm really happy this committee is looking at this issue, because I think it has this kind of catalytic impact, and these projects have the potential to do that right across the country.
I want to come back to the five things that I'm encouraging you as a committee to consider. The first is to think about how we can build capacity with hub developers across the country. There is lots of innovation happening in this field around the practice of creative placemaking, around the practice of community design, around governance and community stewardship, and around public-private partnerships. When we're building these projects, we have to think and work differently. It's important that we actually help hub developers build their talent in this area.
I mentioned the kind of multi-dimensional impact, the quadruple bottom line that some of these projects can have. There is a real need for better research that actually illustrates the cultural, the economic, the social, and the environmental impacts and outcomes of these projects.
One of our biggest challenges right now is to figure out how to fund these projects, not just through government but also through charitable donations. One of the things I forgot to mention about our model is that our projects are all self-sustaining once the front-end capital is invested. We look to government, to the private sector, to lenders, and to donors to help make that happen. We can't do it unless we can raise money, and the charitable portion of these projects is really essential.
Currently CRA regulations really restrict a charity's ability to invest in facilities, particularly these facilities that cobble together non-profits and charities and other uses in the same place, so we need a renewal of the regulation with respect to investment by charities in capital projects.
Those first three ideas are fairly easy to do. They don't cost a lot of money. The others, I think, are equally important but do require more investment, and I'm heartened by the new investment through the government's Canada cultural spaces program. That's really important, but projects like Daniels Spectrum would never have happened through Canada cultural spaces alone. We were very fortunate to get $24 million through the infrastructure stimulus funding program when that happened. Projects of this scale, which are going to have a profound impact on the community, need that larger type of investment.
Opening up the building Canada fund, or whatever the new iteration of that is called, is really important to non-profits so that we can actually advance projects like this.
Finally, there is a lot of interesting innovation happening around the disposal of surplus government property. I've seen in Toronto that government can sell an asset and get the market value for it but also, in the process, procure a community cultural hub like this. I think this is an area that really needs to be looked into at the federal level, how we can use old post office buildings and old government buildings to deliver social benefit and financial return at the same time.
Thank you very much.
Good morning and thank you for the opportunity to speak about the importance and the impact of cultural hubs. I will be speaking specifically in relation to independent video game development and digital creatives. My name is Liv Lunde and I'm the Executive Director of GamePlay Space. Prior to working in video games, I built my career in the Canadian music industry, and I grew up surrounded by immense amounts of cultural opportunities because I had two parents who were arts administrators. My role here today is as personal as it is professional.
GamePlay Space is a not-for-profit organization that operates a 10,000-square foot co-working space in downtown Montreal specifically for independent game development. Three years ago, we opened our doors, thanks to a small investment from public and private enterprise. We're currently home to 100 creators across 20 different studios, and we more broadly support our local gaming community of over 2,000 independent game creators across over 100 studios, the majority of which, I might add, are Quebec-owned small businesses creating Canadian intellectual property.
Today I want to highlight the value of and the need for funding and support for cultural hubs such as ours and the critical role we play to foster innovation, collaboration, and economic development. I need to begin by establishing that video games are a cultural economy. They are art and they are culture. The strength of GamePlay Space as a cultural hub is that we focus our efforts solely on the independent game community in play spaces, not just walls and desks. It's a platform for success.
Independent game creators work in precarious conditions. In contrast to the large foreign-owned studios, their situation is much more unstable due to lack of funding, a competitive market, long development cycles, and a lack of business and marketing skills. A hub like ours allows for resource sharing to a critical mass of developers working side by side. This is true not only for the studios that work in our space every day but also for the community organizations that use our space for meet ups, workshops, showcases, etc. By honing their art in our community space, they inspire and mentor each other every day.
I want to highlight two of our most notable success stories. One is a studio that came out of our space, and another is an organization that uses our space regularly.
Outerminds was one of the original studios at GamePlay Space. They literally helped us build tables and chairs. The team started as four co-founders and, within two years, grew to a staff of 25 people. They've had two number one games on the app store, the second of which was so popular that it crashed all their servers on day one and quickly saw over 25 million downloads.
While their company flourished, the guys kept their eyes on the community that surrounded them on their hardest days. The intangible value of the community within GamePlay Space has kept the team in our space long after they could afford to move out. They didn't stay because they had to; they stayed because they wanted to. Their success has become the success of us all as they continue the cycle of support through mentorship and financial aid to smaller studios, organizations, and community events.
One of those organizations is Pixelles, which is another success story out of our space. They are dedicated to empowering women to make and change games. We've allowed them use of the space as often as they need for the last three years. They operate monthly workshops and have a writing program and a game design cohort for women who have little to no experience in video games. Almost all of their graduates from their narrative program have found jobs in the industry after their training. Many of the women who graduate through Pixelles end up returning to volunteer and mentor the next round of women coming up through the industry. Having a stable and safe physical space for their programs has been a key to their success. We have more examples, but we're limited on time, so I'll leave them out.
If we're seeing all this success, then where's the problem?
Not all of our studios achieve financial and critical success. You can aim to achieve Outerminds' victories but, in what the industry has coined the “indiepocalypse”, most studios will fall short. Most artists are inherently bad business people, and they need support. The Canada cultural spaces grant is all about collaboration between entrepreneurs and creative types. What are video games, if not that?
When producing a ballet, there are composers, musicians, costume and set designers, choreographers, and dancers all working together to produce a final product. When producing video games, there are musicians, visual artists, designers, historians, animators, writers, and choreographers. It's the same thing. These people are artists. They are highly trained and highly skilled at their artistic craft in exactly the same way that dancers and actors are great at theirs. We need to stop ignoring that and taking it for granted. We need to stop seeing the final product as the only part of the equation that matters.
Having a singular focus in our hub is our strength: a critical mass of talent and business that can prop each other up, learn from peers, and attract industry gatekeepers and influencers. Yet it's our weakness when applying for funding. We don't tick all the boxes. It seems like a counterproductive requirement to force already established, singular-focused hubs to change their mandates in order to be eligible for funding.
We respect and value the support that has gone into the arts. However, the definitions need to be broadened as to what constitutes culture in Canada and how this funding will truly be helpful to the communities that it claims to serve. The Canada media fund experimental stream is still the single funding body in Canada that we can apply to for financial support, and by “we” I mean our studios because I am ineligible as a cultural hub.
Currently there's no place to apply for financial help for cultural operating costs. There are no funding options for the cultural intermediaries, the administrative staff that holds up these organizations every day. We are the invisible scaffolding of creative industries and we, too, need support.
I'm here today asking this committee to reassess how cultural spending is distributed. When our cultural hubs receive proper support, we will surely see our industries flourish. We can't support cultural industries if the cultural intermediaries that provide everything from community to training to literal shelter disappear themselves due to lack of funding.
Thank you for the opportunity, and thank you for your time.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Vice-Chairs and members of the committee, I am a municipal counsellor in the Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie borough. I'm responsible for Culture, Heritage and Design for the City of Montreal. With me today is Mrs. Laverdière, who is the Director of the City of Montreal's Department of Culture.
First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting us to take part in this study.
My speech will be divided into four parts. The first will address cultural districts, the second will be devoted to our new cultural development policy, the third will focus on the economic benefits of cultural districts and cultural hubs and, finally, I will discuss the role we play in revitalizing cultural heritage.
The question of cultural districts has been part of our vision since 2005, as evidenced by the City of Montreal's first cultural development policy, which was implemented with various partners, including the Canadian government.
Our brand new 2017-2022 cultural development policy is in keeping with the process of creating and developing cultural districts throughout Montreal. In this process, Montreal is moving from the concept of cultural hub to that of cultural districts.
Without overlooking the already consolidated hubs, today Montreal is adopting the vision of cultural districts in order to offer Montrealers a quality local cultural offering. We wish to encourage the participation of citizens in the development and improvement of their living environment.
As a result, culture is becoming an integral part of the daily life of these districts through the presence of artists or cultural institutions, as much on the commercial arteries as in the parks, the public squares and near the modes of public transport.
We are convinced that it is the boroughs that are the prime movers of the consolidation and development of cultural districts. However, the city accompanies them, in particular in developing their own cultural plan and mapping strengths that contribute to development of cultural districts, as well as in the implementation of various pilot projects.
The city's new cultural development policy considers the presence of artists' studios in central districts as a priority for the development of cultural neighbourhoods, in a perspective of sustainable development.
The previous policy recognized the difficulty artists have in finding housing and finding creative spaces at affordable prices in the most sought-after districts.
The City of Montreal has therefore take an initial step by funding the Le Chat des artistes project for the installation of 43 artist's studios in a disused textile factory on Parthenais Street a dozen years ago. We then developed a response framework with a special assistance fund of $13 million. This fund has made it possible to perpetuate artists' access to creative spaces totalling 28,000 square metres.
Let's talk about the Cultural Development Policy entitled “Combining creativity and the citizen cultural experience in the age of digital technology and diversity”. Our field of action is currently guided by this innovative policy. We have brought you copies of this policy.
The vision that inspires our cultural policy is driven by a desire to put culture as a stakeholder in our key interventions in economic development, heritage, social development and smart cities.
We rely in particular on values of inclusion and equity. These values involve an approach of living together that favours the contribution and representativeness of all citizens and all cultural influences so that everyone recognizes themselves and develops their full potential.
The cultural districts will then allow the various local artistic expressions to manifest and interact in a coherent way with the face of the diversity so characteristic of Montreal districts.
In addition, the quality and cultural vitality of living environments require an increased presence and commitment of artists, creators and organizations, especially in cultural districts.
I invite you to consult this map, which presents the locations of our cultural facilities. The cultural districts are defined around these flagship places of local culture.
The development of cultural districts must result in the adoption of an integrated approach to enhancing heritage attractions as well as establishing municipal, governmental and private cultural facilities.
I would now like to discuss the impact of the city's cultural districts and cultural hubs.
Take the example of the Quartier des spectacles. It has the highest concentration and diversity of cultural venues in North America in the same area of just one square kilometre.
There are more than 28,000 seats in thirty or so venues. There are also some forty exhibition venues, cinemas and eight public places, where more than 40 festivals are held throughout the year.
I will backtrack a bit now.
At the Rendez-vous de Montréal, a cultural metropolis in 2007, the various levels of government pledged to financially support the Quartier des spectacles.
An important urban redevelopment operation was proposed as part of the special planning program for the Place des Arts sector. This operation, which involved the creation of a network of public squares around this key sector, aimed to ensure the continuity of major festivals and cultural events. It aimed to make Place des Arts a truly urban, friendly, year-round destination, lively and enjoyable for both Montrealers and visitors alike.
The federal government contributed $40 million to the project, one-third of eligible costs under the Building Canada Fund. Several studies have been conducted to evaluate the impact of the Quartier des spectacles, including one very recently. Here is some evidence: since 2007, $1.5 billion has been invested in 60 identified real estate projects; real estate investments have raised GST and QST revenues of approximately $228 million since 2007; the total economic impact associated with the completion of these projects is $2.2 billion; lastly, the annual land and school tax revenues have more than tripled over the last 10 years.
To illustrate other concrete economic benefits in a cultural district, I will give just one example, that of Cinéma Beaubien, which is located in the area I represent.
A recently published study has shown that, since its reopening in 2001, this sole neighbourhood cinema has truly revitalized the neighbourhood. Not only did the Cinéma Beaubien contribute to the transformation of Beaubien Street, its commercial artery, but it also fostered the renewal of the built environment and the commercial offering.
The City of Montreal is very committed to the development and creation of new cultural facilities and equipment. Several large-scale projects are under way or under consideration, and financial support from the various levels of government is fundamental to making them a reality.
Montreal has already been able to count on the federal government's support for certain cultural infrastructure projects such as the Pointe-à-Callière museum and, more recently, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, but it is important not to stop there. Other structuring cultural projects for the city are in progress.
Expansion of the Pointe-à-Callière museum is ongoing, and we invite the federal government to contribute to the completion of phase 3 by investing in the project relating to the Parliament of United Canada. This project aims to highlight the vestiges of Canada's first permanent parliament, dating back to 1844.
We also hope that the federal government will invest again in the Old Port of Montreal to make it a real meeting place accessible to citizens and visitors.
To this end, there is a unique opportunity to participate in the project of a cultural and tourism centre for the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador in the Old Port, the DestiNATIONS project.
This centre will become a hub of dissemination, production and cultural creation of international calibre dedicated to the discovery of indigenous cultures. This project is in keeping with the vision of the Canada Lands Company regarding the development of the Old Port.
In closing, I want to emphasize the importance of this committee's work. It will help to better understand the key issues related to the creation of cultural districts and cultural hubs across Canada. In addition, it will highlight the crucial importance of federal support in the development and consolidation of cultural districts, notably by supporting facilities, cultural spaces, and major festivals and events.
Thank you so much for your attention.
This is why I was asking.
It's a bit like the example of a municipality, a village, a city, a district that has a vision. To realize it, an organization like this can be consulted.
In any case, before asking a specific question to each of you, I would like to tell you that this morning's testimony—especially that of the representatives for the City of Montreal—demonstrates just how vast the scope of the study is and how difficult it is to define. You gave four distinct presentations on various aspects, including the pixellation of the cultural offering in Montreal, district by district to the DestiNATIONS project which I think is the archetype of what is kind of the dream of ultimately making the program for cultural hubs a reality. You also talked about the concept of cultural districts and mentioned the Quartier des spectacles.
You have gone all out to demonstrate how important Montreal is to culture. As a Montreal homeowner, I am very proud of that, but I think we'll have to clarify certain things.
Ms. Lunde, you understand the quest for the musical dimension of the cultural milieu, since you were part of the management team at Ariane Moffatt at one time, I believe.
I used to work in a recording studio where we charged $200 an hour to rent it. Eventually, almost all the studios, except the one where I worked, were dismantled. A group of artists then gathered in a large room at Studios Piccolo. Everyone made a small contribution to pay the rent.
You did the same thing with the concept of shared workspace. I had the chance to meet people from Garage & co, an organization in Longueuil that has adopted this mode of collaboration. We'll remember the presentation of 312 Main in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Here, the dimensions of culture, social mission and shared workspace were grouped together. It's virtue, it's wonderful.
I also met people from the Montréal Cowork organization, and what I see is that every creator, not just art creators, but anyone who has a creative approach to their work—who thinks outside the box—wants to share their experience. This is what companies aren't doing anymore. They got rid of their employees, arguing that the payroll taxes were too steep. It sounds cynical to say that in terms of business, but it's still the reality. Finally, they fired employees in order to pay less in taxes, and we end up with the deficit that we know today.
We are seeing more and more freelance workers, and they end up feeling the need to group together. The enthusiasm of these people is quite wonderful.
It is true that Montreal is like a flagship for the concept of shared workspaces in general. The question I want to ask you three or all four of you, including Mr. Jones, is this: what do you recommend? What do you think the dangers are? What approaches should we adopt? What we are doing here is obviously clearing the way for Canadian Heritage.
Can we pinpoint the gaps and come up with some recommendations so that the Government of Canada can support initiatives like yours without interfering with local expertise?