Taking on the role of chairman of the Fashion Museum's board of directors is a wonderful challenge that I accepted because I believe fashion to be vital to Canada as a whole. I have been part of this environment for years. I have really taken my collections around the world. I have had many exhibits in the United States and across Canada, but that goes without saying. I have seen that a number of countries have fashion museums. That is how a people's pride in that exceptional industry is built. That is why I agreed to chair the board of directors of this museum, which remains an overly well-hidden treasure.
The Fashion Museum, which was called the Musée du costume et du textile du Québec—Quebec museum of costumes and textile—until recently, is 37 years old. Created in 1979 in Saint-Lambert, the museum relocated in 2013 to Bonsecours Market, in Old Montreal, in order to enjoy operating conditions more conducive to achieving its mission. Its collections, built up over the years through donations from Canadians, are kept in a museum reserve. They contain over 7,200 items originating from Quebec, Canada and abroad.
The museum's documentation centre contains nearly 900 specialized works on fashion, its artisans, its designers, textile, of course, textile art as a whole and fashion history. The Régor collection, which is currently being worked on, consists of about 5,000 fashion magazines, journals and drawings. It was loaned to the museum by Library and Archives Canada in the 1990s.
Since 2011, the museum has redefined its mission to make textile and clothing heritage, ethnology and fashion the museum's key research, conservation and education themes.
Guided by a duty to remember, develop and share clothing and textile heritage, the museum's activities and products also reflect the creativity and vitality of the present. Between tradition and innovation, the Fashion Museum takes pride in displaying Quebecker and Canadian creations, but also international artifacts, in order to shine a spotlight on artists and artisans who have been part of or are still part of fashion's success across the country.
The Fashion Museum has carried out various outreach initiatives through in situ and extramural virtual and temporary exhibits, educational and mediation activities, publications, workshops and conferences. The activities proposed by the museum are intended both for a broad and general public, and for clienteles with specialized interests. Its boutique contains products related to those themes—fashion, costumes, textile and fibres.
Montreal has some 40 museums, nine of which are located in Old Montreal, including the Fashion Museum. Although this network does include some major institutions and important national historic sites, it is mainly composed of smaller institutions that are well spread out over the territory. Their uniqueness should be preserved. The engagement of the communities that have given rise to those institutions and of the citizens, individuals, collectors and patrons who contribute to them and support them should be given sustained recognition.
The Fashion Museum has had to tackle significant challenges for several years, with issues that are common to many institutions in Canada and in Quebec, according to our museologist colleagues.
The first challenge is the diversification of financial resources. Museums—without taking into account all the non-profit organizations involved in the health, education, environment and culture sectors—are looking for financial partners to support activities related to their reciprocal mission. As a result, it is difficult to obtain funding from corporate organizations and even public organizations, since the number of applicants is growing. Despite a successful redeployment plan, including significant museum facilities, financial results trending up and increased attendance, the Fashion Museum must now deal with financial adaptation that requires greater diversification of its resources, since the budgets needed to fulfill those mandates are lacking.
Like many other small museums in Quebec and Canada, the Fashion Museum is facing a difficult financial situation. Governments' gradual disengagement from providing funding for cultural institutions and events, and competition from national and provincial museums for philanthropic donations largely contribute to this situation. Regional and national associations have been able to attest to this for several years now. Museum management teams are intensifying their efforts to find the funding needed to carry out fundamental museum functions, and that has now become almost full-time work. When museums have small teams, the management is looking for money almost on a full-time basis. It is quite a challenge to do more with less in a constantly evolving competitive world without losing sight of the conservation of heritage we have been entrusted with, for everyone's benefit, and for the benefit of future generations in particular.
Let's talk about the actions undertaken by the Fashion Museum. Since 1987, the museum's operations have been supported by Quebec's department of culture and communications, whose funding accounts for about a third of the budget the museum needs to operate. The museum's independent revenues are generated through admissions, memberships, rentals and various activities, such as guided tours, workshops, courses, conferences and benefits. We also hold an annual fundraiser. Over the last two years, the museum has been benefiting from the generosity of a patron who is contributing vintage items and accessories to its boutique inventory. The boutique sales are now an important portion of the museum's revenues. I will come back to the necessary support if I have enough time.
The second challenge is the creation of a permanent team. A museum's management consists of many challenges for each of the duties to be performed. We believe that the main challenge has to do with creating a permanent team. That is a crucial challenge for the Fashion Museum. Every year, the museum submits the maximum number of requests for public funding for the hiring of active or graduate students and contract workers, but without really achieving its financial objectives. In fact, the responses do not always meet the expectations or the needs.
Moreover, job insecurity, less than competitive wages—the programs often cover only minimum wage—the versatility needed in terms of skills and experience, the short project time frames, without taking into account the lack of social benefits, make the hiring and retention of employees a major challenge and an ongoing juggling exercise. Despite sustained efforts by both the management and the board of directors, as well as strong expenditure management, the minimum operating budget needed to ensure the Fashion Museum's day-to-day operations, by qualified staff, has still not been reached.
Let's talk about the steps taken. Annually, the museum submits a huge number of requests for funding under public organizations' existing programs, both for....
... specific projects and the hiring of temporary staff. This year, in order to be as specific as possible about its needs in terms of human resources, the museum has defined the major sectors covering all of its members for which it is important to consolidate and establish permanent positions in addition to the three current positions.
The third challenge is the recognition of collections. The Fashion Museum's presence in Montreal is garnering a lot of interest from clothing and textile collectors. They see it as an ideal place for the study, preservation and promotion of their collections. The current exposition called “Parcours d'une élégante”, which is made up of donations from a single collector and museum donor, has that kind of an influence on visitors. We are getting more and more donation offers of clothing, accessories and objects. However, the management of collections and the reserve—especially since the Fashion Museum's facility is located a few kilometres away from our site—requires means, and human, material and technical resources for which a specific budget must be set aside. Since that important function for a museum is not visible, and especially since it does not generate any revenue, it is often dealt with intermittently among many other priorities.
I will close with the fourth challenge, the promotion of the Canadian museum network.
The Fashion Museum is facing significant competition, since Montreal has a strong offering of culture and entertainment. Other museums are also putting a lot of energy into the promotion and smooth operation of their activities, and that unfortunately leaves little room for collaboration among institutions. Through their imposing visibility and notoriety, major institutions are strongly overshadowing the small ones instead of playing a unifying role. So museums are competing, and mutual assistance is difficult due to a lack of staff available for the needs of others. In addition, small institutions suffer from the crushing media dominance of the major ones.
The Fashion Museum had a lot of visibility when it moved to Montreal in 2013 and when it changed its name in 2016. However, a number of advertising tools have become obsolete and should be updated. All the signage inside Bonsecours Market, which is home to the museum, must be reconsidered.
Madam Chair, vice-chairs and committee members, thank you for the opportunity to speak about the current state of museums in Canada.
I began working in museums when I was 15 years old as a volunteer in a volunteer-run county museum in Ontario. I've worked in heritage interpretation and curatorial positions in large and small museums, and as a consultant on cultural planning and policy development, strategic research, and innovative community-based arts and heritage initiatives throughout Canada, particularly in the north, for more than 30 years. I've also worked internationally, and as secretary-general of the Commonwealth Association of Museums, I have a global perspective on this issue.
CAM is a Canadian not-for-profit corporation with a focus on human rights, social justice, and the advancement of the museum profession throughout the Commonwealth.
I'm going to talk about the state of museums in Canada in terms of the five essential functions of museums, how museums can and do benefit society, and how CAM is positioned to influence international heritage policy and practice and contribute to Canada's positive global reputation in the museum sector.
The international definition of a museum is:
|| A non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.
The way each of these five essential functions is carried out has changed considerably in recent years, in Canada and elsewhere. There's a tendency for the public to focus on exhibitions and programs, but the unseen work in the back of the house—acquisition, preservation, and research—is equally important and directly impacts the quality of what the public sees.
Public funding has not kept pace with museum functions. Museums globally are constantly reassessing what it means to operate in the service of society and its development and are acting upon the UN sustainable development goals, addressing issues as diverse as safety, equality, and sustainability. Within Canada, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls for action impact all heritage institutions.
Museums operate in the public trust. Their assets are publicly owned.
Many Canadian museums were established as centennial projects in 1967, housed in heritage buildings that require restoration or in purpose-built facilities that require maintenance and/or expansion.
There are new museums to be established. Nunavut became a separate territory in 1999 but still does not have a territorial museum. The country is increasingly urban, yet Vancouver is the only large city in Canada that has a city museum.
In terms of the five functions, our collections may be valuable monetarily and are priceless in terms of Canadian heritage, but they do not necessarily reflect broad themes in Canadian history or more recent events.
Museums have limited ability to collect, due to the lack of storage space and human and financial resources. When significant artifacts that would improve collections become available, museums may not have the resources to collect them. Some have removed objects from their collections, whether to free up space or to raise necessary funds.
As for preservation, museums have limited ability to preserve artifacts in their collection, due to the lack of space and particularly the lack of trained conservation staff as a result of stagnant or reduced operating budgets. Mid-sized museums have reduced the number of curatorial and conservation positions to introduce new positions in programming, marketing, fundraising, communications, and new technology, for example.
In terms of research, most museums do not have the resources to conduct any research or only conduct research for specific exhibition projects. As curators retire, their knowledge is often lost rather than transferred to new staff.
With regard to exhibitions, the concept of permanent exhibitions is passé. Visitors expect to see regularly changing exhibitions, although museums do not have the resources to change exhibitions as often as either museologists or visitors would like. It is difficult for small to mid-sized Canadian museums to develop exhibitions that travel within the country and for any but the largest Canadian museums to participate in international travelling exhibitions that would feature Canadian heritage.
With respect to communication, as educational institutions, museums offer resources for teachers, curriculum-based education programs for students, and informal continuing educational opportunities for adults. As community centres, they serve as the community safety deposit box by housing important collective memories. They can provide programs to address specific social problems, integrate marginalized people, serve a preventive justice role, enhance health and well-being, and often act as a drop-in centre for seniors.
As cultural tourism attractions, they can draw people to a community and keep them there longer. As economic regeneration drivers, they can revitalize downtown areas. As catalysts for creativity, they offer a respite for the pressures of today's world and inspire visitors to think about an incredibly diverse range of topics.
Changing demographics have had a huge impact on institutional mandates. It is increasingly important to understand world cultures. Traditional audience members and volunteers are aging, and museums are reaching out to younger people as audience, volunteers, staff, and board members.
Within Canada, the proportion of immigrants and, in parts of the country, aboriginal people is increasing. Museums are becoming more responsive to their communities, engaging aboriginal people and new Canadians in board, staff, and volunteer roles, partnering with aboriginal people and ethnocultural communities for the development of exhibitions related to their cultures, and developing exhibitions and programs that are more meaningful to diverse people.
Museums are subject to pressures similar to those of other cultural and educational institutions. The increased emphasis on teamwork and partnerships has made the planning and execution of projects more challenging and time-consuming, as well as often richer and more rewarding. Potentially this extends to international collaboration.
Museum work has become more complex due to issues of identity and demographics, but also because of technological innovations, which have made new ways of working possible but have also created another layer of work within museums.
Exhibits, whether new media contemporary artworks or interactive exhibits in other types of museums, can be challenging technologically. Visitors expect sophisticated interactive elements in physical and virtual exhibitions that are often beyond museum budgets. Museum salaries are low relative to one's education and experience. Many museums have cut back on the number of staff or the number of hours worked, or both, in order to balance the budget, yet the output of museums has not been significantly reduced.
The museum is 37 years old. It was located in Saint-Lambert, in a very small historic building. Nevertheless, many large exhibits were held there. The collections were put together with the help of donations. In 2005, the management at the time agreed the collection was made up much more of things like textiles and fashion. That's why the Musée Marcil became the Musée du costume et du textile du Québec.
Five years ago, when I started working at the museum, which, back then, was in Saint-Lambert, as the executive director, my mandate was to look at what had been done to move the museum and to find a solution. Projects to move the museum to Longueuil, Saint-Lambert, or the post office had been ongoing for 20 years. However, it was clear that if the museum wanted to expand while keeping its fashion and textile art focus, it had to move to Montreal.
We looked at the possible locations, and the Bonsecours Market turned out to be the right spot, specifically because the museum's main theme is tied to what goes on at the market. However, I won't deny that going from paying a modest rent to a high rent has caused an additional problem with covering the museum's operating costs.
That said, we're very pleased. The location is suitable, and the number of visitors has doubled. We want it to quadruple or quintuple. Each year, 700,000 people visit the Bonsecours Market. While studying the business plan that enabled us to move the museum to Montreal, it became clear to me that if 10% of those people visited the museum, we would be doing well.
I also spoke to you about a signage problem at the market. There's not enough signage, which is a drawback. I will soon be meeting with a Canadian Heritage official to study the matter and look for a solution, and not only for the museum. We are located in a heritage building, and the area is popular with everyone.
When I talked about recognizing museums, we have been experiencing something special not only in Montreal, but in Quebec. In Montreal, there are about 40 museums. There are 400 in Quebec, and perhaps 2,000 in Canada. Montreal could position itself as a city for museum tourism. We could invite people to come to Montreal to visit the museums. We are constantly promoting big institutions, instead of uniqueness, variety and so on.
I think it is important that smaller and medium-sized institutions exist. Not all collections can be presented in the same places, because the purpose of big institutions is not always to show all sorts of collections.
In a nutshell, a Fashion Museum in Montreal is important. Other types of museums elsewhere are also important, regardless of their size. I am realizing that, the more things move forward and the more I work in the industry, the more inequity there is. Big institutions are pulling the strings more and more and are successful, both in the private and public sectors, in raising funds, although they can also say that they need money, proportionately speaking. When I talk about inequity, I mean amounts that, sometimes and suddenly, end up in a big institution and are not distributed among the smaller institutions. We are wondering what they are doing for that to happen. The way I see it, they are pulling the strings.
Actually, inequity is a problem. It is important to recognize all the types of museums and the uniqueness of museums everywhere. People who make donations, visitors, and especially those who contribute to collections freely are interested in specific institutions.
Hey, cool, I can get through all of my notes. I'm a happy camper. I plan to entertain.
What I want to emphasize is that the federal government needs to take seriously the revitalizing and the revolutionizing of the national museum policy and the MAP grants. Please know that it is not just this set of wonderful consultation sessions. They're very important, but this is the groundwork. This is the first step in a long-term process to revitalize the funding model and the policies and strategies that will support community museums and community galleries across Canada as they do their community, national, provincial, and even international work.
What this entails is a comprehensive review and, as I said, a revolutionizing of a suite of policies and procedures and an overall funding model for community-level museums and galleries. That includes but is not limited to the national museum policy, the copyright policy, the Corporations Act, the MAP, the Canada summer jobs program, the Young Canada Works programs, the Canadian Heritage Information Network, the Canadian Conservation Institute, and national museums serving as resource centres for community museums.
Both of us have incredibly good working relationships with the national museums, but this is now a broader issue of becoming resource hubs for everyone and of the federal departments communicating with each other and with community museums and coordinating programs and resources to facilitate community museums and galleries and their work on behalf of the Canadian people.
I serve as a witness before this committee from the perspective of a small but vibrant community museum, Musée Bytown Museum. You are quite correct: if you go out your office, you can roll down the hill and land at our front door. You are most welcome—not to roll down the hill, but to come to the museum. We have first aid kits and will take care of you.
It is also, though, on a national heritage site and a UNESCO world heritage site and is managed on behalf of the Canadian people by Parks Canada.
Most museums across Canada are at the community level and have served their community, province, and country for many years.
Museums are addressing the challenges of the 21st century, such as digitization, which was discussed at the session on Tuesday. Youth engagement is absolutely critical. There are dramatic changes in demographics, not only with the baby boomers and the aging population but also in terms of the ethnic composition of our Canadian society, including the arrival of new immigrants ever year. For example, most national museums serve as sites for citizenship ceremonies, as will the Rideau Canal heritage site this year on Canada Day. It is unbelievable.
We also deal with the global economy. On top of that, we're dealing with just the old-fashioned traditional issues of tight budgets, retention of incredibly good professional staff, increasing demands on our museum services, and infrastructure problems.
Museums are a critical part of Canada's cultural industry, which contributes billions of dollars annually into Canada's economy, yet the returning investment into culture is, relatively speaking, quite minimal. The Department of Canadian Heritage has not updated its national museum policy or its museum assistance program since the 1990s, and those policies no longer reflect the needs and realities of museums and cultural services in the 21st century.
The Canadian Heritage Information Network serves Canadian museums and galleries well with regard to online requirements and digital requirements. CHIN services have been transferred to the Canadian Museum of History.
If I emphasize anything else apart from the idea that we need to address a suite of policies and programs to support museums and galleries across Canada, it is that digitization of collection records and museum services to provide local and global access to museums is the most critical 21st century reality for museums. It is the foundation of their future.
In my humble little museum, the Bytown Museum, in under four years we have already digitized 4,000 images and uploaded 2,000 records and images onto an online database for public access. We've done that with one provincial grant—and that program has been cut—and two MAP grants, for which I am eternally grateful. My problem is that I can't apply for another MAP grant for that project because it will be considered operational after two years.
These are all project-based grants. There is no operational funding, and digitization for any museum is a long-term project, so we need to have funding in the long term. There are no other grants at any level of government, whether provincial, municipal, or federal, for technology in museums.
In addition, museums are becoming community hubs and centres. They have always been, but they are becoming more so. For example, the Bytown Museum has a community gallery, which we make available for free to any community group, any ethnic community group, any local artist, or any local photographer to put up their own display. In four years, we've had the Chinese community, the Guatemalan community, the Mexican community, and the Polish community. We're about to get the Indonesian community into that community gallery, and we've had a lot of local artists.
I'm going to skip over the rest.
The government reviews and updates the funding model, and I'm asking you to do so. It is 2016, yet the federal funding model is based on 1970s economics and currently does not reflect or respond to the needs and reality of 21st century museums and galleries across Canada.
Here is a list in point form of some of the issues that all of us are facing.
Enhance museum infrastructure physically and digitally. We are a multicultural society, and community museums and galleries are at the ground level. That's where multiculturalism is happening, and we are dealing with that in our exhibitions and programming.
Invest in enhancing cultural heritage and management programs—and I think this was discussed before—not only for the current professionals in continuing to upgrade their skill sets, but also to address the college- and university-level programs in museum management and cultural heritage management.
This last point is very important: the federal government needs to work with us to coordinate federal, provincial, and municipal granting programs and other programs, not only to reduce and streamline the application process that Mr. O'Regan mentioned the other day but also to ensure that we can do our work well for the Canadian people.
Good morning. My thanks to the committee for inviting me to appear today.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. In the interests of time, I will stick to my notes.
I am the director and CEO of the Ottawa Art Gallery. I have the honour of representing our municipal art gallery, but also to speak more broadly on behalf of municipal and regional galleries across Canada.
My perspective and a lot of my examples come from my local public art gallery, which is in the midst of a major expansion project, not only in the physical plant and infrastructure—we are moving from 12,000 square feet to a new building that is over 80,000 square feet—but also in undertaking growth in human resources, development, fundraising, the adoption of new technology and digital platforms, revenue generation, governance, and expanded programming.
The OAG expansion is slated to open in the fall of 2017 as a cultural legacy project for Ottawa, and many of the challenges and expectations faced by our sector, including the shifting paradigms of the 21st-century museum that are occurring, are paramount in our organization's collective mindset.
No longer just a temple of high culture, a public art gallery needs to be that third space, a cultural hub, a thought leader that can help set progressive agendas within our cities.
What is working? As Robin mentioned, the museums assistance program is one. I can really speak to the impact of this program, because we received a major MAP grant for our Alma Duncan exhibition. Not only did this grant allow us to do primary research on this little-known female artist, who was the first Canadian filmmaker with the NFB—so it was essentially a feminist recovery program—but it also allowed us to create a major publication that went along with that, and then we were able to tour that exhibition regionally. Nobody would have known about this very important artist without that essential funding from MAP.
However, as Robin mentioned, we need that grant, as well as other Canadian Heritage department grants, to be looked at, reviewed, and updated for the 21st-century museum.
As for Cultural Spaces, I can tell you that the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund is fundamental to our growth currently. At this stage, we have accessed that grant through the “specialized equipment” category, but it helps with feasibility studies and things like that. It is fundamental. No gallery considers growth without looking at the support of that grant.
We were very pleased to see that it was reinstated, and with more funds, but given the state of cultural infrastructure across Canada, the demands on this program are going to be extreme and oversubscribed. I will say that a lot of galleries have struggled with the matching portion of that particular grant.
Robin also mentioned the Canadian Conservation Institute. I can't tell you how important they have been for us, guiding us through all aspects of functional design and planning for our new museum, as well as reviewing all major milestones for our design plans. Essentially, they are making sure that when we are in our new building in a year and go back to the federal government to ask for our museum designation, we are compliant on temperature and humidity control, HVAC systems, security, etc. They have been fundamental to us. This essentially allows us to be a museum, a designated space, allowing us to take in cultural property and to share cultural property with our sister organizations.
A lot of galleries across Canada that are not in Ottawa, where CCI finds its home, can't access that program and risk not receiving their museum designation.
Some of the challenges are donor dollars, of course. I think you have talked about it a bit, but I can say from real experience with the Canada Council's acquisition fund that matching programs really are attractive to donors. We would love to see a national matching donation program that would allow us to leverage our donor dollars and stretch them even farther.
Accessibility is a long-underserved but now hot topic for museums and galleries. We need to create accessibility on numerous fronts: physical space, digital assets, retraining of staff, and accessible workplaces, which were often put into buildings that have not been built for people, as is the case of our current home, which is an old county courthouse. We need infrastructure support, but we also need capacity-building, not just to be compliant with the law but to become leaders.
Another aspect is indigenous representation. As a member of the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization, we are very aware of the steps we need to take to ensure first nations, Inuit, and Métis people are integral to our museums and galleries, and not just at the programmatic level—because I think we're doing quite well there—but in leadership and at the governance level on board and staff. We need incentives to help us get there, but then we also need the government to have some oversight.
In terms of copyright and new digital skills, there is no doubt that the digital world and all of the changing social media platforms are forcing galleries to rethink the skill sets needed for all of their positions, not only in communications but in all aspects. This is putting pressure particularly on art galleries because, of course, we are not the sole copyright owners of the art that we display. In order to promote and engage through social media, we have some real challenges that have a direct correlation to the copyright legislation.
With regard to governance, I have the benefit of saying that the OAG board of directors is strong and reflexive and is adopting a new generative model of board governance for our gallery as we move into a period of great growth and change. However, my reality is rare, and I will say that one of the greatest pressures on not-for-profits is the schism that can occur between professional staff and boards. Therefore, we would love to see some training and some oversight from the federal government.
In my last few minutes I want to talk about the national capital context. Both Robin and I have national experience in other galleries across Canada, notably in Saskatchewan, but the national capital context is very particular, so I would like to take a moment to talk about it. I would say that our reality could be transferred to Winnipeg or Halifax, other municipalities that have national museums.
One area is staffing and competitive wages. It's extremely hard for us to attract and retain staff when we have these great national organizations. Both Robin and I have trained staff, engaged them, and have then had them leave to the National Art Gallery and the Museum of Nature. We're happy for them, but it's tough on us.
Another area is bilingualism. The OAG is the only bilingual gallery of its size, and the pressure to find and retain bilingual staff to translate all of our myriad marketing and social media communications output puts a major financial strain on our organization.
Another is marketing and expectations. Our marketing department and dollars can't compare to the nationals, but we're expected to play at the same level. Although we're nimble and responsive and can do very interesting things that national galleries can't, we're often overshadowed.
I don't want to come off as whiny by any means. I think, as Robin said, we have great relationships with our national organizations, but what we'd love to see is more initiatives like the National Arts Centre scene festival, which engages the local communities' galleries and museums, gives us some funding to do parallel programming, and then wraps us into this larger marketing piece. That's very helpful for us. We've become day two of your trip to Ottawa. You see the nationals on day one, and you come to see that local, on-the-ground element on day two.
Thank you. I'm very close.
In terms of donor dollars, let's face it: there's a lot of competition here as well in the national capital region. Although our national museums indicate that they have a national membership, a national sponsorship, and national donors, in fact, when you look at their donor walls, it's simply not borne out. A lot of our community leaders and donors who would naturally come to us go to that national level. We're often also overlooked by corporations, which only look at the region, in that they're not making a distinction between local and national institutions. Again, that puts a real strain on what we can do for our own revenue-generating elements.
In closing, I think I can speak on behalf of our sector to say that we're very pleased that the Canadian government sees its museums as key aspects of our cultural identify and embraces the pluralism and the hopes and aspirations of our country. I encourage our government, as Robin indicated, to look at a new national museum strategy and policy in a way that sets the stage for sustainable growth, so that we can truly reflect our demographic changes and regional and global trends. This policy, again as Robin indicated, needs to look at other legislation and policy that in turn affects museum policy. It can't be done in isolation.
To end, I'll quote Max Wyman's wonderful polemic to define imagination. He says:
||To maintain a distinctive, pluralistic Canada in which its people's stories are heard and valued, we must nourish the elements that manifest that uniqueness. It is a task the cultural community and government must approach together...
With that, I thank you for beginning the dialogue with us today.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
My thanks to both of you for being here with us this morning.
Ms. Etherington, I can confirm that your museum sells excellent ice cream. I was there last year and I ate a Magnum bar, and my wife scolded me for it.
I was quite impressed to participate in a session dealing with a specific page of history. About 15 people were seated and listening to a presentation. They did not seem to me to be tourists, but rather people from the region who were passionate about history.
I’m not sure whether you take care of local mediation much, but we are talking about the national capital, which is not just a simple region. Many tourists come here to visit. Do a lot of people in the region participate in your activities?
The next question is more specifically for Ms. Badzak.
I visited the site called “Ottawa, Canada’s Capital” at the address www.ottawatourism.ca, but I was not able to find you there, Ms. Badzak.