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Ontario Arts Council

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Consumer Spending on Culture in Canada, the Provinces and 15 Metropolitan Areas in 2005

February 1, 2007

Ontarians spend over $10 billion on cultural goods and services

A  report from Hill Strategies Research, entitled Consumer Spending on Culture in Canada, the Provinces and 15 Metropolitan Areas in 2005, shows that Canadian consumers spent $25.1 billion on cultural goods and services in 2005, an amount that is 5% higher than the combined consumer spending on household furniture, appliances and tools ($24.0 billion). The $25.1 billion in consumer spending is over three times larger than the $7.7 billion spent on culture in Canada by all levels of government in 2003/04. The report provides information about consumer spending on art supplies and musical instruments, art works and events, home entertainment, movie theatre admissions, photographic equipment and services, and reading material.


Ontario: Over $10 billion in cultural spending

Ontarians spent $10.2 billion on cultural goods and services in 2005, 41% of the Canadian total. Cultural spending represents 3.0% of total consumer spending in the province. The $10.2 billion in consumer spending on culture is over three times larger than the $3.0 billion spent on culture in Ontario by all levels of government in 2003/04.


Performing arts spending more than double the spending on live sports events

Spending by Ontario residents on live performing arts ($500 million) was more than double the amount spent on live sports events ($210 million) in 2005. Similarly, about twice as many Ontario households spent at least some money on live performing arts (37% of households) than on live sports events (19%).


Strong growth in cultural spending

Ontario residents’ spending on cultural goods and services grew by 55% between 1997 and 2005, the second-highest increase of all 10 provinces and equal to the 55% rise in spending on all goods and services during the same period. Both of these figures are much higher than the 18% inflation between 1997 and 2005.


Ontario third in provincial comparisons

At $851 per resident, Ontarians’ per capita cultural spending is third among the provinces, above the Canadian average of $821. Albertans have the highest level of cultural spending, at $971 per capita.


Ottawa first in metropolitan area rankings

On a per capita basis, Ottawa residents’ cultural spending ($1064 per person) ranks first among 15 metropolitan areas in Canada. Total cultural spending was $890 million in Ottawa in 2005. In Toronto, cultural spending per capita ($843) ranks 11th among the 15 metropolitan areas. Total cultural spending was $4.3 billion in Toronto in 2005, representing 43% of the Ontario total and 17% of the Canadian total.

The full report provides much more national data as well as a detailed profile of cultural spending in each province and in 15 metropolitan areas. The data is drawn from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Household Spending, a yearly paper-based questionnaire on Canadians’ spending habits.