Impact of the Arts in Ontario
For more than 50 years, public funding of the arts through the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has helped establish a strong and valued arts sector in communities across the province.
What is the return on Ontario’s investment in the arts? See below for a selection of statistics demonstrating the impact of Ontario’s arts sector.
Read or download the brochure in two-page format for at-home printing (letter-sized pages).
The arts contribute to a strong economy
- Arts and culture in Ontario directly contribute $27 billion annually to the provincial economy, representing 3.4% of Ontario’s GDP.1
- There are more than 254,985 culture jobs in Ontario or 3.8% of total Ontario employment.1
The arts revitalize Ontario communities and build local economic development
- In a 2010 survey of 18 mid-sized Ontario cities, all municipalities reported using cultural and recreational amenities as a tool for downtown revitalization. 83% deemed this strategy to be an effective tool.2
- According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, “arts, culture and heritage improve the ability of municipal governments to influence local economic development by attracting and retaining a skilled and talented workforce.”3
- 88% of Ontarians agree that arts and cultural activities are important to a community’s economic well-being.4
The arts help communities attract and retain employees
- 65% of Ontario business leaders say that a thriving arts and culture scene is something that would make it easier to attract top talent to their community.5
- 65% of skilled workers agree that a thriving arts and cultural scene is something they would look for when considering moving to a new community.6
- 80% of Ontarians agree that an active local arts scene helps communities attract business.7
The arts help drive tourism across Ontario
- 9.5 million overnight tourists participate in arts and culture activities while visiting Ontario, generating $3.7 billion in GDP province-wide.8
- Arts and culture tourists spend more and stay longer: the average Ontario arts/culture tourist spends twice as much per trip as a typical tourist and stays more than one night longer.8
Ontarians support public funding of the arts
- 79% of Ontarians believe that the government should spend public dollars to support the arts.7
Ontarians link the arts with improved quality of life
- 93% of Ontarians believe that arts activities help enrich the quality of our lives.7
- 90% of Ontarians agree that an active local arts scene helps make a community a better place to live.7
- 88% of Ontarians believe that if their community lost its arts activities, people living there would lose something of value.7
- 92% of Ontarians agree that exposure to arts and culture is important to individual well-being.4
Ontarians show their support for the arts in many ways
- 86% of Ontarians attend live arts events or performances (such as music concerts, plays or visual arts exhibits) at least once a year.4
- Over 280,000 Ontarians volunteer in arts and culture organizations.9
- Over 380,000 Ontarians donate money to arts and culture organizations annually.9
Canadians recognize how arts education can foster creativity and positive outcomes
- 84% of Canadians agree that engaging children in the arts helps them be more creative and expressive.10
- 97% of Ontarians agree that engaging children in the arts is important to their overall development.7
- 78% of Canadians believe that the arts help children from disadvantaged communities succeed.10
Ontarians believe that the arts enhance shared community identity and belonging
- 88% of Ontarians agree that participating in arts activities builds a shared sense of community identity.7
- 90% of Ontarians agree that arts experiences help bring people from diverse backgrounds together as a community.7
- 86% of Ontarians agree that the arts help us express and define what it means to be Canadian.7
- Provincial and Territorial Culture Indicators, 2020 (product perspective),
Statistics Canada, June 2022.
- Downtown Revitalization Strategies in Ontario’s Mid-Sized Cities: A Web-Survey
and Case Study, by Christopher Lauder, (Masters’ Thesis) University of Waterloo,
April 17, 2010.
- Policy Statement on Social-Economic Development, Federation of Canadian
Municipalities, March 2016.
- Arts and Heritage Access and Availability Survey 2016-2017, Environics
Research Group, March 2017.
- Businesses’ thoughts on attracting employees through the arts and culture, by
Nanos Research for Business for the Arts, May 2016.
- Skilled workers’ impressions of the arts, by Nanos Research for Business for the
Arts, April 2016.
- Impressions of the Impact of the Arts on Quality of Life and Well-Being in
Ontario: Ontario Arts Council Survey Findings, by Nanos Research for the
Ontario Arts Council, March 2017.
- Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile, by Research Resolutions & Consulting
Ltd. for Ontario Arts Council, November 2012.
- Volunteers and Donors in Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2013,
Statistical Insights on the Arts Vol. 13 No. 3, by Hill Strategies Research Inc.,
- Building the Case for Business Support of the Arts. The Strategic Counsel for
Business for the Arts, February 2015.