Message from Councillor Mark Taylor


It is with great pleasure that, as Honourary Chair of the Arts and Heritage Plan Renewal Steering Committee, I am able to present the renewed action plan for arts and heritage in Ottawa. The thoughtful recommendations in this plan are the result of wide-ranging and productive discussions involving the cultural and business communities, citizens from all sectors and walks of life, and municipal staff. It is truly a community plan, respectful of current economic challenges, but also inspiring in its confidence in Ottawa's great future. 


Worldwide, cities are recognizing how richly cultural activity contributes to life in their communities, whether to the local economy, or to social vitality. In a report entitled Valuing Culture, the Conference Board of Canada estimated the economic impact of the cultural sector in 2007 to be an impressive $85 billion, with an employment of 1.1 million jobs. Inextricably woven into the activities which produce these economic benefits are the benefits to the quality of life in our cities.  When all citizens have opportunities to participate in the cultural life of their communities, and feel free to express their cultural identity, the social pay-offs can be great.  Communities develop greater cohesion and intercultural trust, improved public safety, more engaged youth, a higher level of community health, and the innovation which leads to creative growth.


The 20/20 Arts and Heritage Plan adopted in 2003 has delivered fruitful results in Ottawa’s local arts, heritage, festival and fair sectors, demonstrating that increased municipal investment in culture has leveraged success and investment from other sources. This renewed action plan builds on these past accomplishments, seeks to address still outstanding goals and, in partnership with our city's communities, takes the next steps towards enhancing Ottawa’s confident, competitive edge on the world stage.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Steering Committee, chief among them their Chair, Dr. Lilly Koltun, who collectively guided this important process towards a renewed plan that supports our city’s creative energy and resources. Your passion and commitment are an inspiration to us all.


Mark Taylor – Ward 7 Bay

Chair, Community and Protective Services Committee, City of Ottawa


Message from Steering Committee


Capital City Creative – Arts, Culture and Heritage in Ottawa


Dear Councillor Taylor, and Members of the Community and Protective Services Committee:


To begin on a personal note: this Steering Committee Chair is also a mature student, who has found herself recently in rooms full of aspiring young artists in the University of Ottawa’s fine arts program.  One insight that seems to come easily to both the old and the young is the knowledge that what moves the heart, moves mountains. 


Hence, we celebrate the wisdom that everything depends on creativity.  It underpins human enterprise, bolsters our daring, keeps fresh our past, and thus ensures our prosperity, a precious bequest to leave our children.


Ottawa deserves to be such a creative city.  Together with myself and our Vice-Chair, Jacqueline Pelletier, our Steering Committee presents this renewed plan to achieve it, with key recommendations to support and help grow the creative enterprise that has taken root in our city.  Established initiatives, like our enviable festivals and fairs and network of performers, artists and cultural workers, need a steady partner to encourage new supporters, develop city-wide spaces and respond to bigger audiences.  New beginnings, like the embrace of Aboriginal and new citizens‘ diversity and the enthusiasm of our youth, need the support to grow into their own vigorous momentum.  Such events and places underpin a recognized part of our economic success (almost $2 billion of our city’s GDP), our attraction as a great city, our springboard to the highest ambitions.


How astonishing therefore, that so much is dependent on the talents of volunteers, who represent close to half of the people who create and manage Ottawa’s arts and heritage sector.  This report’s recommendations seek to alert Ottawa to the continuing need to help establish a lasting foundation for the sector, to embed it in the vision of Ottawa which values economic planning, new transportation and building developments, and important societal commitments.  The City has a wealth of ways to help arts and heritage: it can refresh its policies and staff, showcase the city’s unique peoples and districts, emulate best practices in new citizen-partnered authorities and bodies, convene stakeholders to inspire audacious ideas, implement incentives, install by-laws, negotiate provincial assistance, commit to planned and structured investment, and communicate the vibrant city widely.


A unique opportunity to showcase the breadth and depth of Ottawa’s talents and heritage will arrive with the celebrations of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.  Our committee seeks to have Ottawa declared a national Cultural Capital for that year, an inspiring recognition!  To move arts, culture and heritage from the margins to a place standing with the city’s leading initiatives is to align Ottawa with great and mature capitals.  It is to discover the heart that moves mountains at the heart of the city’s success. 


Come join our Steering Committee and let’s all be young, and admired for our creative city’s wisdom in supporting our arts, culture and heritage!



Lilly Koltun, PhD (Chair), Jacqueline Pelletier (Vice-Chair), and Members of the Steering Committee


Building on Ottawa’s Strengths


Ottawa is a vibrant, cultural capital with a unique identity and a colourful history - a dynamic place in which to live, work and play.  Surrounded by farms and nature, over 80% of Ottawa’s land is rural.  Ottawa’s cultural assets include a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Rideau Canal); major, national cultural attractions; a local arts and heritage scene that reflects the vitality of Ottawa’s communities in two official languages; exceptional home-grown festivals, fairs and events; international award-winning artists in all disciplines; diverse cultural neighbourhoods; historic rural communities and landscapes; interesting street culture; and a thriving culinary scene. 


This renewed action plan for culture builds on Ottawa’s strengths, and sets out a path aimed at reaping the major economic impacts, social benefits and positive environmental effects that lie seeded within Ottawa’s current cultural scene. The role and place of culture within the creative economy and the liveable city have been well researched and described by leading thinkers, economists and historians.   Ottawa is ripe with enormous cultural potential and opportunities, if the right partnered steps can be taken. 


Ottawa’s Identity


Ottawa is Canada’s largest city in geographic size and 4th largest city by population.  Built on traditional Algonquin Anishinabeg land, the Ottawa area was settled by Anglophone and Francophone pioneers and is now home to a diversity of peoples from around the world. 


As a meeting place for Indigenous and Aboriginal peoples for 8,000 to 10,000 years, Ottawa now has the third fastest growing urban Aboriginal population in Canada and the largest Inuit community outside of the north.  Ottawa is an important centre of Franco-Ontarian culture, and its bilingual character is an advantage for the city in many ways.  Ottawa is home to a myriad of diverse voices and communities, and is currently a destination of choice for immigrants the world over.




Ottawa is both a dynamic city with its own cultural vitality and a national capital with a mandate to preserve, present and promote Canadian culture in both official languages to all Canadians and abroad.  Ottawa has its own resident artists to nurture and support; cultural, natural and documentary heritage to preserve and present; and exceptional home-grown festivals and fairs to sustain. This dual status provides an opportunity to develop Ottawa into a truly international cultural capital that offers excellent quality of life to its residents, and that attracts talent, tourists and business. Positioned directly on the provincial border with Québec, Ottawa also has an interesting opportunity to partner with Gatineau on cultural initiatives. 


Ottawa 20/20 Arts and Heritage Plan


The Ottawa 20/20 Arts and Heritage Plan was approved by City Council in 2003 as one of five growth management plans alongside the Economic Strategy, the Environmental Strategy, the Human Services Plan and the Official Plan.  The Arts Plan focused on artists, communities, creativity and connections.  The Heritage Plan defined heritage as ‘a legacy inherited from the past, valued in the present, which it helps interpret, and safeguarded for the future, which it helps shape.’ 


The following Council-approved strategic directions represented 20-year goals:



1.       Broaden Public Access to the Local Arts

2.       Keep Ottawa’s Artists Here

3.       Build Creative Capacity

4.       Revitalize Public Places and Natural Spaces Through the Arts

5.       Realize Economic Potential of Local Cultural Sector


1.       Identify, Collect and Preserve

2.       Research, Interpret and Promote

3.       Build Capacity


Culture Plan Renewal


In addition to 20-year strategic directions, the Arts and Heritage (Culture) Plan identified strategies, policy statements and a first five-year action plan.   The Plan was to be reviewed and renewed for relevancy every five years.  A renewal process aimed at the development of a second 5-year action plan for culture began in August 2009.


Renewed strategies and actions have been developed with input, guidance and direction from:

i)        a 13-member, peer-selected, community Steering Committee;

ii)       the City of Ottawa Arts, Heritage and Culture Advisory Committee and other municipal advisory committees;

iii)     a review of the outstanding actions from the first Arts and Heritage five-year action plan;

iv)     75 individual interviews with cultural, community, business, political and government leaders;

v)      extensive individual and collective feedback on 11 culture plan renewal discussion papers;

vi)     11 facilitated focus groups that gathered together 200 experts from various cultural and connected sectors to

focus on specific themes; and

vii)   six geographically-distributed public open houses and a full day un-conference (Open Ottawa Libre) that, in

total, engaged 226 participants to provide input and feedback on a draft renewed action plan.


Four Strategies for the Next Six Years


In the eight years subsequent to Council approval of the Ottawa 20/20 Arts and Heritage Plan (2003), there have been significant local cultural accomplishments.  Renewal represents the next step forward for Ottawa, and the following four strategies provide the framework for a renewed six-year action plan for arts, heritage and culture:


  1. Celebrate Ottawa’s Unique Cultural Identity and Provide Access to Culture for All
  2. Preserve and Develop Cultural and Creative Places and Spaces
  3. Get the Word Out About Ottawa’s Vibrant Local Culture and Unique Identity
  4. Invest in Local Culture and Build Cultural Leadership


Actions have been crafted based on best practice, and on new leading practice.  Collaboration is the recommended approach for all actions; with internal, external, government, private and community stakeholders working in partnership.  Local cultural service organizations (Arts Ottawa East Arts Council, Coalition of New Canadians for Arts and Culture, Council for the Arts in Ottawa, Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa, Heritage Ottawa, Ottawa Festivals, Ottawa Museum Network), provincial Francophone cultural service organizations located in Ottawa (Alliance culturelle de l’Ontario, Association des auteures et auteurs de l’Ontario français, Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique, Bureau des regroupements des artistes visuels de l’Ontario, Réseau du patrimoine franco-ontarien, Théâtre Action, Union provinciale des minorités raciales et ethnoculturelles francophones) and other major cultural coalitions and umbrella organizations are key stakeholders and partners.


This renewed action plan for culture will take Ottawa to the next level of cultural development and sustainability, and to a suitable position alongside other Canadian cities.  In addition to closing gaps and meeting emerging needs, renewed actions will help the city prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 2017.  It is time to open Ottawa’s cultural window to the world.




Culture – The Fourth Pillar


Culture is internationally recognized as one of the four pillars of community sustainability, alongside the environment, the economy and the social sphere.  The City of Ottawa has adopted this best-practice, four-pillar model within its ‘Choosing Our Future’ and ‘Corporate Sustainability’ initiatives.  Culture plays a central role in cities, contributing positively to economic indicators, social cohesion measures, environmental initiatives, quality-of-life, prosperity, happiness and health.  International capital cities consistently increase their attention to culture, ensuring that local and national culture are supported and employed to market and attract visitors, businesses and new residents.


Culture and Economic Development


Cultural industries are core to the creative sector.  The creative industries in Ontario generate $12.2 billion in GDP for Ontario’s economy annually.  Creative industry GDP is now larger than Ontario’s energy industry, is fast approaching 70% of the auto manufacturing sector and surpasses those of agriculture, forestry and mining sectors combined.  Between 1999 and 2007, Ontario’s creative cluster job growth was double that of the rest of the economy – 38.3% compared with 17% in the overall Ontario economy.1


Ottawa’s Local, Cultural Non-Profit Industry


Based on a 2010 income/expense study that analyzed the audited financial statements of 88 local cultural organizations, Ottawa’s local, non-profit cultural industry directly generated and spent $51M in Ottawa collectively in the 2008/09 fiscal year.  The municipal annual investment in the local cultural sector leverages significant earned revenue, private revenue, provincial and federal government funding and other revenue for Ottawa.  In 2008/09 (a year of significant economic downturn), $1 of municipal cultural investment directly leveraged $6.28 from other sources. 


42%        $21.6M                 Earned Revenue (box office, admissions, tuition)

21%        $11.1M                 Provincial and Federal Government Investment

21%        $10.6M                 Private Sector Revenue (corporate sponsorship, fundraising, donations)

14%        $7M                        Municipal Government Investment

2%           $1M                        Other Revenue

100%      $51.3M2


Annual income/expense studies of the local, non-profit cultural sector from 2006 to 2010 show the direct leveraging effect of one municipal dollar of investment to be in the range of $6.28 to $11.70.3


Direct, Indirect and Induced Economic Impact of Culture


Public sector investment in arts and culture is the catalyst for private sector support and together these drive direct, indirect and induced economic impact.  Arts and culture in Canada provide an economic engine that drives impact at as much as 12x the level of initial public sector investment.4 A recent economic study reported that Ottawa-Gatineau’s cultural industry (non-profit and for-profit) represented approximately 4.1% of GDP – totalling $1.98B.5


1Ontario’s Entertainment and Creative Cluster, A Framework for Growth, Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture, 2010

2Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, City of Ottawa, 2010 Revenue/Income Study

3Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, City of Ottawa, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Revenue/Income Studies

4Council for Business and the Arts in Canada, 2006

5Culture as a Driving Factor of Growth, Culture’s Econometric Model, Jaime Waitman, B.A., M.A., Department of Economics, Carleton University, 2011:  Due to GDP data classification limitations, this snapshot was approximated using 45% total cultural GDP (as defined by Statistics Canada, NAICS codes 51 and 71).  This “culture-specific” ratio was derived from cultural employment data at the 3 and 4 digit NAICS code levels.


Employment – Ottawa Artists and Cultural Workers


In 2006, Ottawa was home to 4,600 artists or 0.9% of the local labour force - slightly higher than the provincial and national averages at 0.8% each.  The median earnings for Ottawa artists was $15,800 – 54% less than the median earnings for the overall labour force, despite the fact that 55% of Ottawa artists had achieved a bachelor degree or higher.  Artists were defined through nine Statistics Canada occupation groups that include actors, choreographers, craftspeople, composers, conductors, dancers, directors, musicians, producers, singers, visual artists and writers.6


In 2006, Ottawa was home to 22,500 cultural workers or 4.7% of the total labour force, which was greater than the Canadian average (3.3%).  The median earnings for Ottawa cultural workers was $37,300 – 9% higher than the median earnings for the overall labour force.  Cultural workers were defined to include 48 occupation groups that contain the nine artist groups but also include creative, production, technical and management jobs in the areas of architecture, archives, broadcasting, crafts, design, film and video, heritage, libraries, performing arts, publishing, sound recording, visual arts, and writing.6  


Volunteerism in Ottawa’s Local Culture


In 2010, over 21,861 volunteers contributed to the operation of direct and funded local cultural programs and events in Ottawa.  This volunteer commitment represents 519,755 volunteer hours and is valued at $9.1M.7 


Attendance and Participation in Local Ottawa Culture


2010 attendance and participation in the City of Ottawa’s direct and funded cultural (arts, heritage, festival, fair) programs and events totaled 4.1 million. 8


Consumer Spending on Culture in Ottawa


In 2007, Hill Strategies Research examined the 2005 spending of Canadians on cultural activities, goods and equipment. Ottawa-Gatineau ranked 1st out of 15 Canadian metropolitan areas in terms of per-capita consumer spending on all cultural goods and services.9   Direct consumer spending by Ottawa residents indicates support for culture. 



6 Mapping Artists and Cultural Workers in Canada’s Large Cities, Hill Strategies Inc., 2010

7 Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, 2011

8 Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, 2011

9 Consumer Spending on Culture in Canada, the Provinces and 15 Metropolitan Areas in 2005, Hill Strategies Research Inc., 2007






* - Community Cultural Partners

- Cultural Services, City of Ottawa

^ - Economic Development, City of Ottawa and Economic Development/Tourism Agencies     

~ - Planning and Growth Management, City of Ottawa

¤ - Parks and Recreation, City of Ottawa

¥ - Client Service Strategies, City of Ottawa

< - City Clerk, City of Ottawa

+ - Community Sustainability, City of Ottawa




Ottawa has a unique cultural identity and is home to a diversity of people and communities.  Recognition and celebration of Ottawa’s unique local heritage, artists, cultural assets, neighbourhoods and stories will build local pride and community connections.  Access to cultural opportunities and cultural participation for the full diversity of Ottawa residents will encourage social cohesion, civic engagement and safer, healthier neighbourhoods.  Young, new, distinct, emerging and re-emerging cultural voices are vital.  They balance, challenge and complement established expression, often ushering in rebirth and revival.


Recommended actions are:


  1. Commemorate and Value Ottawa’s

Unique Stories and Cultural Identities 

• Develop and implement a municipal commemoration and naming  

   policy that:

-          is overseen by an arms-length advisory body composed of citizens and heritage authorities

-          nurtures citizen and community engagement

-          enables the recognition and celebration of Ottawa’s distinct, unique and cultural histories, places, people and events and

-          identifies adequate resources for implementation •*~<


•Tell the full Ottawa story by researching, documenting and presenting the development of Ottawa’s distinct and diverse communities *•


• Partner with the NCC, Parks Canada and Agriculture Canada on the Rideau Canal Promenade (UNESCO World Heritage Site) interpretive initiative •~


  1. Honour and Recognize Aboriginal

(First Nations, Inuit and Métis) Cultural

Identities                                                            •Recognize the Algonquin Anishinabeg First Nation as the Indigenous community in Ottawa by developing civic protocol, communication and cultural partnership opportunities •¥


• Develop and spearhead the implementation of Indigenous and Aboriginal cultural initiatives by hiring a full-time municipal Aboriginal cultural resource planner of Aboriginal ancestry •¥


  1. Build Access to Cultural Opportunity

for All                                                                   •Ensure that all cultural, connected and community voices are represented in municipal cultural planning and decision-making and municipal cultural employees reflect community diversity •~+


• Develop greater access to municipal arts, heritage, festival and fair funding for diverse, emerging and minority communities by establishing tailored programs, increasing targeted promotion, and developing comprehensive outreach and communication


•Include the work and participation of diverse and emerging artists and cultural communities in cultural initiatives/programs delivered by the City and provide incentives to funded cultural organizations to do the same •*


• Increase the provision of Francophone cultural programs and services delivered by the City and its partners, including the translation of promotional materials, and ensure that these programs and services are designed and delivered by Francophones, as stated in the City of Ottawa’s Bilingualism Policy •*


•Promote existing artistic mentorship programs that connect emerging artists with more experienced artists and develop new programs to meet needs *•


  1. Nurture and Empower Ottawa’s

Youth                                                                    • Support youth-led cultural initiatives and work with partners to convene a city-wide youth celebration outside of the school environment that connects youth to each other and to local creative communities *•


• Provide incentives to existing cultural organizations through municipal cultural funding programs to develop and provide training opportunities, internships, apprenticeships and work placement programs for youth •*


• Promote existing initiatives that foster youth awareness around careers in culture and develop new initiatives to meet needs •^


• Convene regular meetings with youth organizations, community arts leaders and various City divisions and agencies to generate peer to peer knowledge exchange and to build capacity •*


• Build the capacity of local cultural organizations to develop and deliver professional cultural experiences that expand the understanding and appreciation for arts and heritage in children and youth, and that meet educational curriculum needs *•





Places and spaces matter.  Great places and spaces matter more.  Located in the great Ottawa Valley, Ottawa lies on the banks of the Ottawa River and has the mouths of the Rideau River and Canal within its hold.  Ottawa’s remarkable natural environment initiates its identity.  Archaeology, natural and cultural heritage, cultural facility development, creative clusters and cultural districts, public art, architecture and urban design are all about place-making.


Place-making makes good economic sense, and smart cities develop communities in which people want to live, work and play.  Creative talent chooses to live in places that are authentic and creative; businesses locate to places in which their employees have access to a rich menu of cultural opportunity; and tourists seek out unique cultural experiences.


Recommended actions are:


  1. Develop and Implement a Plan

for Archaeology                                              

• Develop a joint plan for archaeological resources in Ottawa, in partnership with the NCC, that focuses on:

-          resource protection, conservation and management;

-          planning, design and land use, including an update of the 1999 Archaeological Resource Potential Mapping Study10;

-          interpretation and public awareness;

and hire a full-time, professional municipal archaeologist to spearhead partnered implementation ~•


  1. Improve the Preservation of Ottawa’s

Built and Natural Heritage                         

• Pro-actively seek designation of heritage buildings and districts under Parts IV and V of the Ontario Heritage Act ~


• Establish a municipal bylaw that enforces the preservation of heritage buildings and districts ~


•Provide increased incentives to property owners for the adaptive re-use of historically significant, urban and rural buildings and structures ~


•Identify, inventory and preserve rural, suburban and urban cultural heritage landscapes11 ~•



10 in concert with the 2014 Official Plan Review


11Cultural heritage landscapes are geographic areas that have been modified, influenced, or given special cultural meaning by people. They provide the contextual and spatial information necessary to preserve and interpret the understanding of important historical settings and changes to past patterns of land use. Examples include a burial ground, historical garden or a larger landscape reflecting human intervention, such as the Rideau Canal, the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers, etc.


  1. Develop Cultural Facilities and Spaces

to Address Community Needs and

Sustain Their Operation                               • Expand, redevelop and operate Arts Court and the Ottawa Art Gallery as a downtown centre for professional cultural production and presentation in the literary, media, performing and visual arts •*


• Upgrade and expand La Nouvelle Scène, Ottawa’s Francophone theatre centre, through mechanical, electrical and architectural improvements and an increase in office and rehearsal space *•


• Establish a steering committee and launch a renewed initiative to develop a purpose-built, acoustically-superior mid-sized concert hall, identify a downtown location through market and space analysis, develop a building program and initiate a call for proposals *•


•Undertake a comprehensive needs analysis study related to storage and preservation requirements for community and municipal arts, heritage and archaeological collections *•


• Implement capital improvements (collections storage and visitor services) at Cumberland Heritage Village Museum


• Support the implementation of capital development plans currently underway at local museums *•


• Implement a pilot project in collaboration with the City’s Housing Services Branch to develop Ottawa’s first municipal, affordable artist live-work scenario, to include a focus on aging artists *•~


Endorse the partnered development of:


• A national Indigenous Centre at Victoria Island that gives distinction to the story of the Algonquin Anishinabeg First Nation, focuses on historical and archaeological presentation, and aims to preserve and revitalize Aboriginal languages12


• A digital media incubator and hub that creates possibility for incubation in all disciplines, is linked with universities and other learning institutions, is networked for social innovation, and fosters interdisciplinary approaches13 ^




12 On November 19, 2010, Ottawa City Council approved a motion to support a National Indigenous Centre in the Nation's Capital, and to encourage the Federal Government to work with stakeholders (First Nations, Province of Ontario, etc.) to establish a National Indigenous Centre on Victoria Island.


13 On July 13, 2011, Ottawa City Council approved the Economic Development Strategy Implementation Plan that included the creation of an industry-led digital media lab if future funding were available.  As Ontario’s secondary digital media hub, the Plan identified Ottawa as being well positioned to take a leadership role in the creative industry market if it were to have a digital media lab.  

• A new, central branch of the Ottawa Public Library that includes space for the local literary arts scene14


  1. Include Cultural Space in New

Recreational Facilities                                   • Integrate cultural space within new growth-related recreational facilities and expansions, in collaboration with Parks and Recreation ¤•


  1. Provide Access to Existing, Under-Used

and Unused Spaces for Culture                 • Support the transformation of under-used and unused places in cultural facilities, City-owned properties, libraries and community centres into affordable, accessible spaces that can meet community cultural needs, especially those of young, diverse and emerging artists and communities ~•¤


•Develop and administer a rental subsidy program that funds the use of existing rental space by young, diverse and emerging artists and communities


  1. Encourage the Inclusion of Cultural

Space in Private Development                  • Negotiate the inclusion of cultural amenities within specific private development projects, as a community benefit connected to the implementation of Section 37 of the Planning Act (Increase in Height and Density By-law)15 ~•


• Develop a range of financial incentives and tax levers for business owners to encourage the leasing/renting of private spaces for cultural use ~•


  1. Support the Development of Cultural

and Creative Districts and Clusters                         

Undertake a feasibility study for the development of an arms-length arts and culture space development authority for Ottawa that focuses on cultural facility, cluster and district development, similar to Toronto’s Artscape, and initiate operation *•~


• Support the development of cultural and creative districts and clusters such as the Downtown Rideau/King Edward corridors, Hintonburg/Mechanicsville, Manotick (Dickinson Square), Vanier and at Light Rail Transit stations (including public art and an Algonquin-themed Lebreton LRT station); and begin to pilot specific cultural initiatives within these districts *•~


14A new central branch of the Ottawa Public Library would require a major civic investment with significant and measurable rates of return – economically, socially, educationally and culturally.  The Renewal Steering Committee wishes to endorse this project for future implementation.

15 Section 37 of the Ontario Planning Act permits cities to authorize increases in permitted height and/or density through the zoning bylaw in return for community benefits, provided that there are related Official Plan policies in place.  The term “community benefits” is meant to reflect each city’s priority on providing public benefits to the local community.  The increase in height and/or density is an incentive to the developer to provide these benefits at no cost to the City.  Current City of Ottawa density incentive guidelines include reference to public cultural facilities, public art, conservation of heritage resources, artist live-work studios, and conservation of existing green space among other items.


  1. Nurture Quality Architecture, Urban

Design and Public Art                                    • Develop and implement an updated public art policy16 that meets professional standards and best-practice, adopts a wider definition of public art, addresses Ottawa’s full geographic scope and ensures adequate art conservation practice •~*


• Encourage increased adherence to the City’s Urban Design Objectives and related policies in the Official Plan and support the City of Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel’s advice for improvement of the built environment ~


• Implement international architecture and design competitions for significant municipal projects, and include an artist and a historian on related panels and boards ~





Ottawa’s distinct dual status as National Capital and 4th largest Canadian city creates an exciting menu from  

which residents and visitors can select their chosen cultural experiences.  Ottawa’s local cultural scene is rich

and alive, and the city is a unique and exciting destination.  Cultural marketing and promotion focused on the

local cultural scene is required in order to get the word out to local, national and international audiences.


Recommended actions are:


  1. Develop and Promote a Vibrant Local

Cultural Brand for Ottawa                           

Develop  and promote a vibrant brand that reflects and effectively markets Ottawa’s unique Aboriginal, Francophone and Anglophone identities; its people from around the world; its large pool of artists;  its unique history and heritage; its festivals and fairs; thriving culinary scene; agricultural and natural lands; and its diverse neighbourhoods - urban, suburban and rural  *•^


• Identify, market and promote Ottawa’s local arts, heritage, festival, fair and culinary products, scenes and experiences using new and existing tools, including a visible, cultural kiosk that provides information and access to tickets for local arts, heritage, festivals and fairs *•


  1. Develop Local Cultural Tourism                               

• Identify local, market-ready cultural tourism experiences; develop

cultural tourism packages, cross-products and cross-promotion in partnership with the national cultural sector; and implement joint cultural tourism initiatives that market Ottawa to Ottawans, to Canadians and to international visitors •^*




16 Public art can be defined as the integration of permanent or temporary site-specific works of art into the physical public domain (buildings, natural places, public spaces and structures) through a community design process that includes artists, architects, city planners and citizens

  1. Develop International Cultural


• Take a proactive approach to connecting the cultural initiatives of embassies and consulates that occur in Ottawa with the local cultural scene in order to build partnership opportunities and joint initiatives •^


• Develop a sustainable program that includes local cultural participation and content in international exchanges spearheaded by municipal agencies, and in local business and trade missions aimed at international markets ^•


  1. Renew Poet Laureate Program                  •Develop a renewed municipal poet laureate program that selects a

poet whose work displays excellence to serve as Ottawa’s literary ambassador, to promote the literary arts to Ottawans and to advance Ottawa’s unique voice in the world •*


  1. Apply for Designation as a “Cultural

Capital of Canada”                                          •Submit a municipal application to the Department of Canadian Heritage’s “Cultural Capitals of Canada” program17  to receive a designation as a 2017 “Cultural Capital of Canada”, in celebration of the 150th anniversary (sesquicentennial) of Canadian Confederation and Ottawa’s burgeoning and vibrant local arts and heritage scene •*




With its multiple layers of government, community, business and academia, Ottawa carries very strong potential for successful cultural leadership.  We must look both to the unique practices of Ottawa’s past and to the promise of its distinct future in order to etch out an ideal map for cultural leadership, governance and service. 


The economic and social returns generated by municipal investment in culture are significant. An incentive-based approach for culture with greater accessibility to current resources, strengthened investment, and specific tools that can increase dedicated funding is recommended.


Private and public funding of culture are not interchangeable but interdependent.  Municipal investment acts as a  powerful lever.  The City’s “first-in” investment triggers a stream of additional funding from a wide variety of sources - private donations, corporate sponsorship, funding from other government levels and earned revenue. To build competitive advantage, and to realize the full economic potential of the local cultural sector, Ottawa must bring its commitment to culture to a competitive level. 


Connection and collaboration between culture, economic development and tourism sectors are also key to Ottawa’s prosperity. 






17 Cultural Capitals of Canada recognizes and supports Canadian communities that have a record of harnessing the many benefits of arts and culture in community life.  Its objective is to stimulate sustained community supports for the arts and heritage.  Designation as a Cultural Capital of Canada enables a community to invest more in arts and culture, to increase and improve cultural services, to strengthen connections with other communities through shared cultural experiences, to enhance partnerships with local cultural and community organizations and other stakeholders and to advance cultural development by further integrating arts and culture in municipal planning.

Recommended actions are:


  1. Invest in Local Arts, Heritage, Festivals

and Fairs                                                              • Invest in this renewed 5-year action plan for culture in order to:

-           Build capacity, leverage other sources of revenue and increase sustainability in the local arts, heritage, festival and fair sectors;

-          Achieve cross-Canada per-capita average competitiveness for culture (as approved by Council in the original Ottawa 20/20 Arts and Heritage Plan);

-          Build the local capacity to connect with international cultural capital cities;

-          Reap the positive economic, social and environmental benefits and impacts of culture •^~¤¥<+


Renew the municipal cultural facilities funding program that supports the maintenance, conservation, improvement, retrofitting, development and redevelopment of local cultural places and spaces; and provide an adequate municipal investment that can leverage other funding sources


• Advocate to the Province, along with other Ontario cities, for the inclusion of growth-related cultural facilities as eligible recipients of funding from development charges under the Development Charges Act •~*


  1. Encourage Local/National Cultural

Partnerships and Collaboration                • Mount a regular, biennial summit that focuses on bringing Ottawa-based local and national cultural players together to seek opportunities and to discuss challenges in order to build audiences for all •*



  1. Increase and Manage Private Sector

Support of Local Culture                               Work with Business for the Arts18 and cultural service organizations to establish a one-year artsVest19 program in Ottawa, designed to increase private sector support of local culture •*


• Discuss and plan for the development of an arts and heritage foundation focused on fundraising and philanthropy, spearheaded by the AOE Arts Council in partnership with the arts, heritage, festival and fair communities *•


18 Business for the Arts is Canada’s national association of business leaders who support the arts, with over 35 years experience in facilitating connections between the private, public and cultural sector

19 ArtsVest is a matching incentive and training program that is designed to stimulate business sponsorship and corporate engagement in arts and culture, and that operates at the local level


  1. Develop Increased Arms-Length Cultural

Leadership and Participation                     • Discuss and plan for the development of an independent arms-length arts authority that provides leadership, service and support to the arts community, spearheaded by the Council for the Arts in Ottawa and the AOE Arts Council *•


• Identify opportunities for local cultural initiatives within the mandates of Ottawa Tourism, Invest Ottawa, local chambers of commerce and business improvement associations and work in partnership to deliver ^•


  1. Champion Connections Between Culture,

Economic Development and Tourism     • Identify and map Ottawa’s cultural industries as an emerging economic cluster; and connect this sector with business, entrepreneurship and the larger creative economy cluster •^


• Develop a keystone organization within the Lead to Win economic program20   that focuses on cultural industry needs, gaps, opportunities and health ^•


• Identify opportunities for culture within Ottawa’s social enterprise ecosystem21, in partnership with the City’s Economic Development Branch and Invest Ottawa ^•


• Include two sessions within the existing series of Mayor’s business breakfasts that focus on connection between local culture, economic development and tourism sectors, and integrate additional cultural elements into this initiative ^•


  1. Refocus City’s Cultural Development Role

as Convener, Catalyst and Planner         

Establish a regular cultural roundtable, facilitated by the City, to increase communication and collaboration between all cultural sectors, and with other sectors and government levels; and explore the idea of mounting a biennial cultural summit in Ottawa that brings together all related parties •*


Take an ongoing municipal cultural planning and mapping approach to cultural development in Ottawa


20Lead To Win (LTW) is a business development program with the objective to establish and grow businesses in Canada’s National Capital Region.  Initially, the Lead To Win (LTW) program was founded to develop technology based industry, but over time the program has grown to encompass all growth-oriented industries.


21 The social enterprise ecosystem is a connected and collaborative network of for-profit ventures that have social missions built into their business models.  Social innovation is at the centre of these models, putting new ideas into practice for the public good.



Establish a working group of City staff from all relevant departments to apply a cultural and creative lens to City services, and to make it easier for culture producers, consumers and the public at large to work with local government •^+


• Increase the frequency and distribution of effective cultural reporting (including statistics, indicators and trends) to Ottawa’s residents in order to build awareness and understanding around the value, economic impact, and social and environmental benefits of culture •*+