Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

January 21, 2008 14:30 ET

Announcement of 2009 Cultural Capitals of Canada

TROIS-RIVIERES, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Jan. 21, 2008) - The Honourable Josee Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, accompanied by Yves Levesque, Mayor of Trois-Rivieres, today announced that the municipalities of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec; Coquitlam and Whistler, in British Columbia; and Fredericton and Caraquet, in New Brunswick, have been designated the Cultural Capitals of Canada for 2009.

"We will invest up to $4.25 million to support these five municipalities as they implement programs that show how arts and culture play an important role in their communities," said Minister Verner. "The Government of Canada is proud to encourage these municipalities, which are using culture to enhance the lives of their residents, while contributing to the cultural vitality of our country."

The Cultural Capital of Canada designation is awarded for merit, as determined by the quality of a proposed project and earlier achievements by the candidate community that demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the arts and culture. Funding is provided to support special projects that celebrate the arts and culture. Amounts vary according to the size of the municipality.

As a municipality with a population over 125 000, Trois-Rivieres may be awarded up to $2 million.

Mayor Yves Levesque expressed pleasure that his historical city will become a Cultural Capital. "This prestigious title will help us finance a series of cultural activities for the 375th anniversary celebrations for Trois-Rivieres," said Mayor Levesque.

Municipalities with a population between 50 000 and 125 000, such as Coquitlam, may be awarded up to $750,000.

Municipalities with populations under 50 000, such as Whistler, Caraquet, and Fredericton, may be awarded up to $500,000 each.

An independent advisory committee evaluated the candidate communities and made its recommendations to Minister Verner. The committee was composed of experts in the field of arts and culture and the mayors of the Cultural Capitals of Canada for 2007.

For more information on the projects proposed by the 2009 Cultural Capitals, the funding they will obtain, and the other municipalities that applied, please see the attached backgrounder.

The names of Cultural Capitals for previous years are posted on the Department of Canadian Heritage website at www.pch.gc.ca/progs/ccc/index_e.cfm

This news release is available on the Internet at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca under Media Room.


BACKGROUNDER

2009 CULTURAL CAPITALS

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec

Category: population over 125 000

Maximum contribution: $2,000,000

On the occasion of its 375th anniversary, Trois-Rivieres is planning an ambitious program that includes a number of celebrations and cultural activities. In line with the City's cultural policy, the project, "Trois-Rivieres, ville d'histoire et de culture: 1634-2009" (Trois-Rivieres, City of History and Culture, 1634-2009), recognizes the role that culture plays in affirming identity and the quality of life of citizens, as well as in the economic development of thismunicipality. The project also maintains that access to culture is a basic right of the city's residents. The proposed programming will foster increased resident participation through activities such as neighbourhood celebrations, a commemorative performance, and the Acces scene et musee (Access to Stage and Museum) project, which will involve a host of professional and emerging artists. Finally, the project will help to build partnerships with target groups, such as First Nations and cultural communities, in keeping with the municipality's aim of promoting cultural inclusiveness.


Coquitlam, British Columbia

Category: population between 50 000 and 125 000

Maximum contribution: $750,000

Maintaining a long tradition of cooperation with cultural organizations, the City of Coquitlam proposed a project developed through community participation. The City has developed close ties with arts and cultural organizations and is distinguished by the support and recognition that it gives to its Francophone heritage and its diverse cultural communities. The Intercultural Celebrations: Past, Present and Future project makes use of public consultations and a partnership with the local First Nation. This project is a perfect example of the role that a municipality can play in stimulating cultural development and a feeling of belonging among all residents.

Coquitlam recognizes the important contribution of culture to community identity, quality of life, and economic development. Its cultural strategy supports community cultural groups, while integrating culture into municipal planning and development of the community, the economy, and tourism. As a Cultural Capital, Coquitlam will be able to achieve its goals: to plan and develop a vibrant culture in its community, to strengthen its partnerships with cultural groups, and to re-establish its role as a centre of cultural activity.


Whistler, British Columbia

Category: population under 50 000

Maximum contribution: $500,000

Whistler is planning a project that shows its commitment to culture and supports a wide range of arts and cultural activities. While involving First Nations, the Francophone community, and young residents, the project will also encourage professional artists, budding creators, and members of the public to participate in the scheduled celebrations, workshops, and activities.

Both ambitious and original, its project, Celebration 2020: A Natural Step Towards Cultural Sustainability, benefits from the staunch support of many parties. It is also important to highlight the integration of ecology and the environment in the project, as well as the use of non-traditional sites to hold festivals. By integrating a number of activities already in place, Whistler is providing a legacy that will benefit the community by encouraging development of the arts and culture, intercultural awareness, participation of artists with disabilities, lasting ties, and growth in tourism.


Fredericton, New Brunswick

Category: population under 50 000

Maximum contribution: $500,000

Fredericton's cultural policy highlights the city's three founding cultures and recognizes the role played by culture in affirming community identity, social cohesion, and economic development. In line with this policy, Fredericton is planning a wide variety of programming with no fewer than 16 different activities. Its project, Exposing Our Culture, makes use of the community's historical features and artistic traditions and calls for the participation of various cultural partners. The public art and artists-in-residence programs and the celebratory activities will promote a greater presence for art in public areas and increased participation of residents. The proposal gives particular attention to young people, First Nations people, and Francophones.

Fredericton's project will create a lasting legacy by fostering the community's cultural growth and involving cultural groups. It will also encourage the participation of Francophones and First Nations people in promoting valuable exchanges.


Caraquet, New Brunswick

Category: population under 50 000

Maximum contribution: $500,000

The Town of Caraquet's proposal is ambitious and proposes activities to attract a large audience drawn from many of the communities on the Acadian Peninsula. While stressing its Acadian heritage, Caraquet will support various forms of art, including poetry, performing and visual arts, film, and theatre. Its project, "Caraquet, ville lumiere 2009" (Caraquet, 2009 City of Light), demonstrates an impressive commitment to culture and growing financial support for the arts and cultural sector-support far above the per-resident average for communities in this category.

Caraquet has made great efforts to develop and implement policies that link economic growth and cultural tourism. These projects are a source of pride for the community and contribute to its vitality. This is the second time that Caraquet has been designated a Cultural Capital; the first was in 2003.


BACKGROUNDER

Candidate Communities for Cultural Capitals of Canada 2009


Over 125 000 population

Kitchener, Ontario

Saguenay, Quebec

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec


50 000 to 125 000 population

Coquitlam, British Columbia

Guelph, Ontario

Lethbridge, Alberta

Red Deer, Alberta

Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec


Under 50 000 population

Caraquet, New Brunswick

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Summerside, Prince Edward Island

Victoria County, Nova Scotia

Whistler, British Columbia

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
    and Status of Women and Official Languages
    Dominic Gosselin
    Press Secretary
    819-997-7788
    or
    Canadian Heritage
    Donald Boulanger
    A/Chief, Media Relations
    819-994-9101