Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

January 21, 2008 14:45 ET

Canadian Heritage: Coquitlam Designated 2009 Cultural Capital of Canada

COQUITLAM, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 21, 2008) - On behalf of the Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, James Moore, Member of Parliament (Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam), today celebrated with Maxine Wilson, Mayor of Coquitlam, the city's designation as a 2009 Cultural Capital of Canada.

"The City of Coquitlam recognizes the role arts and culture play in improving citizens' quality of life and economic development," said Minister Verner. "Coquitlam has a vision and clear goals, which gives it the means to offer its citizens enriching and stimulating cultural experiences."

"I am delighted that Coquitlam is being recognized with this prestigious award," said Mr. Moore. "The Government of Canada is proud to support municipalities such as Coquitlam that use arts and culture to improve the quality of life in their community."

"Being recognized as a Cultural Capital is a tremendous boost to our community, not only for the valuable funding to expand our cultural celebrations, but also for the validation that we are truly a multicultural community, which celebrates our residents' many rich cultures and traditions," said Mayor Wilson. "We're extremely proud of the many cultural organizations who worked with us to highlight our cultural assets, and we look forward to moving ahead with new projects and to leveraging the opportunities to expand the festivals and programs offered in Coquitlam."

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.

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.

Funding is provided to support special projects that celebrate the arts and culture. Amounts vary according to the size of the municipality.

Municipalities with a population between 50 000 and 125 000, like Coquitlam, may be awarded up to $750,000. Coquitlam will launch its Intercultural Celebrations: Past, Present and Future project with this funding. This project will include hosting the "world's largest block party," a wide-ranging celebration organized as part of Canada Day festivities.

The other Cultural Capitals for 2009 are Trois-Rivières, Quebec, in the greater than 125 000 population category; and Fredericton and Caraquet, New Brunswick, and Whistler, British Columbia, in the under 50 000 population category.

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

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

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

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