Evidence of meeting #11 for Canadian Heritage in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was artists.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Anita Gaffney  Administrative Director, Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Janice Price  Chief Executive Officer, Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity
Sarah Iley  Vice-President, Programming, Banff Centre
Fatima Amarshi  Executive Director, Coastal Jazz and Blues Society

8:50 a.m.


The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Good morning, everybody. We'll get our meeting started.

I should mention that the last 15 minutes of this meeting, from 10:30 to 10:45, will be set aside for committee business. We will be hearing from witnesses until 10:30.

I am very pleased to welcome our witnesses today.

We have Anita Gaffney from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and Janice Price from Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity. Welcome.

Now, by way of video conference--and we have to remember, it's 8:45 here but it's pretty early over on our west coast--we have Sarah Iley, vice-president of programming at the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta; and Fatima Amarshi of the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Welcome to all of you. The way the committee works is that each of our witnesses will have ten minutes for opening remarks. Then we will go into rounds of questioning.

I think we'll start with you, Anita, if you don't mind. Someone has to be first, so we'll let that be you.

We're here to listen to your opening remarks. You have the floor.

8:50 a.m.

Anita Gaffney Administrative Director, Stratford Shakespeare Festival

Great. I'm happy to do so.

Thank you very much for inviting me here today.

Thank you, Minister Moore, and thank you to Paul Calandra, who I met with a couple of weeks ago. It was as a result of that meeting that the invitation was extended to me today to come before you. So thank you very much.

I'm going to talk a little bit about the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, just share with you a little bit of what we're about, and then talk about how major cultural organizations can be showcased in Canada at 150 in 2017, and then wrap up with some discussion about how we might partner as arts organizations in the celebrations.

For the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, it's a very exciting time right now. We're going into our 2012 season, which is our 60th season, so we've had a bit of experience with anniversary celebrations--back in 2002 with our 50th and this coming year with our 60th. We mount 14 productions each year, and we run from April to November.

We have quite a wide range of productions. We're well-known for our Shakespeares, things like Henry V and Cymbeline, which we're producing this year. We're also well-known for our contemporary classics, things like The Importance of Being Earnest. We had a production of Earnest that went to Broadway earlier this year and its star won a Tony.

We're also well-known for doing blockbuster musicals, things like Jesus Christ Superstar, which at this very moment is being driven to San Diego. It's going to open at La Jolla Playhouse very shortly and then go to Broadway in the spring of 2012.

We also commission and produce new plays. A notable example is one we did by Timothy Findley in 2000 called Elizabeth Rex. That same play is actually being produced by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater right now, with the same actor who starred in it at Stratford in 2000, Diane D'Aquila. She's doing it in Chicago.

The festival brings in about 500,000 people to Stratford and region each year. We employ about 1,000 people. This includes everyone from actors and directors and designers, to people who make props and wigs, to people who are administrators, educators, and marketers. It's a full range; it's almost like a little village at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. We generate about $140 million in economic activity and about $76 million in taxes for all three levels of government.

In addition to the plays, we also train our actors. We run a conservatory for classical theatre training, which is very generously funded by the Department of Heritage. We also have 60 years of archival material and artifacts from the festival housed at Stratford. It's the biggest archives dedicated to a single institution in the country.

We're members of FAME, Festivals and Major Events Canada. It's a relatively new organization of major events across the country. I'd like to just spend a little bit of time reflecting on how we can really stand on the shoulders of these great organizations, which are national in scope but also bring international attention.

These are some thoughts that I think are based on reflections from some of the anniversary celebrations that have gone by, things like the Olympics, Expo 67 and Expo 86, and even some of the things that have happened at Stratford. They are some thoughts I have around what sort of focal points we should think about.

The first one is on technology. There's a conference in Stratford each year called Canada 3.0. They declared a moon shot, and that was to see that Canada be a digital nation by 2017. I think there's a real opportunity to grasp that moon shot and to look to cultural institutions to become engaged in technology and digital media. I think there would be opportunities to film our productions in 3D technology in order to be able to broadcast those, not just here in Canada but around the world, and to share them on line as well. So there are lots of opportunities around technology.

I think this is an opportunity to digitize and catalogue our archival collections. Stratford alone has 60 years of costumes, props, and artifacts that we would love to share with the rest of the country and with the rest of the world, and technology facilitates that.

Finally, I think there would be opportunities for engaging the public using technology through contests. I have some ideas about this that we can talk about during the question period, because I want to get on to some of these other great thoughts.

I'd also like to think about a four-season.... I think one of the things that defines Canada is that we have four distinct seasons. You could think about having a celebration in the west coast in the winter, in the midwest in the spring, autumn in central Canada, and summer on the east coast, and really keep the celebrations going four seasons of the year and across the country, so that we're not just looking at one geographic region and one time of the year.

Just on that point about getting across the country, I think the notion of passports has been talked about before. We reminisce about 1967 and the passports that had been used around the site at Expo 67, but there may be an opportunity to issue passports to Canadians to encourage them and give them some incentive to travel to these various events that are happening across the country in 2017.

There's an opportunity to showcase the great work of these major arts festivals. I know because I work at the Stratford Festival; I've worked here for 20 years. I love it because I love the transformative experience of going to the theatre. When I go to the theatre it challenges my attitude about things. It entertains me, which is very nice, but it has a deeper experience for me, and I find it a very transformational, refreshing, inspiring experience. I think it's great that 500,000 people experience that at Stratford each year, but I'd love to see more people have the opportunity to experience this fine art and this transformational experience at Stratford and other organizations.

Our thought here is to put together a festival of events that might have a theatre, a dance, a music, and a comedy component that would be packaged and toured from coast to coast within Canada. Another thought is to take that same festival of events under the banner of Canada 2017 on an international tour and go to some of the international festivals, like Edinburgh, Hong Kong, and Australia in 2016, and really say we're coming, and come and visit us in 2017.

There are a lot of opportunities to partner with cultural organizations. Stratford is thinking about doing some special programming in 2017, commissioning some plays that would touch on some of the major events that have happened in Canada over the last 150 years, and taking that to many platforms. We're talking to a major national broadcaster about commissioning scripts that would be available for television, for web, and for stage production.

The festival and places like the festival have amazing marketing reach. We could certainly be branding Canada 2017, Canada 150, in all of our marketing materials. Stratford alone spends $3 million to $4 million a year, and we reach across Canada and into the United States.

Another important thing is that we have an educational network. As many arts organizations do, we reach 70,000 kids each year. We work with teachers and students, and there's a real opportunity to take our outreach activities into schools. We do it electronically and digitally. We bring students to us. There's an opportunity to use that network to help educate the country about the culture of Canada over the last 150 years.

There's an opportunity for exploiting the talent of the cultural organizations and getting them involved in the planning of Canada 150. I'm so pleased to be here today to have the opportunity to share some ideas, but I'd like to think about having leaders from our major arts organizations involved in the planning and operational activities as well.

Finally, I'd like to say that in looking at what Governor General David Johnston said about his vision for Canada 2017—he talked about a nation that is smarter and more caring, with a focus on families and children, on learning and innovation, and philanthropy and volunteerism—I think the arts is a real lightning rod for that ambition and that vision.

I look to the example of the Olympics in London in 2012. The Olympics are happening, but they've also come up with a really innovative focus on Shakespeare for the year. I visited a number of the cultural organizations and they're all doing something to celebrate Shakespeare in 2012, from art galleries to public installations to theatres. They're inviting other countries to come and showcase how they produce Shakespeare. It's a really big idea that has fused the nation and really given a celebration of culture alongside the sports. I think there might be something to learn there as we look at Canada 150.

Thank you very much.

8:55 a.m.


The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Thank you.

On to you, Ms. Price, with Luminato.

9 a.m.

Janice Price Chief Executive Officer, Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity

Thank you.

Thank you for the invitation to appear. I am the CEO of the Luminato Festival, which is Toronto's festival of arts, culture, and creativity. I'd also like to thank you right off the top because for the past four years Luminato has been supported by the Canadian arts presentation fund, through the Department of Canadian Heritage, for which we are very grateful. This has been vital support, allowing us to present hundreds of Canadian artists from across the country and then in turn share them with the world.

Luminato is an annual festival in Toronto that celebrates the creative spirit by presenting hundreds of events in theatre, dance, music, visual arts, food, film, magic, and literature. I know that's a mouthful, but art does not evolve in isolation, so our festival promotes the exciting products that come from this kind of creative collaboration.

We operate for 10 days each June and we transform parks, theatres, squares, and public spaces of Toronto. Landmark productions come to town, marquee events give public concerts, and festival-goers are invited to explore the city and experience what we have dubbed accidental encounters with art. That's largely because a majority of our events are free to the public, and making art accessible and participatory has been a key part of our mandate.

We also aim to reflect Toronto and the region's diverse community in our programming, which is from around the globe, in the volunteers who give of their time, in the audiences who come to our events, and in giving back to some of Canada's most highest needs neighbourhoods through education outreach initiatives.

Our festival programming is curated to present high-calibre art that wouldn't otherwise have a chance to be seen in Ontario or Canada. In 2011 we presented 800 artists from 7 provinces and 28 different countries, all brought together in the spirit of celebrating creative diverse spirit.

One of the most important roles we play in the cultural landscape, similar to what Anita alluded to, is as a commissioner and a partner in developing new Canadian and international work from both established and emerging artists. Luminato has become one of the most active commissioning bodies in Canada, presenting works in their North American or world premiers. Often these works then go on to tour abroad, taking the stamp “Made in Canada” with them when they go and promoting our country and our region as a vibrant cultural centre in which to live, work, and play.

We've come therefore to play a significant role within the region's tourism and cultural sectors, annually reaching around one million festival-goers. And we have become in only five short years a highly anticipated part of the spring festival season for both residents and visitors.

This past June we celebrated our fifth anniversary, and thanks to strong partnerships from our corporate, private and individual, and government stakeholders we're already one of the largest multi-arts festivals in North America.

I'm here today representing Luminato and to discuss the sesquicentennial, but also in my position as a member of the executive for our new national association of Festivals and Major Events, or FAME. I know that last week you heard from our colleague, André Picard, from Just for Laughs, so I won't provide too much further background on FAME, other than to say we are a member-driven and member-funded organization and we do represent the largest events and festivals in the country.

Festivals have the capability to transform their communities and bring people together in a spirit of social unity, and we're an industry that drives tourism and social engagement and is already active in over 308 ridings across this country. On behalf of myself and I'm sure of my colleagues, really our message here today is that we are willing and able to come to the table to help ensure the success of this important 150th celebration undertaking.

I agree with Anita that we already have the networks, the partnerships, many of the community connections, and obviously the activities that could be leveraged to expand this message's reach into many markets. Many of us already have close working relationships with the Department of Canadian Heritage in our regions. And I would echo as well Anita's comment about our marketing, our program, and our educational abilities.

Festivals like Luminato already play a key role in supporting national and regional celebrations. Our involvement directly helped Toronto win the bid to host the 2011 Indian international film awards, and we were joined in that effort by another FAME member, the Toronto International Film Festival. We in turn together created a regional focus on South Asian culture.

We're also intimately involved with the region's 1812 bicentennial commemoration activities, as well as the 2015 Pan American and Parapan Games when they come to Ontario.

We know how important cultural activities are. As we saw at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, more people took part in the peripheral cultural happenings than in sporting events.

In our view, there were several key elements that helped contribute to the success of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games as a cultural catalyst.

One is a central organizing body. Designating one body that has the respect and the legitimacy within the sectors to coordinate activities was, we believe, very important. It had a national scope, which obviously this new celebration has to have. While Vancouver was the focus, the torch relay and the subsequent community events ensured that it was a truly national celebration. How can we promote similar regional celebrations and also regional exchange?

Also, there is the buildup of excitement. It takes years to develop and prepare cultural product to be of the highest international calibre. Just as it took years for VANOC to put together the program, we think it's going to take years to build the relationships and the awareness of a sesquicentennial celebration.

Another very important learning from the Vancouver games would be to seize opportunities to promote Canadian culture abroad. As our friends at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada have shared with you, there's an incredible interest in Canada right now, and our national brand has never been stronger. We can sustain that brand by highlighting the rich, diverse cultural offerings and exporting our cultural product to new markets.

We know that the reach and the impact of Canada's centennial in 1967 was monumental. It was a fantastic impetus for investing in what are now landmark cultural buildings across the country—bricks and mortar. That was much-needed hardware. Perhaps a far-reaching legacy for Canada 150 is an equally ambitious program to invest in what I call the “software”, the landmark cultural content that will now fill these buildings and share our stories with one another and create a different kind of legacy.

Just as the centennial marked a new stage of national confidence and pride in a Canadian cultural identity from coast to coast to coast, perhaps the legacy of 2017 should take the next step and promote a new level of Canadian cultural identity and confidence across the globe. I would encourage the committee to think boldly about what legacy will be felt in content and in Canadian programming for years afterwards.

What programs could be put in place to encourage a national exchange of art, culture, and ideas? What incentives might help drive Canadians to explore new regions of their own country? Festivals and events can be the catalysts that provide exciting things for people to see and do once they arrive. How can we engage our international partners, embassies, and consulates and invite them to help us celebrate here at home and around the world?

I'd like to close by highlighting that what we're talking about is creating those iconic Canadian moments that festivals such as ours are already in the business of making a reality. We're very excited and engaged to come to the table. We plan on working towards having arts and culture from every province represented in our 2017 festival. We look forward to working with you to make the 150th celebration an incredible success.

Thank you.

9:05 a.m.


The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Thank you for your presentation.

Now we go over to Banff, and Sarah.


9:05 a.m.

Sarah Iley Vice-President, Programming, Banff Centre

Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the committee today. As I've been introduced, I am the vice-president of programming for the Banff Centre. I thought I should begin with a bit of background about the Banff Centre. It began life as the Banff summer school of the arts 78 years ago, and it's now one of Canada's leading cultural organizations. We are designated by the Department of Canadian Heritage as one of Canada's national arts training institutions, and we attract some 4,000 artists each year to our mountain setting. I think it's important to give you an idea of the setting itself.

We're located on the side of a mountain, in the heart of Canada's first national park, which has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site. It's also been a significant spiritual site for the first nations for over 12,000 years.

The artists who come to this site, 25% of whom come from outside Canada, come from countries throughout North America and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. They come to the Banff Centre to create, exhibit, and perform works in a dozen different arts disciplines. One of our objectives is to showcase the work of those emerging and established Canadian and international artists in an exciting way, so we produce the Banff arts and mountain festivals, multidisciplinary, critically acclaimed festivals that produce over 300 ticketed and free events in the months from May through the end of October.

The Banff arts festivals showcase jazz and classical musical, theatre, classical and contemporary dance, opera, visual arts exhibitions, film and new media, literary readings, and aboriginal arts.

The Banff mountain festivals showcase internationally recognized writers and filmmakers who focus specifically on mountain culture, sports, and the environment.

The Banff Summer Arts Festival is actually Canada's oldest multidisciplinary arts festival. It was begun in 1942, and our Banff mountain festivals are now in their 35th year.

Our festivals deliver premier presentations for audiences visiting Banff National Park, adding an important dimension to the tourism industry. The events provide unparalleled access to artists, musicians, filmmakers, and writers through specially designed events presented in our three theatres, our art gallery, our concert hall, and our brand-new outdoor stage, the Shaw Amphitheatre.

The centre is able to host and engage audiences from around the globe in this very special setting. Only 18% of our audience comes from Banff. Another 44% comes from across Alberta, and the remaining 38% comes from across Canada and around the world. You can see why I'm very happy to be here with my colleagues working with Festivals and Major Events Canada, FAME, the national organization that regroups festivals across the country, because we also believe in FAME's mission to play a leading role in the economic and social promotion of international-scale Canadian festivals and events.

I have to agree with both Anita and Janice. We also believe that our experience provides an excellent platform from which to help the committee and the rest of Canada think through what we should be doing for Canada's sesquicentennial celebrations.

It's also important, because despite the importance of our festivals to Banff, we don't believe that everything that happens in Banff should stay in Banff. We work with partners in order that the art created here can be seen elsewhere. For that purpose, at the conclusion of our annual Banff Mountain Film Festival, which is the world's leading festival of this kind of genre of film, we produce the best of the festival world tour, and that undertakes an extensive circuit around the globe. We have 168 tour sponsors, and just this past quarter our world tour was featured by tour hosts in 76 screenings in 13 countries on 5 continents, including Antarctica.

In addition, this year National Geographic worked with us to produce an hour-long television special on the Banff mountain festivals, which they will air on channels in 148 countries.

With that as a bit of background, I would like to focus on a couple of things from our experience, which the committee might find helpful in thinking through how best to approach Canada's 150th anniversary. Those things are positioning, partnerships, and community engagement.

I'm going to start with positioning. I mentioned at the start that the Banff Centre was founded 78 years ago, so three years ago we celebrated our 75th anniversary. Seventy-five years is a long time for an arts and cultural organization to be around and to be thriving, so we wanted to celebrate.

In thinking about positioning the Banff Centre on its 75th anniversary, there were a few messages we wanted to get out. The first was that Banff is an important site for indigenous peoples and takes seriously its responsibility to support the development of work that reflects their culture. The second was that it attracts artists from around the world, because the artists who attend from Alberta and Canada can take their own place on the world stage. The third is that we believe it's important to support the creation of new works of art to add Canadian music, dance, theatre, literature, and art to the global repertoire.

In thinking about Canada at 150 years, I think some of these pieces will also be important to position Canada as a nation that did not just begin 150 years ago with Confederation but long before that with the first nations. Secondly, they will position Canada as a nation with a diversity of talents, reflected by accomplished artists whose work should be showcased to the world.

In order to celebrate our own 75th anniversary, we had a number of objectives, and we needed to make sure that we could get the word out beyond Banff in order to position the Banff Centre as a unique resource for Albertans, Canadians, and the world. Events were planned and took place in Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and New York, as well as here. Our alumni were featured everywhere, and work that had been created at Banff was featured at festivals and events across Canada and as far away as Beijing.

None of this could have happened without partnerships, institutions such as the Governor General's office, Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, One Yellow Rabbit: High Performance Rodeo in Calgary, etc.--they were all partners. For instance, we co-produced A Rocky Mountain High, a special weekend mini-festival at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, which showcased the works of 60 Banff Centre alumni.

What I think is important to remember here is that one couldn't have done any of this without partners. We worked with Luminato, for instance, to co-commission Tono, an aboriginal dance piece, which has since been around the world and was featured at both the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics as well as at the Shanghai Expo.

If we think it was important and useful to have partners, I can only imagine how exciting it would be for Canada to reach out to a whole range of different kinds of partners. Festivals are some of the partners within, but Canada should also reach out to partners outside.

We've also had some experience in helping to celebrate Parks Canada's 100th anniversary as we are situated in Banff National Park. Parks invented a wonderful program that I think is a great symbol of the next thing we should talk about, which is community engagement. Parks invented a program called Canada's Greatest Summer Job, by which it invited young people to apply to spend the summer creating films that told the stories about Canada's national parks from their own point of view. Nearly 1,000 university and college film students from across Canada applied, and there were something like 35 of them selected to spend the summer documenting each park. They began here with their film boot camp at the Banff Centre, and it was guaranteed that those whose work was best would be featured in our Mountain Film Festival.

The resulting work of these individual young people was personal, idiosyncratic, and utterly delightful, because it wasn't created or dictated by Parks Canada; it reflected their own experience of each park. It gave Parks Canada wonderful content for a variety of media platforms, just to underline Anita's point that we need to be thinking about how we can use technology and the interactive platforms that exist to spread the word far beyond live performance.

There's another movement of which all of us here today are a part called Culture Days. The ability to engage the public in the arts is at the heart of Culture Days, the national movement for which the Banff Centre is a founding partner and serves as treasurer. Culture Days is a collaborative, pan-Canadian volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation, and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. It was spurred on by the vision that was inspired by Quebec's Journées de la culture. Hundreds of volunteers have self-organized themselves in communities across the country to create events across the same weekend that Quebec has claimed for the past 12 years.

The result is that in our second year as the national Culture Days more than 800 Canadian cities and towns—up from 700 last year—opened their doors and offered some 5,500 free Culture Days: hands-on classes, excursions, tours, demonstrations, seminars, panels, and behind-the-scenes experiences.

This was all promoted by our marketing partners, the Globe and Mail, CBC, and Aeroplan. And it proved that self-organized, connected by social media, and sharing umbrella marketing plans, you can create extraordinary events that are excellent examples of community engagement.

In closing, I would just like to emphasize that when we consider the variety of partnerships one could put together to celebrate and really acknowledge the unique qualities of Canada, we also have to think about the possibilities of community engagement and the ways in which we can reach out to Canadians across the country to help create their own visions of Canada.

Thank you.

9:15 a.m.


The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Thank you.

Fatima at the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, thank you for getting out of bed so early in the morning to present to us and answer some questions from us. The floor is yours.

9:20 a.m.

Fatima Amarshi Executive Director, Coastal Jazz and Blues Society

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning. I'll ask you to forgive me if I'm a little groggy today.

I'm the executive director of the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, which produces the annual Vancouver International Jazz Festival as well as Winterruption on Granville Island, the Time Flies festival, and a series of concerts throughout the year.

My colleagues have spoken extensively to the value of arts and culture in these kinds of celebrations. What I want to talk to you about today is the legacy from these kinds of activities, in particular the long-term cultural legacy that goes far beyond the showcasing of the arts at the initial time of the event, that goes far beyond the long-term legacy of physical infrastructure projects.

Ironically, this actually ties quite well to our organization's history. If you'll allow me, I'd like to tell you a little bit of a story around that.

In 1986 Vancouver hosted Expo 86, an event that coincided with Vancouver's centennial anniversary. John Orysik, Ken Pickering, and Robert Kerr, along with a group of other music lovers and idealistic dreamers, launched the first Vancouver International Jazz Festival as part of the world's fair that year.

You can imagine what a thrill it was for them to showcase to the world some of the great Canadian talent that was residing in their hometown, along with such legends of the music world as Miles Davis, Bobby McFerrin, and Tito Puente. Together with Expo 86, they produced over 120 concerts in 23 locations, not only sharing the sense of pride and belonging that Expo generated but also developing the courage and inspiration to pursue their own vision of nurturing and presenting a uniquely Canadian voice to audiences both here and abroad.

Inspired by Expo 86, they secured their first major sponsor, and working with the city in a province that was now awakened to the limitless possibilities and opportunities of major civic events, they launched Vancouver's first major annual outdoor street festival in Gastown shortly after that, and built partnerships with Granville Island, the Roundhouse community centre, and a plethora of other civic and arts and cultural organizations.

Today we're the largest arts and cultural producer in B.C. The Vancouver International Jazz Festival has been acclaimed as one of the best in the world, showcasing over 1,800 musicians in 400 concerts, 150 of which are free. We draw over half a million people every year and have an economic impact of almost $18 million on the region.

I share this because we are the cultural legacy of Expo 86. Had it not been for Expo 86, organizations like ours wouldn't have existed. It's a legacy that continued on with the next major celebration in Vancouver, the 2010 Olympics and the accompanying three-year Cultural Olympiad--whose program director, incidentally, was Robert Kerr, one of the founders of the jazz festival and my predecessor.

That's another great example of a national celebration that spawned its own infrastructure and cultural legacies. We participated extensively in the Cultural Olympiad, bringing together, for instance, through our Sonic Genome project, renowned international and Canadian musicians to participate with local musicians and students in creating innovative jazz in a community centre environment over a period of 24 hours. You couldn't get a better presentation of community engagement and education than that.

We're asking you, as you develop plans for the 120th anniversary, to keep in mind building on platforms that exist today--platforms like our festivals--and also supporting emerging organizations. Who knows? The seeds of what happens in 2017 may very well blossom into tomorrow's cultural institutions and the incubators of the next generation of Canadian artists and cultural producers. We all know very well that it's through arts and culture that a nation can really inspire and capture the imagination of its people, weaving a narrative of its history and its communities and awakening its best ideals and dreams for the future.

My colleagues have spoken extensively about the value of arts and culture--the ability to position Canada as a brand and to really be able to showcase who we are to the world--but I'd like to speak a little bit more literally to our history.

Vancouver, for instance, has an extensive history of the interaction between jazz musicians who have played here and our development as a society--an ethnocultural society, a multicultural society--and the laws and segregation practices that have evolved over time around that. Vancouver has been home to some of the greatest musicians in the world--Jimmy Hendrix, Jelly Roll Morton--for very crucial times in their lives. The likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington regularly played here, and were able to come and play in the hotels, but they weren't able to stay there.

That is the kind of history most Canadians aren't aware of. Organizations like ours can present the literal version of Canada's histories through celebrations like 2017.

The 2017 celebrations offer us the opportunity to commission unique works to tell these kinds of literal stories, to allow Canadian artists to expand on their repertoires, and to showcase the kinds of unique neighbourhoods that exist in our cities. They can showcase once again to the world unique contemporary talents like Diana Krall, Ingrid Jensen, Nikki Yanofsky, and Michael Bublé that we've all nurtured through our various activities. It's a profound opportunity in which we'd very much like to participate.

There's also a series of archives, as Anita mentioned, that the jazz festival has access to, with decades of history of jazz in Vancouver. This kind of celebration provides a unique opportunity to digitize and share that across the country.

I'd like to end with the notion of cultural legacy and what can come out of the 150th anniversary celebrations. Please keep in mind that you are not only supporting the existing arts platforms and opportunities for Canadians to share their stories; you're really supporting the next series of organizations and cultural and artistic incubators of our identity that will be telling our stories for several generations to come.

Thank you.

9:25 a.m.


The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Thank you.

We will now move to questions and answers for seven minutes.

The first member up is Mr. Calandra.

9:25 a.m.


Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to all of the witnesses.

Ms. Gaffney and Ms. Amarshi both spoke about archives and digitizing. Can you expand on that? What thought has already gone into that? Ms. Gaffney spoke about other opportunities for seizing the digital era as we move forward to 2017.

We also heard from the CBC, and they have a very extensive collection of archives that are extraordinarily important to celebrating Canadian history.

I usually allow my colleague Mr. Brown to talk about Canadian history. But in the context of leading up to 2017, is this something that FAME or other organizations have been focusing on? As we move to 2017, how can we capture some of the important events so that we don't lose everything that leads up to 2017, and 2017 itself?

9:25 a.m.

Administrative Director, Stratford Shakespeare Festival

Anita Gaffney

Our archives in Stratford hold props and costumes, but we have a lot of electronic media as well--audio clips from our productions. Remember, we've had people like Christopher Plummer and William Shatner on our stage. Glenn Gould was the music director at Stratford. We have some real treasures of Canadian artists in our archives.

We have very well-maintained archives. It's a beautiful facility. We invite researchers to come in and use it. That's wonderful for universities, students, and people who can come. We would really like to be able to make those materials available in a digital format so that people can access them. There's an opportunity to package those materials into learning modules about original composition in theatre.

We didn't just grab classical music for The Matchmaker; we hired a composer to write the music for it, and we have that in our archives. We've built costumes from the ground up--authentic replicas of Elizabethan costumes, with people who dye the costumes and make the crowns, not the wigs. There's an amazing craft and art at the festival. Other organizations would have archives as well.

So it's very important to be able to share that as a source of pride for what cultural organizations do, and as a source of learning about what we do.

9:25 a.m.


Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Could each of you talk about the importance of international tourism and visits to your festivals? As part of the economic action plan we have something called marquee tourism events. Have any of you had experience with that? Is that the type of thing that would help promote you within Canada and internationally? So first is the importance of international visits to your festivals, and second, how do we focus on bringing more international visits to each of your festivals?

9:30 a.m.

Administrative Director, Stratford Shakespeare Festival

Anita Gaffney

I'll start and then let the rest of my colleagues go on.

The marquee tourism events program was incredibly important to the festival. We received $3 million in each of 2009 and 2010, which basically doubled our marketing budget and allowed us to really reach out further afield to bring in international visitors. We see about 25% of our audience coming from outside of our borders.

Our strategy is to invest in our marketing activities to get beyond our borders and to tell people about the fabulous things that are coming up and happening in Stratford, but also, our strategy is to get out. When I talked about the Stratford Festival, you will noticed that I talked about all of the things we're doing to take our work outside of the festival and to garner attention and heighten awareness outside of our borders.

This has the dual purpose of bringing in visitors and also increasing national pride when The New York Times says, “This was the greatest production of The Tempest I've ever seen”. Hey, Canadians feel pretty proud of having the Stratford Festival in their country.

9:30 a.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity

Janice Price

I would expand on Anita's point and say that certainly the marquee tourism program was instrumental in also allowing us, from a marketing perspective, to attract.... There's no question: it's measured. We shared a lot of that data recently when a group of us from FAME came here and visited with a number of ministers and members.

I'm going to add to that. I think it did apply through all of the recipients of the program. We received a total of $3 million over two years. We were able also to focus on the content side as a result of that funding. The funding was very targeted towards actually improving what we could do within our festivals, because, really, it is about the content experience. When you can bring in one-time-only events and you must come to Toronto or Stratford or various regions to see an event that we would not have been able to mount or produce without that funding...that was a critical difference. Also, we have seen successive growth in our tourism numbers over our five years of existence.

But there's no question that we would like to...and we have proposals to actually generate a new and different kind of program from MTEP. It was incredibly helpful and powerful for all of us.

9:30 a.m.


Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Ms. Amarshi or Ms. Iley?

9:30 a.m.

Executive Director, Coastal Jazz and Blues Society

Fatima Amarshi

I would like to echo what Anita and Janice are saying. The program was very vital to our activities and to being able to draw the international audiences.

We certainly saw a growth in the international audiences, as well as in what Janice is mentioning, which is the ability to really be able to present new and extraordinary works that we wouldn't have been able to without this, and in many cases to actually showcase Canadian artists who have not been showcased in Canada before but have gone abroad to seek their success. This allowed us an opportunity to bring them home and showcase them here to a Canadian audience and an international audience built into our festival. That was a really wonderful and unique aspect of the program.

9:30 a.m.

Vice-President, Programming, Banff Centre

Sarah Iley

I can add to that. From our perspective in Banff, obviously one of the key things is that Banff is in fact in a rural Alberta constituency, and the fact is that there are only 7,800 people in this town, so we rely entirely on people from outside of Banff coming to see the work. Tourism is a huge piece.

What's really interesting too, though, is that not only do we have people coming here to see the work, but we also have artists coming here from around the world to create the work. We had people from 18 different countries here participating in our programs. What that does too, I think, is really emphasize the fact that Canadian artists are absolutely worthy of being showcased on the international stage, just as international artists want to come and be seen on our stages.

Now that we're talking about a global commerce, a global approach to the world, I think Canada needs to think about how we approach the arts, not just as an expression of Canadian identity, but also as an expression of Canada within the world. That's certainly a huge focus of what we're able to do here because of that blend of people coming from all over the world to create work with our Canadian artists for Canadian and international audiences.

9:35 a.m.


The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Calandra.

Mr. Nantel.

9:35 a.m.


Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Do you have translators up there in Banff and in Vancouver?

No? No problem. I'll speak in English. That's all right.

First I want to thank you all for participating this morning. It's very nice.

My first question would be to Ms. Amarshi.

Obviously, I think that even though Mr. Picard came a few weeks ago, and I'm sure that André Ménard would bring the same from the jazz festival in Montreal....

Obviously you guys could be some backbone support for the whole organization, to make sure that the 150th is well implemented in all markets, because you guys are successful and you have an impact in your cultural milieu.

Is there FAME membership, Ms. Amarshi, all over Canada, or are there blind spots where there is no FAME event?

9:35 a.m.

Executive Director, Coastal Jazz and Blues Society

Fatima Amarshi

FAME is an organization that's just been put together, so it is in its infancy. I think perhaps Janice could speak better to this, as a member of the executive. I know they are reaching out, certainly, to organizations across Canada to get their input and to stay connected to their work.

For instance, in Vancouver, we're not formally part of FAME quite yet, but we're certainly very actively in communication with them and are consistently partnering on our common endeavours. I think FAME, as it grows, will become more and more of an umbrella organization that can benefit all of us from coast to coast.

9:35 a.m.


Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Please say hi to Ken Pickering for me.

9:35 a.m.

Executive Director, Coastal Jazz and Blues Society

Fatima Amarshi


9:35 a.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity

Janice Price

I would just like to add to that, because it's a very important question, the membership question.

We're about a year and a half old as a formal organization. As I said, we're member supported through a dues system, and we have as a very top priority acquiring new members. You've been hearing today from the arts and culture cadre of FAME membership that our objective is to embrace major festivals and events, which would include, for example, the Stampede. We have the Ottawa Tulip Festival, which is not strictly an arts organization; it's a major festival. That's been really great for all of us, because that kind of cross-pollination, I think, is really healthy in terms of reminding us that the major tourism community impact is a really critical part for festivals, even though many of us are mission-driven through arts and culture.

9:35 a.m.


The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Mr. Nantel, I have one point. For those being teleconferenced in, there is translation. They'll hear the translator's voice through their audio.

9:35 a.m.


Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC


Ms. Price, I have a question for you. Let's forget for the moment that there may be blind spots in the Canadian association Festivals and Major Events. I understand that it is a growing organization. We wish you every success possible. All these events are far reaching. We are completely behind you.

If Festivals and Major Events Canada was mandated to promote Canada's 150th birthday, what would the best scenario be? Would it be a general theme for the entire festival, or special evenings or a series of shows or presentations?

How do you see this?