Excerpts courtesy of Robert Benzie The Star, Queen's Park Bureau Chief
The Ontario government wants the province’s thriving cultural and tourism industries to receive greater recognition for their impact on the economy.
In a speech to the Economic Club on Thursday, recently minted Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries Minister Lisa MacLeod touted “a powerhouse that fuels a spectacular double bottom line.”
“Both the financial bottom line in this province as well as the equally important bottom line of our cultural fabric and identity,” said MacLeod.
“Together — and this number still amazes me — our heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries achieve a combined economic imprint of an estimated $71 billion,” the minister said.
“Let’s put this in context — $71 billion is bigger than the entire (gross domestic product) of Manitoba, $71 billion is bigger than Ontario’s mining, forestry and agriculture sectors put together,” she said.
“All of this generates more than $12 billion for all levels of government, supporting our schools, hospitals and key infrastructure.”
MacLeod pointed out her new department invests $1.4 billion annually in programs and agencies like Ontario Creates, Destination Ontario, Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Ontario Heritage Trust, and the Ontario Arts Council “to support a suite of industries.”
The minister also underscored the government’s support for the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, the McMichael Gallery, the Ontario Science Centre, Science North and the Royal Botanical Gardens, among other institutions.
Praising those who work in the sector, she said it is important that artists and others “are finally being recognized by government for putting pay cheques in people’s hands.”
“When you inspire and create, you create jobs.”