Ottawa has hundreds of venues for the arts
Information collated by City of Ottawa staff records a total of 485 facilities for the creation and/or dissemination of art and performance across the city. The list includes public, private and not-for-profit spaces. While it is the most comprehensive listing available, it but undoubtedly contains gaps.
Among the facilities are over 100 arts education venues, offering opportunities for residents to pursue their interests and develop skills in dance, music, theatre and visual arts. There are also 85 facilities regularly used for theatre and performance, ranging from intimate community theatres to national auditoriums. In addition, over 100 clubs, bars and cafés offer live performance opportunities.
Some key facilities are directly operated by the City of Ottawa, including four cultural (arts) centres, four studios, one central archives building, five museums, seven galleries and four theatres. In addition, the Ottawa Public Library, an agency of the City of Ottawa, operates 33 libraries.
As the nation’s capital, Ottawa hosts seven national museums and galleries, which play a significant role in attracting visitors to the city, with attendant economic benefits. But the city also has 11 local museums showcasing regional history, heritage and culture.
- Open Data Ottawa. Cultural Resources. Accessed November 15, 2016
Festivals are a major element of Ottawa’s arts and culture landscape
Ottawa hosts well over 100 festivals each year, ranging from modest celebrations with a local flavour, to major internationally-renowned events. One example of the latter is the Ottawa Blues Festival, with an estimated attendance of 300,000 in 2016.
While many of Ottawa’s festivals do not readily fit under a single descriptor, based on a classification used by City staff, the main intent of over a quarter of the total is to celebrate cultural identity. Most of these are ethnicity-based festivals. The next largest categories are multi-disciplinary arts, film and music festivals, at 17%, 15% and 12% respectively.
Based on an Ottawa Festivals study of 16 festivals in 2012, almost 83% of revenue was earned income, or was obtained from private sources. Less than 4% came from the City.
Due to inconsistent means of defining festivals, a completely comprehensive list of Ottawa festivals is challenging to find. This particular number comes from the City of Ottawa, and it’s important to note that while some festivals have a very clear category they fit into, others may fit into multiple categories, making it challenging to break them out in this manner. Some festivals in Gatineau and surrounding areas have been included.
- Open Data Ottawa. Cultural Resources. Accessed August 1, 2017
The City of Ottawa offers over 50,000 recreation programs, but a relatively small proportion are arts-related
In 2015, the City offered more than 50,000 recreation programs at over 100 locations, including City-owned recreation complexes, community centres, arenas and arts centres, schools and parks.
Over the past 10 years, growth in the number of programs has exceeded 80%. Aquatics programs account for a very significant proportion of this increase, and the broad category of aquatics, sports and fitness constituted 80% of recreational programs offered in 2015. In contrast, performing and visual arts programs made up only 6% of programs offered. Indicators on levels of participation are provided in a separate issue category.
“Specialty” programs are Aquatic in nature, but are not swimming lessons, for example Diving and Junior Lifeguard Club.
“Certification” programs result in a qualification of some kind, e.g. First Aid/CPR, Bronze Medallion or Babysitting.
- City of Ottawa. Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.
Ottawa has hundreds of designated heritage structures and sites
A city or community’s heritage is reflected in buildings, other structures and sites that are of historic, architectural or cultural significance. These visible elements and tributes to the past contribute in a variety of ways to the community’s quality of life.
Ottawa's built heritage includes one internationally designated World Heritage Site -- the Rideau Canal -- as well as hundreds of buildings, sites and districts designated at the national, provincial or municipal level. These include over 300 buildings designated by the City through its powers under the Ontario Heritage Act, and over 130 federally-designated heritage buildings. In addition, the City has 14 designated heritage conservation districts, collectively comprising thousands of buildings.
While the majority of the designated buildings are in the urban core, there are also many distributed across the city, especially in Ottawa’s rural villages.