Ottawa – Today City Council approved a six-year action plan for arts, heritage and culture. The renewed plan builds on Ottawa’s strengths, reflects its unique and authentic identity, aims to build pride in Ottawa as a vibrant, cultural city, and sets out a path aimed at leveraging opportunity.

“Arts, culture and heritage are about remembering where we come from, celebrating who we are today and dreaming about what we can be tomorrow,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “These will continue to be the keys to our success, especially as we prepare to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.”

“The renewal process brought together the strongest diversity of representation and participation ever for municipal cultural planning purposes in Ottawa,” said Councillor Mark Taylor, Chair of the Community and Protective Services Committee. “The plan will close cultural gaps, meet emerging needs and continue to improve cultural investment in the City of Ottawa.”

The plan includes four strategies:

 – Celebrate Ottawa’s unique cultural identity and provide access to culture for all

 – Preserve and develop cultural and creative places and spaces

 – Get the word out about Ottawa’s vibrant local culture and unique identity

 – Invest in local culture and build cultural leadership

The process brought together First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals and communities, representatives of the Anglophone and Francophone cultural mosaic, diverse citizenry from rural, suburban and urban neighbourhoods, new Canadians and arts, heritage, festival and fair representatives.

A recent economic study reported that Ottawa-Gatineau’s cultural industry (non-profit and for-profit) represented approximately 4.1 per cent of GDP, totalling $1.98 billion. In 2010, attendance and participation in local cultural activity totalled 4.1 million, and 21,861 volunteers provided 519,755 volunteer hours (valued at $9.1 million) to the local cultural sector.