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drinks your milkshake!

Registered: Nov 2001
Location: Montréal
Montréal vs Toronto: Montréal hones creative edge

The Toronto Star

Jul. 21, 2005. 01:00 AM

Montreal hones creative edge


This is a tale of two cities — with a creative twist.

Montreal and Toronto are, without doubt, the two dominant centres of creativity in Canada.

Each has numerous cultural and creative attractions worth boasting about.

Yet the different approach taken by each in supporting and marketing this critical component of their respective economies tells a lot about their priorities. And their relative view of the economic impact of the creative sector.

A recent three-city jaunt in Europe tells the tale.

In Barcelona, the city was festooned with lime green posters titled "Focus Montreal" promoting a 14-day exhibit, paid for in part by the Government of Canada. The film board of Catalonia reports it is in regular contact with Quebec artists.

In Berlin, the Quebec flag flutters within eyeshot of the Brandenburg Gate. A list of Montreal artists slated to come is prominently displayed.

Even in anglophone London, culture officials at Canada House reluctantly admit that delegations from Montreal outnumber those from Toronto.

A surprise?

Not really. For years, it's been well-known that Montreal — with a helping hand from both federal and provincial governments — promotes itself big time. On the local level, it spends almost twice per capita what Toronto spends on arts and culture.

Should we care?

I think so, for reasons that may surprise.

First, and perhaps most revealing, is a recent StatsCan study showing that Montreal's spending strategy appears to be paying tourism dividends.

In a detailed comparison of tourism in the two cities, the study shows Toronto drew almost 4.5 million more tourists than did Montreal in 2002.

Yet when asked what they did, more tourists to Montreal visited a cultural performance or exhibition than did tourists to Toronto, where shopping was the most common activity.

Be it museum, art gallery, historic site or festival, Montreal secured more visitors. Only for plays or concerts did Toronto draw more.

In the tourism field, it is generally accepted that cultural tourists spend twice as much as other visitors. These are the tourists all cities really want.

Little wonder that Tourism Toronto's latest forays into the New York Times are playing up the creative side of our city.

As an aside, it is probably not a coincidence that this summer's disappointing tourism numbers are linked directly to the absence of any big or new plays in town.

The second reason relates to hard economic facts.

Latest studies show that more than 150,000 Torontonians are employed in the cultural and creative sector. That's about the same as the number employed in the auto sector.

We all know how hard governments work to foster and promote auto production here. Can the same be said for the creative sector?

Two years ago, Ontarians spent $9.4 billion on cultural services, with Toronto getting the lion's share. And with that spending go all the tax revenues to the three orders of government.

The economic impact of the creative sector was $17 billion three years ago — and growing steadily.

Probably less known is the extent of cultural facilities in Toronto and all the jobs that go with them.

The city has documented there are more than 750 art galleries, museums, libraries, community centres, assembly and concert halls, arts and heritage districts, festivals and street fairs.

Best estimates are the city is home to 179,000 affordable rental studios.

Put all these numbers together and you begin to appreciate the breadth of this sector.

The third and final reason is what might be called the buzz factor.

Montreal has always had it. Indeed, it has relied heavily on it.

Yet for too long, the creative sector in Toronto has been perceived in this town as an unnecessary frill — not really vital to our success.

The tourism and employment numbers would indicate otherwise. Yet it is only recently that the vitality of the cultural sector has been directly linked to economic development.

More and more, urban planners predict it will be the creative cities — tolerant, diverse, edgy and full of buzz — that attract the knowledge-based entrepreneurs who will fuel the economic growth of cities.

For those metropolises that "win," the benefits in jobs, growth and prosperity will be substantial.

Montreal accepts all of this.

Shouldn't we?

John Honderich, former publisher of the Star, is the mayor of Toronto's special ambassador on the cities agenda.


Old Post Jul-21-2005 21:33 
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Scene Missing

Registered: Jun 2004
Location: On one of Peterman's adventures

Toronto is too busy with industry and being raped and pillaged supporting the rest of canada to have time for the arts.

Enjoy your splendor montreal, enjoy easy street on us...

Not Everyone Understands House Music, It's a Spiritual Thing, a Body Thing, a Soul Thing

Old Post Jul-22-2005 00:07  Croatia
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drinks your milkshake!

Registered: Nov 2001
Location: Montréal

another article about Montreal in the Globe and Mail...

I love how they say that its the only city that never truly sleep

Big dreams in Canada's city that never sleeps

Saturday, July 16, 2005 Updated at 2:26 AM EDT

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Montreal — Promise Alexandre Despatie in a Speedo and they will come.

The titillating marketing campaign plastered around Montreal leaves little doubt that organizers of the World Aquatic Championships opening today are counting on the dark and dreamy 20-year-old Canadian diving divo to stimulate spectators' interest, if not heart rates.

But if most of the 2,300 athletes gathered for the biggest sporting event the city has played host to since the 1976 Olympics will make their mark in the water, Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay is making his by seemingly walking on it.

Mr. Tremblay's power of persuasion is credited with winning back the championships that officials of FINA, the International Swimming Federation, lacking financial guarantees, withdrew from Montreal in December.

“He just refused to take no for an answer,” noted Montreal lawyer and International Olympic Committee member Richard Pound, who signed on as honorary chair of the event officially known at the XI FINA World Championships. “He agreeably surprised a lot of people.”

Mr. Tremblay did it again this month when he pulled out all the stops to help prevent the Shriners from moving their hospital to London, Ont. He did it a couple of years ago, too, when federal anti-tobacco legislation threatened the city's Grand Prix Formula One race. In each instance, Mr. Tremblay mounted a formidable offence and silenced the doubting Thomases.

The indefatigable mayor's crusades to save his city's international honour have imbued Montrealers with an unexpected affection for a politician many pundits once considered about as boring as, well, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper. A nerdist technocrat elected in 2001 on a wave of anti-amalgamation protest by suburban voters, the bespectacled mayor has become the most passionate partisan of the new merged city, Canada's second-biggest metropolis with a population of 1.6 million. By all accounts, Montrealers have found the “real” Mr. Tremblay, who is up for re-election on Nov. 6, worth getting to know.

“People's perception of me has changed because they've seen concrete results,” the avuncular 62-year-old mayor reasoned in a rare moment of immodesty.

Well, yes and no. Montrealers still measure their potholes in metres. The city still counts some of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada. Olympic Stadium, vacant since last year's departure of baseball's Expos, is still a white elephant, albeit an architecturally distinctive one. Montreal's waterworks are leaking more water than they deliver to residents. The city's Métro, a symbol of the modernism that made Montreal a magnet for the world during Expo 67, badly needs a $3-billion facelift.

But for the first time in a long time, Montrealers nourish dreams that their city can become a great one. Mr. Tremblay has given them goals that, suddenly, seem worth striving for. None is as ambitious as the objective of making the city one of the six richest in North America by 2025. Among the 26 largest urban agglomerations in Canada and the United States, ranked by per capita income, Montreal currently stands 26th.

Still, the only Canadian city that truly never sleeps has a lot going for it in its quest to get its Sixties groove back.

“This is still ‘the' city in Canada,” Mr. Pound insisted. “It's still our international city, our most cosmopolitan city, the one people outside the country know.”

It's also our sexiest. Which may or may not be why the World Congress of Sexology chose Montreal for its biennial convention this year. At any rate, the more than 2,000 mostly PhDs who met in the city this week couldn't have picked a more propitious place. Montrealers, especially in the steamy summer, are anything but prudish.

Mr. Tremblay has, it seems, persuaded voters that he isn't either. Initially parodied for his faux pas (he once congratulated the Alouettes for winning the Stanley Cup), he is now celebrated for them. The most recent: a double-cheeked smooch for Dutch Princess Margaret. It was a breach of protocol, but that is just the welcoming way in Montreal.

Mr. Tremblay, who served as industry minister under the Liberal government of former premier Robert Bourassa, belied his Cartesian reputation by fighting to keep the swim championships despite a severe budget shortfall.

“I took a calculated risk in order to protect Montreal's credibility internationally,” he said. “It was a question of Montrealers' pride.”

The 2,300 athletes, 1,000 coaches and 1,400 out-of-town journalists will pump about $50-million into the city's economy during the two weeks of the championships.

But if the $40-million event loses money, Montrealers, not FINA, will mop up the deficit.

The mayor has spared no effort to ensure that doesn't happen, personally becoming co-chair of the championships. He personally pressured corporate and legal big wigs to pay $1,000 each for tickets, raising $1-million.

The championships have largely met their goal of $9-million in corporate sponsorships. Their financial success now hangs on selling about 200,000 tickets. About half were sold as of yesterday, but organizers are confident that Montrealers will show their support.

And just in case, to stimulate Montrealers' civic senses, it doesn't hurt to have lithesome specimens selling tickets in Speedos.

Mr. Despatie, a silver medalist at the 2004 Olympics, and American Michael Phelps, who won six gold medals in Athens, are the biggest draws of the championships. But Mr. Tremblay, Speedo or not, is their true champion.


Old Post Jul-22-2005 18:26 
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Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Montreal, Canada

Toronto is G A R B A G E!

Old Post Jul-23-2005 15:38  Canada
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Fu Man Choonz

Registered: Aug 2000
Location: Below the Belt


there's nothing to do here in TO .. when there's a long weekend or holiday , people leave the city and go elsewhere ..

usually to Montreal .. but in most cases to some cottage somewhere .. or in my case overseas

Palm Trees > Pine Trees , Sand > Snow

Old Post Jul-24-2005 04:31  Micronesia-Federal State of
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ta main sur le zbebs

Registered: Apr 2001
Location: Montreal/Canada & Casablanca/Morocco (the ROOTS of TRANCE)

palm trees > pine trees

the bowl of rice

"A style that's impossible to define. Prog? Hardly. Tech house? Not boring enough. It's like trippy twisted acid house but deep and funky. See, I told you - impossible."

Old Post Jul-24-2005 07:40  Morocco
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