Did you know that Ontario is developing its first-ever Culture Strategy? Don’t miss your chance to contribute to this important conversation. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has launched province-wide public consultations – ‘Culture Talks’ – on the strategy. Consultations will run until December 7, 2015.

Your ideas will help develop a strategy that sets out a vision for arts and culture in Ontario and identifies priorities and actions to guide the government’s support for the sector in the years to come.

Together, let’s make sure Guelph has a say in this new strategy!

Culture Talks will help the province –

  • establish what Ontarians value about culture
  • identify opportunities to better meet the needs of the arts and culture sector
  • ensure that the government’s policies and programs reflect Ontario’s diverse populations and communities

How to participate

  • Discussion paper

Read the full discussion paper and share your comments. The contents of the submissions received will become part of the public record and may be made available for public viewing, either in person or electronically. Every community is different and each has its own unique cultural values and institutions. We encourage you to share stories and insights about what culture means to Guelph, and how your municipal government and local cultural organizations help to support this. More submission content ideas are included at the end of this article.

  • Town halls – October to December

Attend one of the town halls. Not your ‘average’ town halls, these events include engaging activities and inspiring conversations with local arts and culture personalities. 

  • Online discussion – Ontario.ca/CultureTalks

Join the conversation online, in real time. You can share your thoughts about Ontario arts and culture, discuss with other participants and vote on their ideas. 

How to encourage others to participate

Please encourage members of your sector or community to participate in Culture Talks.

Here are some ways you can spread the word –

  • emails – send an email to your stakeholders
  • newsletter – include a paragraph or two in your next newsletter
  • website – post information about the consultations on your website
  • social media channels – use your social media channels e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.
  • comment on the government’s social media sites

The Ministry has developed a social media toolkit to help you share information about Culture Talks. The toolkit includes content that you can use or adapt for your social media channels [e.g. photos, Tweets, Facebook posts, emails].

If you’re experiencing writer’s block, or aren’t sure where to start, here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing. Consider including some of these messages in your written submission:

Overall message about the importance of culture in the province

  • CULTURE IS VITAL to the prosperity of our communities. Through the lens of respect, sharing and inclusiveness, describe the importance of culture in Ontario through Guelph’s experiences. For example, how has culture:
    • Transformed our city?
    • Created jobs or new businesses in Guelph?
    • Made Guelph more attractive to live, work, and visit?

Reinforce the message that culture is important to Guelph’s quality of place and the creation of a robust business environment, and it is crucial to Ontario’s long-term success.

The role of culture at the municipal/regional/county level

  • LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE IMPORTANT and have a major direct impact on Ontario’s cultural development. Describe the unique role your local government undertakes to enhance Ontario’s culture sector. For example, does your local government:
    • Have a culture plan?
    • Invest in arts, cultural industries, cultural heritage, or public libraries? 
    • Own or maintain cultural assets for the community?
    • Work with the local community to increase cultural experiences and programming?

Reinforce the message that all governments, including local governments, have a role in helping to promote the value of culture in Ontario. Share stories, case studies, images, and numbers showcasing your municipality’s work and investment in culture.

Detailed elements of what the Ontario Culture Strategy should address

  • ONTARIANS EXPECT local governments to be actively involved and want greater involvement by their local governments. How can the first-ever Ontario Culture Strategy help your local government? For example, would you like to see the following? If so, include this in your written submission, along with other requests specific to your municipality:
  • Emphasize the importance of local governments in the Ontario Culture Strategy Guiding Principles, recognizing that culture is different everywhere and highlight the unique role of local governments in supporting Ontario’s diverse municipalities;
  • Invest in funding for municipalities to boost the implementation of municipal cultural plans, and strengthen the management and development of local cultural resources; and
  • Advance the role of local governments in fostering an environment in which arts, cultural industries, cultural heritage, and public libraries thrive in communities by partnering with relevant professional networks and organizations (like the Guelph Arts Council!) on the creation of new resources and tools, professional training, and knowledge sharing opportunities.

Ontario’s culture starts in its communities. Support to local governments and cultural organizations creates culturally vibrant and tourism-ready communities where people want to live, work and play.

If you’d like more information about Culture Talks contact [email protected]

Thank you for your support, commitment and efforts to promote arts and culture in Ontario.

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