Last year, the Province moved forward in drafting the first official Culture Strategy in Ontario's history. Envisioning "[a]n Ontario where every person has the opportunity for creative expression and cultural participation, and where the diversity of our stories and communities is reflected and valued," the initiative aims to nourish Ontario's cultural landscape through increased participation and community involvement.
With the goals of "strengthening community-based arts, culture and heritage," promoting the creative economy, and enabling more inclusive cultural engagement, the strategy seeks to bridge the gap between arts/culture institutions and communities. Although ambitiously broad in scope—and full of laudable elements—neither deign nor architecture is never mentioned.
Recognizing the built environment as both an emblem and a conduit of culture, the Ontario Association of Architects is petitioning the Culture Strategy. An open letter drafted to Michael Coteau—Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport—argues that the exclusion of architecture is a serious oversight for the Province.
"In order to meet the principles stated in the draft Culture Strategy – namely diversity, inclusion, quality of life, and economic development – the government must improve its support of architecture and design, recognizing their cultural value and prominently including them in Ontario’s Culture Strategy. The inclusion of architecture and design will help ensure that the government’s goals of building a strong economy and vibrant communities, attracting tourists and investment, and contributing to job creation are met, and will be a clear signal to other jurisdictions that Ontario values the contributions of design industry," the letter reads.
The Province is accepting input from Ontarians, with feedback accepted until the end of the day. To sign onto the OAA's petition, and tell the Province that #ArchitectureMatters, click here.