Arts, Culture and Entertainment
Arts, Culture and Entertainment

The City of Toronto’s strong and vibrant cultural sector continues to grow, attract and develop a pool of workers who are creative and talented.

This sector is important both nationally and internationally and provides endless opportunities to experience and get involved with the classic arts and new media ideas.

Toronto’s creative industry consists of six clusters: film and television, new media, design, music and sound recording, performing arts, and media and publishing.

 Cultural occupations are grouped into four categories: creative and artistic production, technical and operational, heritage collection and preservation, and cultural management.

Toronto’s creative workers are employed in a wide range of industries. The largest proportion is employed in the following broad industrial sectors:

  • Professional Scientific and Technical Services Industries (38%)
  • Information, Communication and Technology (23%)
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (14%)
  • Manufacturing Industries (11%)

Creative industries are one of the fastest-growing sectors in Toronto. The number of jobs and the number of residents employed in the culture occupations over last decade roughly doubled the rate of the growth experienced by all occupations. The strongest growth was in cultural management occupations (14%) and in creative and artistic production occupations (13%).

The Toronto region has the largest concentration of firms in advertising, motion picture and video production, sound recording, and specialized design (graphic, interior, industrial) in Canada. In total, there are over 8,600 firms in the creative industries.

For 2014, the Toronto International Film Festival generated an annual economic impact of $189 million and currently employs more than 200 full-time staff and 500 seasonal employees.

New Media is another rapidly growing cluster with firms specializing in animation, post-production, special effects, graphic design services, and CD/DVD production. New technologies offer tremendous opportunities for employment in cultural occupations. 

Employment in the cultural sector is quite different from employment in many other sectors in the economy. The latest census data from Statistics Canada revealed a higher incidence of self-employment in cultural occupations than in the overall Canadian labour force. This is particularly true for the creative and artistic production occupations, where more than 40 per cent of workers were self-employed.

Labour Force

In 2010 the Arts and Culture sector employs 83,000 people only in Toronto, and 129,165 residents in the Toronto-region. This constitutes 6 per cent of Toronto’s overall workforce, a significantly higher rate than that of both Ontario and Canada as a whole. Most of them work for small to medium size companies that dominate the sector. The sector has a workforce that is almost 50% female.

Age profile 

The age profile of the cultural sector was similar to that of the overall employed Canadian labour force-the average age of visual artists is about 43 years old. In heritage occupations, more than half of the employees were aged 45 years and older. The age profiles of the rest of the cultural occupational groups (cultural management, and technical and operational) are broadly similar to that of the overall Canadian labour force.

Educational attainment 

The cultural sector labour force tends to have a significantly higher level of education than workers in the Canadian labour force as a whole. Within the industry, the heritage field registers the highest level of education, more than half of the workers in this occupational group have a master’s degree or higher, while an additional 20 per cent had a bachelor’s degree. Over half of those in this occupation have achieved a Master’s degree or higher. About 44% of workers in creative and artistic production have a bachelor's degree or higher while 38% of cultural workers and technical/operational occupations also have a bachelor's degree or higher. 

Toronto’s cultural industry benefits from the presence of advanced educational institutions such as York University, York-Sheridan Design Program, Ryerson University, Canadian Film Centre, Seneca College, Centennial College and Humber College, University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, and the George Brown School of Design. These schools have produced many talent graduates who add to the growing crew base, animators and visual effects professions.

Key facts 
  • Toronto is one of the top 5 cities in North America in terms of employment in the artistic and creative sectors.
  • In 2011 the cultural sector generated approxiametaly $11.3 billion of Toronto's Gross Domestiv Product and employed 174,000 people, representing 6% of the total Toronto Census Metropolitan Area workforce. 
  • Toronto’s film and television industry ranks third in North America, with just under $1.20 billion spent on film and television productions shot in Toronto. 
  • Film and television production contributed $1.29 billion to the provincial economy in 2014, and accounted for almost 28,000 full time direct and indirect jobs. 
  • Screen-based production and digital media industries are two of the three fasted-growing creative industries in Toronto. They contribute to more than $1 billion to the local economy annually and directly employ approximately 25,000 people, more than 25% of the national sector. 
  • Toronto has the largest design workforce in Canada and the third-largest in North America after New York and Boston. Toronto is home to more than 25,000 designers (interior, industrial, graphic and fashion designers).
  • Toronto is home to over 12,000 performing and creative artists. Performing arts companies constitute one of the fastest growing creative sectors in Toronto.
  • Workers in this sector, generally, have higher levels of educational attainment, particularly university degrees.
  • A generally lower proportion of visible minorities, immigrants and newcomers is found across these various occupations.
  • Toronto is the 3rd largest English language theatre centre in the world, after London and New York.