Located at the shores of Lake Ontario, Toronto is Canada’s largest city with 2.9 million inhabitants. In the 1950s, the Toronto School of Communication, led by Marshall McLuhan, was one of the first to promote the impact of media technology on creativity. Following this, in the 1990s, major institutions, such as the Media Lab of the Canadian Film Centre, emerged in Toronto's media arts sector, providing platforms for cross-sectorial collaboration. Now supported by artists’ collectives, Toronto's strengths in the visual arts has resulted in significant growth within the sector achieving record-breaking production levels and generating US$2 billion in 2016.
Toronto benefits from a thriving education sector which enables and promotes the media arts through a variety of institutions, such as the Ryerson University's DMZ; the leading university-based incubator in North America. In addition, Toronto's dynamic not-for-profit sector is continually progressing in media arts through its exploration of new forms and its creation of spaces for marginalised and underrepresented communities. Media arts also features prominently in the city’s public art programme, notably Nuit Blanche Toronto; a city-wide celebration of contemporary art.
The City of Toronto provides significant support to media arts hubs such as 401 Richmond, Artscape Daniels Launchpad and the Centre for Social Innovation. In recent years, the City of Toronto has made significant new investments in culture. From 2012 to 2016, the Toronto Arts Council (TAC) saw an increase in its grants budget of 80%. An example of TAC funding includes US$36,000 in 2016 to Subtle Technologies; a platform for community-building and knowledge-sharing at the intersection of art, science and technology.
As a Creative City of Media Arts, Toronto envisages:
- embedding culture in the earliest stages of the City’s urban planning by supporting the retention of affordable, cultural space downtown for enhancing creative clusters;
- partnering with the Toronto Music Advisory Committee to promote music in media arts and develop opportunities for artists and audiences;
- pursuing the development of a physical hub for Toronto's film festivals to share information, volunteer networks and coordinate festival schedules where possible;
- ncreasing awareness by partnering with University of Toronto's McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology to support and promote events and other programming; and
- planning and producing a one-day conference for the media arts community to support sector development