Greater Montreal's VitalSigns 2007
Foundation of Greater Montreal's Website
Arts and Culture

Thanks to a wide range of cultural offerings sustained by dynamic creativity, Montreal provides a vibrant environment. The city’s residents are enthusiastic in their response to these opportunities. Indeed, many of them are not content with just being part of the audience.

  • The metropolitan region’s cultural industry provides more than 90,000 jobs – about 5.1% of the total labour force. 1
The island of Montreal boasts a wealth of cultural opportunities: 90 festivals, many of them international in scope; 65,000 seats available for performances almost every night of the year; 700 artists’ studios; 200 professional theatre groups; 50 dance companies; 2 symphony orchestras and about a dozen high calibre contemporary-music ensembles; a major library (la Grande Bibliothèque) and 57 public libraries with 12 million book loans every year; 32 museums, 28 exhibition centres and 19 interpretative centres; internationally recognized art schools; and 93 record and stage performance companies. 1
  • With the largest combined sound stage area (in square metres) in North America, Montreal is ranked 5th (after Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver and Toronto) with respect to the economic value of its film output. The Quebec film and audiovisual industry, which is highly concentrated in Montreal, includes 500 production and distribution companies and employs more than 35,000 people. 1
  • In 2006, Ontario led the way with 47,300 jobs and revenues of $1.819 billion in film and television productions. British Columbia came second with 35,400 jobs and revenues of $1.359 billion, followed by Quebec, with 29,600 jobs and revenues of $1.140 billion. Foreign productions filmed in Quebec brought revenues of $99 million, one of the lowest figures in the past 10 years. 2
  • The video game industry has expanded in the past 10 years and now employs 3,000 people. 3
  • Montreal is home to between 1,200 and 1,500 digital artists who display their work domestically and internationally, and consider their creations to be the “tenth art.” 3
  • Design, the source of 34% of the economic benefits generated by cultural activities, is the most important cultural industry. No fewer than 65.3% of Quebec’s professional designers live in the Montreal metropolitan region. 4
  • In terms of municipal arts funding per capita (including funding for festivals), Montreal comes second among Canada’s seven largest cities, with $7.03. Vancouver ranks first with $11.89, while per capita amounts in the other cities are as follows: Winnipeg, $6.14; Toronto, $5.77; Edmonton, $4.87; Calgary, $4.30; and Ottawa, $3.64. 5
  • In 2000-01, grants from private sources totalling $15.9 million were given to 159 cultural production organizations on the island of Montreal. This private funding, accounting for 13.1% of their income on average, came in three major forms: sponsorships (49%), donations (31%) and special activities (20%). 6
  • In the early 1960s, the creators of the Montreal métro wanted to give it a unique character from the outset by asking different architects to design different stations. Today, these stations form one of the world’s major underground art galleries, with artworks displayed in more than 50 stations throughout the network. 8
  • In 1989, Montreal was one of the first cities in Canada to establish a plan of action for public art. Its collection includes some 300 works of contemporary art – sculptures, monuments and busts displayed on the island – of which 225 are in the open air and 75 are incorporated into architectural works. 9
  • The distribution of stage performing arts on the island evolved considerably between 1984 and 2004, thanks in large part to the staging of major festivals. Performance shares almost doubled for dance (from 4% to 7%), music (from 11% to 19%) and especially variety shows (from 21% to 41%) at the expense of theatre performances, whose share fell by half (from 64% to 33%). With the exception of dance performances, attendances tended to follow this general trend in supply. 10

Distribution of Attendances at Stage Performing Arts, Island of Montreal
Source: Portrait de la diffusion culturelle à Montréal 10

  • Between 1984 and 2004, the municipal network accounted for 21% of the overall increase in the number of stage performances on the island; the figures for different types of performances were as follows: music concerts, 27%; dance, 34%; theatre, 57%; variety shows, 6%. The number of municipal venues grew from six to 23, thus making it possible to establish a different balance between the different types. In 2004, the network provided 16% of all staging arts performances, which were attended by 5% of the public. 10

    Share of the Municipal Network with Respect to the Number of Stage Performances and the Size of Audiences By type of performance, island of Montreal, 2004
    source : Portrait de la diffusion culturelle à Montréal 10
  • In 2005, stage performances were attended by 458 persons on average, with each paying spectator spending an average $36.41. The number of tickets available for all cultural performances that year averaged 2.38 per Montrealer, almost double the number for Quebec as a whole (1.23). 11
  • The attendance rate at the 153 performance halls on the island in 2005 was 76.1%. Movie theatres had an attendance rate of 12.4%, a drop of 2.5 points since 2002. 11
  • Sales of new books in 2006 were $114 per capita on the island, almost double the figure for Quebec as a whole ($61). Sales across Quebec had grown 7.3% since 2004, compared with 2.4% for Montreal. 11
  • Among the island’s residents aged 15 and over, 58.1% visited a library in 2004 and 77.2% went to a bookstore. The proportion of those who said they read books very often (33.8%) was nearly matched by the combined proportion (33.5%) of those who said they seldom (22.0%) or never (11.5%) read books. On average, readers read nearly six books by Quebec authors that year. 12
  • That same year, 27.3% of those aged 15 and over watched television more than three hours a day in the regular season; 10.2% watched more than five hours a day. Among radio listeners, 43.5% spent less than one hour a day listening to the radio, but 23% listened for more than three hours and 13.3% even listened more than five hours. 12
  • Among those aged 15 and over, 59% acquired at least one recording or cassette by a Quebec artist in 2004. 12
  • Within this same age group, 40.7% visited an art gallery in 2004 and 44.3% visited an art museum; 19.5% bought craftwork, and 8.9% acquired works of art. 12
  • As many as 80.1% of this group saw a movie in 2004. Half of them (50.5%) went to a movie theatre at least once a month; 14.5% saw a movie nearly once a week. 12
  • Overall, 29.1% of Montreal islanders aged 15 and over attended at least one stage performance each month in 2004, while 15.7% attended none. Among frequent attendees – and taking into account only performances by professionals – 27.2% went to the theatre (an average of 3.1 times), 18.3% attended a classical music concert (2.9 times), and 17.6% attended a dance performance (2.7 times). The different musical styles were appreciated by 16% to 18% of the population, but jazz and blues attracted more fans (21%). 12
  • Among those aged 15 and over on the island who attended an amateur production in 2004, 13% went to the theatre, 14.5% to a dance performance and 24% to a concert. In all, 36% of the population attended a performance produced by non-professionals, and 37.2% said they were involved in artistic activities on a regular basis. 12
  • In 2004, 13% of the island’s population aged 15 and over made a donation to an artistic or cultural organization; for 33% of those donors, the amount given exceeded $200. 12
  • Across Quebec, only 1.5% of the population aged 15 and over made a donation to an artistic or cultural organization in 2004. That was the lowest proportion of any of the provinces. The Canadian average that year was 2.8%. 13
  • Also in 2004, 2.2% of Quebecers aged 15 years and over worked as volunteers in an artistic or cultural organization – slightly less than the Canadian average of 2.8%. University graduates stood out in that regard, with a volunteering rate of 4.8%. There were no significant differences by age or in come level, but women tended to get involved more than men (2.6% vs. 1.9%). 14

1 Réussir@Montréal: Stratégie de développement économique 2005-2010 de la Ville de Montréal, Service de la mise en valeur du territoire et du patrimoine, June 2005
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
2 An Economic Report on the Canadian Film and Television Production Industry: Profile 2007, Report produced by the CFTPA and the APFTQ in conjunction with the Department of Canadian Heritage, Production facts and figures prepared by Nordicity Group Ltd, February 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
3 Pierre Beaudoin, Les arts numériques à Montréal. Le capital de l’avenir, Ville de Montréal, January 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
4 Montréal, ville UNESCO de design, pour une désignation ville UNESCO de design, April 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
5 Arts Investment Strategy and Festivals sustainability Plan, City of Ottawa, January 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
6 “Le financement privé des arts et des lettres au Québec,” Constats du CALQ, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, No. 5, July 2003
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
7 Economics and the Arts, Website of the Canadian Arts Coalition
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
8 Arts in the métro, Website of the Société de transport de Montréal
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
9 Public Arts in Montréal, Website of the City of Montréal
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
10 Louise Poulin, Portrait de la diffusion culturelle à Montréal: son évolution et sa situation actuelle (1984-2004), Service du développement culturel, de la qualité du milieu de vie et de la diversité ethnoculturelle, Ville de Montréal, June 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
11 Banque de données des statistiques officielles sur le Québec, Institut de la Statistique du Québec
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
12 Rosaire Garon, Les pratiques culturelles au Québec en 2004, Recueil statistique, Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, November 2005
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
13 Individual Donors to Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2004, Statistical insights on the arts, Vol. 5, No. 1, Hill Strategies Research Inc., November 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
14 Volunteers in Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2004, Statistical insights on the arts, Vol. 5, No. 2, Hill Strategies Research Inc., January 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)