Committee Chair: Piragal Thiru
Committee co-Chair: John Mason
Scarborough has a wonderful arts scene. In order to engage in any discussion of community renewal, Arts and Culture are central features. Scarborough is a multi-cultural and diverse region, and there are incredible opportunities for sharing, learning and promoting arts and culture with the rest of the City of Toronto. These future opportunities are based on Scarborough’s long history as a vital art and cultural destination, including:
- the historic artists’ community of the Guild of All Arts,
- the popular workshops and galleries of the Cedar Ridge Community Centre
- the home and studio of notable Canadian artist Doris McCarthy
- the professional performance facilities at the Chinese Cultural Centre
The social, cultural and economic impact of both the informal and formal establishment of arts and culture activities is a vital component for long-term growth and prosperity in Scarborough.
The ACTS committee is taking the lead on implementing recommendations in the Scarborough Community Renewal Campaign report. Some of the arts and culture recommendations our committee is exploring further include:
- Advocating for a Culture, Recreation and Arts Master Plan. A Scarborough-specific plan developed through public engagement would help to develop priorities for Scarborough arts and culture. It would also help to ensure that Scarborough arts and culture thrive within Toronto.
- Creating a hub for Music, Arts and Culture in Scarborough. Scarborough’s growing arts scene includes cultural festivals, the visual arts, hip-hop, neighbourhood concerts, philharmonic orchestras and a world of culinary delights. The variety and vibrancy of local professional and emerging artists shows that Scarborough is ready for a facility that will nurture, develop, promote and celebrate a wide range artistic/cultural pursuits. It’s too early to predict the type of arts/cultural hub – perhaps a “living arts” facility or an “incubator” centre. However, the need for such a facility is long-standing. The City of Scarborough began planning for an arts centre in the 1980s. Today, many separate arts organizations are moving toward this goal. An integrated, Scarborough-wide approach to enhance and consolidate arts-related spaces and opportunities will add great value to artists, local residents, other Torontonians and city visitors.
- Launching a Scarborough-specific Tourism Initiative. Scarborough has many tourism and recreational activities to offer. Vast green space, the Guild Park, Toronto Zoo, Scarborough Bluffs and beaches, to name a few. These and other sites are potential areas for increased tourism and represent opportunities for highlighting these hidden gems found beyond the downtown core. A Scarborough Tourism Initiative would play a large role in the rebranding of Scarborough, and help develop new tourism-based local infrastructure. This is an important building block to increase the number of people coming to Scarborough for cultural activities, sports tournaments, tourism and recreation.
- Launch Scarborough-wide ‘Passport’ Scarborough Food Festival. Food festivals such as the Taste of Lawrence are great examples of opportunities to bring people to Scarborough and experience the culinary diversity throughout the community. Another initiative that the community would like to see revived is a Scarborough-wide ‘passport’ food festival. Local restaurants are encouraged to participate, and residents and visitors are provided with a food ‘passport’ or guide to the participating venues to try new foods. Specific menus and prizes could be integrated into the event. This is a great opportunity to develop a community-led initiative to establish Scarborough as a culinary destination in Toronto.