Over the 2000s, Toronto initiated and instituted a process of cultivating itself as a creative city. The bit to join UNESCO's Creative Cities Network reflects Toronto's global leadership in advancing the concept of creative cities.
Toronto's film, television and digital media industry is a key economic driver with 2016 production levels of over $2 billion. With assets such as a competitive tax credit regime, highly skilled talent and anchor studios, Toronto is a global leader. The city boasts more than 80 film festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival and ImagineNative, the world's largest Indigenous media arts festival, working closely with Indigenous communities in Canada, the United States and Australia.
In 2016, Toronto became the first city in Canada to appoint a Photo Laureate to serve as the City's ambassador for the visual and photographic arts. Media arts also features prominently in the City's public art program and in Toronto's annual Nuit Blanche, all-night contemporary art extravaganza.
The Toronto Music Advisory Council has created the Toronto Music Strategy to guide the music sector’s growth and development. The strategy will generate employment and economic benefit for those working in the sector (including export ready Toronto artists) and its related industries (such as digital media).
Since 2011, Toronto Digifest has held an annual conference on the future of education, creativity, entrepreneurship, gaming, and technology. Images Festival is another yearly event devoted to independent and experimental film, video art, new media and media installation.
Toronto helped nurture the Creative Cities Network in Canada in 2002 and has been an active participant in the World Cities Cultural Forum since 2015. Toronto now seeks to expand its international connections as a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.
As a Creative City of Media Arts, Toronto envisages:
- 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;
- increasing 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.