Toronto the dichotomous: we overwhelmingly support Rob Ford, but also the arts

Toronto the dichotomous: we overwhelmingly support Rob Ford, but also the arts

A new survey suggests that Ontario residents believe in the importance of the arts more strongly than ever before. The poll was last conducted in 1994, and this year’s version asked six identical questions, plus a few new ones. For all the duplicate questions (but one), Ontarians responded with more enthusiasm and commitment to the arts than 16 years ago. Some 80 per cent of respondents said that the arts are important to their quality of life, and three quarters said they would miss the arts if they were not available in their community, both increases since the last poll.

More than 90 per cent of us believe the arts enrich the quality of our lives, and two-thirds believe the arts are beneficial to the community as a whole, even for those who don’t attend events. The biggest supporters of the arts were women, people who live in cities and other large communities, and those with higher education.

Around 80 per cent of Ontarians think the government should spend public money on the arts, but they didn’t rank the sector as the most important. Other aspects of community life—like parks and green spaces, sports and recreational facilities and public transit—were all generally considered more vital to the well-being of the community than the arts.

The only statistical drop came on a question that asked whether Ontarians felt pride thanks to the success of a Canadian artist. Only 95 percent of us do, down from 96 percent in 1994, a decline that can be at least partially attributed to Celine Dion deciding to make babies instead of hit records.

• The Arts and Quality of Life [Ontario Arts Council]
• Ontarians value arts more than ever, survey shows [Globe and Mail]