Arts & Culture: By the Numbers

There’s something unique about Alberta’s culture. So unique, in fact, the provincial government dedicated all of September 2020 for Alberta Culture Days. The celebration provided four weeks for people to discover, experience and celebrate arts and culture through more than 900 events and activities, in person and online across the province.

By the Numbers

  • $5.3 billion Amount contributed to Alberta’s GDP by culture goods and services, the fourth highest total in Canada
  • 13,300 Number of artists living in Alberta, which accounts for 8% of all artists in Canada
  • 375+ Number of movie and television productions that have been filmed in Alberta
  • 53,000+ Jobs attributed to Alberta’s culture sector

Source: Government of Alberta, Statistics Canada, U.S. Census Bureau

If you missed the jam-packed schedule of Alberta Culture Days, there’s plenty of other events and festivals throughout the year. SnowDays, a month-long festival in Banff and Lake Louise, celebrates the depths of winter. The mountain towns host ice carving and snow sculpting, special exhibitions and even competitive cardboard sled racing. There are music festivals throughout the year dedicated to nearly every genre, with Edmonton’s Folk Festival providing an epic experience and a series of great performers taking the stage annually during the Calgary Stampede. And for those looking for something a little quieter or something to fit into their own schedule, Alberta has more than 20 provincially owned historic sites, interpretive centres and museums that range from the quaint and charming to the incredible and awe-inspiring.

Historic Glenbow Museum Ready for Modernization

The Glenbow Museum has been a fixture of downtown Calgary for more than 50 years, and now the art and history museum is set to freshen up its appearance with a $40 million investment from the province.

Project plans include new meeting spaces available for rent, a restaurant, enhanced retail experiences and a flexible-use theatre. These additions will provide additional revenue opportunities for the Glenbow and ensure its long-term sustainability. Historically, Glenbow combined a museum, art gallery, library and archives under one roof. Glenbow is currently reframing its mandate to focus primarily on its role as an art museum.

Honouring Alberta’s Artists

Alberta’s artists are storytellers, innovators, entrepreneurs, community builders, teachers and mentors – which is worth celebrating – and Alberta continues to be the only province in Canada with a dedicated Month of the Artist celebration in September.

The annual celebration of artists highlights the value they bring to the province, both socially and economically, and encourages people to take part in as many events as possible and support Alberta artists. Artists’ work enriches lives, promotes creativity and innovation, and contributes to a more diversified economy. When the arts thrive, Alberta is a better place to live, invest and do business.

Fringe Festival Takes 5 (But Vows to Return)

The iconic Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival took a hiatus in 2020 due to the global pandemic, but quickly put together some online options for its most dedicated fans and is hopeful to return in 2021 for the 40th anniversary of the theatre festival.

The Edmonton Fringe Festival was established in 1982 by Brian Paisley, who at the time was the Artistic Director of Chinook Theatre. Paisley wanted to develop a fringe festival in North America after visiting the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Edinburgh Fringe started in 1947 when eight theatre companies were denied admittance to an international festival. The companies teamed up and performed their shows on the fringes of the festival, hence the fringe was born. More than 200 fringe festivals take place each year across the globe – with Edmonton’s 10-day event being the oldest and largest in North America.