Toronto’s steady growth as a cultural centre has taken the city to third place, after New York and London, in the world’s theatrical production; third place in film and television production in North America, and second as an exporter of television programming. Large productions such as Hair!, Cats, and the nine and a half years of The Phantom of the Opera established Toronto as an important landmark for live theatre.
But it’s not just small and large theatre productions that have put Toronto on the map culturally: Toronto is also vitally enlivened by musicians in orchestras; the symphony; the ballet; and in hundreds of small venues and recording studios around the city. As well, there are the workers in the myriad of technically complex aspects of film, video, television and digital media production; singers, dancers, actors, performers; workers in CBC’s head offices and production facilities in Toronto; and book and magazine writers.
Unions for artists and cultural workers are essential for supporting their members’ creative efforts with improved working conditions and opportunities, but also for the fight for a vibrant Canadian culture that fully represents the spectrum of our diverse communities. These thousands of gifted and dedicated workers have enriched not only the cultural life of the city, but the labour movement as well.