Amateur arts and folk culture
The federal government does not normally provide funding to the amateur arts leaving it to the provincial and municipal governments and foundations. One interesting exception to this is the CBC Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs to which the Canada Council for the Arts contributes for the administration of the competition. The issue of adequate incentives and support for amateur arts groups is an ongoing issue for debate although not primarily at the federal level. The generally recognised decline in arts appreciation curricula in the schools has contributed to widespread concern that instruction in the arts is insufficient to allow for creative individual and group cultural expression. However, arts associations and cultural houses advocate and encourage the participation of Canadians in cultural life.
According to a public opinion survey, approximately 78% of the population aged 15 and up participated in at least one of nine artistic or cultural activities in 2000. Figures range from 40% (using a computer to design or draw) to 11% for volunteering or becoming a member in an arts organisation. Approximately 68% aged 15 and up participated in at least one of four heritage-related activities in the last year, ranging from 55% for reading historical material to 6% for belonging to a heritage or historical society. Those with children in the home and those with higher levels of education are more likely to participate in artistic / creative activities than those who are without. Younger people between the ages of 15 and 24 are more likely to report participation in most activities. Ninety-five per cent of Canadians feel that to relax and enjoy oneself is a very (65%) or somewhat (30%) important reason for participating in artistic or cultural activities. Other reasons are: to learn new things or to improve skills (87%), to work or share something with others (83%) and to express oneself (75%). Artistic activities are also considered to be a way of connecting with one’s cultural or ethnic background (53%) (Environics 2000).
Cultural houses and community cultural clubs
A random review of Internet websites indicates a vast array of cultural houses including linguistic cultural clubs such as the Alliance Française with ten associations in Canada out of more than 1 130 associations in 138 countries, and the Goethe Institute with three chapters in Canada. Other national ethno cultural groups are widespread such as the Portuguese-Canadian National Congress and the German-Canadian Congress. A wide range of community cultural centres also exist such as the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver, the Calgary Multicultural Centre, the Canadian Centre on Minority Affairs (Black and Caribbean) Canada, the Centre culturel français de Vancouver, Lithuania Online Organisations, the Iranian Cultural Centre, the African Heritage Cultural Centre, the Vancouver Multicultural Community, Heritage Foundations in carious cities across Canada, SaskCulture Inc., and the Edmonton Historical Heritage Festival Association. There is also a large number of cultural publications such as Lethbridge Cultural Life and Toronto Culture, as well as cultural organisations dedicated to such events as centennial-and-beyond celebrations, the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival in Vancouver and the Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre. Finally, there are a large number of university and high school student unions which often feature cultural and ethnocultural activities. It should be noted that the above examples of cultural houses and community cultural clubs are indicative of a much broader field of organisations that currently lacks overall centralised documentation.