The following keynote address was delivered by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie during the Annual General Meeting of the Mississauga Arts Council which took place yesterday, March 29, 2017:
“Good evening, everyone. I want to begin by acknowledging Mike Douglas, Executive Director, and my husband, Brian Crombie, President of the Mississauga Arts Council, along with all staff and volunteers.
“Through your ongoing commitment to supporting the arts and local artists, Mississauga continues to cement its reputation as a leading arts and festivals destination.
“I also want to acknowledge the team of professionals from the City of Mississauga – and principally our Community Services Department – who work closely with the Mississauga Arts Council to deliver on our shared strategies, goals and efforts.
“Because of staff, today, we proudly announced that Festivals & Events Ontario named Mississauga as the Municipality of the Year!
“Mississauga earned this recognition because of our many, popular community, cultural, music and artistic celebrations, like the much anticipated TD Mosaic South Asian Arts Festival!
“Congratulations to everyone involved in earning this province-wide distinction.
“Let me also recognize MPP Bob Delaney who is bringing greetings on behalf of Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon.
“Earlier this month, Minister McMahon announced that 87 different local community groups in Peel would receive close to $350,000 in funding as part of the Ontario 150 Partnership Program.
“Mississauga-based not-for-profit MonstrARTity – which produces the immensely popular Bollywood Monster Mash-Up at Celebration Square – is one of the community groups in the province receiving financial support in celebration of Ontario’s 150th anniversary.
“Mississauga Council is also funding $70,000 toward this year’s Bollywood Monster Mashup.
“Mississauga has a robust grant program for community festivals and internationally-recognized events. City council has approved $710,000 in grant support for 19 festivals in 2017.
“Carassauga, Mississauga Waterfront Festival, Southside Shuffle Blues and BBQ Festival, Paint the Town Red – are some of our top funding recipients.
“Partnership is fundamental to ensuring any city has a thriving, accessible and celebrated arts scene.
“The Mississauga Arts Council is truly the heart and soul of our arts community. MAC was first founded in 1981 by a City Resolution.
“This began the road to a long, strong and enduring relationship between City Council and the Arts Council.
“And each year Council reaffirms its funding commitment to help MAC achieve and exceed its mission to offer workshops, classes, camps, the MACArts Festival and a variety of different platforms to showcase local artists and their talents.
“Through the Culture and Community Grants Program, City Council awarded the Mississauga Art Council nearly $270,000 dollars.
“In Mississauga, we are building a complete city – a place where people can raise a family, earn an education, find a well-paying job, access regionally-integrated transit and enjoy an unrivaled quality of life.
“Investing in the arts enhances the quality of life of all people – no matter a person’s age or culture – each and every one of us is enriched by the arts.
“A thriving arts scene is also central to our efforts to diversify our economy and ignite new local economic development opportunities.
“Under the leadership of Paul Damaso who heads our Culture Division, we recently launched our Creative Industries Strategy.
“The strategy also focuses on outlining actions and tactics for attracting, developing, retaining and growing the creative industry sector.
“Mississauga is proudly home to the world renowned Metal Works Recording Studio.
“And there is more we can do to attract businesses like Metal Works to choose Mississauga to work.
“Film and television, interactive digital media and live music are the areas that we will focus on moving forward.
“The total economic impact of live music in Ontario’s economy is $1.2 billion.
“The Film and TV industry contributes $1.5 billion to the provincial economy each year.
“The creative industry cluster has emerged as a major, and growing, source of GDP in Ontario that now generates approximately $12.2 billion dollars annually for Ontario’s economy.
“Council’s new Arts, Culture & Heritage Committee, formed last October, will work with staff and stakeholder representatives, like Mike Douglas, to ensure we turn ideas set out in this report, into results.
“Through the work of our Community Service Department we are transforming historic sites into hubs for creativity.
“Clarke Hall in Port Credit is one of many rental spaces available for all types of creative activities.
“The Small Arms Building in Mississauga’s southeast Lakeview neighbourhood is going through a game-changing transformation.
“The future of this building is about preserving the heritage integrity of the structure.
“The renovations will ensure safe, flexible and purpose-built facilities for a wide range of environmental sciences and technology, arts, heritage, and cultural endeavours.
“It’s also an opportunity to commemorate, preserve and promote the history and heritage significance of the building and site including the continuing role of women today.
“This year we just marked the 40th anniversary of Visual Arts Mississauga – one of Mississauga’s most dynamic creative centres.
“And what better place to inspire artists, showcase their talents and reach the broader community, then at Riverwood – the heart of our community’s beautiful, natural greenspaces.
“And finally, I’m honoured to serve as the Honorary Chair for the Art Gallery of Mississauga’s Annual Fine Art Auction taking place on April 27.
“This year, we are very excited to be celebrating the AGM’s 30th anniversary, which makes this event even more special.
“Join us in ushering the gallery into its next 30 years, and take home a unique reminder of the amazing art and artists that have made the AGM the respected institution that it is today!
“We look forward to the ongoing growth of the AGM and how we can best accommodate that growth with new space.
“During my campaign for mayor, I placed a great emphasis on investing in public art.
“I was honoured to serve as vice-chair of the Arts Taskforce under Hazel McCallion and committed to carrying on her work, as mayor of Mississauga.
“Public art brings people together and enriches neighbourhoods, residents and visitors.
“The Contemplating Child sculpture is in the heart of our downtown core, located at Community Common Park.
“In Churchill Meadows Councillor McFadden and I unveiled the Heaven and Earth Sculpture as part of the new residential development at Winston Churchill and Eglinton.
“This new piece of art is helping further unite and give the Churchill Meadows community a unique identity.
“Last year, we unveiled The Book by Ilan Sandler to be part of the City of Mississauga Public Art Collection.
“The Book – a painted steel sculpture – was donated by Toronto Pearson and is also on display at Celebration Square not far from Central Library. And it came at no cost to taxpayers.
“It’s unveiling coincided with the 25th anniversary of Central Library, home to a vast collection of art publications.
“In October, Minister Navdeep Bains announced funding of nearly $200,000 to the City of Mississauga to commission artwork that will have a permanent home at Celebration Square.
“Celebration Square is where residents come together to share and celebrate their culture for everyone to experience, appreciate and enjoy.
“This new artwork will be another important way Mississauga pays tribute to the 150th anniversary of our nation’s founding.
“The new piece will focus on the themes of diversity, inclusion and reconciliation with Indigenous Communities.
“What better year to celebrate the important role art has in telling the story of our nation’s proud history and promising future then in 2017, the year we mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
“And just this past week I joined Council, Chief Beckett and first-responders from Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services as part of the ongoing efforts to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
“We have launched a mural to recognize this occasion and it will be officially launched on April 9.
“Of course, we cannot forget the much anticipated Do Your Homework Exhibit about the life and legacy of the legendary Hurricane Hazel McCallion.
“The Museums of Mississauga will be highlighting the life and times of Hazel McCallion in an exhibition held April 12th to 26th at the Mississauga Civic Centre.
“As part of the exhibit, artists were invited to apply with works that are paintings, drawings or sculptures of Hazel McCallion.
“On April 12, join Hazel McCallion in Council Chambers for an intimate “In Conversation with Hazel” where she discusses leadership lessons and learnings from building the sixth largest city in Canada.
“I want to close by once again thanking the volunteers, members, artists and leadership of the Mississauga Arts Council for all they do year-round.
“Investing and supporting the arts, heritage and our creative businesses is fundamental to city-building.
“Working together with the City of Mississauga, Council and staff, we will continue to ensure that Mississauga enjoys an unrivalled reputation as an emerging, world-class arts community.