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Creative Industries Sector

Toronto is a major center for the creative industries which has expanded in recent years. The creative sector employs over 100,000 people from a broad range of product producing and service providing industries. Integrated into the fabric of the City, the creative industries support other sectors of Toronto's economy including finance, ICT, life science and food and beverage.

With the global entertainment and media market estimated to be worth a combined US$ 1.35 trillion (Ontario's Entertainment & Creative Cluster, 2010) companies such as Umbra, Roots, KBR Architects, Thomson Reuters and other business from the region are finding success on the world stage within a highly competitive sector.

For more information on the Creative Industries of Ontario see "Ontario's Entertainment and Creative Cluster"

Defining the Creative Industries Sector

The creative industries added $12.2 billion (2006) to the GDP of the Province of Ontario. (Ontario's Entertainment & Creative Cluster, 2010)

Employment by Creative Industry

Toronto is well positioned to become a major exporter of goods and services from the creative industries sector. With one of the most multicultural populations in the world, Toronto develops design, art, news media and other creative products and services locally with mass global appeal. Toronto's multiculturalism also makes the City an ideal test market for the global demand of products and services.

Creative Industries Facts

  • The City of Toronto employs 61.9% (2006) of all designers in the Province of Ontario (The Place of Design, 2009). With 28,000 designers, Toronto is Canada's design capital.
  • Toronto has a vibrant design community. The critical mass of designers is at the core of Toronto's complex design community made up of design-related educational programs, industry and professional associations, design agencies and studios, and other related groups.
  • In 1991, the Design Exchange (DX) was established at the old site of the Toronto Stock Exchange. The location strongly suggests that artistic capital is as important as financial capital in the contemporary economy.
  • Design is identified as one of Toronto's key economic sectors in the City's economic strategy report the "Agenda for Prosperity", 2008.
Film & TV
  • In 2009 production companies spent a total of $877.84 million on films produced in Toronto.
  • The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) generates an annual economic impact of $170 million CAD.
  • Pinewood Toronto Studios is Canada's largest film and television production complex. 250,000 ft2 of production space is distributed across 8 stages, support facilities, and office space.
  • For more on film & tv in Toronto, see the Film & TV Sector Profile.
  • L'Oreal Toronto Fashion Week is the second largest bi-annual fashion event in North America.
  • Toronto is home to over 500 apparel manufacturers. Toronto's annual wholesale shipment of clothing and apparelis approximately $1.5 billion (City of Toronto, Economic Development & Culture).
  • The Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) is the first official "fashion incubator" in the world. The TFI was incorporated in 1987 and debuted in 1988 as the Toronto Centre for the Promotion of Fashion Design.
  • Toronto is home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company, and a vibrant live music scene.
  • The music industry in the Toronto region is one of the most concentrated in North America. The music industry has a larger share of the region's employment than New York, NY and Austin, TX. (Martin Prosperity Institute, The Great Musical North, 2009)
  • Canada has considerably greater per capita musical activity than the United States in terms of record labels, recording studios, and licensing houses. (Martin Prosperity Institute, The Great Musical North, 2009)
Commercial Theatre
  • Toronto has the 3rd largest theatre scene in the world behind New York and London.
  • Toronto has 123 not-for-profit performing arts groups.
  • In the spring of 2006, the $27 million stage production Lord of the Rings premiered in Toronto; it was the biggest stage production ever mounted.
  • Ontario's book publishing industry generated $1.3 billion in 2008, accounting for 63.2% of all national revenue for this industry. (Statistics Canada, Book Publishing, 2010, Catalogue no. 87F0004X)
  • In 2003/04, a total of 1,162 periodicals were published in Ontario, generating total revenue of $918 million. (Economic Contribution of the Canadian Magazine Industry, 2006)

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Creative Industries - Initiatives and Major Organizations


Artscape has developed a reputation as Canada's leading practitioner in multi-tenant space development for the arts and culture sector, successfully transforming a portfolio of underutilized buildings across Toronto into dynamic community assets. Artscape projects are designed to build and leverage the local community's cultural assets and creative resources while serving as catalysts for neighborhood growth and transformation.

The Design Exchange

The Design Exchange (DX) is the only Canadian institution devoted to promoting the value of design across all disciplines. The DX hosts numerous competitions, education programs and exhibitions, and holds a collection of the best Canadian materials designed since 1945.

North by Northeast Music Festival and Conference (NXNE)

The North by Northeast Music Festival and Conference (NXNE) is the premier music festival destination in Canada. The festival is the choice destination for new and emerging talent-unsigned bands, indie favourites, and major-label headlining artists alike. Seen as the most anticipated summer music event in Canada, NXNE has cemented itself as an essential showcase opportunity for the best in new music.

2020 Media Futures

2020 Media Futures is a multi-industry strategic foresight project designed to understand and envision what media may look like by 2020.

DOCShift: Real Stories to Multiple Platforms

DocShift creates business opportunities for Ontario filmmakers and new media producers by facilitating the merger of skill sets and innovative interactive documentary genres.

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Support Infrastructure

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Information graphic which states that the Creative Industries sector is made up of Core Art and Cultural Workers, the Content Production Cluster and the Wider Creative Industries.
Break down of employment in the Creative Industries by its sub-sectors.
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Creative City Planning Framework
As a part of the Agenda for Prosperity, a creative city planning strategy has been developed to build on and enhance the creative capital of Toronto.
Year: 2008
Categories: Creative Industries
Ontario’s Entertainment & Creative Cluster: A Framework for Growth

This document lays out a vision for the continued growth and leadership of Ontario’s cultural and other creative industries including: film, television, publishing, music, commercial theatre and interactive digital media industries.


Year: 2010
Categories: Business Toronto, Creative Industries, Information and Communications Technology
STATE of DESIGN: The Canadian Report 2010
Industry Canada has partnered with the Design Exchange (DX) and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) to review the valuable service business function of PD&D. By collecting insights from the industry and international research organizations, and using economic modelling conducted by Industry Canada, this industry–government collaboration has produced a complete user/service provider profile of PD&D in Canada, summarized here in this report. This unique analysis is intended to help Canadian PD&D executives as well as decision makers understand current market trends and recognize the advantages of investing in PD&D to improve business competitiveness.
Year: 2010
Categories: Business Toronto, Creative Industries
The Place of Design: Exploring Ontario’s Design Economy
Comprehensive review of international best practices in the development and promotion of the design economy, with an overview and analysis of Ontario’s design workforce.
Year: 2009
Categories: Creative Industries
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