Great Ideas Meet Innovation: Government of Canada Invests in Creative Hubs in Vancouver

News Release

VANCOUVER, June 26, 2017

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, today announced $3 million in support for two new creative hubs in Vancouver. This investment will support construction, infrastructure upgrades and facility expansion activities for the BC Artscape Society and the Vancity Community Foundation.

The BC Artscape Society is receiving $2.5 million to renovate three storeys of the Sun Wah Centre in Vancouver’s Chinatown to create a dynamic, mixed-use space dedicated to artists and arts and culture organizations. The facility will also offer affordable and secure space for artist production, rehearsal, presentation and exhibition, as well as provide space for public cultural events and programming. A community steering committee will ensure that this new hub reflects Chinatown’s heritage and culture.

The Vancity Community Foundation will convert the former Vancouver Police headquarters on the Downtown Eastside into a new community amenity. Funding of $500,000 will support the Foundation’s renovation of the ground floor and basement of the 312 Main complex. The project will create artist studios and presentation spaces that will be available for exhibitions, performances and community events. Once completed, 312 Main will be Vancouver’s Centre for Social and Economic Innovation, bringing artists, cultural entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations together in a shared space where they can collaborate and take their ideas to new heights.

This investment is part of the government’s commitment, announced in Budget 2017, to construct, renovate and better equip the creative spaces and hubs that will be home to the next generation of artists and innovators. It supports the government’s new approach to growing the creative sector, which provides jobs to more than 630,000 Canadians.

Funding for both projects has been provided through the Government of Canada’s cultural infrastructure program, the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund.


“Our government understands that investments in arts and culture help build strong communities. Shared spaces create dynamic environments for artists and citizens alike to work, create, collaborate and thrive. As part of Budget 2017, we more than doubled support for the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, with $300 million over the next 10 years. Today’s investments demonstrate our ongoing commitment to developing and improving access to cultural institutions for all Canadians.”

—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“The impact of this Canada Cultural Spaces Fund support for BC Artscape cannot be underestimated. Our vision is space where a diverse mix of artists, cultural producers, community groups and the public come together to create a community asset for Chinatown. The leadership of Canadian Heritage has been instrumental from the earliest conceptions of the project to support this vision, and for this we are tremendously grateful.”

—Genevieve Bucher, President, BC Artscape

“These kinds of unique projects are very complicated; that’s why it’s so critical to have partners like Canadian Heritage take a leadership role. By making investments into a cooperative Centre for Social and Economic Innovation at 312 Main, the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund provides a catalyst for their creation in a very real and physical way.”

—Gene Blishen, Member, Vancity Community Foundation Board and 312 Main Management Committee

“At 312 Main, we’re transforming Vancouver’s former police headquarters into a Centre for Social and Economic Innovation. This cultural and economic hub will create accessible space for a dynamic community of entrepreneurs, artists and organizations that benefit the neighbourhood and beyond.”

—Ashley Proctor, Executive Director, 312 Main

Quick Facts

  • BC Artscape is a not-for-profit society launched in December 2014. It is modeled after the 30-year-old Toronto Artscape, known for its role in the development and revitalization of urban areas through arts-driven projects.

  • The Vancity Community Foundation is a not-for-profit society whose mandate is to fund, facilitate, promote and carry out activities and programs that benefit the Greater Vancouver area.

  • The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund supports the improvement of physical conditions for artistic creativity and innovation, as well as the improvement, renovation and construction of arts and heritage facilities, and the acquisition of specialized equipment.

Associated Links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Pierre-Olivier Herbert
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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