SAGUENAY, August 24, 2009 - Te Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, accompanied by the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture) and Member of Parliament (Jonquière-Alma), and His Worship Jean Tremblay, Mayor of Saguenay, today announced that the municipality of Saguenay, Quebec, has been designated a Cultural Capital of Canada for 2010.
"Every year, the city of Saguenay encourages theatrical presentations, exhibitions of public art, urban design, and the celebration of its heritage," said Minister Moore. "I congratulate Saguenay on earning this prestigious award, which will allow its artists to showcase their talents and creativity. The city's vitality is a source of inspiration for all communities across Canada."
Minister Blackburn applauded Minister Moore's selection of Saguenay. "The quality of this file made it an irresistible choice, especially since the City of Saguenay is known for its unwavering support for the arts and culture, as well as its significant investments in the cultural sector," said Minister Blackburn. "The community is aware of its history, which helps maintain a strong sense of belonging. The projects planned for throughout the year are exciting ones that are certain to stimulate the region's tourism industry and economy."
The Mayor of Saguenay demonstrated great pride and satisfaction following Minister Moore's confirmation of Saguenay's selection as a Cultural Capital of Canada. "The Minister is confirming that this is the result of our efforts to give our city a dynamic and prosperous cultural society," said Mr. Tremblay. "Our decision to create an arts council to get artists involved in all of our development stages is bearing fruit. We are going to show the rest of Canada that we deserve the honour that has been bestowed upon us today, and I am certain that our city and all its residents will benefit considerably from this national recognition."
The Cultural Capital of Canada designation is awarded for merit, as determined by the quality of a proposed project and earlier achievements by the candidate community that demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the arts and culture. An independent advisory committee evaluates the candidate communities and makes its recommendations to the Minister. Funding is provided to support special projects that celebrate the arts and culture. Amounts vary according to the size of the municipality. As a municipality with a population greater than 125 000, Saguenay may receive up to $2 million.
With this funding, Saguenay will launch several arts and culture projects, including heritage tours, the creation of public art made with local materials, a series of shows and theatrical performances, literary and poetry readings in local restaurants, and a local writing contest, the "Chemin des mémoires." Today's announcement was made at the Centre culturel du Mont?Jacob, one of the main participants in this project.
The other municipalities chosen as Cultural Capitals of Canada for 2010 will be announced later this week.
For more information on Saguenay's proposed projects, consult the attached backgrounder.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
and Official Languages
2010 CULTURAL CAPITALS
Category 1: population over 125 000
Maximum contribution: $2,000,000
Highlights of Saguenay's proposed projects:
- Heritage tours of Arvida, Chicoutimi and La Baie - including talks at various sites, exhibits related to the tours and the development of promotional material.
- Creation of public art - seven sculptures made with local materials by both professional and young artists.
- Series of shows - including a major production featuring tales and legends, an improvisation show "Petit retour dans vos mémoires" [jogging your memory], a show by creators of electronic music, and a multimedia production.
- Literary and poetry readings - given by Saguenay writers in local restaurants.
- Theatrical creation, production, and performance - staging of a play by students from an Anglophone school on the model city of Arvida and its residents at the turn of the 20th century, and creation by the Côté-Cour dinner theatre of a play on the history of Jonquière's industrial development and the life of its workers.
- "Doors Open" events on "La mémoire d'Arvida, Chicoutimi et La Baie" [remembering Arvida, Chicoutimi and La Baie] - these events include institution tours to discover the history of these three areas and tours of selected sites with commentary from experts and themed interpretation tours.
- "L'église de mon quartier" [My neighbourhood church] discovery rally - rally designed for elementary school groups to discover and appreciate religious heritage.
- Art exhibit "Des mains, des cœurs et des visages" [hands, hearts and faces] - visual arts students from the CEGEP de Jonquière and Chicoutimi will be invited to create a work of art based on the theme "Chemin des mémoires" [memory lane]; these works of art will be exhibited alongside a work of art produced by a professional artist showcasing the history of a Saguenay family.
- "Chemin des mémoires" writing contest - contest open to the entire community in the categories of poetry, essay, and short story, followed by the creation of a website by students from the Multimedia Department of the CEGEP de Jonquière, where the winning entries will be posted.
For more information on the Cultural Capitals of Canada's selection criteria and previous years' winners, consult the Department of Canadian Heritage website at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca/pgm/ccc/index-eng.cfm.