To fully describe the extent of our cultural community, the City of Mississauga must first identify all creative individuals and organizations. Words by John Ariyo

There has been growing recognition of the importance of cultural resources to community prosperity. Mississauga is one of the municipalities in Ontario developing cultural resource mapping supported in part by the Creative Community Prosperity Fund administered by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

What an opportunity this is! Do you know how many cultural businesses like antique stores, photographers, recording studios, bookstores, publishers, art dealers, designers, dance companies, theatres actually exist in Mississauga? And where are they? What about public art, historic sites and heritage properties? What are the names of our art, heritage, aboriginal and ethnocultural
organizations and where are they located? So let’s discover and document the rich and diverse culture of Mississauga.

What are the events and festivals that happen in a given year and where do they take place? Who are our visual, literary, performing and media artists? What and where are the places and facilities where our cultural activities take place? How many of these cultural resources are in your ward or area? Before we try to answer these questions, wouldn’t it be nice to have a one-stop- source where we can all conveniently search and display all this information at a click of a mouse on an interactive map?

That is what putting culture on the map literally means – having an interactive Cultural Resource Map where residents, artists, visitors, tourists and culture stakeholders will be able to easily browse and display Mississauga cultural resources, assets and related cultural information. That’s why the City of Mississauga is developing its first Cultural Resource Map.

There are so many advantages to enhancing our City’s identity and prosperity by developing this resource map. For example:

  • Identifying gaps in cultural assets, services and program delivery;
  • Providing a tool for artists and other creative individuals to identify resources, cultural facilities and opportunities;
  • Providing cultural organizations with a vehicle to target specific audiences;
  • Facilitating access to information by residents, tourists and visitors to cultural businesses, organizations, amenities and activities;
  • Becoming a tool to track and measure Mississauga’s progress in cultural development, including informing the issuance of an annual Mississauga Culture Report Card;
  • Serving as an evidence-based tool to inform various economic, social and planning policies; and
  • Ensuring the City’s planning process gives due consideration to culture in all aspects of development and land-use planning.

The Culture Division at the City can also use the map as a planning tool to develop new programs, initiatives and policies targeted to support cultural growth and development in Mississauga.
There will be opportunities for Mississauga culture stakeholders and residents to provide feedback on the map through focus groups assessing its concept, functionality and usability at an Open House. The culture map is then expected to be launched late in 2011. The Cultural Resource Map will be a dynamic tool allowing users to view Mississauga through a new cultural lens.
Should you be on the map?