State of the Arts: Canada’s cultural industry is feeling the squeeze

It started with uncomfortable calls from bankers and bookkeepers. As 2023 progressed, Canada’s cultural institutions began to realize that the money coming in was down and the money going out was up. Way up.

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival was one of the first, and was nearly dissolved after its postlockdown costs surged. The artist-space provider Toronto Artscape Inc. was one of the next to reckon with this reality, last summer, when it could no longer make its $70,000-a-month loan payments. Soon, globally lionized festivals from Hot Docs to Just for Laughs reached the brink. Even beloved lower-budget local institutions such as Victoria’s Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre and Toronto’s

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