Creative Industries

Calgary’s creative industries landscape includes everything from e-publishing to theatre, and gaming to research. And in 2012 Calgary was named a Cultural Capital of Canada.

Calgary's creative industries


Creativity is the ability to take knowledge, ideas, and other resources and combine them with imagination to create new ideas and products. Inherent in this definition is the concept of human capital; innovative ideas and imaginative products are the result of the intellectual capabilities of people. The outcomes of these creative processes can include anything from a vibrant new performing arts production, the successful launch of a new product, to an improvement in the democratic process.

Calgary's creative industries sector is about more than just the jobs or products, it is about the process one goes through to generate a new idea. As intellectual capital and problem solving are tools used across all industries, the notions of creativity and innovation are increasingly being recognized in an interdisciplinary fashion as they intersect with all economic sectors.

Among its many highlights, Calgary's creative industries boast:

​Access to world-class facilities

  • Calgary has an estimated 190 venues for live performing arts and over 100 establishments for the display of art including galleries, museums, and other cultural establishments;
  • The Art Commons attracts nearly 300,000 patrons and more than 1,700 performances and events annually. This 400,000 square foot performing arts complex is one of the largest of its kind in Canada;
  • The Glenbow Museum, Western Canada's largest museum, boasts over a million artifacts, along with 33,000 works of art, a library and archives under one roof.

​Dedicated education and training

A thriving creative industries market

  • The province of Alberta, of which Calgary is the largest city, has the highest annual per capita spending on Recreation and Culture in Canada;


  • There are nearly 4,400 establishments in Calgary that are related to the creative industries, employing over 50,400 workers;
    • Under a broad definition of creative industries, which includes people who create new ideas, new technology and new creative content, Calgary is a leader in Canada. In many jurisdictions this definition results in the inclusion of engineers, architects, and scientific research professionals. While there is no doubt that these are creative, highly-skilled people, due to the high involvement of engineering in the energy sector in Calgary, this group of job categories is excluded from our Creative Industries analysis.

  • In 2014, over three million people attended arts activities in Calgary. For more information, visit Calgary Arts Development's Arts in Action YYC;
  • The province of Alberta ranks third in Canada for growth in the number of artists in the labour force and second for the growth in the number of cultural workers. See more in this Hill Strategies report.