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;

2013 provincial recreation culture spending

  • 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.

Calgary Film Centre

The creation of permanent, purpose-built soundstages in Calgary has been discussed in the film and television industry for almost three decades. However, in the past three years, through the leadership of Calgary Economic Development, the possibility of building this infrastructure in Calgary has moved from discussion to action.

As the fourth-largest filming jurisdiction in Canada, the Calgary Region/Southern Alberta accounts for 82 per cent of all film and TV projects shot in the province. Because of a lack of permanent, purpose-built facilities, this region has been unable to accommodate some major projects. Current film soundstages (including the Currie Barracks) are being demolished to build other residential and commercial facilities.

The Calgary Film Centre facilities would help mitigate these issues by providing permanent soundstages weather.


• 8.35 acres located at 5750 76 Avenue S.E.

• The Centre will feature 50,000 sq ft of purpose-built sound stages.

• The Centre will also include 20,000 sq ft of warehouse space with an additional 15,000 sq ft of multi-purpose space (office, workshop/production, props, sets, wardrobes, etc.)

• William F. White International will be the anchor tenant

• Alberta’s film, television and digital media industry employs over 3,000 people and is responsible for hundreds of millions in economic activity every year


There are a number of benefits to the Calgary Film Centre. These benefits include:

  1. Economic diversification: for every $1 invested by the Government of Alberta in the screen industries, there is a $6 return on investment, and this investment can also see spin-off economic benefits in sectors such as hospitality and tourism.
  2. Training and mentorship: the Calgary Film Centre will house a suite of programming and training in collaboration with post-secondary institutions, unions, guilds and associations. These programs will ensure that the next generation of creative industries professionals will get the training required to be a competitive candidate.
  3. Job creation: permanent facilities will increase the volume of local and foreign productions shot in Calgary, which in turn will provide increased job opportunities and mitigate the loss of crews to other jurisdictions.
For more information, visit the Calgary Film Centre website


Digital Media

Print media, film media, news media, and other traditional information forms are converging into a new world of interactive media, digital media, social media, crowd-sourcing media, and other new forms of communication. The Calgary media community offers a world-class mix of talented specialists that are needed in the industry; a friendly group of innovators who share knowledge and ideas, collaborate on projects, partner with one another, and share space. Organizations like Digital Alberta and other informal communities foster connections to promote technical innovation and a sense of belonging.


Within the digital and convergent media space, Calgary has several key infrastructure investments, both currently installed and in the works. These include technology development and commercialization support through Cybera, development space that will be offered through the future Calgary Film Centre, and venture capital to help move ideas forward.


Cybera is a non-profit organization with a mandate to provide provincial leadership in integrating, leveraging and sustaining investments in cyberinfrastructure technologies in Alberta. Researchers and companies work with Cybera to investigate, develop, and test new technologies and to launch their products in effective and innovative ways.

​University of Calgary - Research Transition Facility

The Research Transition Facility (RTF) is the University of Calgary’s new incubator for high-tech companies. Purpose built for laboratory research, it is a multi-tenant, not-for-profit facility located adjacent to the campus in the University Research Park. The RTF is designed to help university entrepreneurs turn new ideas and discoveries into marketable products and services.

​Digital Alberta

Digital Alberta is an industry-led organization devoted to promoting and connecting the thriving digital media community across Alberta. Through professional development workshops, advocacy work, and business development activity, Digital Alberta is building the digital media industry provincially and promoting it abroad.

Digital Alberta has a mandate to:

  • Accelerate the growth of the digital media community in Alberta and empower it to be highly competitive in the global marketplace;
  • Accelerate the commercialization of digital media across other industry sectors including energy, health, education, and entertainment;
  • Develop a provincial vision and brand to link Alberta with the best in global digital media development;
  • Increase support for international trade and marketing activities;
  • Increase investment in Alberta’s digital media industries;
  • Increase capacity and productivity within industry;
  • Improve transition and quality of people moving from education to industry.


Technology and innovation are driving the growth of Calgary’s creative industries. New digital media businesses are building upon creative skills borrowed from the city’s rich traditional arts and culture industries. Use of technology is also transforming the creative process in traditional applied arts and design industries sparking the creation of new products and modes of product delivery.

Over the last decade, employment in Calgary’s publishing, printing and related support services has ranged from a low 4,800 workers in 2007 and a high of 7,900 workers in 2003. Currently, employment in the industry is at 5,500 workers.

In recent years, the publishing community has grown to include electronic publishing (e-publishing). As interest and utilization of e-readers and tablets continues to grow, e-publishing will play a significant role in providing content to users. Companies are also utilizing e-publishing technology to create interactive content, enhancing the user experience and providing special features, multimedia elements and other extras unavailable via traditional publishing mediums.

Beyond the various books, magazines and other material that is published and printed in Calgary, the city is home to two very important assets that support this sector – the Calgary Public Library and the Glenbow Museum’s Library and Archives.

Density Map

Click on the map below to view a larger interactive version.

ced density map thumb

Need more information?
Luke Azevedo

Luke Azevedo

Commissioner, Film, Television & Creative Industries

Office Phone: (403) 221-7868


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