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Arts, Theatrical and Musical Institutions

Grands Ballets Canadiens, Denys Arcand, Jesus of Montreal, Toronto Dance Theatre, Telefilm Canada

The performing arts in Canada are supported by government and private grants. The National Arts Centre in Ottawa, which opened in 1969, has a resident symphony orchestra and both French and English theater companies. Visiting opera and dance companies perform there, and in summer its terraces along the Rideau Canal are the scene of band concerts.

A number of major theater, opera, dance, and musical groups are found in the large cities; these groups also tour the provinces and travel abroad. The chief theatrical centers are the cities of Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. The theaters of these cities make an effort to present new Canadian plays as well as imports and classics. Opera companies include the Canadian Opera in Toronto, two companies in Montreal, and six in the west—in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon. Among the principal dance companies are the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal. The Toronto Dance Theatre, Les Ballets Jazz in Montreal, and a number of small companies present modern dance. The prominent orchestras include the Montreal Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, and the Vancouver Symphony.

There is also a thriving film industry in Canada that is bolstered by popular film festivals—the Toronto International Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, and Vancouver International Film Festival—as well as state support through Telefilm Canada. Canadian-born Norman Jewison, a prominent director in the U.S. film industry, returns to Canada periodically to develop work. Films by several Canadian directors are gaining international acclaim. These include the brooding films by Atom Egoyan, such as Exotica (1994), and the products of Quebec directors Francois Girard, Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993), and Denys Arcand, Le Declin de l’empire americain (1986, The Decline of the American Empire), Jesus de Montreal (1989, Jesus of Montreal), and Love and Human Remains (1993), which was written by Canadian playwright Brad Fraser.

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