How we spend our money

When it comes to spending leisure time and money, literacy is far from dead.

Canadians are more likely to pick up a book than attend a movie, according to a 2005 social survey by Statistics Canada. Not only that, but people are visiting art galleries and historic sites more, the survey said.

Other findings:

• About four in 10 Canadians read at least one book a month
• 66 per cent of people 15 years of age or older read at least one book over a year
• 7 million Canadians, or 26.7 per cent of people over 15, attended at least one art exhibition in 2005, up from 24 per cent in 1992
• Art gallery visits are up 67 per cent over 13 years.

Magazine and newspaper readership, the survey said, has gone down among Canadians since 1992. Movies and videos remain “quite popular,” with about 20 million people watching a movie and 16 million people attending at least one movie in a theatre or drive-in in 2005.

Historical sites
More Canadians are travelling to historic sites, the survey reported. In fact one in three people visited a cultural event such as a zoo, botanic garden or historical site in 2005. Top sites included the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in southern Alberta, Ontario’s Sainte-Marie-among-the-Hurons. This represents an increase of almost three million from 1992.

Performing arts events
In 2005, nearly half of the population (41.2 per cent) attended at least one professional concert or live arts event.

In particular, classical music concerts are growing in popularity. In 2005, 9.5 per cent of Canadians attended at least one live presentation of classical music, up from 8.4 per cent in 1992. More classical music fans in B.C. go to concerts than in the rest of the country, the survey said.

A total of 28.6 per cent of Canadians listened to downloaded music compared with 83.9 per cent who listened to music on CDs or other formats.

“Very few Canadians relied exclusively on downloaded music in 2005,” the report said.

The data for the survey came from existing data from Statistics Canada General Social Surveys and in-depth telephone interviews with over 10,000 Canadians 15 or older. The survey is a part of a larger study entitled Statistical Insights on the Arts.

The study said that this trend “may be an indication of an increasingly visual culture in Canada.”

For more on the vibrant cultural life in Canada, go to: