Brampton City Council approved a historic $16M budget for Arts & Culture, including funding for a new Arts & Culture Centre and public art projects. However, the recent announcement of a new medical school in the Bramalea Civic Centre has sparked concern about the future of the Lester B. Pearson Theatre (LBP) which serves as a valuable performance venue in the city.
Councillor Rowena Santos shares a personal connection with LBP, having performed on the same stage while growing up, and shares a deep passion for the arts and music theatre. She is assuring residents that LBP will remain within the Brampton Civic Centre facility and will be jointly used by the City and students attending the new Toronto Metropolitan University Medical School.
In addition to ensuring the theatre’s continued presence, Santos has also advocated for increased funding for the arts, resulting in historic investments. The 2023 budget includes a 33% increase from 2018, with a per capita spend of $24.08 for Arts & Culture.
Councillor Santos in arguing for the arts at City Council said: “The arts has been pushed aside for what people think are other priorities, when really we do need to prioritize arts in the City of Brampton. We are not supporting the arts enough but it’s the artists who give life to a city. While we are trying so hard to increase our per capita investment in the arts, unfortunately the location of the new medical school comes at a cost to artists and other community organizations. This needs to be fixed ASAP.”
To further support the arts in Brampton, a budget motion has been passed to expedite the design process for a new Arts & Culture Centre. This centre will create new space for the production and presentation of creative work in Brampton, beginning to address the critical shortage of cultural assets in the city. The 2023 Capital and Operating budget includes:
- $343,000 towards new Public Art Projects at 8 Nelson, Emancipation Park & Recreation Centres
- $350,000 for Performing Arts Equipment and Infrastructure Preservation & Lifecycle
- $50,000 towards design concepts for a new Arts Walk of Fame Legacy Site
- $2.6M towards consultation and design of a new Arts & Culture Centre at Flower City Community Campus
- $775,000 operating budget for Brampton Arts Organization
- $1.2M for the Advance Brampton Fund (increase of $661,858)
- $250,000 for a new Diwali event, Latino Heritage Month and Hockey Night in Brampton
An additional $300k was transferred at the direction of Council in Dec 2022 for neighbourhood beautification projects, bringing the total investment to over $16M for Arts & Culture.
The dedication to the arts in Brampton is evident in the efforts to ensure its growth and sustainability. With the assurance that LBP will remain within the Brampton Civic Centre facility, residents can rest assured that the arts will continue to thrive in our city.
City Council March 1, 2023 Video: Discussion on Lester B. Pearson/ Bramalea Civic Centre (timestamp, 1:07:16)
Special Council Meeting March 9, 2023: City Council passes 15.8+ Budget for Arts & Culture
City Council Meeting December 14, 2022: Motion to reallocate 300K into city-wide public arts initiatives in 2023 (timestamp,2:49:49)
Anitpal (Nitu) Grewal
Community Outreach & Media Relations Wards 1 & 5
City of Brampton, Council Office
2 Wellington Street West, Brampton ON, L6Y 4R2
T: 905-874-5929 l C: 437-331-4555