[PRESS RELEASE] First official visit to Toronto: French Minister of Culture Franck Riester devotes two days to cultural industries
Toronto, October 8, 2019. Franck Riester, French Minister of Culture, will make an official visit to Toronto on October 10 and 11. On this occasion, the Minister will meet with leading figures of cultural industries in which Toronto excels in order to increase the number of multidisciplinary partnerships between France and Canada.
For his first official visit to Canada, the French Minister of Culture chose to visit Toronto, a hub for creative and innovative young people, with a strong presence of French artists. The Toronto cultural scene also allows many French artists to showcase their talents at flagship events such as Toronto Arts Biennial, TIFF, Luminato or Nuit Blanche. Toronto has a vibrant cultural scene that offers many opportunities for exchange between Canada and France.
Multidisciplinary innovation in a bilingual city
During his visit, the Minister will “meet” leading cultural figures and actors of cultural and creative industries: fanfiction, electronic and alternative music, fashion and food culture, to get a sense of the emerging scene in Toronto and prepare the future of cultural cooperation with France. On Thursday, October 10, Franck Riester will begin his visit by meeting with Wattpad, the world leader in literary social networks. This will be an opportunity to better understand the model of interaction that is at the heart of the platform and to discuss with the founders the reading habits of young people under 25 years of age in Canada and around the world. He will then open the first gala organized by the French Chamber of Commerce in Canada, which will take place at the RITZ CARLTON hotel, at 6pm. In the presence of the French Ambassador to Canada, Kareen Rispal, who will present a Business Award, the Minister will have the opportunity to meet with French expats and congratulate business actors who contribute to French excellence in Canada.
Promoting culture in Canada and Christopher Butcher’s award
The Minister of Culture Franck Riester will present Christopher Butcher with the insignia of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres at the Toronto Reference Library, at 6 pm on October 10, in the presence of the Ambassador of France to Canada, Kareen Rispal, the Consul General of France in Toronto, Tudor Alexis, and several local cultural partners.
France would like to pay tribute to Mr. Christopher Butcher for what he has done for over 20 years to promote the comic strip industry. Several Canadians before him received the French insignia by making themselves known internationally for their contribution to culture: Edith Butler, Douglas Coupland, Cameron Bailey, Margareth Atwood.
The dynamism and excellence of Toronto’s cultural industries
On the second day of his visit, Franck Riester will be welcomed by the TFO team, a media network which airs educational and cultural programming and promotes French-language content in Ontario.
The Minister will then visit cultural venues that have made the City of Toronto famous, such as the Harbourfront Center and the Power Plant Gallery. He will then meet with the co-director of the 1st Toronto Contemporary Art Biennial, Tairone Bastien, and several directors and curators of art institutions that regularly present French contemporary artists.
About the Order of Arts and Letters
The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres was created in 1957 to reward artists, writers and others who have distinguished themselves for their role in promoting the arts and literature in France and around the world. The Order aims to develop relationships and foster cultural and linguistic exchange. To be eligible for the award, candidates must have made "significant contributions to the enrichment of French cultural heritage".
About the Consulate General of France in Toronto
The Consulate General, whose jurisdiction extends to the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba, is responsible for the administration of French nationals. Its diplomatic chancery is responsible for monitoring and developing relations with the authorities and actors in these two provinces. Tudor Alexis has been the Consul General of France in Toronto since August 21, 2019.
About the French Embassy in Canada – Cultural Service in Toronto
The presence of French culture in Canada has its roots in history. In memory of our shared common history, the task of the Cultural Service now is to increase the visibility of French culture, which is constantly reinventing itself. Contact between our two countries is rich and multifaceted : musicians on tour, dance companies, visiting professors at universities, expert exchanges, French-language certification programs, joint PhD programs, campus film festivals, Digital Forums, Sommets de la francophonie, advance screenings, cinematic retrospectives, heritage and contemporary art exhibitions, and student mobility. Spreading information, sharing ideas and projects, reaching the largest possible audience, creating opportunities for discovery: these are the goals of the French Cultural Service.