Winnipeg 1 of 3 Cultural Capitals of Canada

Winnipeg has been designated as one of three Cultural Capitals of Canada for the year 2010.

Winnipeg has been designated as one of three Cultural Capitals of Canada for 2010.

Federal Heritage Minister James Moore, accompanied by MP Rod Bruinooge and Mayor Sam Katz, made the announcement Thursday at The Forks riverside park in Winnipeg.

The city is the third and final municipality to be given the designation for 2010. The other two designated municipalities, Saguenay, Que., and Saint John, N.B., were announced earlier this week.

As a result, the City of Winnipeg will receive $2 million for several arts and cultural projects. Those include a River Barge Festival, in which artists will perform on a barge at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers.

The festival will feature aboriginal artists, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Theatre Centre and well-known international artists who began their careers in Winnipeg.

Other plans for Winnipeg include a mobile storytelling centre showcasing writers and poets and the creation of the International Cello Festival.

"Throughout Canada, culture unites us and gives us roots. It opens us to the world and enables us to express who we are and what we hope to become," said Moore.

"I look forward to Winnipeg's River Barge Festival and the newly created International Cello Festival, two key elements of the city's plans for its year as a cultural capital, which will put the best of Winnipeg on display."

Bruinooge added that Winnipeg "has done an excellent job of supporting arts and culture, and the city has greatly increased its support for the arts over the last five years."

Katz said the city "is renowned for its unique diversity and passion for arts and culture, so to receive this designation as a Cultural Capital of Canada for 2010 is an immense honour," said Katz.

The Cultural Capital designation is awarded on the basis of the quality of proposed projects and earlier achievements that demonstrate an ongoing commitment to arts and culture.

Funding amounts vary according to the size of the municipality.