Calgary, Cultural Capital. Yeah, Baby.

By winning its bid for designation as a Canadian Cultural Capital, Calgary is ready to show the country what it's really made of.

The fact that Calgary has culture – and lots of it – is the best-kept secret in the country, but locals, who’ve long enjoyed the city’s eclectic and devoted scene, know better. Now the culture cat is officially out of the bag – and we all win.

“This is Calgary’s time to shine,” says Karen Ball, executive director of Calgary 2012. “The designation will have positive spin-offs for arts and culture, economic development, tourism activity and an increase in the city’s profile nationally and internationally.”

When you’re a cultural capital, you get serious financial backup for an extensive lineup of events, which means that Calgary will be a hot spot for the arts in 2012. (The city has already earmarked $2 million for the arts in 2012.) Calgary’s bid included an artist in residence program, a national and international cultural exchange program, a mass participation spectacle event and the creation of a municipal cultural plan.

“This is an honour for Calgary that recognizes the importance of our arts and cultural sector,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Calgarians take great pride in our support for the arts and culture, and we can use 2012 as an opportunity to share that pride with all Canadians while helping our cultural industry to grow even more.”

A family-friendly celebratory launch will be held at the start of the Cultural Capital year, April 2012. The formal completion of the Cultural Capital celebration will be March 2013.

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