While municipal cultural services had been growing in profile since the early 1970’s, there was a broadened understanding of culture as a core service in municipalities at the turn of the century.
The Creative City Network of Canada was established to address the need to provide support for professionals in the field by tapping into the expertise of peer municipalities across the country. The network fostered a virtual and physical connection of individuals working in the field through what was then new technology (listserv, website, etc.), annual conferences, and the development of new and much needed research and toolkits. This could not have happened without the world of Burke Tayor and Nancy Duxbury (honorary members of the Network), support from municipalities across Canada, and the financial support from the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, Bronfman Foundation, and the Department of Canadian Heritage. Free office space was provided by the City of Vancouver in its early days.
CCNC established itself as a not-for-profit in 2002, hired its first staff that year and subsequently moved into its own office in downtown Vancouver. The organization continued to take on research projects, began charging municipal membership fees and started to receive annual project funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the BC Arts Council - crucial support for an organization that serves an entire country.
CCNC grew from a couple of strong, yet informal professional connections, to an established network, today, of over 110 members that directly serve approximately 16 million Canadians through the production of: 3 toolkits (Cultural Planning; Cultural Mapping; and Public Art); 13 conferences in cities across Canada (Vancouver, BC; St. John's NF; Regina, SK; Trois-Rivieres, QC; Toronto, ON; Edmonton, AB; Whitehorse, YT; Fredericton, NB; London, ON; Victoria, BC; Ottawa, ON; Hamilton, ON and Kelowna, BC); Special Edition Newsletters; the CCNC website hosts a resource section and members receive a monthly e-newsletter.
In 2014 CCNC extended membership to individuals and organizations involved in the growing field of local cultural development.