The commission's work was pursued against the backdrop of a major transition in Canadian cultural affairs. Although the country's prewar cultural life was primarily focused on amateur, community-oriented, voluntary activities, the commission foresaw that these activities were giving way to a more urban, impersonal and national orientation; the overall character of the final report is a strange mixture of mourning for an age that was rapidly passing and of excitement at the new era of professional "mass culture" that lay ahead. It is generally believed that the commission's most important accomplishments were the ultimate establishment of arms-length federal support for the arts through the CANADA COUNCIL and the creation of the NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CANADA. It may be, however, that its most enduring legacies are the very high standards of analysis and writing that it set, standards that have not been surpassed by any of its successors.
Author RICHARD STURSBERG
Links to Other Sites
Index to Federal Royal Commissions
A bibliographic index of federal Royal Commission documents. From Library and Archives Canada.
Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences
The full text of a report from the 1949–51 "Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences." From Library and Archives Canada.