The Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf is a registered non-profit charitable organization, the CCSD incorporated in 1973, preserves, encourages and advances the arts and culture of Canada’s Deaf population by featuring performing and visual arts, media arts and literature reflecting Deaf heritage.  CCSD also promotes new forms of creativity and better understanding between Deaf and hearing adults, youth and children through the arts.


Mission Statement
The DEAF CULTURE CENTRE is a project of CCSD,
a physical space celebrating Deaf life through the Arts.

The DEAF CULTURE CENTRE opened in the Distillery District in Toronto in 2006, featuring a museum, art gallery and giftshop.   Open to the public and rooted in the Deaf community, it provides education, culture, visual and performing arts.  The Centre hosts over 10,000 visitors and mentors over 90 students and interns annually, provides school tours and promotes Deaf artists of all ages through annual art exhibits, award winning multimedia, DVDs, website productions and book publications.

This is the only CENTRE of its kind.  People from all over the world come to see it.  Visitors learn about Deaf leaders and Deaf contributions to society through history, Deaf cultural values including the importance of signed languages, culturally appropriate behaviours in the community, the value of the collective and Deaf arts known as Deaf View Image Art(De’VIA).

The Centre promotes youth connectivity and development by promoting Youth professional development practice and conducting school tours for youth across the country to educate children about the history, experience, language and arts of Deaf people through encounters with Deaf visual artists and storytellers, with multimedia specialists who develop Canadian ASL literature, and with authors of Deaf literature.

The DEAF CULTURE CENTRE pushes Deaf culture forward into the world in a new way where old assumptions are challenged. The CENTRE is receptive and open to all cultures, but its primary function is to enrich and elevate the achievements of the Deaf community for everyone to understand and appreciate.

DEAF comes first because it is our identity. We say “CULTURE" rather than “CULTURAL" because the latter is an adjective, whereas CULTURE represents an active agent at the core of our mission and coupled with our sign language. CENTRE is what we are - a lighthouse that projects DEAF CULTURE.

We are an active agent and symbol of the Deaf community, a public forum that celebrates our culture, sign language, and the visual and performing arts.  DEAF CULTURE CENTRE is capitalized so it reads and flows as one. The DEAF CULTURE CENTRE is a significant place where ideas begin, where things happen.  It is welcoming and unique, from and for the Deaf community and all people."
Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf


In 1970 Forrest C. Nickerson, a Deaf person, recognized the need to create a Deaf cultural organization dedicated to enhancing the cultural lives of Deaf people across the country. Because of his vision, and with the support of people across Canada, the DEAF CULTURE CENTRE was established.   Today the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf (CCSD) represents over 450,000 Canadians and serves many more with its programs, cultural activities and Deaf heritage resources.


Incorporated in 1973 as a non-profit charitable organization funded through private donations, the CCSD preserves, encourages and advances the cultural interests of Canada's Deaf population. Key areas of concentration are performing arts, language, literature, history, visual arts and heritage resources. CCSD encourages new and developing forms of creativity, research, participation and interests in all areas. It also promotes better understanding between Deaf and hearing adults and children as well as promoting literacy for Deaf children.

CCSD is the parent organization of the DEAF CULTURE CENTRE featuring a museum, art gallery, gift shop, research and archives, state-of-the art virtually rich technology highlighting Deaf historical artifacts, Sign Language literature and multimedia production studio. Open to the public and rooted in the Deaf community; it is a celebration of Deaf life for all to enjoy. Set in the culture, arts and entertainment Distillery Historic District in the heart of Old Town Toronto, the centre provides programs on culture, history, visual and performing arts with ongoing workshops, permanent and traveling exhibits, school tours and virtual displays.

OTHER PROJECTS of the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf

CCSD supports Deaf children and youth at summer camps by providing positive Deaf role models and awards, grants to promote youth exchange programs, special projects, Deaf Children's festivals, Youth Canada tournaments, literature and arts production for children, youth and adults. CCSD participates in and promotes the Deaf Canada Conference, held every two years, providing opportunities to meet and participate in educational, cultural and recreational activities - hosted through a provincial bidding process.

CCSD manages DEAF CULTURE CENTRE and SLIC(Sign Language Instructors of Canada).CCSD has developed a standardized tool known as ASLICE (American Sign Language Instructors of Canada Evaluation) to assess ASL and LSQ skills for instructors of sign language. We have a list of American Sign Language Proficiency Interviewers and Raters (ASLPI) certified by York University in collaboration with CCSD. Preliminary plans are in the works to design an ASL/English dictionary for children accessible via ASL and to design a much needed LSQ dictionary for adults and youth alike.

CCSD has produced in collaboration with marblemedia, Inc. featured on TVO with accompanying website in ASL/LSQ, English and French that provides positive Deaf role models, interactions among Deaf and hearing youth and Deaf heritage information. CCSD also supports DeafTV, the first Canadian broadcast TV program dedicated to the life of Deaf Canadians.

The DEAF CULTURE CENTRE, a project of CCSD, has developed a virtual museum website This state-of- the-art multilingual site offers content in ASL, LSQ, English and French, providing visitors from around the world a virtual view into the Centre's award-winning Deaf heritage exhibits, archives and multi-media capabilities.

Canadian Charitable Registration Number: 11883 0702 RR 0001