Tory announces $1.7M in property tax relief for dozens of music venues

Aug 20 2020, 11:50 am

Mayor John Tory announced that $1.7 million in property tax relief will be provided to 45 live music venues in Toronto.

On Thursday, Tory spoke outside The Cameron House, one of the venues that will receive this targeted relief program.

The mayor was joined by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), chair of the Economic Development and Culture Committee, night economy ambassador, and member of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee as well as Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York), chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee.

“The expansion of this program to include live music venues is one way in which we can further protect the cultural vibrancy of our city. The music sector in Toronto has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tory said.

“By providing relief to music venue owners and operators we can ensure that they have a greater chance of surviving and staying open.”

In July, city council adopted a bylaw to add 45 live music venues to the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax subclass, including Burdock, The Cameron House, The Garrison, Horseshoe Tavern, Lula Lounge, The Painted Lady, The Phoenix Concert Theatre, and Relish Bar & Grill.

According to the city, the 45 live music venues will realize an estimated $1.7 million in combined tax relief – $0.92 million for the municipal portion and $0.78 million for the education portion of their combined property taxes.

It’s important to note that the tax reduction will be absorbed within the city’s overall commercial property tax revenue stream and will not impact residential property tax rates.

“On May 28, city council expanded the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass to provide property tax relief for live music venues. As a result of this decision, properties that meet specific criteria are eligible to receive property tax relief of up to 50% for the qualifying areas of the building,” the release said.

Following this expansion in May, the city began accepting applications from live music venue operators, the deadline to apply was June 19.

This relief measure will be implemented through the final supplementary property tax notices that will be issued in the fall.

The city added that staff will analyze the impact of this cost-saving measure for live music venues and report to council in 2021.

“This measure is intended to remain in place beyond this year to support the long-term viability of Toronto’s live music sector,” the release notes.

More information about the inclusion of live music venues, including eligibility criteria, is available on the City of Toronto website.

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