Statement - Provincial Announcement on Arts and Cultural Hubs

Cities are more than bricks and mortar and places where people live. Great cities are vibrant and dynamic. And, great cities contribute to this by investing in arts and culture, not because they are a 'nice to have' but because they make our cities liveable.

Today's announcement that the Province will work with the City to develop a new property tax sub class for arts and cultural hubs like 401 Richmond is a welcome and critical step in our work to build a vibrant 21st Century city.  I would like to thank the Province of Ontario, the Minister of Finance, and the Premier's Office for their hard work on this file.

I would also like to recognize and thank Margie Zeidler and the urbanspace team and the many tenants of 401 Richmond for all their work and advocacy. Today's news would not have been possible without their tireless commitment.

After more than a year of work on 401 Richmond, we know that the issues faced by this critical hub in our city are not unique. Arts and cultural organizations across Toronto are dealing with skyrocketing property assessments based on the flawed 'highest and best use' assessment model that make continuing to operate in our communities less and less viable. Today's news will change that.

In the coming weeks I will be bringing forward a motion to Toronto City Council to formally begin the process of establishing Toronto's new Culture and Creative property tax sub-class. The details of this class are already under discussion. Now, the work begins to put them in place.

Investing in arts and culture builds a stronger economy and more liveable city. Today 174,000 Torontonians work in the culture sector, including nearly 25,000 working artists who call Toronto home. These artists build skills for the new economy, support local businesses, and add dynamism to our City. With today's announcement, their work will continue.