Toronto announces $1.7 million in property tax relief for live music venues impacted by COVID-19

Toronto Mayor John Tory announced on Thursday that 45 live music venues will receive a combined property tax relief to the tune of $1.7 million — $0.92 million for the municipal portion and $0.78 million for the education portion of their property taxes.

The money is meant to support the city’s live music industry in the face of ongoing pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will remain in place beyond this year.

“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,” Tory said in a statement. “The music sector in Toronto has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. By providing relief to music venue owners and operators we can ensure that they have a greater chance of surviving and staying open.”

 

 

Earlier this year, on May 28, city council expanded the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass to provide property tax relief for live music venues, meaning properties that meet specific criteria are eligible to receive property tax relief of up to 50 per cent for the qualifying areas of the building.

At the end of July, Toronto city council adopted a bylaw to add 45 eligible 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.

The tax reduction for these venues won’t impact residential property tax rates, as it will be absorbed within the city’s overall commercial property tax revenue stream.

Still, in July, The Orbit Room on College Street in Little Italy — one of the city’s smallest live music venues — announced via social media that it will not reopen following an extended closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The news came on the heels of the closure announcement for midtown’s Alleycatz as well as Queen West’s Rivoli being put up for sale.

 

 

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City staff seem hopeful about the new cost-saving measures for live music venues. They will analyse its impact and report to council in 2021.

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