Toronto music venues to get permanent tax relief as music scene picks up, city says

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At a time when live music is making a comeback to the city after two years of COVID-19 restrictions, Toronto will permanently reduce property taxes for eligible music venues, Mayor John Tory said Monday.

Tory said the city council cut property taxes for music venues in 2020 in the first year of the pandemic to show support for the local music industry. The city said 48 sites in 2020 and 58 sites in 2021 received the benefit, with an average savings of $18,995.

The city has decided to make the tax relief program permanent, Tory said.

The mayor, speaking at a press conference at the Baby G, a music venue and bar in the West End, encouraged residents to show their support by attending performances in Toronto. Tory said venues across the city have opened or reopened, including well-known music venues and clubs such as Massey Hall and El Mocambo and new large spaces such as History and new small spaces such as Café Pamenar .

“We need people to come out and do it right now,” Tory said.

“These places are open now. They have expenses now, they always have. And they have concerts right now. And they need people to buy the tickets, buy the drinks and support them.”

A sign outside a well-known concert hall in Toronto is shown here. (Radio Canada)

Tory said the city made a decision to keep concert halls from going bankrupt.

“The valuation of some of these buildings was going up because it was assumed they would all be turned into condos, which we don’t want, but that drove up the taxes and that made it nearly impossible for a music venue to exist,” he said.

According to the city, eligible concert venues in Toronto collectively saved $1.7 million a year from the tax relief.

Jeff Cohen, president and CEO of Lee’s Palace and the Horseshoe Tavern, said he saved $110,000 in property taxes a year thanks to the city’s tax break.

“It’s amazing. It’s the greatest thing the City of Toronto has ever done for live music operators,” Cohen said. “It probably kept us alive.”

Jeff Cohen, President and CEO of Lee’s Palace and Horseshoe Tavern, said of the property tax reduction, “This is the greatest thing the City of Toronto has ever done for property operators. city ​​live music. It probably kept us alive. (Radio Canada)

Cohen said both sites are now open six days a week. Its two sites have created 60 jobs.

Toronto’s music venues generate an economic impact of $850 million a year, while providing the equivalent of 10,500 full-time jobs, the city said in a news release Monday.

Additionally, the statement said:

  • The City Music Office’s City Hall Live series will return this summer with City Hall Live After Dark. This year, the focus will be on live music events taking place outside the city center to reflect the city’s diverse social culture at night.
  • YYZ Live, the city’s music office program with Toronto Pearson Airport that features live music, is back this year. Performances began on March 14 and will continue until Thursday, March 31.

The JUNOs return to Toronto

On May 15, Toronto will host the 2022 JUNO Awards, with JUNO Week events taking place May 9-15.

Allan Reid, president of the JUNO Awards, said this will be the first time in their history that they will be broadcast from an outdoor location – the Budweiser Stage. Performers include the Arkells, Avril Lavigne and Arcade Fire.

“It’s actually been 11 years since the JUNOs officially returned to Toronto,” Reid said.

The show airs nationally on Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBC Music, CBC-TV, CBC Gem and CBC Radio One, and globally on CBCMusic.ca/junos.

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