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TAXED OUT Panel explores solutions to Toronto’s rising space costs

Intense, rapid development in Toronto has led to massive hikes in commercial property values and taxes. Independent businesses are feeling the crunch. Many have closed, and more are threatened by rising space costs.  TAXED OUT is an exhibition presented by Ryerson University City Building Institute illustrating the impact of tax policy on our main streets.

At the TAXED OUT launch event on September 12, Artscape’s COO, LoriAnn Girvan participated in a panel discussion along with Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam; Mark Garner, Executive Director, Downtown Yonge BIA; tax policy expert Peter Tomlinson and Rob Sysak, Executive Director, West Queen West BIA.

The lively discussion explored how commercial property taxes are calculated and the challenges with highest and best use valuations; how Toronto’s main streets and neighbourhoods are changing as a result of commercial property tax policy, and the impact on arts and culture in the city. The panel debated rate-based solutions available at the city level, including the new “Co-location” tax class, tax capping, tax rebates and tax deferral, as well as initiatives that other cities are testing.

“Artscape is part of advocating for solutions for main streets that help arts and small business thrive.” — LoriAnn Girvan, COO Artscape

Listen to excerpts from the panel discussion on CBC Radio and read more about the city-wide impact on 

TAXED OUT: an exhibition of photographs illustrating the impact of tax policy on our main streets, presented by Ryerson University City Building Institute, runs to December 14 at Urbanspace Gallery (401 Richmond Street W).  Admission is free.


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