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Tag archive: City of Toronto (5)

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City of Toronto’s recently released Economic Development and Culture Divisional Strategy provides framework for arts, culture, and business to thrive

The City of Toronto has released its new Economic Development and Culture Divisional Strategy. The report establishes the Division’s priorities over the next five years (2018-2022), and provides the framework that will be used to guide the development of the Divisional programs and services.

The development of the Strategy included robust consultation with over 400 city residents and industry partners, a process that Music Canada was an active participant in. The feedback received provided insight into the importance of supporting the culture sector, and its key role in supporting the growth of a vibrant economy and business community.

Some of the key objectives the strategy aims to accomplish was to “encourage Toronto’s cultural vibrancy through more and enhanced cultural experiences,” as well as to further “engage partners in the planning and development of the City’s economic and cultural resources.”

The Economic Development and Culture (EDC) Divisional Strategy includes several strategic goals and actions, with a focus on improving four key areas:

  1. Equity and Inclusion
  2. Talent and Innovation
  3. Space and Access
  4. Operational Excellence

Some of the strategy’s areas of interest are highlighted below:

Improving affordability and access to arts and culture spaces

One of the key goals that is outlined in the strategy is working to “improve access and affordability of space for business and culture.” Some of the proposed actions to address this include: leveraging incentives and grants to support access to these spaces, advocating for the establishment of affordable, sustainable spaces for business and culture, and working to support opportunities for multi-tenant, shared spaces and hubs.

As was highlighted in our Mastering of a Music City report, access to affordable arts and culture facilities (spaces and places) is vital to the health of vibrant Music Cities. Rapidly rising rents and property taxes has significantly impacted the ability of live venues, rehearsal spaces, and arts hubs to continue operating, threatening the livelihoods of the artists who require access to them. The City has taken steps to help protect and support cultural facilities, with the most recent action being the creation of a new tax subclass to support arts/culture hubs and properties.

Another positive step to note was the recent decision of the Economic Development Committee to pass a number of Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC) recommendations aimed at providing better support for live music in the city. Of particular interest is the recommendation to create tax benefits for local live music venues, a policy action that would help achieve the key priority of venue sustainability.

Enhancing opportunities for artists and creators to access public spaces

Another key goal included in the EDC Strategy was increasing access to City-owned space, through: improving opportunities for community use of EDC-managed facilities, and working with City divisions to explore the feasibility of making other City-owned spaces available for use. Providing opportunities for local musicians to perform in public spaces within their own city is one of the ways a municipality can help to grow and support its vibrant music ecosystem.

Outstanding examples of these types and events and programming include City Hall Live and the YYZ Live performance series, a musical celebration that featured 150 performances from 75 local artists at Pearson International Airport.

 

The EDC Division’s previous two strategies – released in 2011 and 2013 – helped contribute the development of a Toronto Music Strategy, as well as the establishment of Music and Film Sector Development Teams.

It is encouraging to note that the new strategy further solidifies the City’s commitment to supporting the culture sector, recognizing the tremendous cultural and economic impact of the arts.

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Toronto Live Music Industry Forum to focus on venue sustainability

On Monday, November 13, Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC) chairs Jeff Cohen (Collective Concerts) and Jesse Kumagai (Live Nation) will moderate an open discussion about the most pressing issues facing live music venues in Toronto, focusing on ongoing venue sustainability and potential revenue growth.

This panel will explore traditional spaces and business models, while a later session will focus on the challenges facing DIY spaces.

In 2016, Toronto City Council unanimously approved TMAC’s Toronto Music Strategy, which aims to guide the short and long-term growth of Toronto’s music sector. Following a public consultation, the music strategy identified six major strategic areas for TMAC and the City of Toronto to focus on for supporting and growing Toronto’s music sector, with many of the key principles from the report expected to be discussed at the November 13 event.

The live music industry forum will run from 4-6pm at Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas St. W), and is open to all live music industry professionals, venue owners and operators, musicians, agents, touring professionals, city councillors and officials. If you are interested in attending the discussion, you can RSVP through the Facebook event or by e-mailing info@lula.ca.

 

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City of Toronto seeking public input for new culture strategy

Photo credit: City of Toronto

The City of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture Division (EDC) is developing a new Divisional Strategy to establish priorities over the next five years (2018-2022). In order to develop a comprehensive strategy, the EDC is seeking the input of the public on emerging opportunities, challenges, and areas of focus as they relate to Toronto’s economic development and culture.

As a starting point, they have created a Conversation Guide that highlights key emerging economic and cultural trends and challenges facing Toronto and are asking our stakeholders for their input via an online survey or written submission.

“There is an opportunity to clearly define the public benefit to artistic and cultural events,” the EDC states in the Conversation Guide. “This lens will help evaluate how artists and cultural leaders can leverage technology to support growth and new firm formation within strategic sectors of the local economy. A focus on creativity can involve the Division thinking through the City’s role in funding and/or helping to develop creativity.”

The City’s previous strategies – 2011’s Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan For Toronto and 2013’s Collaborating for Competitiveness: A Strategic Plan to Accelerate Economic Growth and Job Creation in Toronto – helped lead to the establishment of Music and Film Sector Development Teams, and the Toronto Music Strategy.

With the threat of venue closures still looming large over Toronto’s music scene, the EDC’s call for input for their new strategy is a welcomed opportunity for musicians, venue owners, and label owners to express their concerns to City staff.

In addition to the survey and written submissions, a series of public Town Hall consultations have also been scheduled for September. Written submissions will be accepted until October 2, 2017, and it is encouraged to register for the Town Hall meetings listed below:

Thursday September 14 (Register online)
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Assembly Hall, Performance Hall
1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive

Tuesday September 19 (Register online)
9:00 am – 11:00 am
North York Civic Centre, Burgundy Room
5100 Yonge Street

Saturday September 23 (Register online)
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Scarborough Civic Centre, Rotunda
150 Borough Drive

Wednesday September 27 (Register online)
9:00 – 11:00 am
Toronto Reference Library, Bram & Bluma Appel Salon
789 Yonge Street

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Universal Music Canada to open new office, recording studio, and live music venue in Downtown Toronto

It’s official; Universal Music Canada will move to downtown Toronto in 2018.

In an announcement Tuesday outside their future location at 80 Atlantic Ave., Universal Music Canada President and CEO Jeffrey Remedios revealed the company’s plans to move the from their North York office to the Toronto tech hub located in the city’s west end.

“80 Atlantic will be the next phase of the growth and evolution of our city’s music community as we build greater resources and support for artists, enabling them to fully refine their craft at home,” said Remedios outside the new location across from Lamport Stadium.

The new facility will be “so much more than a record label’s office,” as Remedios revealed plans for recording, live performance, content creation, and fan-focused spaces, which will be open to independent artists.

Toronto Mayor John Tory was also on hand for the announcement, praising Universal’s move, Remedios’ initiative, and the impact this will have on Toronto’s music scene.

“Universal is on the edge of innovation and digitization that continues to transform music and every aspect of our lives,” said Tory. “This is the kind of creativity and innovation that I want to see in every corner of Toronto.”

“Musicians attract other musicians,” Tory added, “and that is good for the soul of the city.”

The afternoon announcement featured a performance by Universal recording artists The Beaches, named after their east-end Toronto neighbourhood. The full announcement was live-streamed by Universal Music Canada, and is available to watch below.

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City of Toronto Addresses Postering Issue

We are pleased to hear that Toronto’s live music venues will no longer be receiving fines for postering around the city.

On June 8, 2015, a memo from Tracey Cook, Executive Director of the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division and Mike Tanner, Music Sector Development Officer, informed the Toronto Music Advisory Council of the recent decision. This is considered just one step in the City of Toronto’s efforts to support and address the concerns of Toronto’s growing music community.

The poster ordinance prohibited postering on all city property except for designated kiosks and allowed for fines to be issued to anyone who benefited from the poster in question. Because of this, many of Toronto’s music venue owners found themselves being charged with fines of $300 to $500 for posters that they did not put up. In most cases, the fines against these venues did not hold up when challenged in court, but they continued to be issued anyways. This created an unnecessary and costly expense for live music venues operating in Toronto.

Music Canada called attention to the postering issue in March 2012 with the release of its report, Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth—Leveraging Best Practices from Austin Texas. The Austin-Toronto report led to communications with affected stakeholders in the music community, as well as with city councillors and officials to bring the postering issue to their attention and help find possible solutions.

The Toronto Music Advisory Council worked collaboratively with Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Division, as well as the City’s Film and Entertainment Industries unit to secure this critical policy change. The City has committed to continued collaboration with the Toronto Music Advisory Council to build and support the music community in Toronto.

This is a policy change that we have looked forward to, and one which demonstrates the City and Mayor John Tory’s commitment to making Toronto one of the greatest Music Cities in the world. Music friendly policies like this are essential for the growth and continued health of Toronto’s live music scene.

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