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Tag archive: Economic Development (2)


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.


Music Canada’s Graham Henderson: Junos show culture is a smart investment for Hamilton

Music Canada President & CEO Graham Henderson has an op-ed in the Hamilton Spectator today, congratulating Hamilton on hosting a very successful JUNO Awards earlier this month. In ‘Junos show culture is a smart investment for Hamilton,’ Henderson notes the multi-million dollar economic impact the four-day event had in Hamilton, as well as the added benefits that a strong cultural scene brings, like improving residents’ quality of life and attracting creative and innovative workers.

“From the dozens of downtown streets and stores that featured free performances, to the 15 venues that took part in JunoFest, to the spectacular closing show at FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton delivered on all counts,” wrote Henderson. “More than 3,000 musicians and industry personnel attended Juno Week, and Hamilton’s tourism sector welcomed them with open arms and exhibited terrific hospitality. Hotels were at full capacity, bars and restaurants were bustling, and taxis were kept busy shuttling attendees around town. Tim Potocic, chair of the Junos host committee, has estimated the economic impact of the four-day event to be between $11 million and $12 million in Hamilton.”

The op-ed comes as Hamilton City Council is scheduled to continue the city’s 2015 budget deliberations, which include a proposed $500,000 added investment in the arts, which would represent the first major arts funding boost in Hamilton in 15 years.

Yesterday, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s Keanin Loomis issued a strong statement on the economic value of music & cultural events to a city in an op-ed in the Hamilton Spectator. In ‘Arts and culture now drive Hamilton,’ Loomis notes that a city’s quality of life is among its strongest tools for economic development.

“It is indisputable that the arts activity that’s been buoying Hamilton’s cultural renaissance over the last decade led directly to the economic boost we got from hosting last week’s Junos,” wrote Loomis. “Considering the type of returns we are receiving from the limited investments we are making to enhance this city’s quality of life, more investment in the arts is an economic imperative.”

Hamilton City Council will deliberate the arts investment motion today in Council Chambers. Members of Hamilton’s arts community are attending in the gallery as a show of support for the motion. The final budget vote is scheduled for April 8th.


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