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. Presenting TAXED OUT, our first gallery exhibition, which through a curated collection of statistics, photography and other visuals illustrates the very real impact of tax policy on the main streets we love.
Experience the exhibition from September 10 to December 14, 2018
401 Richmond Street West
Monday through Saturday, 9 AM to 7 PM
For directions and gallery info, please visit the Urbanspace Gallery website.
About this issue
Toronto’s intensive growth has reshaped the skyline in recent years. It has also ushered in a new and perverse system of property tax assessment known as “highest and best use.”
What does this mean? The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) will assess a commercial property’s value according to what it could be, rather than what it is. As a result, property values have been skyrocketing in Toronto, and with them, commercial property tax bills.
This system has put enormous financial pressure on the diverse businesses and organizations responsible for paying these escalating bills, forcing cutbacks and sometimes, full closures.
If we don’t find solutions, the result may be the full-scale hollowing out of independent culture, heritage, local entrepreneurship and small business across the city.
TAXED OUT puts this policy issue on display, featuring facts and figures alongside street photography, to illustrate the vitality on our streets we’re at risk of losing, and have already lost, and raise a call to action.
Thank you to all involved
Photography by Vik Pahwa; exhibit design by Spacing. Special thanks to Urbanspace Property Group for supporting this project.
Thanks to our launch event panelists:
- Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto City Council Candidate)
- LoriAnn Girvan (Chief Operating Officer, Artscape)
- Mark Garner (Executive Director, Downtown Yonge BIA)
- Peter Tomlinson (sessional lecturer, University of Toronto)
- Rob Sysak (Executive Director, West Queen West BIA)
Moderator: Cherise Burda
Coverage of this critical issue
Small businesses ‘taxed out’ across Toronto hoping for long-term solution
by Lauren Pelley
Solutions Pending by Rob Jowett, NRU Publishing Inc. (with permission; see credit)