TORONTO ARTS COUNCIL | NEWS | BEAUTIFULCITY RELEASE

Toronto City Council Directs $22.5 Million from Billboard Tax to Arts & Culture

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January 11, 2013

Toronto ON - After 12 years in the making, Toronto City Council has directed the billboard tax to arts and culture. Starting with an investment of $6 million in 2013, City Council has committed to a 4 year plan to increase Toronto's yearly arts investment by $17.5 million and meet the long sought $25 per-capita commitment. This will be accomplished by utilizing a $22.5 million arts and culture reserve created from billboard tax revenue

Council voted to meet the benchmark of $25 per-capita in 2003 under Lastman, in 2010 under Miller and in 2011 under Mayor Ford. Despite this, Toronto is (currently) last among comparable Canadian cities in per-capita arts investment. The billboard tax has enabled the city to finally act in a sustainable way to bring arts funding up to competitive levels.

"I would like to thank my colleagues in Council who made this innovative solution possible with zero negative effect on the taxpayer. Thank you to Councillor Thompson, Councillor Carroll, Councillor Colle and Councillor Wong-Tam to name a few... I would also like to thank the Mayor and his staff for their commitment to the arts and young people across the city."

~ Councillor Gary Crawford

"The approved increase in arts funding will have a big impact -- now and into the future. It will make a difference to the sustainability of many arts organizations, while creating exciting opportunities for Torontonians, of all ages, all over the City to participate in the arts. It will provide emerging artists with the chance to shine and, through greatly increased arts activity, to enhance Toronto's role on the world stage."

~ Claire Hopkinson, Executive Director Toronto Arts Council

"We are witness to a monumental moment in Toronto's history that will create positive ripples for generations to come. The united voice of a diverse ecosystem of arts communities in Toronto has again prevailed. The potential positive outcomes for Toronto from this of increase to arts investment will prove of immeasurable value as it will ensure that more people will have access to both creating and participating in the arts. In my work with the city over the next few months, I will aim to create a unified push to use this money to bring back the methodologies born in the revolutionary youth arts program Fresh Arts and ensure that ArtReach Toronto is made sustainable and fully supported. I hope you will join me in these efforts. Toronto is already becoming a cultural capitol of North America and now it will become renowned for its cultural policy and in responsiveness to the needs of young people. I am really looking forward to really seeing Toronto shine."

~ Che Kothari, Lead of Mobilization, BeautifulCity.ca

"It is a fantastic day for the arts in Toronto. There is going to be increased support for young people across the city, our public spaces will be rejuvenated and our economic vitality as a city will be strengthened. I would like to thank all the supporters who called and sent letters to their Councillors, who created flyers, photos and videos and those that forwarded them on -- and those who signed the petition. Many thanks to the countless volunteers who did thankless tasks and to Councillors who voted in favour in Committee and Council --- so many times -- and to all City Staff that helped Councillors make the right decisions, helped us navigate City Hall and worked on the Culture Plan. A huge thank you to all that came to the three town halls, who contributed their voice and talent and made the art that keep us inspired and sustains our passion. Thank you to those wrote pieces in the press and to the Art is Power crew. And a big-big thank you to the organizations of all kinds from across Toronto, that multiplied our efforts and made the BeautifulCity.ca Alliance an unstoppable, ridiculously persistent force for making Toronto a better place. Thank you."

~ Devon Ostrom, Co-founder of BeautifulCity.ca

Contact:BeautifulCity.ca, Devon Ostrom devon@beautifulcity.ca 416 528 5747



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