“When is change worth being concerned about and when is change just change?”
Since January of this year, more than eight of Toronto’s live music venues have shut their doors. The majority of these closures are due to rising rents and the rapid redevelopment of Toronto’s central districts. Senior Planner Anthony Greenberg recently sat down with Monocle Magazine’s Toronto Bureau Chief, Tomos Lewis, to discuss the topic, elaborating on the role these sorts of establishments provide not only for local artists and music lovers but also the importance of maintaining a “fun city” in today’s economy where cities are competing to retain talent.
Mayor Tory released a statement earlier this year declaring his solidarity with Toronto’s music community in addressing this crisis, while the Toronto Music Advisory Council recently adopted a number of measures towards safeguarding remaining venues from a similar fate. The Music Advisory Council was established by Toronto’s City Council to provide recommendations for enhancing the attractiveness and growth of Toronto’s music industry and to be a forum for the music industry. A number of motions put forward by the Music Advisory Council have taken a multi-pronged approach, including the creation of an inventory of live music venues; offering incentives such as tax breaks and different licensing rules for live music venues; and seeking heritage designations for venues such as the Silver Dollar, which hold cultural significance.
Anthony says, “When it comes to this music venue crisis, what’s different about this time in Toronto is the rapid change. There was a point of redevelopment in Toronto when it was affecting empty spaces. The parking lots and the dilapidated buildings have been redeveloped and they’ve turned into the existing, thriving veins of the city. I think that when change starts to threaten elements of the city that makes them great, it is a crisis. Where the economy is going with creative industries, the talent wants to live in great, fun cities, and it’s worth fighting for.”
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