Toronto mayor commits to venue protection
Following a string of recent closures, the mayor of Toronto, John Tory, has said the city “remains committed to supporting live music venues”.
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, Tory said his council is “very aware” of the recent closures – all in the past month – of venues including Hugh’s Room, Soybomb and The Hoxton and “share[s] the disappointment of musicians, music fans and the music community at these recent announcements. Most of all, we would like the music community to know that we take the matter extremely seriously and are actively taking steps to present it.”
The statement is co-signed by councillors Joe Cressy and Josh Colle, the latter also chairman of the Toronto Music Advisory Council. Colle last month introduced a motion to Toronto City Council – since passed – calling for a comprehensive strategy for venue protection, taking inspiration from cities such as London, Melbourne and Austin, Texas.
“We understand that is has become more difficult for music venues to find and hold onto affordable, accessible spaces, especially in Toronto’s downtown neighbourhoods,” continued Tory. “Together with TMAC [the Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council] and other partners, the city is already considering a number of recommendations addressing music venue protection, pop-up venues and the overall health of the night-time economy.
“We would like the music community to know that we take the matter extremely seriously and are actively taking steps to present it”
“In doing so, we are continually studying how any success stories from other cities might work in Toronto – because the same difficulties our music sector is experiencing here are also being seen across the world in many other cities, including the music alliance partner city of Austin, Texas.”
Colle adds he’s “pleased that the city and industry and working together to protect venues”.
The next TMAC meeting is on 13 February. Members will provide suggestions to the council about further steps the city can take protect its venues.
In addition to the passing of Colle’s motion, measures already taken by Toronto include the protection of the historic Silver Dollar Room (250-cap.) – also recently threatened with closure – and asking city staff to focus on helping the night-time economy.
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