In recent years, Toronto’s dramatic, vertical growth has done more than reshape the skyline; it has skewed the market value assessment of properties in growing neighbourhoods. New condos and office space represent the “highest and best use” of land in desirable downtown neighbourhoods, and adjacent small independent businesses, non-profits office, and creative hubs are assessed accordingly. The result: small property owners are expected to pay property taxes in the same magnitude as their towering neighbours. Facing growing tax pressures completely out of line with their use and operations, many businesses are forced to close, hollowing out of culture, heritage, creativity, and small business in Toronto’s neighbourhoods.
“Taxed Out” will illustrate what perverse property tax policy looks like, on the ground. Through visual depictions of the policy issue – including street-level photos and archival images – the exhibit will highlight the small businesses, music venues, and cultural hubs that brought character and life to their neighbourhoods but have been – or are at risk of being – taxed out.
The exhibit will illustrate – through photographs, infographics, and text – the impacts of provincial and municipal tax policy on the vibrancy of Toronto’s neighbourhoods and the viability of its businesses. It will invite policy-makers, political leaders, and city builders to turn their attention to the serious impacts of perverse tax policy on Toronto’s vitality, and raise a call to action.
An opening panel discussion, hosted in conjunction with the launch of the exhibit (date TBD), will feature experts digging into to root of this issue, and exploring, through inspiring examples from abroad, solutions for Toronto.
The Ryerson City Building Institute (CBI) is a multidisciplinary centre focused on issues relevant to city regions nationally and globally. CBI brings together political leadership, policy ideas and people from diverse backgrounds to address critical urban challenges. CBI delivers its mandate by working with partners across faculties and outside the university to deliver high-quality teaching, research, and public engagement on urban issues. The Ryerson City Building Institute builds on Ryerson University’s demonstrated expertise in collaborative city building.
The end date of this exhibition is TBD.
Ryerson City Building Institute