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Toronto's arts and culture scene to get $6 million boost

By Jacqueline Hansen

Toronto’s City Council has voted unanimously in favour of increasing funding for the arts by $6 million. The money comes from a billboard tax, unique to Toronto, that the city approved in 2009; however, outdoor advertisers launched a legal challenge to protest paying it, which delayed its implementation until the city won an appeal in the case. City Council had previously discussed directing proceeds of the billboard tax to arts initiatives, but hadn’t made the decision final until now. Four million dollars of the new funding will go to the Toronto Arts Council’s (TAC) grants program, which will reach $14.3 million in 2013. A TAC-issued press release states that the increase will allow the funder to begin to address funding inequities amongst currently funded organizations while also providing new support for culturally diverse arts organizations, youth, artists working in the inner suburbs and community engaged arts projects. The remaining $2 million will go toward other cultural programs. The municipal financial target for arts support is $25 per capita by 2016. Mayor Rob Ford has referred to the arts funding in the city’s latest budget as a tool “to make Toronto an even more attractive place to live and to invest and create jobs.” 

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