Toronto is experiencing a once-in-a-century explosion of real estate development, with over 200 new towers planned for the next decade and beyond.
Toronto has undergone a massive cultural renaissance in the last decade that is showing no signs of slowing down. The city’s full-blown transformation is laying the groundwork for its future as a premiere international destination and market for art and culture.
Securing funding for the arts, however, is notoriously challenging. Our city could benefit from greater—and more strategic—investment in growing our creative and cultural capacities.
Toronto’s Section 37 and Percent for Public Art Program are two important mechanisms that ask big condominium developers to redirect a minimum of 1% of their gross construction costs into public realm improvements and public art. In recent years, these two programs have helped the City of Toronto allocate a portion of funds from big developers toward improving local infrastructure and the pedestrian experience in and around ultra-dense high-rise areas.
At present, the scope and impact of these public projects are not being maximized. There is no coordinated program that helps harness the enormous creative capital that these bylaws are intended to unleash and grow. We believe that there is a place for harmonized, bigger-vision initiatives that help deploy these funds more effectively and ambitiously in service of Toronto’s citizens and international reputation as a world-class purveyor of arts and culture.