Toronto Looks to Save Live Music Venues

Toronto News

TORONTO – Mayor John Tory and the Canadian Live Music Association, in partnership with Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area and Ontario Creates, released the results of a long-awaited Toronto venues study, Re:Venues: A Case and Path Forward for Toronto’s Live Music Industry. Among other findings, the study confirms that the total economic impact of Toronto live music venues is $850 million annually, providing the equivalent of 10,500 full-time jobs.

Mayor Tory was joined for this online announcement by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development and Culture Committee, Night Economy Ambassador and member of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Ward 9 Davenport), member of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, and industry partners Erin Benjamin, President & CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association, Jesse Kumagai, Board Chair of the Canadian Live Music Association, Mark Garner, Chief Operating Officer & Executive Director of the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, and Kristian Roberts, Partner at Nordicity.
Conducted by Nordicity, the two-year study measured the economic and cultural impacts of Toronto’s live music venues, underscoring their importance to Toronto’s economy and highlighting the key role these establishments play in a thriving music ecosystem. The study also provides recommendations for supporting and protecting this vital sector and suggests actions for prioritizing live music as Toronto rebuilds from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Findings from the study include:
• Live music venues in Toronto generate a total economic impact of $850 million annually, while providing the equivalent of 10,500 full-time jobs.
• Labour income generated by the operations and tourism impacts of Toronto’s live music venues totals $514 million each year.
• Although the largest concentration of music venues is in the downtown core, live music is found across the city. On average, venues feature live music an average of four days per week, providing an essential career stepping stone for emerging local artists while also entertaining audiences with a variety of touring acts. Approximately two-thirds of the acts featured at these venues perform original music.
• Even before COVID-19, Toronto saw an alarming number of venues close their doors, often due to rising rent and redevelopment.
• Now more than ever, live music venues need support.
The Re:Venues: A Case and Path Forward for Toronto’s Live Music Industry study is available at
In recognition of the ongoing financial challenges facing live music venues, the City created a tax relief program to support this essential part of Toronto’s music scene. Forty-eight establishments will receive a combined $1.7 million in property tax relief this year as a result of the City’s expansion of the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass to support live music venues.
Since March, the City has introduced new programs to help businesses and cultural organizations mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available at
As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community, all people in Toronto should adopt steps for self-protection. Individuals should only consider leaving their homes for essential activities such as work, education and fitness. As much as possible, residents are asked to limit contact with people not in the same household, keep at least six feet apart from people not in the same household and wear a mask when outside of their homes, especially in indoor settings and when physical distancing is difficult. Residents should wash hands frequently and remain at home when ill. Toronto Public Health also encourages residents to download the COVID Alert app, which can help to notify individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 in the community.
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