For years various Toronto City Councils have periodically affirmed and re-affirmed our commitment to increase the per capita arts and culture funding to $25, with unfortunately little action to date. As a result, the City of Toronto has now fallen drastically behind other major North American cities in its funding for the arts, with an investment of only $18 per resident. Our major and direct competitors, including Chicago ($26), Montreal ($32), New York ($74) and San Francisco ($87) all invest significantly more in their cultural activities.
That’s why Councillor Wong-Tam and I moved a motion to increase funding to the arts with new revenue from a fee on commercial billboards. I am very pleased that the increased funding proposed in that motion was approved at City Council in March, 2013. I am excited to see the positive effects this support will have on our arts & culture communities.