Mar 06, 2017
By Jane Brown
Toronto city councillors are being urged to reject what city staff call an “unacceptable” proposal made by the University of Toronto’s Victoria College to only pay a fraction of the millions owed in property taxes.
Victoria College owns some of Toronto’s poshest commercial real estate on Bloor Street’s so called “mink mile” where tenants include ritzy retailers Cartier and Prada, and an upscale apartment tower being built nearby.
The city staff report has not been made public, but has been reviewed by the Toronto Star which is reporting on the developments.
Councillors on a city committee, who’ve read the report, recently recommended staff resume negotiations with the college. But if no deal is reached by September, they want the Ontario government to scrap the college’s unusual exemption from paying property taxes on its land holdings.
The report says the long standing arrangement has cost the city more than $20-million in lost taxes between 2013 and 2016 for three sites on Bloor West as well as one on St. Thomas Street and on Charles Street West.
The college is offering to pay $500,000 over five years, but city staff say it pales in comparison to the taxes the city would collect if Victoria college’s tax exemption was the same as other public education institutions in Toronto.