Mayor John Tory and others on council said the museum deserves the same break given to other institutions including the AGO.
By David Rider City Hall Bureau Chief, Published on Tue Nov 03 2015
The Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre, an architectural marvel in suburban Don Mills, should be exempt from $331,700 in annual property taxes, city council has decided.
Council voted 34-1 on Tuesday to endorse the museum’s request that the province add it to a list of tax-exempt cultural institutions including the Royal Ontario Museum and Art Gallery of Ontario.
City staff recommended that council not approve the exemption. Chief financial officer Rob Rossini told council staff make that recommendation so as not to encourage other facilities to make similar requests
“This is fair, equitable, transparent, appropriate treatment for this facility,” Mayor John Tory told council.
He said the “magnificent” building near Eglinton Ave. E. and Don Mills Rd. is a valuable touristic and cultural asset to Toronto. The nearby community is encouraged to use the Aga Khan Park that opened this year, he added.
Other councillors echoed his admiration for the museum and its educational programming about the history and traditions of Islam and its Shia branch.
The lone opponent was Councillor John Campbell (Ward 4 Etobicoke Centre). He asked city staff about the money spent on the facility by the Aga Khan, an immensely wealthy spiritual leader and philanthropist.
City staff says taxes for the museum, which opened in September 2014 on the former Bata Shoe site, are based on a property value of $90.9 million but, as a place of worship, $43.1 million of that is already tax exempt.
* Toronto Star | News / City Hall | Toronto council wants tax break for Aga Khan museum
* InsideToronto.com: Toronto councillors support Aga Khan Museum and Imaili Cultural Centre not paying property taxes
City Council consideration on November 3, 2015
The Executive Committee recommends that:
- City Council confirm its support of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada in its efforts to obtain Provincial legislation that would enable Toronto City Council to exempt the Ismaili Centre Toronto, Aga Khan Museum and Aga Khan Park at 49 and 77 Wynford Drive from property taxes.