Toronto Diary
1 min

Theatre Thursday: Sorry, a bit more about the billboard tax

In December, most theatres are starting to wrap up their shows for the Christmas holidays, so there aren’t many openings to talk about this week. Instead, I’m going to use today’s space to talk a bit more about the proposed billboad tax, which the city will continue to debate about tomorrow. As I mentioned before, part of the money raised from the tax would go toward city beautification and arts and cultural festivals and programs. This, no doubt, includes the performing arts. Revenue from the tax could support free public concerts, dance and circus acts, and yes, even public theatre. Many of these events could be right in our community, and could include things like the Writing Outside the Margins queer literary festival, which was cancelled this year due to lack of funding.

It comes at no cost to the taxpayer and is shouldered by an industry that has routinely flouted our by-laws and defaced our neighbourhoods. It’s an overall big win.

A good run-down on the history of the debate, and the billboard industry’s shady tactics, can be found over at’s Toronto blog.

Friends over at, which has been spearheading the billboard tax proposal have informed me that our own local councillor, Kyle Rae, opposes the tax. If you think the fee for the support of beautifying the city and promoting the arts is a good idea, let him know that we need him to vote in favour of it. Please send him an e-mail or call his office (416-392-7903) to speak your mind.

Meanwhile in theatre, Buddies in Bad Times opened Salon Automaton this week. I have no idea what it’s about other than that it involves actual robots on stage. That’s enough to get me excited. Planning to catch it this weekend. It’s another short-run show, so if the idea of robots thrills you — and it should — make plans to see it soon.

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