[URBAN NOTE] “Victoria College pays no property taxes on pricey Bloor land”
David Rider writes at the Toronto Star about how Victoria University, a component of the University of Toronto, owns a Bloor Street West address but pays no property tax owing to mid-20th century legislation. This is news to a lot of people.
The owner of top-dollar land under a swanky Yorkville mall pays zero property taxes to the city — a multimillion-dollar anomaly that infuriated councillors fighting over “scraps” to fund vital services.
Victoria University, a federated college of the University of Toronto, owns 131 Bloor St. W. in the heart of the posh “Mink Mile” shopping strip. Revenue Properties leases the land and owns The Colonnade — 71,156 square feet of apartments plus luxury shops, including Cartier, Chanel and Escada — atop it.
The 1951 Victoria University Act exempts all the college’s land but not commercial buildings. The U of T enjoys the same exemption but voluntarily pays the city about $240,000 a year in lieu of taxes for a few small commercial properties.
City staff estimate the Victoria exemption cost taxpayers $12.2 million between 2009 and 2015.
“This (tax-exempt) designation was meant for property used for education — not to have a profit centre,” said Kristyn Wong-Tam, the local councillor.