Like his predecessor Rob Ford, Mayor John Tory is heading to Austin next week on a music business mission.
Unlike his predecessor, Tory says the city is committed to following-through on its plans to making Toronto a music-friendly city as a way to fuel the economy.
“I buy in completely to the fact that robust creative economy is an essential building block to attracting jobs and investment in 2015. The two go hand-in-hand,” Tory said at a news conference on Friday.
“The best and brightest will want to live here because of the creativity in the city,” Tory said, pointing to the growing tech sector in Austin.
The mayor hopes Toronto can take steps to make Toronto more supportive atmosphere for musicians by developing music venues, including outdoor venues.
“What [the industry] needs now is for government to get behind it,” Tory said, by removing removing obstacles and bringing people together “so we can grow this industry.”
He admitted in the past the city has been “skittish” about such ventures due to noise complaints.
“Well music is good noise,” Tory said.
Austin’s South by Southwest festival generates $150 million for the city, while Toronto’s sister festival, North by Northeast pulls in just $50 million in a city three times the former’s size, Tory said.
The mayor was joined at the new conference by members of the Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance, including Music Canada president Graham Henderson.
Henderson called Toronto the one of the most vibrant, varied, diverse music scenes in the world.
“It is like a super power that we have yet to deploy in the way that other cities have,” Henderson said.
The delegation will travel to Austin March 18 to 19.