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Tory says Toronto needs to cut red tape to develop world-class music scene

Mayor John Tory says he’s initiating a “thorough review of existing city bylaws” in hopes of cutting the restrictive red tape that’s hampering Toronto’s quest to become a world-class music destination.

Tory made the announcement on Monday after returning from a business mission to the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas.

He said the trip reinforced “the real potential of growing our creative industries,” but admitted that too often the city finds ways to scuttle new ventures.

Tory said he’ll look closely at existing bylaws, regulations and permitting policies to “remove red tape and promote the growth of the city’s music industry…”

“The days of government officials taking months to come to different ways of saying ‘No’ have to stop. We are going to miss opportunities.

“(We need to) find ways to say ‘yes’ to musicians, and ‘yes’ to start ups and ‘yes’ to risk takers and ‘yes’ to new ideas and new venues for music. And ‘yes’ even to food trucks, because I saw those in Austin as well,” he said.

The mayor announced a new Austin-Toronto music and interactive summit to take place in Toronto later this year.

He also stressed that Toronto needs to be better promoted as a music destination for tourists.

Part of that plan involves capitalizing on large local events like the Pan Am Games, Pride, and Caribana.

Connecting locals and visitors to live music is high on his agenda.

“Austin has a live music guidebook and a smartphone app…and they help people find live music easily in the city,” he noted.

“I am more convinced than ever that growing our creative sector is key to economic growth.”

“What we haven’t done as well as Austin is showcase (our talent) and bring people to Toronto.”