CaféTO builds ready-to-eat arts destination in Toronto

CaféTO has been almost four years in the making and now the business community, politicians and those who helped it develop are excited that they hope it will soon become a fixture on Toronto’s skyline and at the heart of the city’s cultural arts scene.

The Toronto District School Board Board approved CaféTO’s $75 million expansion a few days ago after Toronto city council unanimously voted in favor of it last month. Council voted to send the project to the board, and on Monday the MPPs of the Greater Toronto Area’s regional legislature unanimously approved of that plan, if nothing else.

“It’s a buzz of excitement,” TDSB trustee Melanie Onuschak told the local pub, the Queen’s Park Press. “It’s a great time to be a chef here. I think it’s the first restaurant with a theatre program, really.”

According to Toronto officials, the expansion will create 200 jobs and bring 400,000 people through its doors each year. During a city council debate last month, the city expressed support for the expansion, citing an economic impact of $335 million annually on the area and the fact that downtown Toronto has only about 10,000 seats available for cultural events. Toronto’s current city council will not be available to make a decision.

Toronto’s mayor, John Tory, spoke at the groundbreaking earlier this year and said that government needed to create a framework for “urban innovation.”

“For too long, we have allowed our city to become obsessed with the highest and best use of land — we’ve had no focus on the other 99 percent,” he said. “That was a mistake that we must not make again.”

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