NEWS

Toronto Media Arts Centre group angry after deal to run west-end space falls through

06/26/2015 10:16 EDT | Updated 06/26/2016 05:59 EDT
A bitter fight is underway over who gets to run an arts centre inside a new west end condo.

A coalition called the Toronto Media Arts Centre, or TMAC, made up of various arts groups, had a deal to run the 36,000 square foot space at Queen Street West and Dovercourt Road, but that deal has fallen apart.

The arts centre in 36 Lisgar St. was built by the condo developer Urbancorp as a benefit to the community.

The Toronto Media Arts Centre is now suing Urbancorp and the city over what happened. The city and the developer have yet to file a statement of defence.

"We were robbed of our opportunity to rightfully close on this property," group chair Henry Faber told city officials at a public meeting in Parkdale on Thursday evening.

His group raised a million dollars before the deal fell through.

"We deserve that space. It is our space. It will be our space," he said to cheers.

City of Toronto planning staff would not say why the deal came apart, though they're promising to explain soon.

Instead they asked members of the arts community to start searching for a new operator to run the arts centre.

"We are not here to talk about why TMAC didn't close on the space, that's not part of the conversation," city planner Lynda Macdonald said to jeers.

CBC's Neil Herland reported from the meeting that tensions are high in the arts community because they invested years of planning and expected to be using the arts centre by now.

Charles Street Video Collective is one group that was planning to move into the space. Anastasia Vaskova of the group said she "thought we'd be moving into a space that would be a great artist hub, a media artist hub for the city of Toronto, and actually Canada, and we don't have anything."

Ward 18 Coun. Ana Bailao said the city is making every effort to make the facility available to the arts community.​

MORE:cbcNews