Register Sunday | December 16 | 2018

Art Work

It’s become a familiar story. Artists move into an affordable neighbourhood to find space to live and work. Then the neighbourhood becomes trendy, developers and big business want in, prices go up, artists move elsewhere, and the cycle starts again.

This plot is playing out right now at a four-storey building in Toronto’s Junction Triangle neighbourhood, 224 Wallace Avenue—though in this case, the tenants aren’t being priced out so much as forced out. Video game company Ubisoft arrived in the building several years ago, and by 2016, artists and small business owners started getting thirty-day eviction notices—not an unusual timeline in the world of Toronto commercial real estate. First it was the third floor, then the fourth, and now the first-floor tenants wonder if their notices are coming.

In 2009, the province of Ontario gave Ubisoft a tenyear, $263 million grant to attract the company ...

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