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YRAC Research

Creative Space Feasibility Study

The York Region Arts Council (YRAC) and Shadowpath Theatre Productions received an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant to explore and recommend innovative models for sustainable mixed-use arts and culture facilities.

The first phase of our research was to visit a wide range of creative facility owners and operators with the intention of gaining a deeper understanding of functional business models and partnerships that enable these spaces to exist and thrive.

The second phase of our study was to gain input from stakeholders within York Region to assess needs, cultural priorities, readiness and what viable model(s) can look like here.

The third and final phase of the study is a report and action plan in the form of a written document and podcast. Listen to the podcast here.

You can view the written version of the report HERE!


Podcast speakers:

Samantha Wainberg, Executive Director, York Region Arts Council

Alex Karolyi, Artistic Director, Shadowpath Theatre Productions 

Scott Jarvie, Digital Media Producer, New Cinematics

Mahtab Abdollahi, Visual Artist

Podcast recorded and edited by:

Pezmosis Music Productions with special thanks to Mark Pezzelato.

Organizations mentioned in the recording:

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA),


Akin Collective,

Aurora Cultural Centre,

Newmarket Group of Artists,


The York Region Creative Space Feasibility Study is a research initiative of Shadowpath Theatre Productions in partnership with the York Region Arts Council. 

This project was made possible by the generous contribution of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (insert OTF logo). 


Section 37:

Section 37 of the Planning Act permits municipalities to pass a by-law authorizing increases in height and density of development beyond what is permitted in the relevant zoning by-law in exchange for “facilities, services or matters” set out in the by-law. There are precedents where “community benefits” result in funds or in-kind space provided for arts spaces, such as the Toronto Media Arts Centre (TMAC). 

Municipal Accommodation Tax:

As of January 1, 2018 all single-tier and lower-tier municipalities have the authority to put a municipal accommodation tax in place. This is not a requirement for local municipalities. If the tax is implemented in a municipality, 50% of funds is intended to go towards tourism infrastructure expenses and the other 50% of revenue should be shared with an eligible tourism entity (non-profit organization) and must be used for the exclusive purpose of promoting tourism. Where applicable, arts and cultural spaces that align with a tourism mandate may be able to benefit from revenue associated with this new tax, both from an infrastructure and promotion perspective. To learn more about the Tourism Accommodation Tax, TIAO has complied helpful FAQs.


Shadowpath Theatre Productions and the York Region Arts Council received a 12 month (September 2017 through August 2018) $57,200 Seed grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to conduct a feasibility study as a first step in our mission to create space for the arts. The need for this study was born out of years of stakeholder input about the lack of accessible creative facilities to produce and present work. As such, many York Region creatives move away, practice outside of the Region or develop insular methods for creating. Shadowpath and YRAC have experienced overwhelming feedback about the need for collaborative and cross-functional artistic space. Our ultimate vision is to shift the community's overall artistic landscape and provide a vehicle for artists of all disciplines to develop and present their craft to their fullest potential.

About Shadowpath Theatre Productions:

Shadowpath is a registered charitable organization and has been turning everyday spaces into creative places since 2002. Shadowpath is the recipient of Newmarket’s Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Innovation, 2016 and Richmond Hill’s Creativity Connected Award for Best Innovation for their Café Cruise project in 2016.

About York Region Arts Council:

The York Region Arts Council (YRAC) is the only York Region-wide nonprofit charitable arts service organization focused on capacity building, creative placemaking and community engagement in support of artists, arts organizations and creative entrepreneurs.

About the Ontario Trillium Foundation:

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario and one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

York Region Arts Council, YRAC

395 Mulock Drive,
Newmarket, ON. L3Y 4Y9

Phone: 905-726-3278
Fax: 905-726-2788

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