le select toronto

One of Toronto's favourite French restaurants might close after 42 years

A staple French restaurant that's been serving Toronto for decades may be facing the guillotine.

In a Facebook post accompanied by a video, Le Select explains how their taxes have risen an unbelievable 551 per cent since the restaurant moved to Wellington.

"Why? This is thanks to a crazy provincial system that assesses the property value based on the biggest and most profitable building that COULD go up on a site—NOT the building that actually exists there," reads the Facebook post.

"MPAC told us flat out that '[Le Sélect's] highest and best use is as a development site'—disregarding the fate of the 80 employees who would lose their jobs if we were forced to close."

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, or MPAC, controls property value taxes for cities in Ontario. These taxes are based on the potential use for a building, meaning they can be driven up in areas saturated with development.

"MPAC classifies us a 'land in transition,'" says owner Frédéric Geisweiller. "Our tiny two-storey building with a single occupant is saddled with a higher tax burden than a six-storey building with thirteen tenants and a larger floor plate."

The restaurant has even started a petition to "drop the 'highest and best use' assessments and tax us based on what we are."

"A hearing will take place in the Spring of 2020," says Geisweller. "We approached MPAC to try to resolve this issue outside of a hearing but they stuck to their guns: 'Le Sélect highest and best use is as a development site' they've told us."

This isn't the first time a property tax increase has threatened to shut down Le Select: they had the same issue a couple years ago.

It appears MPAC will stop at nothing to tax this independent restaurant out of business, so if you love steak frites and hate condos, you might want to get to signing that petition.

Lead photo by

Le Select Bistro


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