Controversy brewing in Ontario over MaRS buy-out

June 3, 2014

The MaRS Discovery District, designed to bring together medical and scientific researchers and entrepreneurs, is at the centre of an election brouhaha in Ontario. MaRS has been having trouble finding tenants to fill its tower in downtown Toronto. Ontario's government planned to step in and support the not-for-profit organization by buying the building and moving in civil servants and other tenants. But Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party says that the government has not adequately informed taxpayers about the potential cost of the project and claims that the bail-out plan is an attempt to save face after a failed venture. Ontario had already given MaRS $71 million as well as a $234-million loan, which MaRS is unable to repay; the $317-million purchase price would include the loan. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne emphasized that the agreement between the province and MaRS is not final, while adding that a deal would enable the government to consolidate some of its offices, currently spread out over more than 100 buildings in Ontario. Globe and Mail | National Post | Toronto Star