36 Years in Business On The Danforth – Sheri Punjab
351 Danforth – 416-465-2125
Amal Singh immigrated to Canada from India in 1969. With him he brought his wife, one child (three more were born in Canada) and his profession as a “tool an die maker”. He first lived on Bain Avenue and worked for five years as a “tool and die maker”. In 1974, Mr. Singh (instead of buying a home) bought the building at 351 Danforth Avenue. He opened his restaurant (“Sheri Punjab”) and eventually moved the restaurant into this building. Sheri Punjab is a fantastic restaurant (I eat there all the time) – but amazingly has:
– had the same phone number since 1974;
– and been in business since 1974.
Over my years of eating chickpeas and rice at Sheri Punjab, I have had many conversations with Mr. Singh about Business, Toronto and Business in Toronto.
On balance, Mr. Singh feels that local politicians have not been harmful to him But, he notes that no City Councillor has ever approached him and asked if there was anything that the city could to do help his business.
Mr. Singh has lived through enormous tax increases since 1974. He was hit particularly hard when the Ontario tax system was changed to current value assessment (resulting in a 50% property tax increase for his business). He has considered buying other buildings on the Danforth, but is reluctant because of how high the property taxes are. Clearly, higher property taxes erode amount that properties can be sold for. Paradoxically, by levying such high taxes on commercial properties, the City of Toronto may be lowering the value of its tax base – and therefore its tax revenues.
Sheri Punbab depends on customers coming to the restaurant. Mr. Singh feels that the aggressive ticketing practices make people reluctant to park on the Danforth (which is a negative for his business). In a previous time, parking in Toronto was free in the evenings during dinner hour.
Furthermore, as a restaurant owner, Mr. Singh is subjected to a number of restaurant regulations and inspections. Although, he has no particular complaints about the way the inspections are carried out, he does find some regulations unnecessary and irrelevant.
Mr. Singh feels that there is no relationship between the taxes that he pays and the services that he receives from the city. In fact, he notes that as taxes have increased, the “pick up” of garbage from the restaurant has become less frequent.
In any case, Sheri Punjab is a fantastic neighborhood restaurant. Check it out!