In December 2017, the City of Toronto under John Tory, adopted similar restrictions, banning homeowners from leasing their basements with separate entries and their other non-residential units for short term rentals, also arguing it was to protect the long term rental market. Government issued licensing and fees would also be required to hosts to continue to short term renting. The move was also criticized by some hosts who rely on Airbnb as a source of income; with one of them arguing the government's control over their property was like living in Stalin's era of the Soviet Union. Airbnb responded in an open letter to the mayor and members of the City Council, welcoming fair competition but also made several arguments, including that Toronto's economy as a growing global hub also benefited from its listings. Many local residents depend on Airbnb for extra income and living expenses. The new economy evolved business and challenged the older business models and methods. Toronto, according to them, would benefit its reputation by adopting these newer business styles and ideas. It encouraged the city to continue to allow hosts to rent out their owned spaces, whether rooms in their house or in external spaces. All of this, according to Airbnb, brought about two hundred and ninety two million dollars into the city's economy.
Opened in 1988, The Townsend Hotel is AAA Four-Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star boutique luxury property with 150 guestrooms, including nine penthouses and specialty suites. Since opening, The Townsend has been the proud recipient of a variety of travel and hospitality industry publication and traveler survey accolades, including Travel + Leisure’s (T+L) Best Hotel in Michigan and T+L 500: The World’s Best Hotels, as well as Condé Nast Traveler‘s Top 15 Hotels in the Midwest and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
To help fund the site, the founders created special edition breakfast cereals, with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain as the inspiration for "Obama O's" and "Cap'n McCains". In two months, 800 boxes of cereal were sold at $40 each, which generated more than $30,000 for the company's incubation. It also got the company noticed by computer programmer Paul Graham, who invited the founders to the January 2009 winter training session of his startup incubator, Y Combinator, which provided them with training and $20,000 in funding in exchange for a small interest in the company. With the website already built, they used the $20,000 Y-Combinator investment to fly to New York City to meet users and promote the site. They returned to San Francisco with a profitable business model to present to West Coast investors. By March 2009, the site had 10,000 users and 2,500 listings.