Day One Connects Regional Leaders, Creates Civic Vision on Issues of:
Economy, Transportation, Housing, Labour and Diversity
TORONTO, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - Day One of CivicAction's Greater Toronto Summit
2011 saw more than 700 city region builders and civic enthusiasts
address tough issues and big opportunities facing the Toronto region.
Participants in the first day of the two-day, highly interactive event
tackled key urban challenges and began building consensus on a
collective action plan to improve the region's economic, social, and
"The Summit is an extraordinary example of non-partisan collaboration,
vision and action producing results for our region," says John Tory,
Chair, CivicAction. "It is a hub of imagination, uniting regional
representatives from business, labour, non-profits, education and all
orders of government, and turning ideas into action for the benefit of
the Greater Toronto Region."
Highlights from Day One include:
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty gave an opening address, reviewing his
government's achievements to date and discussing future goals. He
referred to the Greater Toronto Summit 2011 as one of those "all too
rare magnetic forces that actually pulls us together."
Glen Hodgson, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the
Conference Board of Canada, delivered a first-ever Greater Toronto and
Hamilton economic forecast which showed that the region's economy is
recovering from the recession with real GDP growth expected to reach
three per cent in 2011, although unemployment rates have not yet
reached pre-recession levels. In response to this forecast, GE Canada
President and CEO Elyse Allen focused on the need for the region to
think beyond its borders to the international marketplace when
recruiting business and investment, while Toronto & York Region Labour
Council President John Cartwright highlighted the need for prosperity
to be equitably shared.
In his keynote lunch address, Michael Littlejohn, IBM's New York-based
Vice President, Smarter Cities Strategy and Business Development,
talked about the fiscal constraints on municipal governments worldwide
and the need and opportunities to leverage available technologies and
new forms of collaboration and partnerships - both government to
government and with other sectors.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi kicked off a panel discussion addressing the
"diversity advantage", focusing on Canada's greatest strength and
biggest national challenge: immigration, economic growth and social
cohesion. The Mayor shared his personal experience growing up in a
working class new Canadian family. He focused on the opportunities
available to immigrants and advocated for stronger language training,
settlement funding that follows immigrants and multi-sectoral
partnerships as ways to ensure the ongoing success of immigrants,
communities and the country. A panel discussion following Mayor
Nenshi's talk focused on the costs - economic, social and health -
facing the Toronto region if it doesn't better include new immigrants.
A plenary panel presentation with the co-chairs of CivicAction's
Greening Greater Toronto, DiverseCity and Emerging Leaders Network
initiatives examined their progress to date, lessons learned about
convening people across sectors, and challenges to consider as new
Carol Coletta, CEO, US-based CEOs for Cities, gave a lively presentation
citing remarkable examples of other leading North American cities and
how innovative ideas lead to lasting transformation.
Breakout sessions involving approximately 100 participants per session
and advancing ideas and next steps on the following topics:
Towards A New Model for Economic Cooperation Across the Toronto Region
Keeping on Track: Moving The Big Move Forward
Housing for Everyone: An Affordable Housing Agenda for the Toronto
Labour Markets & Labour Force Readiness
Return on Investment: The Value of Diversity in Corporate Leadership
Youth Engagement: The Pan/ParaPan Am Opportunity
An evening Civic Soiree sponsored by RBC brought together Summit
participants and other CivicAction partners for an evening of
networking and celebration, highlighted with a video production by
acclaimed youth-led production house Hightop Studios.
For a full list of summit program speakers and sessions from both days,
"This incredible event demonstrates how many people care deeply and are
willing to work with others to make our region successful," says Julia
Deans, CEO of CivicAction. "It is this spirit of collaboration and
aligning on promising strategies that will strengthen regional
cooperation and help us to work together more effectively."
The Greater Toronto Summit started on Thursday, February 10th and will continue on Friday, February 11th from 8 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The
Summit trended in Twitter throughout the day, garnering over 100,000
tweets. Follow Day 2 developments on the CivicAction website/Twitter
live feed: @CivicAction, hashtag #GTASummit.
About the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance
CivicAction is a multi-sectoral coalition of thousands of civic leaders
committed to acting collectively to tackle tough issues and big
opportunities facing the Toronto region. CivicAction's Greater Toronto
Summits bring leaders from all walks of life together to assess the
region's strengths and challenges and to identify priority areas for
attention. In the periods between Summits, CivicAction takes a role in
incubating innovative initiatives designed to galvanize action in these
priority areas. CivicAction's current initiatives are aimed at: making
the Toronto region a flourishing area renowned for environmental action
and innovation (Greening Greater Toronto); creating a leadership landscape that better reflects the region's
diversity (DiverseCity: the Greater Toronto Leadership Project in partnership with Maytree); and connecting and supporting rising city-builders (the Emerging Leaders Network). For more information, visit www.civicaction.ca.
For further information:
(416) 309-4480 x509 (work)
(416) 992-4966 (cell)