Day Two: Summit concludes with strong endorsement of regional collaboration, collective leadership on critical urban issues

TORONTO, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - CivicAction's Greater Toronto Summit 2011 united more than 1000 city builders in a two-day conversation on the issues and opportunities facing the Greater Toronto region. In 23 sessions, the delegates covered a range of interesting and provocative subjects, charting a course for action at a regional level.

"The past two days mark a beginning not an end. Our representatives are properly focused on fixing the finances, but there are many other issues to be addressed," says CivicAction Chair, John Tory. "This summit has reinforced that reality and galvanized all of us to act on those issues in the cause of building a stronger, fairer Toronto."

The Summit saw an eclectic mix of close to 100 speakers from all parts of the Toronto region, both coasts of Canada and the United States. The participants reflected the diversity of the region with:

  • 46% of delegates self-identified as members of visible minority groups
  • 25% from outside of the City of Toronto
  • 30% from private sector
  • 40% from not-for-profit sector (including board members)
  • 25% from public sector
  • 5% from labour

Speakers highlighted the importance of broad civic engagement and working across sectors to take action on the region's most pressing economic, social and environmental issues. They also spoke to the clear business case for addressing these issues, be it better integrating and leveraging our immigrant talent or building integrated public transportation across the region.

  • Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty opened the morning with a look at Canada's economy and the federal government's ongoing commitment to supporting the development of infrastructure in the Toronto region, which he described as a "great urban region".

  • Eco-entrepreneur Majora Carter, Principal of the Majora Carter Group and founder of Sustainable South Bronx, shared her US community development experience and highlighted the need for prosperity to be equitably shared. She quoted Martin Luther King in speaking to our "legitimate and unavoidable impatience" to act together to improve communities.

  • In his keynote luncheon address, Gordon Nixon, President and Chief Executive Officer of RBC, made a case for civic leadership, challenging other business leaders to take the risk and recognize the value proposition in supporting civic and priority projects. Countering current UK discourse, he also said that the Toronto region "is a shining example of how multiculturalism actually works," adding, "It's a huge opportunity to generate growth and a real win-win for everyone."

  • The Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable David Johnston, speaking by video address, congratulated regional civic leaders for their leadership and used a barn-raising analogy to describe how individuals can better serve and improve their community.

  • Four of the region's top political leaders - Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, and City of Toronto Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday - offered a powerful close to the Summit, stressing the need for governments to better cooperate and reflect the regional reality of most issues and residents' lives.

12 breakout sessions, each involving approximately 100 participants, covered the following topics:

  • Arts & Culture: Vision and Value through New Collaborations
  • Every Place Matters: Investing in Complete Neighbourhoods and Communities
  • Income Security: Collective Responses for a Prosperous Toronto Region
  • Making Immigration Policy, Economic Growth and Social Development Work for the Toronto Region
  • Environmental Action: The Path to a Flourishing Region
  • Economic cluster Strategy for the Toronto Region: Matching Capital to Innovation

Hundreds of ideas were raised throughout the Summit ranging from introducing "Culturalicious" to increase arts and culture engagement, to extending the high school concept of community service hours to others, to new ways to coordinate economic development on a regional multi-stakeholder basis. These will inform CivicAction's follow up plan of action.

In his closing remarks, John Tory said that the Summit had created "Enough Talk 4.0", referring to the first Summit report. "In the past year, John Tory has done an amazing job to help us build on the work of our founding Chair David Pecaut," said CivicAction CEO Julia Deans. "We have a new name, broader and more regional leadership involved, and a clear mandate to continue collaborating to improve the Toronto region."

For a full list of summit program speakers and sessions from both days, click here.

The Greater Toronto Summit 2011 ran from Thursday, February 10th through Friday, February 11th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The Summit trended in Twitter both days, garnering over 100,000 tweets on Day 1 (@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.

SOURCE CivicAction

For further information:

Rebecca Geller
(416) 309-4480 x509 (work)
(416) 992-4966 (cell)

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