International Speaker Series asks: "Toronto's Future: At What Cost and Who's Paying?"

    TORONTO, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - It's time to look beyond our borders for expert
opinions on ways to deal with Toronto's current fiscal, social and governance
challenges. A series of lectures featuring global experts will bring a
fascinating range of knowledge and experience in city-building to a Toronto
audience. The series will be presented by the Toronto Community Foundation and
the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance on March 5, April 15 and May
21 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the
University of Toronto, 1 Devonshire Place.
    This year's edition of the Toronto Community Foundation's Toronto's Vital
Signs(R) Report (available at revealed a declining quality of life
for many in this often-praised `liveable city' and cited the heavy burdens of
"aging infrastructure, growing debt and a seemingly permanent state of fiscal
crisis". The speakers in this series are expected to offer fresh approaches to
these growing problems. Also featured will be prominent Canadian voices who
will join the international guests in discussion following the main address --
as the focus shifts from what has worked effectively elsewhere to its
relevance to Toronto and the GTA.
    The first event, to be held March 5th at the Campbell Conference Facility
at the Munk Centre, features the Danish economist Jorgen Lotz, a consultant to
the Council of Europe who has also worked with the IMF and the OECD and
chaired committees on taxation and local finance. Prof. Lotz will share his
experiences in a presentation titled "You Get What You Pay For: How Nordic
Cities are Financed". Joining him to discuss whether the tax regime that
supports cities in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden could be an
answer for Toronto will be Mario Lefebvre, Director of the Centre for
Municipal Studies at the Conference Board of Canada and Glen Murray, President
and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute and former Mayor of Winnipeg.
    The second event, titled "Bringing Broader Resources to Bear: Chicago's
Foray into Public-Private Partnerships", features Dana Levenson, former Chief
Financial Officer of the City of Chicago and current Managing Director and
Head of North American Infrastructure for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Levenson
will focus on the public/private partnerships that helped Chicago balance its
civic budget. Joining Dana Levenson in discussion will be Blake Hutcheson,
President of CB Richard Ellis Ltd. and Chair of the recent Mayor's Fiscal
Review Panel and Andy Manahan, Executive Director of the Residential and Civil
Construction Alliance of Ontario, an active promoter of infrastructure
investment solutions and innovative financing.
    Speaking at the third and final event will be Londoner, Greg Clark,
renowned as a keynote speaker and facilitator on "Making Cities and Regions
Work". Greg Clark has played important leadership roles in city and regional
development in the UK, particularly with agencies in the City of London. He is
a sought-after consultant for cities world-wide.
    The Toronto Community Foundation, which co-sponsors the event with the
Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, has been deeply involved in
building knowledge about the city and in seeking new approaches to help
overcome the obstacles that face Toronto. Foundation Chairman Martin Connell
served on the 2005 three-member Governing Toronto Panel; Foundation President
and CEO Rahul Bhardwaj was one of the six member Mayor's Fiscal Review Panel
which recently presented its recommendations. The three-part series at the
Munk Centre, titled "Toronto's Future: At What Cost and Who's Paying?" will
continue the process of exploring new ideas and seeking new answers.
    The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG), host of these
events, was founded to develop solutions to fiscal problems facing Canada's
largest cities and city-regions. The IMFG promotes high-level discussion among
Canada's government, academic, corporate and community leaders through
conferences and roundtables. Directed by Dr. Enid Slack, one of Canada's
leading experts on municipal finance, the Institute conducts original
research, gathers data and generates policy recommendations for Canada's
municipal finance and governance sector.
    Registration for these events is limited, however, a complete webcast of
each of these events will be posted on the IMFG website at:

For further information:

For further information: Diana Crosbie, Crosbie Communications, (416)
360-6625,; Ann Clark, Toronto Community Foundation,  (416)
921-2035 ext. 210,; Enid Slack, Director, Institute on Municipal
Finance and Governance, (416) 946-0328,

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