Media Releases

Bridging the divides: building tomorrow’s Toronto

September 8, 2010

TORONTO, ON – Bridging the Divides: Building Tomorrow’s Toronto, a debate of candidates for mayor in the City of Toronto, will focus on the most divisive issues in the City of Toronto in the 12 years since amalgamation. A dozen years after becoming one big unified city, Toronto is facing problems that many people thought amalgamation would solve. What do the people who would be mayor propose to do about them?

Who:                Rob Ford, Joe Pantalone, Rocco Rossi, George Smitherman, Sarah Thomson

Questions from a panel of University of Toronto professors and students

Moderator Mr. John Cruickshank, Publisher, The Toronto Star

What:               A Mayoral Candidate’s Debate

When:              Wednesday, September 15, 7:30-9:00 p.m.; reception to follow until 10 p.m.

Where:            Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue (corner of Sussex and St. George Street), Toronto

Sponsors:     Cities Centre, University of Toronto; Innis Urban Studies Program, University of Toronto; Canadian Urban Institute; The Toronto Star

In this debate the candidates for Mayor of the City of Toronto will be asked to explain and defend their vision for the City of Toronto under their leadership.  How will they bridge the many divides that separate us from working together on common ground?  How will they address the many pressing problems of finance and governance that are getting in the way of building a better city?  What is their plan to improve both social and physical infrastructure in the City to the levels that every citizen has a right to expect?

The format for the debate will be as follows: (1) Welcome from Innis College (2) Introduction by the Moderator (Mr. John Cruickshank, Publisher, The Toronto Star) (3) 3-minute opening statements by each candidate, addressing the debate’s theme “Bridging the Divides: Building Tomorrow’s Toronto” (4) Questions from a panel of University of Toronto professors and students.  For each question, each candidate will be allocated a 90-second initial response and a 30-second rebuttal.  The questions will be designed to spotlight important issues within the overall debate theme (5) 1-minute closing statements by each candidate (6) Moderator’s closing remarks.


It has been 12 years since the municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto were amalgamated by the Province of Ontario into the current City of Toronto.  But gaps between services to the outer city and services to the inner city that were identified a generation go have not been corrected and are getting wider (or worse?).  We have become one big city governed by a single mayor, council, and administration, but beyond city hall we remain a shotgun marriage of physical, social and economic communities.  We are faced daily with diverse and often conflicting views of what Toronto is now and should become in the future.  Our ability to access transportation, health, education and other social services differs widely across the city.  We can see the city’s fault lines most clearly between the way people live “downtown” and the way they live in the suburbs. But we also see a spreading gap between the rich and the poor, growing difficulties for immigrants and increasing alienation among young people who shun traditional politics and take to the streets to express their anger.


For more information, please contact:

Pat Doherty
Cities Centre