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