Media Releases

Is Toronto broke?

October 3, 2011

Making sesns of the Numbers: Municipal finance in Toronto

TORONTO, ON – As the first event in a six-part series dissecting urban issues in Toronto, the University of Toronto’s Cities Centre will host a discussion on the city’s financial situation on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto, 230 College Street, Room 103.

Speakers Shirley Hoy (former CEO of the City of Toronto) and Dr. Enid Slack (Director, Institute for Municipal Finance and Governance) will probe the question, is Toronto broke?


WHAT:    Is Toronto Broke? Making Sense of the Numbers: Municipal Finance in Toronto

WHEN:    Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

WHERE:    John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto, 230 College Street, Room 103, just east of Spadina.

Shirley Hoy has been a public servant for more than 25 years. A graduate of the University of Toronto (B.A. and M.S.W.) and Queens University (MPA), she worked for the Ontario Government and various municipal governments up to 2001, when she was appointed Toronto’s City Manager. In January 2009, Ms. Hoy became Chief Executive Officer for the Toronto Lands Corporation, a position she currently holds. She is also very active in a number of community boards and organizations.

Enid Slack is one of Canada’s leading public finance economists. Her specialty is local government finance.  She is a graduate of York University (BA in Economics) and University of Toronto (MA and Ph.D). Dr. Slack has published widely, but her recent publications include the UN Habitat Guide to Municipal Finance (2009) and, with Rupak Chattopadhyay, Finance and Governance of Capital Cities in Federal Systems (2009). At the University of Toronto, she is the Director of the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and a senior advisor to the Cities Centre.


The City of Toronto is over 175 years old, and over the years it has gone through many changes and responded to many challenges. In the 1990s there was the challenge of amalgamation, and the resultant absorption of six municipalities (Toronto, Etobicoke, York, North York, Scarborough and East York) into a single one-tier city.  In the first decade of the millennium, the new City of Toronto grew into a world-renowned metropolis, and became a focus for international tourism, a flourishing film and media industry, medical and other hi-tech developments, and many other new and related fields. Now, the City is being challenged to justify and explain itself, in the face of major funding issues and concerns about policy and governance.

To discuss some of these important questions, the Cities Centre has organized six events, all open to the public. Each event features an urban “practitioner” and an academic associated with Cities Centre. Under the overall rubric, “Toronto in Question?,” Cities Centre will host the events at John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto, 230 College Street, Room 103, from 6:30 to 8:30 in the evening.

Coming events in the series include:

1.    “Moving People: Responses to Congestion” Speakers: Dr. Eric Miller and Steve Munro. October 25.
2.    “City Building” Speakers: Ken Greenberg and Dr. Larry Bourne. November 29.
3.    “Whose City? Inequality and Gentrification” Speakers: David Miller and Dr. David Hulchanski. January 24.
4.    “Who Governs? City Hall and Citizen Participation” Speakers: Adam Vaughan and Dr. Richard Stren. February 28.
5.    “Who Needs Arts and Culture in Toronto?” Speakers: John Ralston Saul and Dr. Mark Kingwell. March 27.

For more information, or for media RSVPs, please contact:

Richard Stren
Professor Emeritus and Senior Advisor, Cities Centre
416-817-1330 (cell)