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August 14, 2012
Mayor Ford to lead Team Toronto business mission to Chicago
Mayor Rob Ford announced this morning that he will lead a two-day business mission to Chicago on September 18 and 19 to mark the beginning of a renewed Partner City relationship that was established in 1991. He was joined at a news conference at City Hall by the Co-Chairs of this Team Toronto initiative: George Cohon, Founder, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, and Robert Deluce, President and CEO of Porter Airlines. Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of Toronto's Economic Development Committee, and Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2 Etobicoke North) also attended the news conference as Team Toronto members.

The business mission will focus on forging strategic alliances and encouraging investment, trade and learning opportunities between Toronto and Chicago. Mayor Ford and Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel will also reaffirm a renewed version of the 1991 Chicago-Toronto Partner City Agreement. This mission is a result of recommendations made by business leaders at the Mayor's Executive Business Roundtable that was held earlier this year and chaired by Councillor Thompson.

The mission will include a welcome reception hosted by the Consul General of Canada in Chicago and a series of information and networking sessions with key Chicago business leaders.

All members of the Team Toronto business mission will be responsible for their own participation costs. A final itinerary and list of delegates will be released to the media prior to the September 18 departure.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Quotes from Team Toronto members and business mission supporters:

“This mission will be the beginning of a renewed relationship and it will let Chicago know that Toronto is open for business. Our goal is to attract new investments that can cultivate assessment growth and produce employment opportunities. In turn, Toronto business leaders will have new opportunities and avenues to do business in one of North America’s biggest financial and manufacturing regions.”
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

“I’ve only had two places to call home in my lifetime - Chicago and Toronto - and I couldn’t be prouder to see these two vibrant cities come together in such a meaningful way. I’m thrilled to act as Co-Chair for this business mission and I have no doubt this renewed spirit of collaboration will foster extremely positive results for both cities.”
George Cohon, Founder, McDonald's Restaurants of Canada

“Our experience at Porter shows clearly that ties between Toronto and Chicago are strong, but cannot be taken for granted. Relationships that we establish with visits like this Business Mission will make long-lasting connections to benefit Toronto."
Robert Deluce, President and CEO, Porter Airlines

“As the largest commercial centres on the Great Lakes, Toronto and Chicago have much in common. We both have populations of similar size and face comparable issues, from waterfront development and investment attraction to revenue generation, policing and municipal planning. Renewing our Partner City relationship offers us many opportunities for productive partnership and mutual learning."
Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of Toronto's Economic Development Committee

"We are very pleased that Mayor Ford is leading a delegation of Toronto businesses to Chicago for what is certain to be a productive trade mission. The U.S. Midwest and Ontario already share one of the world's most robust trade relationships. As Sister Cities, Toronto and Chicago have for years cultivated strong business and cultural ties. Cross-border visits like this reinforce the ties even more."
Gitane De Silva, Canada's Consul General in Chicago

"Invest Toronto's mission is to promote Toronto's compelling business potential around the world. The Mayor's mission to Chicago, an important partner city so close to home, is an exciting opportunity for us and we are proud to have been asked to support the Mayor and Team Toronto on this mission."
Renato Discenza, President and CEO of Invest Toronto

“The Toronto region is a great business story that needs to be told. This business mission is a unique opportunity to elevate the Toronto brand internationally and to strengthen the prospects for investment and job creation in our region.”
Carol Wilding, President and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade

“Toronto’s reputation as a top ten global financial services hub is growing. But we need to keep getting the word out. A business mission to Chicago, another important financial hub and a Toronto business partner, is another way to do that.”
Janet Ecker, President of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance

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