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June 25, 2003
Toronto to build new economic and culture ties with Milan
  
Toronto to build new economic and culture ties with MilanMayor Mel Lastman will
lead a team of fifty leaders from Toronto's private and public sectors on a
pioneering mission to Milan next week. The mission will culminate in the
signing of an agreement to strengthen business, trade, cultural and tourism
ties between Toronto and Milan.

"This partnership will bring new jobs, investment, tourism and cultural
exchanges to both cities. We have so much in common I'm surprised we haven't
done something like this a long time ago," said Mayor Lastman.

Toronto and Milan play similar, pivotal roles in their respective countries and
continents, and share many of the same economic strengths. For example, both
Toronto and Milan are international financial centres, and both cities are
world leaders in the new media, design, food and beverage, and fashion sectors.

"Milan is the Toronto of Europe, and Toronto is the Milan of North America,"
said Mayor Lastman.

The delegation will include more than 45 envoys from the city's private sector,
post-secondary schools, cultural institutions, non-governmental organizations,
and Council. The busy itinerary includes a series of exchanges with Milanese
political leaders, business executives, educators and cultural figures.

Alitalia Airlines, Bell Canada, CHIN Radio/TV International, Enwave District
Energy, Intesa Bank Canada, ITL Inter-Transport, Omni Television, Shade-O-Matic
Ltd., Telelatino and Toronto Hydro are among the sponsors of the delegation.
Toronto's Italian Chamber of Commerce played a key role in organizing the
mission.

"The City thanks the Chamber for its leadership and hard work in mobilizing the
delegation. We're also grateful for the outstanding generosity of the
sponsors," said Mayor Lastman.

Mayor Lastman said that the mission is an opportunity to tell Italy and all of
Europe that the worst of the SARS outbreak in Toronto is over, that the city is
a safe and exciting place to visit, and that Toronto is open for business.

The mission is a product of the City's International Alliance Program. The goal
of the program is to help Toronto attract new jobs, investment, cultural
benefits and tourism through reciprocal partnerships with other major cities.
The program sets out criteria for selecting new alliances with the best
potential for fulfilling Toronto's goal. Milan is one of the cities that most
closely match these criteria.

Toronto?s Mission to Milan

Toronto?s 2003 mission to Milan is proceeding under the terms of the City?s
International Alliance Program. The program sets outs the City?s policies for
establishing international partnerships with other world cities, and for
planning outbound missions to other cities. The mission will culminate in the
signing of an Alliance Agreement between Toronto and Milan.

International Alliance Program
International relations at the municipal level play an increasingly important
role in an age in which world cities such as Toronto are becoming the engines
of their national economies. International alliances are valuable tools which
Toronto can use to strength its ties with other world cities.

With this in mind, in December of 2001 City Council approved an International
Alliance Program for evaluating future partnerships with other cities. The goal
of the program is to help Toronto attract new jobs, investment, cultural
benefits and tourism through reciprocal partnerships with other major cities.

The program lays out a set of specific criteria and a detailed process that the
City uses for identifying new partnerships which present it with the best
potential for fulfilling its goal. These criteria stipulate that new alliances
must provide Toronto with economic, tourism, and / or cultural opportunities.

Outbound Missions
The Program?s criteria determines the conditions under which Toronto sends
outbound missions to other cities. Outbound missions usually involve the Mayor
or his delegate and a small group of councillors and staff. Their purpose is to
pursue international opportunities which cannot be achieved in the absence of
personal meetings. Due to fiscal constraints, priority for outbound missions is
assigned to cities which most fully meet all of the program?s criteria. Since
its inception the International Alliance Program has identified Milan as one of
the cities which most closely matches the program?s aims.

Participants and Sponsors
The mission to Milan is the first such mission to include a large delegation of
leaders from Toronto?s private and non-profit sectors. The delegation will
include more than forty-five envoys from the city?s private sector,
post-secondary schools, cultural institutions and non-governmental
organizations.

The delegation?s busy itinerary includes a series of exchanges with Milanese
political leaders, business executives, educators and artists. Toronto?s
Italian Chamber of Commerce played a key role in organizing the delegation and
its itinerary.

The mission to Milan is also the first such mission to receive substantial
support from sponsors, which include Alitalia Airlines, Bell Canada, CHIN
Radio/TV International, Enwave District Energy, Intesa Bank Canada, ITL
Inter-Transport, Omni Television, Shade-O-Matic Ltd., Telelatino and Toronto
Hydro.

Our Partner Milan
Toronto and Milan play similar, pivotal roles in their respective countries and
continents, and share many of the same economic strengths. For example, both
Toronto and Milan are international financial centres, and both cities are
world leaders in the new media, design, food and beverage, and fashion sectors.
In many ways, Milan is the Toronto of Europe, and Toronto is the Milan of North
America.

With a metropolitan population of 3,750,000 people, the Milan region has long
been considered Italy?s major industrial hub. It accounts for more than 20 per
cent of Italian investment abroad.

Milan is home to the head offices of some of Italy?s and Europe?s leading
national and foreign banks, such as the IntesaBci Group and Citicorp. As well,
its information technology sector is one of the leading centres of Europe?s new
economy. This sector employs 60,000 Milanese and houses the Italian
headquarters for such firms as Lycos, Yahoo and Altavista.

Milan is also a driving force in high-technology, aerospace, precision
engineering and biotechnology manufacturing. World leaders in these sectors,
such as Pirelli, Alfa Romeo and Unilever are headquartered in Milan.

Milan is also a global centre of fashion and design. Milan houses the
headquarters of such well-known designers as Armani, Versace, Valentino and
Marzotto (the parent company of Calvin Klein).

On the cultural front, Milan is considered to be Italy?s capital of the
performing arts. Every year it produces 1,500 concerts, 400 ballets and operas,
and 10,000 plays, which together sell a total of 10 million tickets.

The Toronto-Milan Alliance
The agreement between Toronto and Milan originates in a Letter of Intent signed
by Mayor Mel Lastman of Toronto and Mayor Gabriele Albertini of Milan on April
15, 2002.

The agreement calls on both cities to strengthen their mutual business, trade,
cultural and tourism ties. The agreement proposes that Toronto and Milan
promote each other?s economic and cultural development through such enterprises
as trade missions; the sharing of market information and business contracts;
joint trade fairs and conventions; mutual tourism promotion; and exchanges
between performing arts groups, museums and art galleries.


Media contact:
Mike Ura, City of Toronto, 416 397-7145



 

 

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