G20: Mayor Miller, Invest Toronto, Tourism Toronto and the City Manager welcome the world's media|
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At a news conference held earlier today at the G20 International Media Centre Toronto Mayor David Miller welcomed the world's media to the city. Mayor Miller spoke about Toronto's many strengths as an environmental leader, diverse and culturally rich community and as a very reliable and safe city to visit, live in and conduct business. The Mayor held the news conference with representatives from Invest Toronto and Tourism Toronto and Toronto's City Manager.
Below please find Mayor Miller's remarks and the remarks made by the City Manager, President and CEO of Invest Toronto and the President and CEO of the Toronto Hotel Association (representing Tourism Toronto).
Mayor David Miller
Address to G-20 media
June 24, 2010, International Media Centre
Good morning, everybody and to our visitors from abroad, I'd like to welcome all of you to Toronto. Welcome to the Direct Energy Centre. This special facility, which was built through a three-government partnership, is an example of the success of the infrastructure program.
My colleagues and I would like to tell you a little bit our very special city and encourage you to get out and see as much of it as you can.
We've made it easy by including in your media packs a transit pass that will allow you full access to our world class public transit system. In fact, there is a streetcar stop right behind this building to make things easy for you.
Over the past few weeks in the lead up to the G20 conference, I've had the opportunity to address dozens of your colleagues from all over the world and I'm delighted with the response that, I in Toronto, have received.
Some of you may have been here before; many will not have been. But the one thing that I hear over and over from our visitors is how diverse and modern Toronto is.
And they always say, what's your secret?
I can't completely give the secret but perhaps this morning and over the next three days you will hear and see for yourself what makes Toronto special and unique.
Those who live here and those who visit seem often to come to the same conclusion because they know the city is prosperous and liveable while also being a great place to do business.
I'd like to take a few moments to highlight the areas in which Toronto is a leader.
1) Toronto is a diverse world city
Toronto is one of the most ethnically, culturally and economically diverse cities on the planet. It's home to people from well over 100 countries, including EVERY G20 nation.
We have many diverse neighbourhoods where more than 140 languages and dialects are spoken.
And more than half of all Torontonians, including the Mayor, were born outside of Canada but chose Toronto as their home.
Our G20 visitors will see themselves reflected in the faces of Torontonians in our communities, and in the businesses that serve them.
Not only does this add to the cultural richness of our city, it's an economic advantage.
Financial services companies, for example, choosing to locate or expand in Toronto frequently cite the diversity and talent of our workforce as one of the reasons they settle here.
Our diversity is an important reason why millions of tourists visit this city every year, and companies from around the globe choose Toronto as a place to do business, as you'll hear more about that in a moment from Terry and Renato.
2) Toronto is a green city
Most visitors to Toronto are struck by the number of parks that we enjoy. But for Torontonians, the green movement is about more than parkland. The City of Toronto is recognized around the world as a leader in environmental stewardship and I'm very privileged to chair the C40 Environmental Forum.
The Power to Live Green, the City's sustainable energy strategy, is founded on greater conservation, renewable energy sources, reduced use of fossil fuels, and the implementation of a smart energy grid. The Power to Live Green will help us reach our target reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, while maintaining energy reliability and affordability.
The Direct Energy Centre is an example of a green building partnership amongst all levels of government.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Green Development Standard is about designing sites and buildings that are more environmentally friendly. Achieving the Toronto Green Standard results in measurable improvements to air and water quality; increases energy and water efficiency, and solid waste diversion rates; reduces greenhouse gas emissions; and enhances ecology and the natural environment.
By adopting sustainable principles at every level and providing green options to all Torontonians leaders of business, elected officials, educators and citizens the city has become a model of environmental leadership.
An important part of our economic strategy incorporates green thinking. Last year we developed a Green Sector international marketing plan to help Torontos 1,500 green businesses generate new investment and export opportunities and raise the profile of our emerging green sector on the world stage.
And of course, we also promote the use of public transit to reduce our carbon footprint. Public transit ridership today is at its highest level it's ever been in Toronto.
Our most recent plan to expand public transit and increase its use is Transit City, a 120- kilometre network of light rail or European-style trams that will bring higher order transit to all parts of the city including our poorest neighbourhoods.
3) Toronto is a great place to do business
The third point I'd like to make is that Toronto is a great place to do business.
We are all aware of the challenges of these economic times. But the diversity of Toronto's economy is allowing us to withstand these challenges better than many cities.
We benefit from global competitiveness in a number of industry sectors financial services, green industries, biotechnology, design, food and beverage, film, tourism, and business services.
Toronto is the heart of Canadas banking system. For the second year in a row, Canada's banks were rated best in the world in terms of soundness in the Global Competitiveness Report, released by the World Economic Forum. Along with London, Toronto is the fastest growing G8 financial centre.
According to an FDI ranking of North American Cities of the Future, Toronto is in the top five for economic potential and infrastructure. No doubt because of our reputation as a trusted business centreone with accountability, transparency, regulation and ethical business practices and that's earned us high praise from international fiscal leaders and high marks as a global business centre.
We also benefit from having a strategy to guide our success in the 21st Century. Its called the Agenda for Prosperity.
Developed in 2008 through partnership with the business, labour and academic communities, the Agenda for Prosperity is our roadmap to guide the future of Toronto and the surrounding region.
The Agenda for Prosperity is based on four simple principles:
· improving the business climate within the city (we call that Proactive Toronto)
· diversifying our international portfolio by increasing economic activity with cities beyond North America, especially those in emerging markets (we call that Global Toronto)
· supporting and expanding strategic industry sectors (we call that Creative Toronto), and
· enhancing Toronto's labour force so that all residents benefit from economic opportunity (we call that One Toronto).
4) Toronto is a livable city with a thriving cultural sector
The final point I'd like to make is that Toronto is a liveable city, with a thriving cultural sector.
Business travelers and industry leaders appreciate the fact that Toronto is a highly liveable and safe city, making it a much sought-after destination. The Economist Intelligence Unit Liveability Survey" this January ranked Toronto 4th in the world for liveability. Well, I would call it first but fourth isn't bad.
In the past decade, Toronto has undergone a dramatic cultural renaissance. New opera and ballet houses have been built, landmark museums and galleries have been revitalized, the Toronto International Film Festival has been given a new home and Toronto has added a host of new festivals like ScotiaBank Nuit Blanche.
In a global survey of 60 cities across 40 countries, Toronto was ranked the fourth-best city in the world to experience culture, behind only New York, London and Paris.
And I believe that the strength of Torontos Film and Television sector illustrates the bond between culture and economy.
The volume of filming in Toronto is 3rd in North America behind only Los Angeles and New York City. Total film and television spending last year contributed almost $1 billion to our economy.
Toronto's geography also makes it a liveable City:
· Our network of ravines is unique to our City.
· One of the largest freshwater lakes is just a few metres from this building and serves as our southern border.
I should also mention that with respect to our lake shore, we are working in partnership with the federal and provincial governments on the largest urban renewal project in North America and one of the most significant waterfront revitalization projects in the world.
It totals more than 800 hectares, and includes the creation of 40,000 residential units, one million square metres of commercial space and 300 hectares of parks.
These are just of few of the elements that make Toronto a truly special City.
And I hope that you have a chance during your stay to take a few minutes or an hour to go outside and experience this great city.
We have a great story here and were ready to tell it. And I think if you are able to experience Toronto, you will agree. Thank You.
City Manager Joseph Pennachetti
Address to G-20 media
June 24, 2010, International Media Centre
Good morning everyone and welcome to the City of Toronto.
My name is Joe Pennachetti. Im the City Manager. I want to be clear to the foreign media that I am a non-elected official, responsible for the City's programs and services and a staff of approximately 40,000.
You may not be aware that the City of Toronto is the sixth largest government in Canada, and the fifth largest city in North America.
As the City's best goodwill ambassadors and most valuable assets, each member of the Toronto Public Service has a part to play in delivering high quality services to Toronto's residents, businesses and our visitors.
We deliver more than 40 major services to a population of 2.7 million people. The result is a high quality of life enjoyed by the people who live and work in this wonderfully diverse city, as the Mayor noted.
To provide its programs and services, the City has a total annual budget of about $12 billion dollars.
The City of Toronto is recognized as a leader in public service for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services and has received many international awards in recognition of this leadership.
We provide the key services that affect people most in their daily lives and those include public transit. The City's transit commission moves 500 million riders a year.
We keep people safe and respond to emergencies with the expertise of our police services, fire and emergency services.
We care for people by providing social services that include housing, employment, children and long term care services to our seniors.
The City has a green agenda. We maintain 8,045 hectares of green space, 1,505 parks, 500,000 street trees and 2.5 million trees in ravines, parks and forests.
The City, working with its residents, is a leader in environmental services that includes the solid waste management target of reducing waste by 70% by 2012.
Toronto's bold Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan ( http://www.toronto.ca/changeisintheair/pdf/clean_air_action_plan.pdf )s are helping the City of Toronto and its residents, businesses and communities to take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, clean the air and create a sustainable energy future.
In fact, our City facilities and operations have already exceeded Kyoto targets.
Toronto continues to grow as well. We have welcomed over 20,000 new residents each year since the last Census in 2006. This is due to strong immigration from overseas and elsewhere in Canada.
Despite the recent economic downtown, the City of Toronto real estate market has had little slowdown in the past two years. Currently, we have 40 residential highrise buildings under construction or ready for occupancy. There are another 25 projects under construction for various commercial uses, including 10 of which are office towers which total about 400,000 square metres.
We are also embarking on a period of ambitious construction on City infrastructure, which will see about 35 billion dollars in asset investment over the next 10 years. The City of Toronto believes in public and private partnerships and has reached agreements with the provincial and federal governments to fund and deliver new transportation and infrastructure projects, most notably environmentally-driven transit projects.
These investments will benefit Torontonians for generations to come with the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next 10 years.
Finally, the G20 Summit will be learning how our banking industry is a leader as the Mayor highlighted. We have the 3rd largest financial centre in North America and the 3rd largest stock exchange in North America and the 8th largest in the world.
The result is that a strong Toronto means a strong province of Ontario and a strong Ontario means an even stronger Canada.
Again, we are pleased to welcome you to Toronto. I extend a warm invitation for you to take some time to enjoy our city - visit the amazing waterfront that is currently undergoing a major metamorphosis, stroll through our diverse neighbourhoods and see what it means to be a Torontonian who welcomes the world every day.
Renato Discenza, President and CEO Invest Toronto
Address to G20 media
June 24, 2010, International Media Centre
Good morning, I'm Renato Discenza. As the President and CEO of Invest Toronto, I am proud to stand here to herald the business attributes of the City of Toronto.
With a GDP per capita greater than Los Angelesand Chicago, Torontois truly one of North America's most dynamic cities, a global city.
The world economic forum has rated Torontos banks the soundest in the world for two years in a row, making this a rich and powerful financial centre with a wealth of emerging sectors.
Torontos vibrant cultural centre ranks it amongst the most diverse of cities. It is in the top 5 on The Economist Intelligence Units Most Liveable Cities Index ( Feb 2010 ).
We have a substantial global reach and an enviable quality of life according to the UNDP and Foreign Direct Investment Magazine, the Toronto Region has countless strengths and we are leveraging those strengths everyday.
Torontois very unique as we have heard. Our storied diversity provides a dynamic workforce uniquely suited to solving the world's business problems.
And that workforce is growing everyday, attracted by world leading financial, cultural, research and academic institutions. They are coming here to enjoy an unmatched quality of services and quality of life.
For two days in June, the world will see bright, talented people converge upon Toronto. Just like we see every other day of the year.
And we are excited to welcome you to our city.
Toronto has a lot to offer and we encourage you to explore it.
President/CEO Greater Toronto Hotel Association
G20 Media Remarks
June 24, 2010
Thank You City Manager Pennachetti, Mayor Miller, CEO Discenza, International Media.
On behalf of David Whitaker and the Tourism Toronto team I welcome you to Toronto, a diverse and global city.
A city where each one of the G20 countries delegates can find a neighbourhood in Torontothey can call home. A place to relax, explore and enjoy our great city.
The media centre we are in today was designed with you in mind, understanding that you are here to cover the world leaders and the G20.
Each of you has: Different assignments, Different schedules, Different time zones and Different deadlines.
Yet the one thing you have in common is an opportunity to explore our global city. One of the most diverse cities in the world.
This is a great opportunity to communicate the importance of tourism, not only in Toronto, but globally.
To understand the economic contribution of the tourism industry, but to also understand how important a part the industry is of the social fabric of the city.
Tourism contributes to city building in Torontoand across the world.
Our Mayor and council recognize this by including tourism in the Agenda for Prosperity.
Just think ...globally... $2Billion of tourism receipts are generated daily, with an annual growth rate of 4% per annum over the next ten years.
Toronto hosts over 22 million visitors a year from over 200 countries... 11 million of them overnight visitors.
With a spend of over $4billion over year, why do tourists come to Toronto?
Our ethnic neighbourhoods,
Over 125 museums and galleries,
34000 hotel rooms,
Major attractions... Art Gallery of Ontario, Science Centre, CN Tower
Major festivals... Toronto International Film festival, Nuite Blanche, Luminato, Just For Laughs,
Caribanna, Pride, Jazz Festival and major sporting events…
Yes, it's all here and more.
Our team at Tourism Toronto with our partners at the City and Invest Toronto developed a website specifically for you; http://www.G20TorontoMedia.com
Many of you have already reviewed the site.
This event, the G20, is but one of four international events that Toronto will be hosting in the coming years: 2011 International Indian Film Academy Awards, 2014 World Pride Event, and, the 2015 Pan Am games.
The G20 event will generate an estimated 114,000 room nights in Toronto and a delegate spend of $53Million for the hotel community.
In the Experience Canada Area of the media we have our Tourism Toronto team, the number one ranked Convention and Visitor Bureau in North America, strategically located in an easy-to-find place, beside the bar.
They are here 24 hours a day to help you with any questions you may have, to assist you in getting outside of this centre and exploring the fabulous experiences Torontohas to offer …and offering tours of the city.
There is also an extensive network of volunteers in the hotels to assist delegates and help them explore our city as well.
We hope you enjoy your stay in Toronto, and hope you come back to visit again.
And for World Cup fans, there is no better city in the world to watch the World Cup...