Glen Grunwald's Board Blog

Archive of the blog of the former President and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Not Goodbye, But My Last Entry

This is going to be my last entry on this blog, as today is my last day on the job at the Toronto Board of Trade.

First, I want to repeat my thanks to everyone who has posted here, called and written in to the Board, stopped me on the street, etc. to wish me well in the future. Toronto is a great place with a lot of wonderful people - you've certainly been warm and friendly to me!

Second, I want to repeat that I'm going to continue to have my home here and commuting back regularly to spend time with my family. I also have some charitable work and other projects that I'm going to continue working on in Toronto, so I'll be around quite a bit. Look for the HoopDome, a multi-court public basketball facility, to open next Spring at Downsview Park in the centre of Toronto.

Third, don't worry about the Board of Trade - we've been around for 161 years (since before Confederation) and survived two World Wars, blackouts, outbreaks, recessions, depressions and a hurricane. The Board will carry right on being the voice of our business community and the champion of a competitive and vibrant city. I know our COO, Grant Humes, is a perfect choice for Interim President while a permanent replacement is found.

Finally, there have been a lot of questions about this blog and if it will continue. I'm glad to say that the answer is 'yes' - not as MY blog, but as a Board of Trade blog that will continue to offer you information, opinions and ideas about what's happening in Toronto and the business community. We have some amazing people volunteering and working here who have a lot to say, and this will be their home.

The brand-new Board Blog will be up and running by Monday, October 16 and you will be able to reach it at www.bot.com/blog. We're going to leave this site up for a while so that regular visitors can catch this message.

So, that's it. Thanks again to the people of Toronto, and the volunteers and staff at the Board of Trade, for supporting me in my efforts to give something back to a great city that has given so much to me. I'll always be proud of the Board and our accomplishments, and always be proud of our city.

See you around, Toronto!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Five Step Program

Toronto is a great place to do business and a great place to live, but ...

We've also got some serious challenges here and, unless we face them, there's a real risk that our great city will become a city in trouble.

Toronto has lost 100,000 jobs and 10,000 businesses in the last 15 years. Our tax base has shrunk, our traffic problems are getting worse, and our reputation as a clean and safe city isn't nearly as strong anymore.

So, what should be done?

This is a good time to talk about these challenges because we're right in the middle of a municipal election campaign. If we can get the candidates for City Council and the Mayor's office to address these topics on the campaign trail and, more importantly, to commit to action in the next term at City Hall, that would be a great start.

That's why we put out our 'Action Agenda' today - five steps that the next Mayor and City Council should take to help build a better city. Our Chair Becky McKinnon had a piece about it in the National Post this morning, and you can read the entire agenda on our website.

Just so I'm not teasing, here are the five key points:
  1. Reduce traffic congestion and improve transit and transportation systems in the next Council term.
  2. Improve Toronto’s business competitiveness in order to attract and retain employers and jobs.
  3. Enhance Toronto’s quality of life through investments targeted at building better communities.
  4. Operate municipal government in a more accountable, efficient and effective way, based on best practices drawn from the public and private sector.
  5. Establish clear benchmarks that measure success in key areas by results, not spending, and report on progress towards such benchmarks.

Obviously, the actual agenda goes into detail about each of these issues. The point is, we're trying to propose things that are good for both our quality of life and economy, because the two things are totally inseperable.

As Becky said in her piece, if Toronto can be a top choice for both business and residents, we all win.