When I told people that I wanted to run for mayor they wanted to know what campaign promises I would make. While thinking about that I realized that I wasn’t entirely sure of all the things that the city does. I like the idea of local representation to take care of things that are local. But just what is local?
Luckily the City of Toronto has a great website that lists all of the agencies, boards, commissions and corporations.
You kind of need to know what your local politicians are making the decisions about before you even look at what their positions on things are and to see if they have any ideas on things that matter to you.
The city provides many services and agencies to make your life in Toronto safe and enjoyable.
For your children they provide camps, activities, child services, child care and standards enforcement, arenas for skating, parks, pools, community centres and recreation. And for your pets they make the city a safer place with their animal services.
For new people to Toronto there are immigration and settlement services, employment services and affordable housing. They provide neighbourhood profile data so that you can help decide where in the city to live.
To make the city a nicer place to live they provide urban forestry, leaf pickup, snow removal, hydro, garbage, recycling and household hazardous waster services and promotion of composting. They preserve our heritage and encourage sustainable environment initiatives and energy efficiency. There are monuments and public art. The city encourages accessibility for all of their services.
To help get around in the city there are roads and signs, street parking, cycle paths and trails, public transit with buses, streetcars, subways, ferries and para-transit services along with taxi licensing.
To make the city safer and healthier they provide homemaking and nursing services to for the elderly and disabled. They provide emergency management to help with disasters like flooding. Also they provide public health promotion and disease and accident prevention programs. There is emergency housing and programs for dealing with surviving heat and cold. They inspect food services and provide signage to reflect the standards.
They provide the police, fire and ambulance emergency services that make Toronto one of the best places to live in the world. They also provide the court services.
Toronto is committed to the development of arts and culture. They put on special events and provide community grants to reach the social, economic and cultural goals of our residents.
There are even archives to remember all the things we have done as citizens and a poet laureate to wax about us.
I have a business, what does the city do for me?
The city helps out small business and entrepreneurs with their Enterprise Toronto initiative.
They city helps to unlock value in under-utilized lands and provides support in the development of the port lands and the waterfront.
The city maintains licensing standards and provides licenses for a variety of business types. They provide your business permit, construction and building permits and property assessment.
The city approves Business Improvement Areas to stimulate business. They provide parking lots and boulevard parking. They also make available maps and geographic data along with demographic information to help you make your business case.
The city allows you to make proposals for variance to the zoning of the land you have.
They help out cultural industries, artists and even have a Film and Television office.
My friends and family are coming to visit, what does the city provide?
The city manages lots of destinations for tourists or for enjoying your leisure time without having to leave the city.
Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
St Lawrence Centre for the Arts
Todd Morden Mills
TorontoIslands and Ferries
Toronto Music Garden
And many more small parks, museums and attractions