Rob Ford kicks off Chicago trip
Mayor leads group of business professionals to the Windy City
Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford is blowing into Chicago Tuesday on the trail of trade winds, leading a charge of more than 60 Canadian business dignitaries.
“The mayor’s goal for the mission is to renew a partnership agreement between the two cities and to identify opportunities to grow investment, enhance the business climate and stimulate greater job growth,” according to a City of Toronto press release.
Participants in the trip include former provincial politicians Ernie Eves and Mike Harris as well as business bigwigs like George Cohon, founder of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, Robert Deluce, president of Porter Airlines and Betty K. DeVita, president of Mastercard.
A key part of the trip is set to involve Ford and Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel reaffirming on Wednesday a sister city agreement first signed in 1991.
According to Chicago’s Sister Cities website, there are now over 2,400 such agreements in place between cities throughout the world “bringing citizens together to co-operate and share ideas, activities and solutions on a range of topics, including the environment, education, culture, medicine, and technology.”
Other aspects of the trip will involve networking and sightseeing opportunities.
“I’m excited to see Chicago’s world class waterfront first-hand and to learn best practices in waterfront design and planning, including the use of parks, from a recognized world leader,” said Toronto Counc. Jaye Robinson in a press release.
Robinson is one of ten city officials invited as part of the crew from Toronto. According to a report in the National Post, the city officials costs will be covered, but the rest of the delegates will be paying their own way.
George Bragues, assistant vice-provost at the University of Guelph-Humber and program head of its business department, said the trip is good for Canadian business abroad because “Chicago is the center of business in the mid-west United States.”
He said the expedition would likely create “positive opportunities for getting distribution, or a network to export into or improving your supply chain.”
“It’s also a good opportunity since you’re with so many Canadian business professionals to foster growth in those relationships as well,” he said.