You can’t have a conversation about the future of Toronto without someone using the words ‘world class city.’
New York, London, Hong Kong. No one in those cities ever seems to wonder if their city is world class, it just is. So why does it remain an issue in Toronto?
When Doug Ford extols the virtue of subways over LRTs, it’s because “world class cities build subways,” as if to say if we want to be in that club, we must do as they do.
Urban affairs writers like Richard Florida talk about Toronto being in a dilemma, because we want to be world class but can’t decide how to pay for it.
“I think one of the big questions confronting Toronto , is that as we try to achieve that world class status, there are a lot of people that are frightened that we have to make big investments,” says Florida.
According to exclusive Ipsos Reid polling for Global News, 85 per cent of respondents agree or strongly agree that Toronto is a world class city.
To Paul Godfrey, who has been everything from Chairmain of Metro Toronto to the president of the Blue Jays, it’s a question and a term the city has grown out of. World class cities don’t ask if they’re at the top, they just are.
“It’s a term that is overused,” says Godfrey, pointing out Toronto is on the list of world class cities. “Toronto doesn’t have to brag.”
What makes us world class?
Rotman School of Business marketing professor Richard Powers says our large diverse population makes us a magnet for people around the world. For him the question of world class was put to bed years ago.
“From the economy to our diversity, we are world class” says Powers.
Perhaps Godfrey sums it up best, arguing the term ‘world class city’ has run its course, and should be replaced with something new.
“I don’t say Toronto is world class, I say it’s a must see.”