Mayor Rob Ford is heading to Chicago to lead a two-day business trip on Tuesday.
His goal is to renew a partnership agreement between the two cities and identify growth opportunities. He said the trip is a way to “stimulate the economy” and create jobs in Toronto.
“It’s jobs, you know. Our leaders meeting their leaders and it’s going to be fantastic,” Ford told CityNews on Tuesday. “And it’s not going to cost the taxpayers a dime.”
“We’re sharing synergies with each other. We’re going to see their waterfront. We’re going meet a lot of their movers and shakers. And welcome everybody in Chicago to come and visit our city and vice versa.”
Ford will be joined Tuesday by George Cohon, founder of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, and Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines, as well as a number of city officials.
“We are taking an all-star team from Toronto’s business community with us to Chicago,” Ford said. “Their talents, experience and insight will help us to maximize the opportunities and relationships we will be creating and building upon this week.”
Coun. Michael Thompson said the mission on Sept. 18 and 19 will reaffirm a revised sister cities partnership agreement signed in 1991. He said the two cities — the largest commercial centres on the Great Lakes — share similar challenges when it comes to waterfront development, policing and revenue generation.
Toronto delegates will meet the Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Consul General of Canada in Chicago. They’ll also attend networking meetings with Chicago business leaders. Ford said he has a “great working relationship” with Emanuel.
Members of the Toronto delegation are responsible for covering their own costs.
Ford announced the trip at a news conference last month. During the question period, the mayor became annoyed when reporters asked him questions about being caught reading papers that morning while driving on the Gardiner Expressway and about his health.
“I’m healthy as a horse. Don’t worry I had a little bit of a throat infection and I’m good to go,” he said. “Anything else about the trade mission?”