Mayor John Tory gave a 21-minute speech on Tuesday during his swearing-in ceremony that introduced his hero and mentor to the public. He paid tribute to his predecessors, including former deputy mayor Norm Kelly and former mayor Rob Ford.
Tory then laid out his vision and priorities for the city including delivering better transit, better housing, more jobs and an end to the “gridlock that is choking our streets.”
Below are some memorable quotes from his speech.
On his hero Louise Russo:
“Louise Russo I said many times when I was a broadcaster that together with my father and Bill Davis and Ted Rogers, she was and is one of my heroes. To see someone who fought back from unspeakable adversity to devote her life to helping to ensure that kids in our city don’t get left behind and are themselves given a fighting chance is inspiring.”
On former Mayor Rob Ford:
“We’d be at the debates at some moment in the middle of it he’d turn to me and say, ‘John, what’s on this page right here? It’s going to lay you out in about two minutes. You’re going to be out on the floor, cold, done, finished.”
“I’d say to him, ‘Okay, bring it on.’”
“I want to ask everybody in this room to move a motion thanking Rob Ford for his continued public service and wishing him a complete and speedy recovery. All in favour, say ‘aye.’ Carried, unanimously.”
On his parents:
“I want to acknowledge the presence of my mother Liz Tory. In our family public service and giving back was a given and there’s no better example set than by my mother. And she continues to set it as a tireless volunteer for many causes though given her occasional outspoken ways that never extended to public office.
I remember my dad too. He was a shining example of integrity, hard work and decency. I know he’s here and I know that because I’m wearing his tie to prove it.”
On his wife Barb:
“After almost 37 years Barb knows me and understands me better than anyone else not that she’d need put that on her resume as a point of pride. Beyond love, we have a great partnership and I wouldn’t be here without her.”
On the work ahead:
“The great industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie once said that teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to achieve uncommon results. I know that in this chamber going forward in the next four years, we can achieve uncommon results and that’s because I know we can come together on behalf of those who sent us here.”
On the city’s priorities:
“Torontonians aren’t asking us for miracles. They don’t expect miracles of their elected representatives. What they want is visible progress and soon on a few critical and shared priorities. Transit and gridlock top this list at this moment in history and so on those subjects, it’s time to get to work. We will get SmarkTrack up and running in seven years. We will build the Scarborough subway and we will work with the TTC to improve existing service for its 1.5-million daily riders.”
On Toronto’s position in Canada:
“Toronto is the engine of growth in Ontario and Canada and must remain strong economically and socially. These are important relationships with these two governments that need to be renewed and need to be strengthened.”
“I will rebuild trust, I will restore faith and I will regain respect for the City of Toronto at Queen’s Park and in Ottawa. And I think this will bring results for our city.”
On Toronto’s role in North America:
“Our role is not to fight the future. It is to be the future, the place in North America and the place in the world where new Canadians and young people find that first good job they’ve been looking for, where entrepreneurs want to come to launch their start-ups.
On tackling poverty and youth unemployment
“None of us can rest easy. We can’t put our heads down on the pillow at night and go to sleep, knowing that 150,000 Toronto kids are growing up in poverty or that 15 neighbourhoods in our city have poverty rates of 40 per cent or more.”
“Join me in tackling the city’s unacceptable youth jobless rate and work with me to build a strong inclusive city of opportunity from Etobicoke to Scarborough and from North York to the waterfront.”