This week, Carol Wilding, president and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade, shares what she loves most about the city and how we can turn it around for the better.
Tops on Wilding’s list: The city’s livability and diversity. “Toronto is a magnet for people from around the world,” she said. “It adds richness to daily life.”
Wilding’s favourite tranquil spot is the Mimico Creek Bridge in Humber Bay Park. “This particular bridge has a great view of both downtown and the condo towers nearby,” she said. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who also designed BCE Place, the pedestrian bridge is what Wilding calls a “hidden gem.”
But she also embraces the city’s hustle and bustle, and believes St. Lawrence Market offers the ideal setting to soak it in.
“I love to go early in the morning and take in the crescendo of activity as vendors set up and people start to stream in. It’s the best way to watch the city wake up.”
As for how to turn the city around during this recession, Wilding advises thinking big. “This region’s economy is bigger than the sum of its parts. On the map we are individual municipalities, but in reality we are a single region. Unfortunately, this reality hasn’t sunk in. It should.”
Wilding also stresses the importance of dealing with gridlock. “I commute from north of the city and I know how bad the traffic is. Trips that should take 20 minutes can take hours,” she said. She is pleased with the recent transit project announcements, which she says are long overdue.
Wilding believes more efforts must be made to integrate immigrants into the workforce.
“People bring professional credentials, but can’t put them into use. We’ve all heard stories of doctors who are driving taxis. We need to integrate them more smoothly.”
Finally, Wilding implores Torontonians to give back.
“Choose a charity you believe in and donate your time. Volunteerism is important, especially given the tough economic times we face.
“People are working hard to make it through tough times, but the best way to get through them is to help each other.”