If all the recent doom and gloom over the state of the economy and its uncertain future is getting you down, take heart in what Toronto Mayor David Miller says are the top five attributes that make this city one of the greatest places to live in the world.
First on the mayor’s list: Everything. “We have a great image internationally because of our mutual respect for differences, our environmental sensibilities, our great banking system and things like our public library, which is the best in the world,” he says.
For Miller, Toronto’s second greatest quality is its residents, “because of their diversity and their ability to remember their roots,” he explains. It’s no surprise Toronto is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, and with 150 different languages spoken around the city every day, it sets Toronto apart from other metropolises — something of which Miller is proud.
Third on his list: “How the people of the city blossom in the spring the same way that our green spaces do.” After our harsh winters, there’s certainly a renewed sense of optimism that prevails in every neighbourhood at this time of year.
No. 4: “Our great beaches and waterfront trails, particularly in my neighbourhood, the western beaches and Sunnyside,” says Miller, who has governed Toronto — considered to be one of the world’s safest urban centres — since 2003.
Miller, who himself drives a hybrid Chevrolet Malibu and whose environmental initiatives helped earn Toronto a vote as Low Carbon Leader by The Climate Group in 2005, believes the fifth best thing about the city is the collective commitment to the environment. “We’re all environmentalists, and it’s reflected in great parks, ravines, the Toronto island — all over the city,” he says.
As for how Torontonians can help strengthen the city’s economy during this recession, Miller says it’s as simple as getting out and supporting local businesses.
“Just get out in the city. Try a new small restaurant. Support farmers’ markets. They’re fantastic. If we collectively do that, it will really strengthen our local economy significantly.”