Mayor-elect Jim Watson wasted little time putting his personal stamp on Wednesday night’s swearing-in ceremony, slashing the budget and moving the party from city hall to the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans.
“It was just a signal that I wanted to convey to the public that I don’t believe the world revolves around 110 Laurier Ave.,” he said of the venue change, adding that the new facility, with a capacity for 500, makes room for 200 more guests.
He also looked at the last inauguration, with its $35,000 budget and $25,000 bill for food and wine, and decided to find a sponsor.
Tim Hortons, which already sponsors the city’s spring and fall cleaning campaigns, has agreed to supply free juice, coffee tea and cookies for the event.
“I thought given our economic circumstances both in the city and at city hall, that spending $25,000 on food was excessive and rather extravagant,” Watson said.
The doughnut chain is a favourite of other politicians. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty promoted his last budget with a photo-op at one.
Watson himself is a Tims Card-carrying regular at his neighbourhood outlet on Richmond Road, which he sees as a community gathering place.
“I actually go in there usually three or four times a week and just read the paper and have a cup of tea and a doughnut or something,” he said. “People are always coming up to me and talking and asking me questions. I find it a very grassroots place to find out what’s really on people’s minds.”