Mayor John Tory explains how tech innovation will sell Toronto to the world

john tory

Since becoming Toronto’s Mayor, John Tory has made a point to embrace the startup community or innovation in the city. In the past, Tory has been there to greet companies trying to jumpstart innovation in Toronto and spoken out about the lack of transportation between the Toronto-Waterloo corridor.

So it was fitting that Tory would speak at TechToronto’s first meetup of the year in the City Hall Council Chambers, though it isn’t his first time get acquainted with the group; Tory invited two TechToronto alumni, Borrowell and Wealthsimple, on a trip to London, England to bring attention to Toronto’s FinTech ecosystem.

“You don’t normally think of City Hall as the place of innovation, and we have to change that. I’m trying to change that with a team of people including public servants and elected representatives,” Tory said, stressing how important it is to help fund innovation to solve the city’s problems, and to also help people outside of the startup community see the benefits of innovation and embrace change — something that most human beings, whether they want to admit it or not, are reluctant to accept.

“What I’m in favour of is that people can, should, and must be developing, and I want as many of them as possible to be developed here — disruptive technologies that move us forward and are inevitable in many respects,” he said, adding that he has faced criticism from none other than Rob Ford about taking overseas trips to bring awareness to Toronto’s startup community.

“Rob Ford will criticize me and say it’s a waste of time or money, but I beg to differ. We’ve got to go out and sell the city, and we’ve got to take people like that [startups] where I get access to the mayors of the world cities and government leaders, and I can say ‘Have you met my friend from Toronto? This is one of the smartest people we’ve got in our town, and there are thousands more like them at home’.”

Watch Mayor Tory’s entire speech:

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang is BetaKit's News Editor.