Toronto Mayor John Tory on the motivation behind the #TOWRCorridor (#BetaKit1on1)

Toronto Mayor John Tory

In our current political climate, it’s encouraging to encounter political leaders open to change and collaboration. Our latest edition of #BetaKit1on1 features Toronto Mayor John Tory, who speaks to the need for both to keep Canada innovative.

On the burgeoning tech relationship between Toronto and the Waterloo Region, Tory is unapologetic about the outreach to his fellow mayors.

“We’re a smaller country. So we have to collaborate even more to make sure that we can be strong and a competitor.”

“When I first went down to Kitchener-Waterloo to say we’re partners and we’re in a corridor together, people said, ‘why are you down there and why are you promoting what they’re doing’?” Tory says. “And I said, ‘you’ve got this wrong’. They are our partners. Together we’re a powerhouse of smart people, and ideas, and entrepreneurship, and money. And then we can take on the world.”

“We’re a smaller country,” Tory continued. “So we have to collaborate even more to make sure that we can be strong and a competitor.”

Concerning the battle between Uber and regional taxi companies, which is taking place in municipalities across Canada, Tory says there was one moment that crystallized his opinion on disruption.

“When the Uber issue came along, a lot of people thought it was about taxis vs. Uber – somehow there were these two fighting Goliaths that were going to have a battle and that I was going to pick a side,” Tory says. “All I said was, ‘I want to embrace change.’ Because I think Toronto has to be the home to the disruptors.”

“And that means you have to take into account the people that are struggling and suffering because of disruption. But to try and pretend it’s not happening, to try and turn back the hands of time and say, ‘we’re just going to stick with what’s been going on for the last 50 years’, that’s not realistic anywhere anymore.”

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.