In Chicago, Ford says ‘Toronto is an easy product to sell'
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2012 2:01PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 19, 2012 6:57PM EDT
Mayor Rob Ford’s trade mission to Chicago wound down Wednesday evening, with the mayor saying he now plans to return home and “follow-up” on the leads he’s made during the trip.
Ford and the accompanying delegation -- made up of business leaders and politicians-- capped off a busy day with a cruise of the Chicago waterfront.
After the cruise, Ford told reporters that he made many useful contacts and was able to promote Toronto as a desirable place to do business.
“It’s all about getting Toronto on the map and getting jobs in Toronto and that’s my goal. Coming from a business background, you have to be a mover and a shaker and go out and knock on doors,” said Ford. “You got to sell your product and Toronto is an easy product to sell. It’s beautiful, safe, clean city.”
The mayor said he will now focus on bringing investment and new jobs to the city.
Earlier the mayor said he was paying for his own trip and that it would not cost taxpayers anything.
Earlier on Wednesday Ford and Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel renewed the sister city agreement at an official signing ceremony.
“The renewal of this agreement is great for our cities,” Ford said in a statement. “Today Mayor Emanuel and I launch a new chapter in the long history of co-operation between Toronto and Chicago. Working together, as we move forward, can help ensure both cities prosper together.”
The ceremony was part of the 60-person delegation of politicians and business leaders that left on Tuesday in an attempt to foster stronger business ties in the windy city.
Toronto and Chicago became sister cities in 1991 to strengthen the standing of both cities with frequent collaborations in cultural activities, educational exchanges and business development.
“I am committed to expanding opportunities for greater economic collaboration,” said Emanuel.
Ford spent Wednesday morning networking with venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and community leaders to encourage investment in Toronto. The mayor handed out business cards, and promoted his administration to the room.
The Toronto delegates want to encourage Illinois companies to open Canadian divisions. The Ford family itself owns a printing company in Chicago.
“What we’re trying to do here with this trip is to promote Toronto as a place to invest a place to do business, and to create opportunities for our residents because we want to grow our job sector. We want to create economic activities,” Toronto Coun. Michael Thompson told CTV News.
Joining the mayor on this trip are business leaders George Cohon, founder of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada and Robert Deluce, president of Porter Airlines.
Councillors Paul Ainslie, Michelle Berardinetti, Mike Del Grande, Doug Ford, Mark Grimes, Peter Milczyn, Jaye Robinson and Michael Thompson will also participate in the mission.
With files from CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson