The Opening Session introduces the First Summit between the City of Toronto and nine partner Higher Education Institutions with home bases in the City. The Summit is aimed at forging direct and deeper ties between academic researchers, city-building practitioners and municipal staff at the City of Toronto for post-pandemic knowledge mobilization and inter-sectoral collaboration. Nine broad themes have emerged as needing thoughtful research and engagement for the City to build back better: Arts, Culture and Recovery; Climate Change and Green Recovery; Economic Resiliency; Planning and Adapting Public Spaces; Public Health; Housing and Homelessness; Technology, Innovation and Equity; Transit and Transportation; and Stronger, Safer, More Just Communities. This Opening session sought to set the context and tone of the Summit with the hope that the knowledge gained and the relationships that are built contribute well after the end of the Summit itself in fostering City-building discussion and collaboration among the ten institutional partners for the Summit and the longer term.
Dr. Joe Mihevc
Visiting Professor, Department of Geography, York University
Dr. Joe Mihevc is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Geography at York University. Prior to this, he was a city councillor for the City of York and the City of Toronto for 27 years (1991-2018). Among other positions, he has served as Deputy Mayor of the City of York, Chair of the Board of Health, Chair of the Community Development Committee, Chair of the Taskforce on Access and Equity, Vice Chair of the TTC, and Vice Chair of the Budget Committee. Dr. Mihevc has extensive knowledge and expertise in municipal governance and public policy, public health, community development, community engagement, housing policy, economic development, urban planning and redevelopment, sustainability, poverty reduction, transit planning, and newcomer resettlement.
Dr. Mihevc also has a Ph.D. in Theology and Social Ethics, with decades of experience teaching at the university level, including serving as the Director of the Globalization of Theology Program at the Toronto School of Theology and St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto, a program that sends students to Peru and Mexico.
Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão
Deputy Mayor and City Councillor for Ward 9, City of Toronto
Ana Bailão has been a member of Toronto City Council since 2010 and was re-elected in 2018 with the support of well over 80% of the residents of her community. At the commencement of the new term of office in 2018, Bailão was re-appointed as Deputy Mayor, as well as a member of the Mayor’s Executive Committee, and as Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee. She was also re-appointed as the City’s Housing Advocate and serves on the boards of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation and CreateTO, an agency that manages all of the City’s real estate assets. Bailão is also a member of the City’s Collective Bargaining Sub-Committee.
Bailão studied Sociology at the University of Toronto. This was followed by the completion of the Directors Education Program, a joint program between the Institute of Corporate Directors and the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, knowledge she now brings to the boards upon which she serves on behalf of the City of Toronto.
President & Vice-Chancellor, York University
Dr. Rhonda L. Lenton is the eighth President and Vice-Chancellor of York University. She joined York in 2002 as Dean of the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, and went on to serve as Vice-Provost Academic and then Vice-President Academic & Provost. A dedicated champion of community engagement and innovative partnerships, Dr. Lenton has significantly expanded York’s institutional collaborations with government, business, community organizations, and other postsecondary education partners.
Before joining York, Dr. Lenton was an associate dean and professor at McMaster University. A sociologist by training, her areas of teaching and research expertise include gender, family conflict, research methods and more recently, higher education. Dr. Lenton has also received recognition for her leadership and services in higher education by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) in 2015 and in 2016, the Angela Hildyard Recognition Award.
City Manager, City of Toronto
Chris Murray was appointed the City Manager of Toronto in 2018. Prior to this, he was the City Manager of Hamilton for almost 10 years. He is by profession a registered city planner; by previous experience a transportation and housing director; by necessity a relationship builder; and by passion a public sector employee.
Dr. Christopher Whitaker
President and CEO, Humber College
Dr. Chris Whitaker is President and CEO of Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning. Chris Whitaker joined the college in July 2012 and is the fourth president in the college’s history. He has worked in the Ontario postsecondary sector for over 30 years and is passionate about student success and the role of colleges in providing access and pathways to postsecondary education opportunities. Since joining Humber, he has continued to advance the college as a comprehensive post-secondary institution with a reputation for creating and delivering a high quality student-focused teaching and learning environment.
Dr. Whitaker’s education includes a PhD from the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education; an MA from York University and a BA from Queen’s University.
Among his many commitments to Humber and the college system, Dr. Whitaker is Chair for the League for Innovation in Community Colleges, and for the World University Service of Canada, as well as Board member for Polytechnics Canada, Community Colleges for International Development, Ontario College Application Service and Skills Ontario.