Canada's Condominium Magazine
One of the more interesting things about Toronto Life’s list of the 50 most influential people in Toronto is who is not on it. We don’t say it’s surprising, but interesting: no Rob Ford. You’d think the mayor of the biggest city in the country would have influence, at least ex officio if not on his own merit.
But no, the mayor is absent. Instead, they cheekily put Ford’s nemesis Bill Blair in the number 1 spot of a list of those who “made an impact on our lives” in 2013. The police chief is number 1 precisely because of Rob Ford: the chief investigated the mayor and his cronies and revealed what he found, with results that continue to echo around the world, mostly in the form of laughs. Rob Ford will forever be known as “the crack-loving mayor of Toronto.”
These kinds of lists are always fun for wannabe pundits. Who’s in? Who’s out? Who’s that? Where is so-and-so? What’s she doing there? They call him influential?
Some of TL’s entries are obvious: finance minister Jim Flaherty, who’s not really from Toronto but from Oshawa, has huge influence on every city in the country. Because of him, you may not be able to buy a home. That’s influence.
No one else in the group of 50 comes close to Flaherty for outright, in-your-pocket sway. Some, like Drake, are there because they’re famous. He has used his fame to boost his home town, even becoming an image consultant for the Toronto Raptors. If he could boost them into the playoffs, his influence would be considered godlike.
Margaret Atwood is on the list as the “de facto leader of Toronto’s literary crowd,” whatever that means.
A fair number of financial types made the list, as would be expected in a city of finance—David and Michael Thomson, billionaire sons of the late Roy Thomson; Michael Nobrega, the head of the public sector workers’ (OMERS) pension fund, worth $60 billion; Mark Wiseman of the CPP Investment Board; Prem Watsa, the man behind a (now failed) bid to buy Blackberry; Sarabjit Marwah, COO of Scotiabank; Galen Weston of Loblaws, who set up the largest REIT in the country.
Arts and entertainment are well represented, with, in addition to already noted luminaries Atwood and Drake, Mathhew Teitelbaum of the Art Gallery of Ontario; CBC’s Jiann Gomeshi, Jorn Weisbrodt, artistic director of the Luminato festival; Cameron Bailey, head of the Toronto International Film Festival; Charles Khabouth of Ink Entertainment; David Mirvish of Mirvish Productions.
And of course, in a city positively convulsed with new development, it is only fitting that some of the names behind the development should be acknowledged. Toronto Life calls the three DelZotto brothers, the men behind the Tridel brand, “the undisputed condo kings of Toronto,” placing them on the list specifically for two of their latest, highest-profile projects: Ten York and Aqualina at Bayside. The latter, the TL piece notes, will be downtown’s largest master-planned community.
Aqualina is being built in partnership with Waterfront Toronto, whose head, John Campbell, is also on the Toronto Life list. Campbell, TL reminds us, had to stare down the overbearing city councillor Doug Ford, who thought Toronto’s waterfront development was taking too long, and that existing plans should be scrapped. His proposed solution was an amusement park and big-box retail.
Instead, thank the stars, the waterfront community of Bayfront, pictured above in a rendering, with the Tridel-built Aqualina condominiums as the first of the residential components, promises to be a real gem. It will certainly transform the eastern edge of the waterfront.