Overheard at the SPT Symposium

Late arrivers had to sit along the steps in the auditorium at New College/U of T. Ed Broadbent led off Social Planning Toronto‘s Building the Future We Want symposium. Chief economist at the TD Bank Don Drummond sat in the second row, his session and chance to answer was up next. Potential candidate for mayor of Toronto Glen Murray was scheduled to finish at the end of the day.

It was the place to be. Registration had had to be cut off. Organizers were also wise enough to schedule long breaks so that registrants could network. {Shameless ad inserted here: If you haven’t become a member of the newly re-branded SPT, you should.}

I couldn’t stay for long, but even the few morning hours I attended yielded some great quotable quotes. Here’s two:

  • “Everybody’s talking about community hubs within their own silos.”
  • “David Frum is my favourite Canadian export.” (okay, Broadbent said this in his speech.)

What did you hear?

2 Comments to “Overheard at the SPT Symposium”

  1. Thanks Diane. So glad you could be there with us on Friday. It was a great time. I thought we had some really stimulating presentations and the side conversations I caught (as I was running back and forth with cameras) were pretty interesting too.

    I think one of the things I enjoyed most was Glen Murray’s closing address. It was a little bit of a West Wing moment for me (inspiring idealism and genuine intellect make me teary sometimes) as I heard someone both eloquent and approachable talk about the potential and the creativity we have here in the city.

    I particularly appreciated his reminder that we need to be mindful at all times of choosing measures which have real meaning for us. He briefly ranted on how many of us in the room, as downtown-living, bicycle-riding, garden-growing folks are “bad for the GDP”. Gas guzzling sprawl and big-box stores create a constant need for more resources and consumption, and thus push the GDP higher. Let’s not succumb to the metrics of economists when those measures aren’t related to the communities and neighbourhoods we want to be building.


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