Lady Fate smiled down earlier this year, permitting I, our beloved city’s equally beloved first mayor, the opportunity to spend the summer in present-day Toronto. Rest assured, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was far from squandered.
With my dear wife Isabel at my side, I strutted my stuff at the Pride Parade, flexed my mighty muscle at the Dragon Boat Festival, took in the sights and sounds of Youth Day, danced my way through Caribana, and consumed my weight in delicacies at the Taste of the Danforth & the Festival of South Asia.
Mind you, these formidable events would be nothing without the inspirational Torontonians who served as organizers and attendees. Which brings us to the one piece of insight I shall take home with me: 2013 Toronto is everything I dreamed it would become when I took office back in 1834. It is a veritable oasis of culture, diversity, tolerance, and cooperation, steeped in a rich history of public service.
So in addition to the wonderful residents who allowed me to feel right at home this summer, permit me to give “props” (a word I learned at Youth Day) to my new friends at CUPE Local 79. These 20,000 dedicated members work tirelessly as museum workers, public health nurses, lifeguards, childcare aides, building & water inspectors, long-term care workers, and Community Recreation Programmers — not to mention dozens of other indispensable vocations! They take pride in taking care of Toronto on a daily basis, and it most certainly shows.
As the man who hired our first city workers nearly 180 years ago, I truly could not be happier about how far Toronto’s commitment to public service has come.
Of course, whether those reading this letter are city employees or not, the sentiment remains absolutely the same: when we work hard for Toronto, Toronto works hard for us. And trust me when I say this beautiful corner of the world is well worth the effort.
Your humbled (but not too humbled!) first mayor,
William Lyon Mackenzie