John Tory presides over 1st council meeting

Mayor John Tory was sworn in and was presented with the chain of office on Tuesday afternoon, as he presided over the inaugural meeting of the new council.
Toronto's new mayor sworn in at special council meeting 3:45

There's a new sign on the mayor's chair inside council chambers and a new guy sitting there.

Mayor John Tory was sworn in and was presented with the chain of office on Tuesday afternoon, as he presided over the inaugural meeting of the new Toronto council.

A month after winning the top job at city hall, Tory was given the chance to address councillors.

Tory outlined the challenges facing the city and the expectations of the residents council is serving.

"The bottom line, Torontonians want results and it is now up to all of us in this chamber to deliver them," he said Tuesday.

The meeting began at 2 p.m. ET. The session began with a rendition of O Canada by Juno Award-winning singer Liberty Silver.

Shortly after the start of the meeting, Tory took the oath of office and was presented with the chain of office by two guests — Louise Russo and former Ontario premier Bill Davis.

Mayor John Tory is seen presiding over his first council meeting on Tuesday. (CBC)

Russo is a justice advocate who was paralyzed after being shot in a botched 2004 Mafia-linked hit in a Toronto sandwich shop. Tory and Russo have maintained a friendship since he reached out to her following the incident. 

Speaking to council on Tuesday, Russo said that she first met Tory nine years ago and has learned about his commitment to the city he now leads.

"I have seen for several years now that John Tory genuinely cares about Toronto — its people, its safety and especially the youth," Russo said. "And I know that John, as a mayor of this great city, along with other councillors, will continue to believe in youth as our future leaders."

Tory and Davis have a long history, extending back to when the mayor first worked for the then premier nearly four decades ago.

'A different mood'

Tory talked about how things will be different at council this term.

Toronto Mayor John Tory speaks with reporters ahead of his first council meeting on Tuesday. (CBC)

"As your mayor, I pledge to you an open door and an open mind. I will not let ideology of any kind stand in the way of a good idea or doing what is right," he said. "With strong leadership and honest partnership, we will move this city forward together."

That message was echoed by Coun. Frances Nunziata, a returning councillor who Tory hopes to have serving as deputy speaker once again.

"I think there's a different mood on council," said Nunziata.

Mayor John Tory is seen standing alongside former Ontario premier Bill Davis, speaking with reporters after the mayor's inaugural council meeting. (CBC)

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, who will be the new deputy mayor, said there was a "pretty good balance" in the coalition that Tory has put together.

"Obviously there are some members of council — not all of them — that are pretty bitter and unhappy with the outcome," he said.

"But, you know, you can't make everybody happy in a council of 44 with different views, perspectives and not everybody can get what they want. By and large, I think the majority of members of council are quite happy."

Change in tone

Four years ago, former mayor Rob Ford's first council meeting was attended by famously cantankerous hockey commentator Don Cherry. Cherry, dressed in a flamboyant pink suit, used the opportunity to blast the "pinkos that ride bicycles and everything."

Coun. Rob Ford is seen at Toronto City Hall on Tuesday afternoon before the first council meeting under Mayor John Tory was set to begin. (CBC)

Cherry's presence seemed to set the combative tone that would define the next several years at city hall. 

Ford, who is now the councillor for Ward 2, arrived at city hall about half an hour ahead of the council meeting on Tuesday.

He has been receiving chemotherapy for a liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer he was diagnosed with just as the election campaign was kicking off. It resulted in him dropping out of the mayor's race and running instead for a council seat.

During his remarks to council on Tuesday, Tory called upon his new council colleagues to support a motion thanking Ford for his public service, which is now continuing as a councillor.

Tory also commended Coun. Norm Kelly for his "unique contribution" as deputy mayor for the latter part of Ford's term.

Council will reconvene on Dec. 11, but no agenda has been released. 

With a report from the CBC's Jamie Strashin


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.