John Tory at Austin's SXSW looking for ways to make Toronto 'more hip'

John Tory says Toronto needs to relax a bit if it wants to be as hip as Austin, Tex. In fact, “we’re a little bit uptight,” the mayor admits.
John Tory said Toronto may need to consider relaxing some of its policies around issues like food trucks and the handling of live music if it wants to be as 'hip' as Austin, Texas, the home of the South by Southwest festival. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

John Tory says Toronto needs to relax a bit if it wants to be as hip as Austin, Tex. In fact, "we’re a little bit uptight," the mayor admits.

Tory spoke to CBC Radio’s Metro Morning from Austin, where he’s on a two-day trade mission at the South by Southwest festival — one of the world’s top music events. He’s looking for ways to promote the city, but also for ideas about how to make Toronto "more hip," which he said could help grow the music business and make the city more attractive to young workers.

"If we could do for music what we’ve done for film … then I’d be very happy about that," Tory said.

But to do that, he said, "we’re going to have to be a little more relaxed."

While Tory was short on specific plans, he cited the way Austin handles food trucks, liquor and venue permits and its handling of live music as things that make the Texas city unique. During SXSW, public spaces throughout the 900,000-person city are converted into music venues where thousands of bands play throughout the day and late into the night.

Tory did check out some music — he picked Toronto rapper Blake Carrington as his favourite discovery so far — but said his focus is on developing the city.

To hear more about Tory’s trip to Austin, check out the Metro Morning interview in the audio clip above.


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