Ford says he had 'fantastic' time on Chicago trade mission
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:25AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 19, 2012 5:49PM EDT
Mayor Rob Ford says he had a “fantastic” time on a two-day trade mission to Chicago and is confident the trip will ultimately lead to new jobs for Torontonians.
Ford made the comment to reporters following a two-hour boat tour focusing on Chicago’s architecture Wednesday afternoon.
The tour was one of Ford’s final scheduled activities on his trip to the Windy City. Tonight he’ll tour U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, before returning to Toronto Thursday.
“It’s been non-stop but every single person I have talked to has had a great time and now we are going to go back, follow up on leads that we have and create jobs. That’s what it is all about,” Ford said of the trip. “At the end of the day the residents of Chicago and Toronto will benefit through jobs.”
Ford touched down in Chicago with a 60-person delegation Tuesday and met with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and visited Millennium Park, the city’s expansive urban green space financed with private sector funding.
On Wednesday he had a breakfast meeting with Chicago business leaders before meeting with his Chicago counterpart Rahm Emanuel to renew a sister city agreement.
The agreement, first drafted in 1991, was tweaked slightly to place an emphasis on creating a “more business-oriented partnership” between Chicago and Toronto.
“Our ties today are only as good as our opportunities tomorrow and we had a very good meeting talking about shared opportunities not only for the business culture but in terms of what we can learn from each other as two heads of major cities,” Emanuel told reporters following the signing of the agreement.
Speaking with reporters after the boat tour Ford said he hopes to host business leaders and political officials from Chicago for a similar trade mission and said he extended the offer to Emanuel during his meeting with him.
“Hopefully they can come back to Toronto and we’ll take it from there,” he said.
In addition to Ford and nine members of city council attendees of the trade mission to Chicago included co-chairs George Cohon, founder of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, and Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines as well as former Ontario premiers Mike Harris and Ernie Eves.
“We are going to form a great partnership with the community here,” Michael Williams, the general manager of Economic Development Toronto, told CP24 Wednesday morning “Toronto and Chicago have a lot in common and it’s very exciting. There is a lot of energy in the room.”
CP24 reporter Katie Simpson is in Chicago to cover the business mission. Watch CP24 for live updates throughout the trip.