Lessons to be found in Toronto

May 3, 2011


Downtown Toronto

Downtown Toronto, on the banks of Lake Ontario

This Thursday, May 5, about 120 Nashvillians will fly to Toronto to begin a three-day tour, and I’ll be one of them. This is the 20th anniversary of the Chamber’s Leadership Study Mission, formerly known as the Inter-City Visit, where Middle Tennessee leaders visit other cities to see how they deal with problems, set priorities, take advantage of assets and how they muster the political will to move their cities forward.

The first trip like this I took was to Boston in 2005. Best memory was breakfast at Fenway Park (this was when the Red Sox were world champs) and the breakout session in the seats atop the Green Monster, which sell for about $1,000/game during baseball season – talking about taking advantage of assets.

Since then, the LSM has visited Chicago, Baltimore/Washington, Miami, Denver, Pittsburgh and now Toronto (the full list of cities visited is below). Every city has surprises and it will be interesting to scope out what makes Toronto tick. Mostly though, it’s a chance for a bunch of people from Nashville to get out of town, get to know each other better, learn something while they’re at it and take those lessons back to Nashville.

Toronto is a “global city.” We’re going to explore what makes that so, just how Nashville fits into the global marketplace – because we’re in it, whether we want to be or not – and what we need to be doing to find the right fit. What lessons can we learn from Toronto?

Learning lessons from other cities has proven to be a very positive exercise over the years. One of the best LSM memories I have was from 2006 in Chicago – having lunch in the Millennium Park band shell on a beautiful day and listening to Mayor Richard Daley talk about the decades-long process to create that park – which is even more spectacular when you consider it was built over a railroad yard. “Nashville can create great things, but they should reflect Nashville, not Chicago or any place else,” Daley said. So inspiration is what we’re looking for.

Fun fact – Toronto is the capital of Ontario, and eight current Predators hail from Ontario, so we owe these folks a big debt of gratitude. Looking forward to watching Thursday night’s Game 4 against the Canucks at a Canadian sports bar. Go Preds!

History of Leadership Study Mission visits

  • 1992 Seattle, WA
  • 1993 San Antonio,TX
  • 1994 Baltimore,MD
  • 1995 Pittsburgh,PA
  • 1996 Portland,OR
  • 1997 Charlotte,NC
  • 1998 Denver,CO
  • 1999 Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
  • 2000 Seattle,WA
  • 2001 Austin,TX
  • 2002 St. Louis,MO
  • 2003 Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
  • 2004 San Diego,CA
  • 2005 Boston,MA
  • 2006 Chicago,IL
  • 2007 Baltimore/Washington
  • 2008 Miami, FL
  • 2009 Denver, CO
  • 2010 Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2011 Toronto, Ontario

2 Responses to “Lessons to be found in Toronto”

  1. Georgia Redhead Says:

    Be sure to ruffle the feathers of a few Canucks fans up there, okay?

  2. Rob Robinson Says:

    I bet he’ll see many more depressed Maple Leafs fans than Canucks fans, but hopefully he’ll still have the opportunity. 😉

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