This year’s Toronto Mayor New Year’s levee was different.
Instead of greeting residents in city’s hall rotunda, Tory and his wife, Barbara Hackett, skated outside with citizens at the Nathan Phillips Square rink just hours after joining thousands at the same venue for the annual countdown and celebration to usher in 2015.
“It’s something a bit different,” said Tory, who admitted he didn’t skate in almost a decade. “We thought it would be great to take advantage of the skating rink we have at Nathan Phillips Square to invite people to come here and celebrate this great city. The crowds were starting to diminish with people in city hall. We will do some of that, but I thought it would be nice to try something different with families.”
Before joining citizens on the ice, Tory said he plans to stick to the promises he made in the municipal election campaign.
“I am going to be working to keep taxes low, increase jobs and employment opportunities and improve the relationship with other levels of governments to help us build this city,” he said. “We have got some challenges in front of us, but we are all going to deal with those together with a bunch of other people that are with us on city council and each and every one of you.
“I think people know that I ran expressly on a platform of not left or right but forward for the city.”
Easing traffic congestion during rush-hour traffic was also high on Tory’s election platform.
The aggressive plan started last Monday with a zero-tolerance enforcement policy against drivers who cause traffic congestion during rush hour. Their vehicles will be tagged and towed away.
“I would love to drive a tow truck just because I have such a firm commitment to try to do what I can to fix the traffic,” said Tory.
Enforcement will focus on the tagging and towing of vehicles found to be stopped or parked in rush-hour routes. Traditionally, a parking ticket would be issued to the owner of the vehicle and not its driver. A change in the Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 950 allows charges to be laid against the driver directly.