May 31 – Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) proudly hosted a City of Toronto Business Roundtable this week which featured keynote speaker, Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning Division, Jennifer Keesmaat.
More than 120 business leaders from Etobicoke and beyond gathered at Woodbine Racetrack on Tuesday, May 30 to hear from city officials and prominent business leaders about the region’s growth and investment strategies.
The City of Toronto’s Business Roundtable was organized by Deputy Mayor Vincent Crisanti (Councillor, Ward 1, Etobicoke North) to provide medium to large business owners and operators’ up-to-date strategic growth information. The jammed-packed morning began with opening remarks from Crisanti before Senior Business Development Office, City of Toronto, Catherine Cieply highlighted programs and avenues in which the city supports businesses.
Following Cieply, WEG’s Jessica Buckley (Vice President, Community Relations & Corporate Affairs) and Garth Essery (Vice President, Property Development) provided an overview of plans to unlock the value in the 684 acres ready for development at Woodbine Racetrack. Essery informed attendees of upcoming milestones and timelines for the creation of a premier entertainment destination that will support horse racing and create jobs in Northwest Toronto.
Eileen Waechter (Director, Corporate Releations & Strategic Partnerships) spoke on behalf of the GTAA on the Toronto Pearson Megahub initiative and reaffirmed the importance of transit options in the region.
Keesmaat informed the crowd that Toronto West has added more than 4,000 jobs since 2013 and highlighted major development opportunities, including Woodbine Racetrack, in the area that will add significantly to that number. Keesmaat continued by saying that the region has tremendous assets but could benefit from additional transit options.
“We recognize that transit is a critical part of the legacy that we will leave to future generations,” said Keesmaat. “…having exceptional transit access is the backbone of our economic prosperity. It’s linked to productivity and our productivity is linked to attracting further investment… we need a much more ambitious agenda of building transit infrastructure…”
Deputy Mayor Crisanti closed the meeting following a productive question and answer session while encouraging the crowd to attend future roundtables and workshops.
"It was a tremendous opportunity for businesses across Etobicoke to learn about all the major projects underway in Etobicoke North, including the GTAA’s Toronto Pearson "Megahub" initiative and the vision for the over 600 acres at Woodbine Racetrack,” said Crisanti. “These initiatives will transform this part of the City, furthering the economic vitality and sustainability of our communities locally and globally. Even more exciting was having our City’s Chief Planner, Jennifer Keesmaat connect these projects to the importance of transit building and how they go hand-in-hand to lay the foundation for smart city building."