Strong cities

Today, more than 80 per cent of us live in cities. Canada’s cities are the principal economic, social and cultural drivers of the country; however, our cities are struggling to meet the 21st century challenges we face.

At Maytree, we invest in efforts to strengthen our cities because we believe that if we can build a city that works for people with low incomes, it will work for immigrants and refugees, it will work for people living with disabilities, and for the young and for the old. In short, it will work for all of us.

Learn more about the work that Maytree supports:

The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) at the University of Toronto explores how cities fund their activities and govern themselves through extensive research both in Canada and globally. IMFG also holds an ongoing series of events to present and debate the ideas that influence how are cities are run.

Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement works to better our understanding of community change and how organizations and individuals can collaborate to end poverty. It works with communities across Canada to create cross-sectoral solutions and by sharing knowledge about collective impact at the community level.

The Urban Project is an initiative designed to tackle the challenges facing Canada’s big cities. It is co-founded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Maytree, with support from TD Bank Group, The Metcalf Foundation, and in participation with the University of Toronto School of Cities and the Institute for Municipal Governance and Finance.

Relevant publications


Published on 29/10/2018

Our politicians must raise their game to become dramatically more effective in creating and implementing stronger public policy in our cities.

“Canada is rich by nature, poor only by policy,” Goldwin Smith told the New York Chamber of Commerce 130 years ago. Smith was a professor of history residing in Toronto, and in his speech he commented on the natural and human capital that abounded in the country, but lamented how little had been done with […]

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Published on 24/08/2018

We need to create a new governance system that enables Toronto to truly govern itself, act on its strengths and address its many problems and challenges.

It’s not every day of the week that one of the world’s great cities turns into a political football. But that is exactly what is happening in Toronto. Late last month, newly installed Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced his plans to cut the size of Toronto’s city council in half. Mayor John Tory pressed the […]

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Published on 26/04/2018

It's time to make the case for cities, and a city-building lens, to create a stronger, more equitable, and more resilient province.

As the Ontario provincial election draws near, here’s one prediction we can make with a high degree of certainty: the role, powers, and livability of our cities will not be high on the agenda of any of the major parties. Beyond the political sparring of the party leaders, the campaigns will likely focus on a […]

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Published on 29/11/2017

With the departure of Jennifer Keesmaat from Toronto’s Chief Planner chair, Toronto is looking for her successor. Alan Broadbent suggests choosing someone who sees city planning through the lens of human rights.

With the departure of Jennifer Keesmaat from Toronto’s Chief Planner chair, Toronto is looking for her successor and is no doubt considering what attributes it wants the new Chief Planner to have. Our suggestion is to choose someone who sees city planning through the lens of human rights. The City’s description of the role of […]

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Published on 28/06/2017

Does the City of Toronto really need to control all of its social housing? City council should be open to new ways of thinking and not be paralyzed by the idea that it has to maintain control over the entire social housing portfolio.

Social housing in Toronto is at a turning point. After years of underinvestment, years filled with reports, task forces, and much talk but less action, we might finally get to answer the question: does the City of Toronto really need to control and manage all of its social housing? Could it transfer stewardship of some […]

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Published on 02/06/2017

Voluntary collaborations between small- and medium-sized cities could increase efficiency and strengthen regional political cohesion.

For the last few decades, there has been a growing commentary on Canada’s anachronistic approach to its biggest cities. Over the 150 years of our country’s history, our large cities have become economic, social and cultural engines. But they remain locked into a constitutional structure from the time of Confederation which limits their powers, governance […]

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