THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO
INDUSTRIAL AND PUBLICITY
AN ADDRESS BY C.L. BURTON, PRESIDENT OF THE
4th April, 1929
The speaker was introduced by PRESIDENT EAYRS, and was received with applause. He spoke as follows: It was the late Senator Cox who, I believe, was responsible for the wise observation "what ought to be done can be done."
Our Mayor and Board of Contral, our City Council, The Toronto Board of Trade, our Harbour Commissioners and various public bodies and corporations and citizens have declared for a greater Industrial Toronto.
They have said the job of bringing new industries to this City should be done and we, the newly commissioned corporationThe Toronto Industrial and Publicity Commission, have agreed to undertake the task.
THE FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMISSION
The functions of this Commission are indicated by the charter provisions which empower us to take all proper steps from time to time to secure new industries for and aid industries in the City of Toronto and surrounding territory and generally to give publicity to the advantages of the said City of Toronto and its surrounding territory for business and manufacturing purposes.
This statement sets forth the purpose of this body and the aims which it has adopted.
Before addressing myself to the policy, plans and objectives of the Commission, I thought to ask your indulgence so that I might for a few moments refer to some past activities, having generally the same objects in view as are to be prosecuted by this new body.
It is more than twenty years ago that the City appointed Joseph E. Thompson as Industrial Commissioner. The office was abolished after a short period as it seemingly could not weather the city political winds of the day.
For several years there was no organization whose duty it was to take care of the Industrial development of the city.
The Toronto Harbour Commissioners were organized in 1911. Mr. E. L. Cousins being General Manager and Chief Engineer. In 1918 Mr. Cousins was appointed City Industrial Commissioner at $1.00 per year.
Important work was done with certain British manufacturers who were influenced to open branches in this city.
The great Harbour development of which we are all so proud, has continued to locate important industries on Harbour lands.
As new development has proceeded and more lands have been made available, the Harbour Commissioners have increased their efforts and are able to report substantial progress as is evidenced by the industrial activity on our water-front today. (Applause.)
NEW HARBOUR DEVELOPMENTS
With buildings rising everywhere on the Toronto water-front, the city is reaping its share of the development there in the growing receipts of taxes. Recently a statement was issued showing the assessed value of the lands, buildings and business of industries located on the Toronto Harbour Commission properties. The figures for 1928 are just double those of 1924. For this year it is estimated that the tax collection will be around $756,000.00, new money. (Applause.)
In 1924 the Toronto Publicity Bureau was appointed as Industrial Commissioners to succeed Mr. Cousins and they functioned actively and with fair success until 1927.
Meanwhile the Tourist and Convention Association, an organization chiefly in the interests of the hotels of Toronto and those whose business is directly affected by visitors to the City, has been active in seeking Tourists and Conventions and in issuing publicity for such purposes.
THE BOARD OF TRADE'S INTEREST
The Toronto Board of Trade has been very helpful throughout this period, lending support to such activities as were from time to time operating in the interest of new industrial enterprise, and latterly, together with the more directly important services of the Harbour Commissioners, they have given freely of their time and resources in taking care of numerous inquiries and industrial prospects.
The lack of equipment for following through. Industrial prospects was fully realized by the Board of Trade, and that body has been vigorous in its advocacy of a proper Industrial Commissionership being established.
ACTION BY THE CITY
In September, 1927, the City Council confirmed a very comprehensive resolution of the Board of Control looking to action in this matter, but no action was taken until 1928 when His Worship the Mayor took the matter up.
The Board of Control authorized a conference of representatives of organizations and interested citizens. His Worship convened this meeting and as a result the present corporation was organized under Letters Patent issued by the Province of Ontario. (Applause.)
THE NEW COMMISSION-A CORPORATION
The present Commission is a corporation, therefore, with a charter enabling it to proceed with the business of securing new industries, aiding existing industries and of making known the advantages of this city and the area surrounding it for industrial development.
The new corporation has been very fortunate in securing not only unanimous recognition by the Board of Control, but has been granted by the City the sum of $25,000.00 per annum for five years-it being understood that a similar amount should be secured from other sources.
PRIVATE FINANCIAL SUPPORT
With respect to financial support, it is proposed to limit the appeal to larger concerns who are known to be interested in industrial development and able to support the work; to seek a small number of comparatively large subscriptions for a period of five years, rather than smaller subscriptions from a larger number. It is felt
I am happy to be able to say that leading firms and financial institutions have subscribed an amount in excess prove the worth of the undertaking.
that in this way the financial requirements of the organization will be assured for a sufficiently long period to of the amount to be received from the city.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors consists of fourteen members, with power to add six additional members to the Board. The Board of Trade has appointed six, the Manufacturers Association, three, while the City, the Harbour Board, the T. T. C., the Hydro and the Canadian National Exhibition Association are all represented. Provision is also made for an appointee of the Ontario Government whose co-operation and support is desired and recognized as an important consideration.
CO-OPERATION OF PUBLIC BODIES
These public bodies, other than the city, are vitally interested in the work to be done, and may desire to contribute to the Commission's support, and it is part of the policy of the Commission, if and when such support is given and accepted, to raise at least a dollar from private sources for each dollar of public funds subscribed.
THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
Under our Charter the directors have been authorized to appoint under a special By-law an Executive Committee to carry on the active management of the corporation.
PRINCIPLE OF INDEPENDENT ACTION OBSERVED
As will be seen the principle of independent action has been observed, and it is a fact that while the Commission is officially recognized by the city and by the various public bodies, it is free and independent of city politicsa self-subsisting corporation, such as can properly claim adequate financial support for its activities and deserve as well the thorough co-operation of all public and private bodies and individuals.
Our initial needs are already arranged for and the Commission has appointed for its General Manager, Mr. Main Johnson, who I believe will perform service of conspicuous character as he moves forward upon his duties. (Applause.)
Our new General Manager will be well supported financially, and is consequently able to spend his entire time on the work to be done.
Mr. Johnson has been on the job only a fortnight, but has in this short time taken over a multitude of detail from various sources, has followed up with fine vigour several prospects awaiting his attention, and spent useful effort on new lines of work.
The Commission hopes very shortly to secure permanent quarters. Meanwhile we have to thank our friends of the Toronto Transportation Commission for putting at our disposal as temporary offices, very commodious quarters, and useful services, which immediately have enabled us to do effective work.
Mr. Walter Gordon, loaned to us by the firm of Clarkson, Gordon and Dilworth, has been appointed Acting Secretary-Treasurer and is doing splendid service in keeping our records and organizing our accounts.
The Canadian Pacific and the Canadian National Railway Industrial Commissioners have given us full cooperation and the press of the city has been at our service from the start with timely and informative news items and editorials.
OUR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
Our Executive Committee consists of His Worship, the Mayor; Thomas Jenkins, Chairman of the Harbour Board; John A. Tory, President of the Board of Trade; Roy D. Kerby of the Manufacturers Association, and the President.
This Executive meets every Friday at eleven o'clock to receive the weekly report of the General Manager, and for the transaction of general business.
While policies are being decided upon, plans matured and a working budget approved, much active preliminary work of a practical character has been begun.
While no further staff appointments have been made, important work has been allotted to various temporary officers who are being employed variously upon definite industrial prospects, the preparation of classified lists of established industries and upon a program of necessary publicity.
One of the first steps taken has been to list existing industries under two classes
(a) Those, manifestly successful;
(b) Those whose activities are not altogether satisfactory.
The purpose of this work is to establish our position, so far as opportunity for new industries is concerned.
Those industries whose activities are of an active contributing character and who are undoubtedly doing their work well and serving the city and country well will be left alone by the Commission to the extent that it will not itself initiate any efforts to provide additional competition, and will co-operate in helping to expand existing industries as opportunities come to its attention.
Such industries, however, as cannot be hindered by further competition will be listed for attention.
Those industries which are reputed to be in an unsatisfactory condition will be considered under say two divisions
(1) Those who are conducting an enterprise whose opportunity is insufficient, and therefore which may never succeed, and
(2) Those whose operations can be considered a needful enterprise in this community, but who through lack of enterprise or from bad management should be stimulated and encouraged or be replaced by up-to-date concerns.
This latter group will receive active attention by the Commission.
QUESTIONNAIRES TO LOCAL MANUFACTURERS:
Manufacturers in this area have been asked for information:-
(a) As to materials and parts used in their products which are imported into Canada;
(b) If similar products are made in Canada and if so
why imported products are being preferred;
(c) If such materials and parts are not now being made in Canada, whether there is a field for the establishment of industries in Canada to make them.
Ninety-five firms, many of first class importance, gave immediate replies to these questions, and their answers provide us with many useful leads.
Toronto manufacturers have also been asked if they have spaces in their present premises for rent or for sale to other industries.
One hundred and four have already replied and thirtyone of those answering have reported certain space available.
BRITISH AND OTHER CORRESPONDENTS
We are in touch with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, His Majesty's Trade Commissioner in Toronto, our own Canadian Trade Commissioners, the British Federation of Industries, National Union of Manufacturers of Great Britain, the Canadian Minister to France and the Canadian Minister to the United States, and with the Commercial Attache to the Frenh Legation at Ottawa.
We are securing address lists of those exhibiting at the British Industries Fairs, Lyons Fair, Leipzig Fair, and last but not least outside-of-Canada firms at the Canadian National Exhibition. (Applause.)
COMPARISON WITH SIMILAR BODIES
We are comparing operations and plans with those in operation in Atlanta, Cleveland and Los Angeles, and in the border cities, Windsor and Detroit.
Our Manager has visited Windsor and Detroit and has discussed with the Executives of leading industrial companies the prospect of locating some of their operations in Toronto.
A word to those in business in Toronto and Ontario:--
No ENCOURAGEMENT TO UNNECESSARY COMPETITION
No activity of this Commission will be directed to multiplying unnecessary competition. Those firms who are doing their job well and progressing, even if at present their operations may not be as large as we should like to see, will be left as far as possible undisturbed by the introduction, through efforts initiated by us, of unnecessary competitors.
Further, may I say that the fine industrial cities and towns of Ontario are not to be "preyed" upon.
On the other hand, we believe many, if not all industrial zones, in this province, will benefit by our activities.
OUR FIRST EFFORT-TORONTO AND SUBURBS
Our first effort will be naturally to establish the new industry within the boundaries of the city.
(1) On Harbour lands.
(2) In existing industrial areas.
(3) In areas which we hope will be recovered from presently inactive areas.
Our second efforts will be in and around the metropolitan area of Toronto.
We shall not, however, hesitate to suggest to a new industry any area in this province that we may believe promises the best opportunity for successful enterprise--and for this reason we invite the co-operation of all our sister municipalities.
Industries we hope to secure for Toronto may be divided roughly into two classes
(1) Such as require large acreage in cheap lands, plentiful labour and low taxation and favourable low cost conditions.
(2) Such as recognize Toronto as the centre of Canada's richest and most numerous consuming population.
The latter are the most numerous and can afford to pay for general city and harbour locations. They are of the class whose operations require comparatively small acreage, whose volume runs into money and who want to be in the midst of the largest body of available consumers, both for reasons of economical distribution and for publicity purposes.
We hope to bring scores of such industries.
The former group may have to be provided for in the suburbs or other territory tributary to this economic area.
Time will not permit an enumeration of all the obviously favourable considerations which are to be found in this city.
Our labour, while above many in standard of living, is generally able, wholesome and sound, and a fine day's work is given for a good day's pay. The moral quality of work done by those employed in this city will compare with the world's best.
Canada holds a unique position in the world for its volume of trade per capita.
We are a favourable base from which an export business may be conducted.
We uphold the best traditions of British trading and the British flag, and Toronto is, of all places in Canada, a place of world-wide good trading reputation.
We can therefore appeal to Industrialists of Britain and other countries to establish in Canada
(1) To share in the trade of the most happy and prosperous of all peoples of the world;
(2) To prosecute from this fair base a world-wide export business. In closing I wish to pay tribute to those whose moral and financial support have made this Commission possible.
The speaker has been accorded many evidences of confidence and goodwill.
We shall try to do our best. We have as an objective such an addition to taxable industrial property and business from new enterprises as will more than make up for the present deficit on our Waterfront development expenditure.
Municipal Income Tax in the Province of Ontario is one of our greatest obstacles to the establishment of new enterprise in competition with other provinces. I am hopeful, that in spite of this unfavourable feature, our increase in taxable properties will enable us to repeal the present law, and so remove an unnecessary handicap, at the same time preserving our revenues from taxation.
May I thank you, Mr. President, for this opportunity of telling my fellow members of the Empire Club and our guests of today, of this new enterprise, the Toronto Industrial and Publicity Commission, whose work we hope will be a signal service to our city as well as a useful instrument for the development of Empire trade. (Applause.)
The thanks of the Club were tendered to the speaker by Mr. R. A. Stapells.