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The 50 Most Influential People in Toronto: who really runs this city?

The 50 Most Influential People in Toronto 2013 You know you live in interesting times when the chief of police is the most powerful person in town. What propelled Chief Blair to the top of our Influentials list was Rob Ford’s Crackgate—a story that consumed the city for much of the last year and whose bewildering narrative is still being written. Of course, Ford wasn’t the only politician who behaved badly in 2013. Chronic dysfunction is evident at all levels of government, from the petty infighting at city hall to the crippling gamesmanship at Queen’s Park and the expense scandals on Parliament Hill. And yet, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some of the city’s most formidable leaders are outside the traditional halls of power: global hip-hop stars, tech titans, gossip bloggers and guitar-strumming astronauts, among others. The people ranked here all did something in 2013 that made an impact on our lives, for better or for worse. Our list demonstrates that sometimes influence is enduring, sometimes it’s fickle and sometimes it rests on a single cellphone video that could forever change the complexion of the city.

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  • hgushee

    If Mr. Deluce gets his way, as your writer suggests he will, we will have seen the interests of Toronto discarded to suit the growth plans of one single private enterprise. Beyond that, the City will end up on the hook for the hundreds of millions of infrastructure that the airport expansion will require to prevent the traffic disaster that is Lakeshore and Bathurst from becoming a full-scale transportation meltdown. And who’s gonna pay? You and me. Time to stop the Gravy Plane.

  • ellstar

    Hey guys, check your links. Cameron Bailey’s goes to Allen Lenczner and the rest are all wrong from there on.

  • Bryan Jaskolka

    I love this list! It’s so great to see that you’ve included so many people from such varied walks of life. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together. It really is a fascinating read!

  • Havingalook

    Interesting and finally something more than bankers, real estate, and pension fund folks. Drake – what am I missing here, I see little of interest, the music is annoying, his voice is annoying, is it just that you are on the outside if you don’t get what he is about? I simply fail to understand any of the hype for this performer. And…when the number one slot is held by the chief of police…well one can only conclude – interesting times ahead.

  • Diane Samuel

    David Miller, ex-Mayor of Toronto, Paul Bedford, former Chief Planner for the City of Toronto and Ken Greenberg, former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto — some of the most important city builders in Toronto — are opposed to the jet expansion of the waterfront.

    Fuel farms will have to be expanded beside the children’s school, and twice as much fuel trucked through residential neighbourhoods for the CS100s, which are twice the size and weight as the turboprops to duplicate international flights that are already happening at Pearson.

    If Mr. Deluce cared about the City of Toronto, he can expand Porter at Pearson, and if Toronto Life cared about Toronto, you could stop giving him free publicity to destroy our waterfront and Island Parks system by expanding his airport. The Union-Pearson Air Rail Link will connect Pearson to downtown in 2015; it will be faster to get on that to go to Pearson than fight the crowds to Bathurst Quay.

  • Diane Samuel

    And is Pamela Wallin someone you want to be connected with right now due to the Senate Scandal? Says a lot.

  • Oakville Homes

    Mr Gilgan shy? For every donation, it seems they have to put his name on the building – not anonymous like others. And some donations made with money from doing shortcuts.

  • Liv

    Why is Flaherty here? He represents Whitby, not Toronto. I imagine he spends most of his time in Ottawa, with visits home to Whitby. Probably only shows up in Toronto when the Big Boss wants him for propaganda showings.

  • Orson Sedmina

    I see Charles Khabouth made the list at #29. Then I look farther down the list and see an astronaut, the CEO of the TTC and a philanthropist who literally helped build our cities, our hospitals and our universities. You’ve got to be kidding me.

  • OpportKnocks

    I trust Mr Deluce will be down several hundred spots by this time next year. The expansion of BBTCA for jets and private interests is the definition of insanity.

  • Matt

    Elaine Lui? Get this joke off the list. The fact that she is ranked ahead of Cmdr. Chris Hadfield just shows how delusional this list is. Pathetic. Put someone else on this list who actually matters.

  • Chris Nelson

    I can’t say for certain, but my guess is that to make this list, you need to meet one of two criteria (other than collecting mail in the GTA): 1) your influence is so obvious it’d be stupid not to include you, or 2) you party with someone on the Toronto Life editorial staff.

    I look forward to one day reading about the silent power brokers in Toronto, the ones we never hear about but whose influence is felt everywhere. Somehow, I doubt I’ll find that kind of illuminating journalism in Toronto Life.

  • Masud Aijaz

    I like Elaine Lui because of her smile. She is a pretty girl. Visit us at Airport taxi Toronto