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Vaughan Rising Podcast – Vaughan Rising with Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua

This blog is a summary of the Vaughan Rising Podcast Season 1 Episode 1 by the host, Michelle Samson. For more detail, listen to the full episode (links below).

About the episode

Vaughan’s economy is booming, citizen and business satisfaction are at 97 per cent and 92 per cent respectively, and mega projects like a brand new downtown and Canada’s first smart hospital are rising from the ground. What made this community transform from a typical suburb to a leader in city-building? Vaughan’s formula for progress is revealed by the City’s chief spokesperson and champion: Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua.

Thoughts from the host

In the series premiere of Vaughan Rising, I talk with Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua to find out what’s driving the transformation of Vaughan.

Less than 30 years ago, Vaughan changed from a town to a city and had a population of 100,000 spread across the communities of Woodbridge, Thornhill, Concord, Kleinburg and Maple. Mayor Bevilacqua has seen the entire transformation. He started as Vaughan’s federal Member of Parliament in 1988, then became Mayor in 2010.

In that time, the city has more than tripled in population and it’s the third-largest business centre in the Greater Toronto Area. In addition to the new downtown and smart hospital, it’s also home to major assets like CP Rail’s flagship intermodal terminal and North Maple Regional Park.

Mayor Bevilacqua credits the enterprising and innovative citizens of Vaughan who strive for excellence every day. He’s also had a strong influence himself. Since becoming Mayor in 2010, his first order of business was to build a culture of focus and discipline. When the City identifies a priority, it works diligently—for decades if necessary—to get it done. That includes getting key partners to believe in the vision and work towards the common goal.

I started working for the City less than a year ago. I quickly noticed the culture at City Hall for big, ambitious thinking, and the results: four per cent economic growth, 4.3 per cent unemployment, more than 200,000 jobs, billions of dollars in building permits, and landing major businesses like KPMG. Meanwhile, quality of life and civic pride are extremely high as well.

As Mayor Bevilacqua put it, “It’s the perfect recipe for success.”

As an enthusiast of all things developing and thriving in Vaughan, I asked Mayor Bevilacqua about restaurant recommendations in the city. Mayor Bevilacqua’s recommendation is a general shout out to Vaughan’s diverse ethnic food scene, but the most recent Vaughan establishment he’s tried is Giro d’Italia at 8740 Jane St., which features a different region of Italy every month.