One of the reasons I love living in Toronto at this particular time is the growing energy going into making the city a truly great place to live. There’s an increasing interest amongst everyday citizens in civic issues: topics like housing, transit, streetscapes, art, outdoor life, pollution, and economic vitality are fast becoming part of everyone’s sphere of interest. And just as importantly, there’s an increasing willingness and capacity to change things. Unlike many other cities I’ve visited, Toronto is a place where you can actually change the way the city works, and accomplish it in your lifetime. It’s a huge reason to live here.
If this line of thinking resonates with you, and you’ve been seeking ways to get more engaged within the city, there is a program you need to know about: The City of Toronto is launching the “Urban Fellows Program“, an initiative aimed at attracting new high caliber professionals to the Toronto Public Service.
As I understand it, it’s one half boot-camp, one half incubator for smart people who want to make the city better. Participants get “an intensive introduction to the governance, operations and administration of Canada’s largest city through a combination of full-time work experience and participation in a series of seminars, tours and workshops.”
The program is one year long, with two six-month rotations in city positions. They’re seeking Masters – and Ph.D.-level experience, although that doesn’t seem to be an absolute requirement… I read it as, “we want whip-smart, well-educated people who are fired up about making the city better”. There are a limited number of positions. And it’s paid: the salary is almost $62K, some serious cash.
I love this concept, and I hope they net some really great thinkers. Applications are due may 30, and the first cohort starts this September. Please help spread the word.
 I readily admit to being biased by the people I surround myself with.