Witness to a City
Mayor David Miller is leaving his Toronto constituency with a parting gift—Witness to a City (Cormorant Books) in which he offers the opposite of the “great man” story. John McGrath, who covered City Hall and Queen’s Park for CBC radio for more than a decade, will talk to the Mayor about his years in office, his future, and most of all, about his book.
*Please note early start time*
Since becoming Mayor of Toronto in 2003, David Miller has met countless people from all walks of life, many of whom have travelled from various parts of the world to make homes for themselves. These people have gone through remarkable experiences and overcome seemingly insurmountable hardships, using their skills, courage, and kindness to inspire a better city.
“There are so many stories to be told [about Toronto’s citizens],” Miller says, “stories of incredible accomplishment, stories of joy, stories of sorrow and sadness too. They are stories people deserve to hear so they can better understand and appreciate the city we love. After all, they are our stories.”
David Miller has spoken with these citizens, and has handpicked some of the most powerful and inspirational of their stories to be featured in Witness to a City. These stories perfectly articulate Miller’s vision of Toronto — a city where different cultures live and work together for the greater public good, and dream together as one community.
Among the individuals included in Witness to a City are: Liz Amer, a former councillor and Toronto Islands resident who fought a winning battle to save her home; Mehran Birman, a hotdog vendor and immigrant from Iran who shares his life lessons with his customers; and Mohamed Gilao, a Somalian refugee who, despite having experienced his darkest days in Toronto, continues to see the city as a place of hope and devotes his energy to giving back to his community.
“I love this city and have always wished Torontonians could see it through my eyes,” Miller says. “That’s what Witness to a City is about: an extraordinary place where so many remarkable things happen each and every day.”
Witness to a City was co-written with documentary film producer and director Douglas Arrowsmith, and features original photographs by Toronto photographer Jeff Davidson. All of David Miller’s proceeds from the book are being donated to charity: the Mrs. Joan Miller scholarships, named after Miller’s mother.
David Miller spent his early childhood years in the tiny farming village of Thriplow, England. He and his mother moved to Canada in 1967, and to Toronto in 1981. Miller received a degree in economics from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Toronto. Before running for public office, he was a partner at the Toronto law firm Aird & Berlis, where he specialized in business, employment, and immigration law. He was elected Toronto’s 63rd mayor in November 2003 and was re-elected in 2006, with a mandate to make Toronto a city of prosperity, livability, and opportunity for all. Miller and his wife, lawyer Jill Arthur, live in Toronto and have two children.
Douglas Arrowsmith is a Gemini Award-winning documentary producer and director. He has a Ph.D. in Social and Political Thought and is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program in Documentary Media at Ryerson University.
Jeff Davidson was raised in small town Ontario and attended the University of Western Ontario and George Brown College. Jeff has been working full-time as an independent photographer since 2004.