John Sewell to deliver next Kitty Lundy Memorial Fund Lecture

John Sewell, political activist and former mayor of the city of Toronto, will deliver four lectures at York under the title, “Fuelling Suburban Growth in the Toronto area, 1950-2000”. The lectures will focus on growth outside Metro Toronto and how the framework has been laid for this growth to happen. Sewell will also draw some conclusions about the impact of growth in the 905 area, and how the quality of the city has changed.

Right: John Sewell helped kill the Spadina Expressway in Toronto and was later elected mayor

Sewell will deliver the lectures Nov. 14-17, from 4pm to 6pm each day, as part of the Kitty Lundy Memorial Fund Lecture Series. The first lecture, on Nov. 14, is titled “Laying the Transportation Network for Growth”. In it, Sewell will present a history of GO Transit and the 400 series of highways in the Toronto area. The lecture will take place in the Harry Crowe Room, 109 Atkinson College, on the Keele campus, at 4pm.

On Nov. 15, Sewell will examine the Ontario Water Resources Commission, the York Durham sewer system and more in his lecture titled, “Providing Water and Sewage Services to the Hinterlands”. This lecture will also take place at 4pm in the Harry Crowe Room.

“Systems of Governance and Decision Making” is the third in this series. Sewell will examine provincial, regional and local perspectives on governance and will examine how decisions are made. This lecture moves to the Renaissance Room, 001 Vanier College, at 4pm.

The final lecture, titled “Conclusions and Outcomes” offers Sewell’s perspectives on money, environment, society and citizens in the suburban world. This lecture will also take place in the Renaissance Room at 4pm.

The four-part lecture series is sponsored by the Kitty Lundy Memorial Fund, with support from the Master’s Office, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, and the Council of Masters (Bethune, Calumet, Founders, Glendon, McLaughlin, Stong, Vanier and Winters Colleges).

More about John Sewell

Sewell was elected to Toronto City Council as an alderman in December 1969 and devoted his time fully to council activities for the next eight years, serving both on City Council and, from 1974, on Metro Council. He championed the causes of protecting neighbourhoods, resident participation in city hall decisions, protecting historical structures, advocating for public transit, helping to increase the stock of affordable housing for low-income households and containing urban sprawl. He was a key force in the successful 1970s bid to kill the Spadina Expressway, and he was elected mayor of Toronto in 1978 for a two-year term. As mayor he advocated an end to the discrimination of gays and lesbians; helped rethink transit service in Toronto, including freezing fares and introducing a monthly pass; and helped establish an independent police complaints commission.

Sewell was re-elected as a councillor in late 1981 and served until his resignation in 1984 when he became an urban affairs columnist with The Globe and Mail. In 1986 he was appointed chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority, a provincial agency which provided 33,000 rent-geared-to-income housing units to over 100,000 tenants. From 1989 to 1991, Sewell taught law, politics and social science at York University. Since 1993, Sewell has pursued a number of related interests in the city – writing a weekly column for several Toronto newspapers.

He is the author of a number of books including: A New City Agenda (2004); Mackenzie: A Political Biography of William Lyon Mackenzie, (2002); Doors Open Toronto, Illuminating the City’s Great Spaces, (2002); Houses and Homes: Housing for Canadians (1994); The Shape of the City: Toronto Struggles With Modern Planning (1993); Police: Urban Policing in Canada (1986); Rowland Travel Guide to Toronto (with Charlotte Sykes) (1985); and Up Against City Hall (1972).

For more information on the Kitty Lundy Memorial Fund Lecture, contact the Atkinson Master’s Office at ext. 55727.