History – A Solid Foundation

Since being founded as the Toronto City Summit Alliance in 2002, now as CivicAction, we have provided a neutral platform for collaboration and leadership focused on improving our region’s social, economic and environmental future.

We engage the key players – including the “unusual suspects” –from business, labour, the academic, non-profit and voluntary sectors, and all three orders of government and leverage their collective energy, networks and thought leadership.

Visit our Reports page (Click here!) for examples of how we’ve driven real progress on pressing issues, and see our Timeline below for a snapshot of our impacts to date.


Since our 2003 launch report, Enough Talk: An Action Plan for the Toronto Region, we and over 7000 business, academic, government, labour and not-for-profit partners have launched innovative responses to intractable and emerging challenges such as capitalizing on our diversity advantage, renewing our infrastructure, and modernizing our income support systems. We focus on issues where there is a clear consensus for action and where progress can be made quickly.


We are engaging and informing residents and civic leaders by: advocating for and driving collaborative solutions to regional challenges; organizing forums, conferences and seminars; and developing and publishing guidelines, public policy positions and other material to drive social, environmental and economic prosperity.

Every four years, CivicAction hosts a Greater Toronto Summit, convening hundreds of city builders and leaders from across the region and all sectors to meet one another and chart an action plan to address the issues facing our region. Our Greater Toronto Summits draw attention to the critical challenges and opportunities and set the civic agenda for CivicAction and its partners.

Following the Summits, and in consultation with our Steering Committee and many partners, CivicAction takes on initiatives that meet the following criteria:

  • Intractable or emerging regional challenge
  • Suited to a multi-sectoral, collaborative approach
  • Strong potential for high impact
  • No other logical home
  • Broad leadership energy and enthusiasm to pursue

More than 7000 people have been engaged in, and a great many more impacted by, CivicAction and other initiatives born out of our Greater Toronto Summits. To find out more about our initiatives, see Our Work.

Tribute to Our Founding Chair

David Pecaut (1955-2009) was the driving force and founding chair of our organization. A senior partner of The Boston Consulting Group, David was an extraordinary civic entrepreneur and visionary. He had a powerful talent for convening people from widely varying perspectives and backgrounds and working with them to build consensus and collaborate to achieve bold city-building goals.

Invited to address the first Toronto Summit in 2002, David presented a compelling social and economic “diagnostic” of the Toronto region. From there, he undertook to create and lead a 40-leader Steering Committee to take a more detailed look at the challenges facing the region, resulting in the 2003 report, Enough Talk: An Action Plan for the Toronto Region and leading to the creation of this unique and enduring civic leadership organization.

David taught us civic responsibility and engagement, showing time and again how much can be achieved when energetic and passionate people like him come together to create and pursue big ideas. He inspired people to move from words to action and attracted thousands of people to join us in improving the social, economic and environmental future of the Toronto region. David was awarded the Order of Canada for his distinguished service as a civic leader and volunteer and for his contributions to the arts community of the City of Toronto. David’s legacy lives on in the people and work of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance and the many enduring initiatives he helped to create. We continue to work with our many partners and volunteers to continue the path David charted.

Before his passing, David shared his inspiring vision of collective leadership and city-building to ensure the future success of the Toronto region. Read David’s love letter to Toronto.  Eleven Out of Ten: The Life and Work of David Pecaut, a memoir authored by Helen Burstyn, was published in late 2012.