Media Release


Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner
Meets London’s Environmental Best 

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


London: Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, Gord Miller began his day in London Wednesday by speaking with members of the Mayor’s Sustainable Energy Council. Committee chairs delivered presentations with regard to the work the council has undertaken in the areas of generation – conservation and transportation – waste biomass and technology deployment and energy utilization.


Mayor Fontana arranged the visit to London. He said, “I wanted to give the Commissioner a chance to have a firsthand look at the environmental action and business that is taking place in the city.  London is a city that is doing things, not just talking the talk and we need to take the time to showcase our efforts and successes to those who can carry our message further afield”.


Wednesday’s events also included a tour of the LDHBA Green Home.  Built by members’ donations, the high-tech Green Home provides an opportunity to educate consumers, students and industry members. Located in Sifton’s Ballymote Woods (Sunningdale east), the home features integrated mechanicals, zoned heating, and is solar-ready. The sale of the home will fund completion of LDHBA’s 60th anniversary legacy project – the Cancer Survivors Garden located at Wonderland at Riverside.


The Civic Gardens was host to presentations by a number of local environmental programs including ecoLiving London – Our Street – ReForest London/Million Tree Challenge – and the Thames Region Ecological Association.  The City organized the lunch and also provided an overview of its current environmental initiatives.


Afternoon stops are slated to begin with the TD Bank’s first Zero Net Branch, located at the corner of Richmond and Fanshawe.  Free charging stations for electric vehicles and tracking solar panels have put this location on the sustainable energy map and the Commissioner’s sightseeing list.


A tour of the TRY Recycling facility on Clarke Road will give Mr. Miller and Mayor Fontana an opportunity to discuss the positive impact London business is making on the environment.  TRY has announced it has recently surpassed the three million tonne mark for recycling.  This number is the largest of any Ontario recycling company and is equal to the volume of an average landfill.  TRY President, Jim Graham, reports TRY has tracked its numbers over the past 21 years and the R&D investment by the company has allowed it to redirect and recycle for municipalities from across the province and maintain a top level standing C of A.


The Commissioner will end his day at the Graham Family EcoPark as the guest speaker and official “fish releaser”.  The EcoPark is marking its 10th anniversary and as Mr. Miller had officially launched the park with a release of trout he was pleased to be invited to be part of the 10th year celebrations.  Mr. Miller will join other local dignitaries in recognizing the Graham family and the community for continuing to provide an exceptional outdoor space for children who need a place to be part of their environment and learn about nature. The reclamation and ongoing development of the EcoPark using recycled material provides a valuable illustration to others as to what is possible and what is the right thing to do.


Contact:  Jen Buchanan – 226 – 919-9025

Media Release


Meeting Ends With All On Board


Date: Thursday, August 30, 2012


London, ON:   Via Rail President & CEO Marc Laliberté heard a singular message today when he came face to face with mayors from a number of Southwestern Ontario municipalities. They want a reliable and useful passenger rail service for the region and they are willing to lobby and work with VIA to that end.

London Mayor Joe Fontana hosted the meeting and began the discussions by assuring VIA President Laliberté that the municipalities were ready to partner with VIA to develop a plan to get trains back on their tracks and delivering the public transportation that regional travelers want and need.  The mayors in attendance indicated they felt it would be appropriate and valuable for VIA Rail to consult with them and clearly define what the company requires in ridership and revenue to return service to pre-July 31st levels and ultimately to increase service.

Mayor Fontana suggested other countries were ramping up train travel options for business commuters and travelers in an effort to provide an alternative to sitting in cars on six lane highways. Highways that often turn into parking lots due to the massive numbers of users.  This congestion increases GHG emissions and wastes valuable energy.  M. Laliberté countered that trains are only environmentally superior when they operate at full capacity and VIA’s recent cuts and future announcements are based on changes to the way Canadians travel and use the train.

The meeting ended with both sides agreeing the discussions had been frank and constructive. A working group comprised of municipal delegates and VIA Rail representatives will be formed and tasked to find ways of bettering regional transportation. VIA participants committed to consulting with municipalities earlier in the planning processes and decisions that affect the region.  It was agreed that future plans must take into consideration how important VIA Rail is to Southwestern Ontario communities, regional economy and potential growth. The next meeting will be held before the end of September and senior municipal staff will be fully engaged in the process to ensure maximum productivity and communication.


Today’s attendees included:


Mayor Joe Fontana, City of London                                       Mayor Carl Zehr, City of Kitchener,

Mayor Randy Hope, Municipality of Chatham-Kent              Mayor Mike Bradley, City of Sarnia,

Mayor Dan Mathieson, City of Stratford,                               Mayor Doug Reycraft, Southwest Middlesex,

Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden, Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc and Chair, Western Wardens Caucus, 

Warden Steve Arnold, Lambton County                                Chair Ken Seiling, Region of Waterloo

Norma Coleman, Mayor’s Office-City of Windsor

Serge Lavoie, Southwest Economic Alliance



Contact:          Jen Buchanan (cell) 226-919-9025




Office of the Mayor

Media Release


CEO of Via Rail Taking Train to London Talks


Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

London: The City of London is hosting a face to face meeting on Thursday, August 30th between Via Rail President & CEO Marc Laliberté and a number of area Mayors, Wardens and municipal senior staff. 

Mayor Fontana, with his counterparts Mayor Bradley, Mayor Francis, Mayor Hope and Waterloo Regional Chair Ken Seiling initiated the meeting as part of an overall strategy to see Via Rail service improved and expanded to adequately serve 2.3 million Ontarians.  Recent cuts to passenger service brought the issue to the forefront and reaction to the reduction in train service was swift with multiple municipalities calling for a return of the service pre-July 31st and, indeed, an expansion of train service.

The Southwestern Ontario passenger rail service is an integral and vital part of regional and national transportation infrastructure and is fundamental to local economic prosperity.  Travelers need affordable rail service along the Windsor to Montreal corridor and they need enough options in service to make taking the train viable.

Mayor Fontana believes the key to maximizing ridership is the development of a schedule that will meet the needs of the consumer.  He says ”The option to take the train only exists if there is a train to take.  If getting to and from major communities by train is possible, then ridership will support it and ridership will sustain it. It is important we express our collective needs to Via Rail and, to that end, M. Laliberté has graciously agreed to come to London.” 


Trains reduce the vehicle congestion on major roadways, specifically the 400 series highways, and reduce the GHG emissions. Public transportation – mass transit – is a preferable and viable method to move people, but only if the transport works in conjunction with the business and leisure traveler’s schedule.  We must continue to think forward – long term – for this generation and for the next. 


Scheduled to join the discussions with M. Laliberté are  Mayor Bradley, City of Sarnia; Warden Steve Arnold, County of Lambton; Mayor Hope, Municipality of Chatham-Kent; Ken Seiling, Regional Chair of Waterloo; Mayor Zehr, City of Kitchener; Mayor Mathieson, City of Stratford; Mayor Vanderheyden, Strathroy and Mayor Doug Reycraft of Southwest Middlesex. Senior staff members will also be in attendance.


The meeting will be held at City Hall – Committee Room Two from 10:30 a.m. to Noon. Attendees will be available to speak with media representatives following the meeting.





Contact:          Jen Buchanan (cell) 226-919-9025





Office of the Mayor


Media Release


London and Kitchener Mayors Set Friendly OHL Series Challenge    


Thursday, April 19, 2012

For Immediate Release:


As the London Knights and Kitchener Rangers prepare to face off in game one of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Western Conference finals tonight, London Mayor Joe Fontana and Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr have come up with a challenge of their own.


Fontana and Zehr have agreed that the Mayor of the losing city must wear the winning team’s jersey at the Ernst & Young CEO Professional Development Session on May 8 in London, where they will be in attendance, along with Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson.


“A little side wager – for fun, always adds to the excitement of our sporting events”, said Mayor Fontana.  “I just hope Mayor Zehr understands London is on a winning streak, having finished number one in the National Basketball League in fact, Mayor Kelly from Halifax may still be wearing our jersey. I am confident in London’s talented team and I’m ready to take the challenge offered by the Mayor of the fine City of Kitchener – Go Knights Go.”


“There’s always a lot of excitement and friendly competition when these two teams face one another – during the regular season, and even more so during the playoffs,” said Mayor Carl Zehr. “In the spirit of fun, Mayor Fontana and I thought we’d get in on the action too – so may the best team win. But, just to be clear – Go Rangers Go!”


The puck drops in game one of the series tonight at the John Labatt Centre in London. Game two is set for this Sunday, 7 p.m., at The Aud in Kitchener. The series will return to London for game three next Tuesday and Kitchener for game four next Wednesday.


The Mayors’ challenge is also supported by the Downtown London BIA and the Downtown Kitchener BIA.



Contact:          Jen Buchanan (cell) 226-919-9025


Media Release


London’s Timing Perfect For Japan Visit


Monday, April 16, 2011

For Immediate Release:


London’s delegation was welcomed as the first Canadian city to meet with Japanese business representatives following the announcement by Prime Minister Harper of the start of free trade talks with Japan.


Mayor Fontana, along with Peter White and Heather Pilot of the London Economic Development Corporation and delegates from TSI International began their day in Tokyo with introductions and questions at a media conference.  This was followed by a working luncheon with the heads of some of Japan’s leading industries where Mayor Fontana and Peter White delivered a presentation on London and included highlights of the significant opportunities and attributes London provides for new investors and business. London’s strong position in science and renewable energy sectors, development along the 401 corridor, access to water and related technologies, medical devices, digital media, automotive and healthcare were also promoted. London’s multiple education opportunities for international students and the city’s diverse community were also presented.


The audience showed great interest in London and as a result a number of follow-up meetings were planned for the next day as well as reciprocal visits to London by Japanese delegations.  The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan has requested a formal MOU be signed with the London Chamber of Commerce to facilitate a closer and continued business to business connection between the organizations.


Mayor Fontana met with Robert Derouin, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the Canadian Embassy as well as Mr. Paul Thoppil Minister (Commercial) Senior Trade Commissioner at the Embassy of Canada to Japan. Their discussions focussed on how the Embassy could assist in showcasing business opportunities in London and promote the World Figure Skating Championships to the avid Japanese figure skating enthusiasts.




Contact: Jen Buchanan 226- 919-9025



 Game on for Two Mayors as Home Teams Battle


Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For Immediate Release:


London: London’s Mayor, Joe Fontana and his counterpart in Halifax, Mayor Peter Kelly have upped the stakes in tonight’s National Basketball League Final Series game.

The two Mayors have announced a “side bet” on the outcome of the series, which may end following tonight’s game.  Should the London Lightning be triumphant the Mayor of Halifax has agreed to fly the London flag, wear a Lightning jersey and ship a catch of succulent lobster to the Forest City.  Should however the Rainmen wreak havoc on the London team Mayor Fontana will don the Halifax team colours, fly the Halifax flag and provide thirst quenching John Labatt libations to Mr. Kelly.

A staunch supporter of the London Lightning, Mayor Fontana has been a regular courtside for the Lightning’s first season and he is confident there is a seafood feast coming from the east coast.  He says, “Our team has been spectacular all year and we finished at the top of the standings. Coach Michael Ray Richardson and his players were held up by fog but I believe it will be clear sailing once they hit the court in Halifax tonight.”  The Mayor also believes the fans and amazing support from the community have played a significant role in shining a light on how well professional basketball has been received in London and showing other cities what is possible.

Mayor Kelly’s belief in the Rainmen is equally as strong and he is looking forward to enjoying a famous “brewed in London” beverage and a nicely framed photo of Mayor Fontana sporting the blue and white colours.  Mayor Kelly says, “The Rainmen bring Halifax fans great competition and exciting games.   This team is destined to finish on top. Halifax is hungry for a win and all that cheering can really make you thirsty.”

The Rainmen finished in second place in the regular season.

A win tonight by London would clinch the title, a loss would put the standings at 2 – 1 and extend the series and the Mayors’ anticipation.


Contact: Jen Buchanan (cell) 226-919-9025


International Opportunities Focus of Mayor’s Education Summit


Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For Immediate Release:

London: Mayor Fontana was joined this morning by representatives of London’s education community to discuss the city’s current and future opportunities in the world of international education.  Educators from public and private institutions came together to talk about strengthening London’s competitive position in attracting students from off shore.


Mayor Fontana was pleased with the level of interest and the ideas that were shared. He said,” London has a wealth of educational options for students from around the world and we need to work together to heighten our profile and project a strong message of welcome to those looking for an excellent place to live and learn.  London can provide a full spectrum of courses and the diversity in our community and in our post secondary institutions makes us a good choice for overseas students.”

Discussion during the two hour meeting was focussed on the need and opportunity for London educational institutions and the City to promote its schools, community and culture as welcoming and supportive of international students.

Both Western University and Fanshawe have for a number of years been actively recruiting students from around the world and several private colleges already cater to international students. International learning is a significant business opportunity and one that should be explored to maximize its potential for the community.  Establishing a lasting connection with young people who choose to earn their degrees and start their careers here will ultimately create new opportunities in business and open doors for greater numbers of immigrants to look favourably on London as where they want to make their new home.

The Mayor’s Education Summit was also attended by Connie Li, Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada, Guangzhou, China and Fatima Lai, Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada, Hong Kong, China.  The two representatives of the Consulate General were eager to hear what London had to offer and what the future may look like for international students.

The two Consulate General representatives will be joined later in the day by Philip Wong, Consul of Ontario Government in Shanghai, China and they will be guests at the London Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards.




Contact: Jen Buchanan (cell) 226-919-9025



 London to China Team Successfully Sets Stage for Future


Date: Monday, December 5, 2011

For Immediate Release:


London:      Team London’s trip to China was a resounding success and has opened doors to expanded relationships in the medical and education sectors, investment in manufacturing and partnerships for the business community.

“The trip put London on the map as a global player”, said Mayor Fontana. “Our timing was perfect and our presence at the Canadian China Business Council (CCBC) AGM delivered a push to London’s profile that we could not have imagined possible. London was singled out as the place to invest in for quality of life, for a strong and educated workforce, and for its proximity to North American markets. These third party endorsements were unsolicited and made on London’s behalf by a number of Canadian delegates to the CCBC, including Andre Demarais, Power Corporation and John Manley, President Canadian Council of Chief Executives. There were over 400 top level Chinese and Canadian business persons hearing about how London is the city where investment and partnerships are possible.” The Mayor added that his face to face meetings with the Mayors of Chongqing, Chengdu and Nanjing were very substantive and productive as each resulted in a firm commitment to expand the connections between city governments as well as business, education and medical sectors.

“Representatives of our official Sister City – Nanjing, were most gracious hosts and eager to discuss much closer relations. There had not been an official delegation to the city in over 12 years but Nanjing and London have much in common and they have now formed a working group to keep this revitalized connection alive.  We expect a large delegation to join with us in celebrating at the 2013 World Skating Championships.”

Commenting on the mission, Dr. John Denstedt, Chair/Chief, Department of Surgery, University of Western Ontario, said “The Team London mission has significantly contributed to the ongoing efforts of CSTAR, the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and the University of Western Ontario in China to advance opportunities in patient care, medical research. education and training and economic development for our community. Through this Team London approach, I anticipate continued growth in these exciting opportunities in China and elsewhere around the world.”

Joaquim Ballès, President of the London Chamber of Commerce, said “The Team London mission to China succeeded in strengthening existing relationships in China, putting in place key building blocks for establishing new relationships, and validating the importance of a team based approach to creating economic opportunities. By entering into a Cooperation Agreement with the Chongqing Private-Owners Association and the Sichuan Chamber of Commerce for Im-Export, the London Chamber of Commerce accomplished its objectives and by doing so put in place one of the key building blocks to establishing new relationships. As we work on building and maintaining these relationships, we expect that economic opportunities will be created which will benefit our members and lead to job growth in London and area.”

George Baran, Vice Chair of London’s Trudell Medical Group was also impressed by the caliber of the mission. “Working in the framework of relationships leveraged by CSTAR, The Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Fontana provided us with unprecedented access to senior players in the Chinese healthcare industry. This allowed us to expedite our assessment of the Chinese market for export opportunities and develop linkages for our medical device marketing businesses. Working under the broad Team London initiative increases goodwill, trust, and security in relationships with prospective Chinese business partners”


Planning for the London to China trip began in June and was initiated by CSTAR as an opportunity for the City and the Chamber to help advance the strong relationships and key initiatives that CSTAR has established with the West China Hospital and other Chinese stakeholders. The Mayor agreed to lead the team and the Chamber and CSTAR coordinated the trip agendas and meeting schedules for Chongqing, Chengdu and Beijing. The follow up mission is targeted for April and, in addition to CSTAR, Chamber and City representation, it will include representation from UWO, Fanshawe, and the private sector.






Media Releases – November

Team London’s Chamber Rep Signs International Agreement  


Date: Friday, November 25, 2011
For Immediate Release


Chengdu, China:      Team London’s trip to China has resulted in a formal expansion of international relations for the city’s Chamber of Commerce. Following a meeting and presentations with the Sichuan Chamber of Commerce , Joaquim Balles, President of the London Chamber of Commerce was invited to sign a Friendly Cooperation Agreement as a first step towards establishing a framework between the two Chambers.  This agreement will facilitate Export and Import among members and investments in each City.  A formal signing ceremony followed with Mayor Fontana witnessing the signatures of the respective Chamber representatives.

“The signing today opens the door to another important collaboration with a Chinese Chamber located in the fastest growing region in China. The cooperation will benefit our respective members and business community at large by facilitating international trade with China and leading to greater investment in both Cities.” said Joaquim Balles, President of the London Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Fontana continues to be extremely pleased with the outcomes of Team London’s trip to date.  The Mayor believes the opportunities are extensive.  He says, “There are more than 10 thousand companies looking to access Canadian NAFTA markets.  London is now poised to offer these companies the best opportunities to succeed by locating in London – where we have the geography – skilled workers and competitive advantages – agreement for numerous opportunities to create jobs and assessment for the city.”

The Sichuan Chamber’s membership is open only to companies that are involved in international trade – export / import.  They have a membership of about 10,000 companies and have established a relationship with Chambers in Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Korea, Poland, Mexico, Hungary, and Taiwan. One of their primary objectives is to encourage collaboration between their member companies and member companies in other countries in order to facilitate international trade.  They have developed a process with their existing international Chamber partners to match Chinese companies with foreign companies and to communicate valuable information on topics such as how to do business in China.





Date: Wednesday, November 23, 2011
For Immediate Release


Signatures Set London China Economic Opportunities Closer

Chongqing, China:     Earlier today senior Chongqing officials and business leaders joined with Mayor Fontana and Team London in a public signing ceremony that resulted in three MOU’s.  The ceremony was also attended by representatives from Jinshan Science and Technology Group, the Canadian Consulate in Chongqing, the Chongqing CCPIT and Chongqing media.


The first MOU was signed by Mayor Fontana, between the City of London and the Jinshan Group.  This was a public signing of the MOU approved by London Council in October.  It was witnessed by John Parker of CSTAR.  Mayor Fontana was extremely pleased with the results of the ceremony.  He said, “This public acknowledgement of our expanding relationship strengthens the business and cultural connections between our cities. They are the starting point toward greater opportunities for economic development and jobs for London.”


The MOU focuses on opportunities to advance surgical robotics research, testing and training.


John Parker, Director of CSTAR echoed the Mayor’s remarks. “The City of London – Jinshan MOU has brought forward many opportunities to London that will benefit academic, healthcare and industry sectors including collaborative research and development of diagnostic and surgical robotics.”


The second MOU signed links the London Chamber of Commerce and the Chongqing Private-Owned Business Association and brings London business closer to the establishment of an international network of Chambers.  The Chongqing Private-Owned Business Association boasts a million members and the group and London have now entered into a “Friendly Cooperation Agreement”.  Following the signing, Joaquim Balles, President of the London Chamber remarked on the expanded opportunities this brings to London.  He said, “This relationship along with the relationships established today with the City, CSTAR and Trudell should result in investment and jobs for both Cities.”


The third MOU executed was between Trudell Medical Limited and The Jinshan Science and Technology Group of Chongqing China to assist each other in the identification and development of market opportunities in both China and Canada. “This collaboration is expected to result in the eventual creation of additional manufacturing and high-tech job opportunities in both London and China” says George Baran, Trudell Medical Vice-Chair.


Mayor Fontana and Team London will now head to Chengdu, China on the second leg of the mission. To find more information and read daily updates on the trip go to



Media Release

Four Mayors Cooperate For Common Goals

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
For Immediate Release    

Chatham ON:  Mayors from Chatham, London, Sarnia and Windsor met this morning for the first of what they say will be a series of meetings to discuss common issues.  First item on today’s agenda was the potential for high speed rail for southwestern Ontario and establishing a collective response regarding the impact and benefit to the region.  A federal report released earlier this month indicated an option to end the proposed link in Toronto instead of continuing on to Windsor.  This suggestion prompted response from each Mayor individually and also set the stage for the talks that began this morning.

Following the meeting Mayor Randy Hope – Chatham-Kent, said “Our municipalities have much in common and what affects one affects all.  It only makes good sense for us to talk and combine our voices so they might be heard more clearly in Toronto and Ottawa.   We want to include more of the municipalities from the region and we are planning to extend an invitation to their leaders in the new year.”

London’s Mayor Joe Fontana joined the meeting by telephone and said he was pleased with the results.  He said, “I’m always talking about the power of partnerships and working with other levels of government to maximize the benefits for all our citizens.  Today we put highway and rail transportation links on the table for discussion and this is a great start.  We need to work cooperatively and identify mutual goals… and I believe we can do just that.”

“None of us were consulted on the federal report,” said Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, “and yet this discussion has been going on for 20 years, with everyone saying they want to be inclusive.  We mean to be consulted, and by joining with leaders from across southwestern Ontario and beyond, we will make sure that we are, for the benefit of the entire region.”

“With this discussion, we have set the basis for an initiative that can benefit all of southwestern Ontario,” said Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis. “This is not just about governments. This is about the wellbeing of our regional economy, our businesses, and our local citizens.”

The mayors said they also plan to approach mayors in Quebec to find common cause and understanding within the coming weeks.



Media Release 

Mayor Issues Moustache Challenge 


Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
For Immediate Release


London:    Mayor Fontana today issued a challenge to all male City Councillors, Senior City Staff and CEO’s across London, to step away from the razor for the month of November. The Mayor said, “It’s Movember and a perfect time for men to think about health issues and specifically early testing for prostate cancer. We can’t take our health for granted and we can’t be too busy to see our doctors or get regular checkups. Growing a moustache for a month is a good way to remind others and yourself that being actively involved in your health is the only option.”


Movember began in Melbourne Australia but has since grown to be a global movement.  Movember encourages men to educate themselves about the health risks and factors that are specific to them and to act on that knowledge to access early detection, diagnosis and treatment.


In 2010, nearly 119,000 Canadians raised more than 22 million dollars for cancer research and organizers are optimistic this year’s total will be even greater as more men, and those who care about them, become better educated and active.


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