“A Witness to a City” by Mayor David Miller


This Saturday morning, October 16, current candidates will seek votes on the streets while Mayor David Miller will be signing books in the heart of his former constituency. You can meet him and get a copy of his book signed at the Roncesvalles bookstore called Another Story Bookshop.  They helped me secure a signed copy in advance of the event.  Here is what I think about it.

Why did I buy it? I bought it with the hopes of understanding the man who represented the neighbourhoods that I now Pastor so that I could learn to be a better civic leader and gospel worker here.  I love the initial impact of the title, “A Witness to a City“, because of it’s (unintended?) religious theme. The mayor is a significant personality and the mayoral race (without Miller) is a current event.

What did I like about it? I found the first and final chapters helped me identify with him: his early years and entrance into politics.  Also, his favorite spot in the city is mine too (see final chapter)!  The dynamics and descriptions that he renders of key events in his work are very valuable for understanding his approach to our city.  It is very descriptive of Toronto, but there is a twist.

Should you buy it?  If you buy the book, however, you need to know that the heart of the book is not primarily about Mayor Miller himself.  This is not a proud legacy declaration. He is not screaming “Remember me for….”.  The heart of the book is 18 tributary biographical vignettes to Torontonians that represent the vision of Toronto.  That may or may not be what you seek. I think it is a pleasant “parting gift“.

My witness to this book concludes with this summary.  I enjoyed how it describes my neighbours from the perspective of an experienced local civil servant, yet I am left teased and wanting to know more of the man who was Mayor of the Greatest City in the World.  Maybe he will write another book later. He is an interesting character to me. Perhaps a leadership consultation over lunch will be the next step.  I think I’d sign the meal check, since he has signed my copy of his book.

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