CivicsTO/101 Courses

Upcoming Classes:

An Inside View Of Toronto City Hall

Brought to you by The Etobicoke Voice - Jennifer Alexander

Fall Session - Aug 28 to Oct 6 2023 Sept 25 to Oct 22

Virtual Classroom - Information to login will be sent to all participants prior to first day

Optional Reading - Toronto: Biography Of A City by Allan Levine

For more information or to register please contact Jennifer at

What Is This All About ???

I've always had a keen interest in local politics and how decisions are made that impact our beloved city. Well, guess what? I'm going to be teaching a course called "An Inside View Of Toronto City Hall" and I'd love for you to join me!

In this course, we'll dive deep into the fascinating world of municipal politics right here in our very own city. We'll explore what it takes to prepare for the full monthly council meetings, learn about the important committees and their functions, and uncover who does what to keep our city running smoothly.

Think of it as a behind-the-scenes tour of Toronto City Hall. We'll peel back the curtain and reveal the intricate processes that go into making decisions that affect our lives. You'll gain a firsthand understanding of how our local government operates and discover the roles played by the mayor, city councilors, and dedicated staff members.

Now, I know what you might be thinking – "Is this going to be a boring lecture-style class?" Not at all! We're going to keep things engaging and interactive. Picture us sitting together, chatting like old friends, as I share stories and insights about what really goes on at City Hall. We'll have lively forum discussions where you can ask questions, share your thoughts, and gain fresh perspectives from fellow participants. The class will be self-contained in a Google Classroom that will only be available to students of your section and the lessons will be posted weekly so you can work at your own pace over the month. While we will not have live classes as everybody has busy schedules, I will monitor the forum each day at least once to answer questions. Optional exercises will be provided.

Whether you're a lifelong Toronto resident or new to the city, this course is for you. You'll walk away with a wealth of knowledge about our local government, how decisions are made, and how you can actively engage to make a difference in our community. It's all about empowering ourselves as informed and engaged citizens who can shape the future of our remarkable city.

So, are you ready to embark on this adventure with me? Let's unravel the mysteries of Toronto City Hall together. To enroll in "An Inside View Of Toronto City Hall" all you need to do is to become a paid subscriber of The Etobicoke Voice. All paid subscribers will be invited to participate and will receive a PDF Booklet at the end so they can continue to look back after the course ends. A printable workbook will be available each week to go along with the weekly lesson.

If you are not yet ready to subscribe and would still like to join the class you can pay the one time course fee of $25 payable by e-transfer. This option will allow you to take part along with the subscribers. If you are interested in this option you can send an email to to receive a registration form.

Let's explore the world of municipal politics in our very own backyard. I can't wait to get started and to see you there!

Objectives of the Course:

Understand the Structure and Functions of Toronto City Hall:

  • After completing this course participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of the organizational structure of Toronto City Hall, including the roles and responsibilities of the mayor, city councilors, and dedicated staff members.

  • They will be able to explain the significance of City Hall as the heart of local government and its impact on the community's daily life.

Recognize the Importance of Civic Engagement and Informed Citizenship:

  • Participants will recognize the significance of local government in shaping policies and decisions that directly affect residents' lives.

  • They will understand the importance of being informed and engaged citizens who actively participate in decision-making processes.

Explore Collaborative Decision-Making at Toronto City Hall:

  • Participants will explore the concept of collaborative decision-making among various entities at City Hall, including the mayor, city council, and staff members.

  • They will gain insights into how teamwork and cooperation contribute to effective governance and policy development.

Investigate the Role of Committees in Policy Development:

  • Participants will investigate the role and purpose of committees in local government, understanding their significance in the decision-making process.

  • They will explore the functions performed by committees and how these contribute to policy development and citizen engagement.

Empower Residents to Engage Effectively with Local Government:

  • Students will learn effective communication channels to voice their concerns, ideas, and feedback to city councilors and other entities at City Hall.

  • They will be encouraged to participate in public consultations and engage with community groups to actively influence local policies and decisions.

Weekly Outline:

Week 1 - Intro to Toronto City Hall

  • Toronto City Hall overview

  • Historical background

  • The role of City Hall as the heart of local government

  • Importance of understanding local government

  • Connection between Toronto City Hall and daily life in the community

  • Empowering residents to be informed and engaged citizens

Week 2 - Who Does What (Structure at Toronto City Hall)

  • The mayor's role and responsibilities

  • The city council and their representation of residents

  • The vital functions of dedicated city staff

  • Examples of tasks and projects handled by city councilors

Week 3 - Committees and How They Lead to the Big Meeting

  • Introduction to committees

  • The role and purpose of committees in local government

  • Examples of committees at Toronto City Hall and their functions

  • Committee functions and policy development

  • Role of public consultations

Week 4 - How Residents Can Be Heard

  • Citizen engagement and its importance

  • Defining citizen engagement and its impact on local governance

  • Identifying the benefits of active citizen participation

  • Effective communication channels

  • Overview of various ways for residents to voice concerns or ideas

  • Public consultations and community groups

Course Wrap-up and Key Outcomes