Councillor Grimes wants changes made to Ex and CNE

Exhibition Board of Governors chair Mark Grimes is asking council to prevent a councillor from
sitting on both.

Toronto city Councillor Mark Grimes is asking council to review the policy of allowing councillors to sit on both the
Exhibition Place Board of Governors and the Canadian National Exhibition Association Board of Directors to ensure that
there are no conflicts of interest.
By: Betsy Powell City Hall Bureau, Published on Thu Oct 15 2015

Toronto Councillor Mark Grimes is asking council to change its policy so a councillor sitting on the
Exhibition Place Board of Governors is ineligible to serve on the Canadian National Exhibition
Association Board of Directors.
“We should be reviewing how the whole thing works” to ensure there are no conflicts of interest,
Grimes (Ward 6, Etobicoke-Lakeshore) said in an interview.
He denied the move is targeting any one individual. “I’m not looking to kick anybody off anything. It
will be a decision that you can’t sit on both.”
But Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) believes Grimes is trying to orchestrate his
ouster because the two have not seen “eye to eye” on several issues. Grimes is chair of the Exhibition
board of governors.
“It seems to me just the chair taking issue with some of the positions that have been taken,” says
Layton, who sits on both the board of governors and the oversight body of Exhibition Place’s
longstanding tenant, the CNE.

Layton’s ward borders the city-owned property, which claims to be Canada’s largest entertainment
and events site.
“One (the CNE) is a major event in this city that impacts my community and the other is an
enormous city asset directly adjacent to the community I represent. It makes perfect sense that I
would serve in both capacities.”
A city solicitor has assured him there is no conflict of interest, he added.
But a major source of conflict between the two politicians does exist: the controversial Muzik
nightclub. Since 2004, it has been located in the horticulture building on city-owned Exhibition
Place grounds. Two patrons were shot to death at the club in August.
Grimes voted to ban all-ages electronic dance music concerts on Exhibition property. Layton did not.
(Council overturned the ban.) Grimes supported Muzik’s request for a lease extension to 2034, while
Layton successfully pushed for a deferral on the matter to next year after citing “ongoing dangerous
activity at the establishment.”
Grimes says the board of governors proposed an official plan amendment for Exhibition Place,
needed to extend Muzik’s lease beyond the current 21-year limit to 2034. The CNEA opposed the
move and “hired a lobbyist to lobby city council against a decision of Exhibition Place,” Grimes says.
“That has to be a conflict.”
Last month, Layton and Councillor Gord Perks presented council with a “Close Muzik” petition and
won council’s backing to ask the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to review the club’s
licence. Muzik, in a letter to council, said it has already improved its security plans and procedures
but welcomes additional scrutiny.
Grimes wrote the commission, saying there’s no need.
“The board (of governors of Exhibition Place) has no issues with the liquor licence of its tenant,
Muzik Clubs Inc.,” Grimes wrote to the commission.
Previous councillors have served on both the Exhibition Place board and the CNE “at the same time
for decades, or as far back as I can find,” Layton says.
Exhibition Place board members have also served on the board of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
Association, another tenant of Exhibition Place.
In 2012, Grimes recommended that former councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, then a member of the
Exhibition Place board, be reappointed to the Winter Fair Association board for the 2013 term.
“Michael Layton does bring up a good point about the Royal Winter Fair. That probably should be
reviewed, too,” Grimes said.
His request to alter the composition of the Exhibition Place board of governors and affiliates is
scheduled to be considered by Mayor John Tory’s executive committee on Tuesday.