Ten issue areas and hundreds of data points over 15 years. That’s what Toronto Foundation has tracked since the 2001 launch of Toronto’s Vital Signs.
Vital Signs – our report on the quality of life in Toronto – has been a welcome and necessary addition to this city and is read by a million people each year. The report also spurred a global movement: Vital Signs has been replicated in more than 80 communities worldwide.
What have we learned in 15 years of producing Vital Signs?
First, that your view of Toronto depends on who you are and where you live. For instance, if you live in one of Toronto’s low-income neighbourhoods, you may be in a “food swamp” where unhealthy food choices abound. And if Toronto wants to be truly healthy, it must also be equitable.
The other thing we’ve learned is that good people with innovative ideas are required to shape this city’s future. Happily, this is something Toronto has in spades, as we've discovered over many years of working on solutions to the issues identified in Toronto's Vital Signs.
This year’s Vital Signs Report features where (in the 10 issue areas we track each year) Toronto is doing well, including on the environment, in education, and civic engagement. You’ll also see areas where improvement is needed, from hunger and child poverty, to housing and mental health. Plus, you’ll discover where Toronto stands on the global stage, its demographic make- up, and economic position.
We encourage you to check out the Toronto Star special section which shares highlights of Toronto’s Vital Signs 2016, along with articles written by Toronto Star writers who have produced a series of fascinating stories about what people are doing across this city to make Toronto a success and improve quality of life for all. It also features interviews with three experts who take a look at this year’s data and share their insights about what it says about Toronto’s future. You can find this special section at torontosvitalsigns.ca.
The Full Report is overflowing with information and insights that we believe you will find useful for your family and where you live and work. We know this first hand. We bring together diverse partners to help us build the Vital Signs Report. And the report then becomes a call to action for city builders – including philanthropists – convened by the Toronto Foundation to tackle complex challenges and identify solutions.
This fifteenth report is an important milestone. But let us assure you that we are not just looking back – our focus is squarely on the future. Toronto is firmly rooted in a global community of leading cities. Let’s strengthen what’s going well and work together to build an even healthier – and more equitable – Toronto.