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October, 2007 - Nr. 10


Down On The Town

Alexander Ooloby Alexander Oolo


Special to Echoworld Communications

A 24-strong contingent of Frankfurt am Main’s brightest stars, representing its economic, legal, governmental, marketing, movie, design, trade, media, advertising, PR and event-creation sectors, descended upon the fair City of Toronto.

Led by the Euro-City’s stoic Lord Mayor, Her Worship, Petra Roth, ‘Team Frankfurt’ did an exceptional job in getting its message across: Frankfurt is the natural choice location for Toronto’s movers-and-shakers to do business in – be it trade, communicate, synergise, network, create or medias.

Their tour was highlighted by an official reception with Mayor David Miller to reconfirm and celebrate the city partnership Frankfurt and Toronto have been linked with for 18 years. Culminating its core purpose, however, came September 28, 2007 with the “Toronto-Frankfurt Symposium on the Media Industries”, held at the Board of Trade within Toronto’s second-to-none First Canadian Place.

Cermonied by the always amiable Michael Siebold, a former Toronto now Frankfurt-based Attorney at Law, ensured not only for an immediate breaking of the proverbial ice but also guaranteed for some humorous snacks to be had. One such occasion was during his introduction of Petra Roth while he revealed Frankfurters to “love our Mayor - she is living history to us” but really alluding to Roth’s record-3rdtime re-election until 2011!

Mayor Roth not only held hers during her remarks but once again proved why she is being short-listed to become Germany’s next President. And so, statesmanlike as well as passionate, did she make the irrefutable case for Frankfurt.

Since the micropolis upon-the Main is the “economic powerhouse in Germany” (if not Europe altogether) the city is naturally focused on strengthening its position by pushing its solid media base forward and onto the broader playing field. One key way to do this is to seek co-operative and synergetic relationships between Frankfurt and Toronto.

Roth, in fact, confirmed Mayor Miller’s exact same viewpoint on this process of building economic as well as creative bridges among both these cities of wealth and quality-of-life; “one way to do this is within the media sector”.

Alone the uncanny similarities among these two major heavy hitters promise success in pressing onward with this opportunity: both civic partners feature impressive skylines, both are fully cosmopolitan and multicultural, both are scientific hot spots in terms of research and development, both are rich in cultural wealth.

By far the most impressive presentation of the day came from Peter Finestone (Director, Marketing & Investment Attraction and Acting Film Commissioner/City of Toronto, Economic Development & Culture) and pitching for the Toronto side.

Almost 18 years to-the-day (September 26, 1989) was the partner agreement struck up between Toronto and Frankfurt. Since in Hebrew 18 signifies chai – life – this day marked indeed a joyous occasion.

Toronto by and in itself has basically underwent mega-changes of almost epic proportions, alongside “a cultural renaissance”. Just when considering its demographic changes equalling in its absolute internationality and unsurpassed intercultural condition plus adding this to its non-stop growth in all economic sectors, make Toronto an ideal base to operate from.

Yet it is really within media expansion per se, ranking it by far as Canada’s largest market, where Toronto has hit the superlative. Be it in the Information and Communication Technology field, publishing & printing, advertising, radio & television along with featuring the city’s own Toronto Film & Television Office, its own Toronto Film Board, the unsurpassed Toronto International Film Festival and an alive and thriving, locally based movie industry. All this spells out in the best availability and viability in terms of talent, know-how, pooling and speciality.

Toronto’s piËce de rÈsistance, however, is this ultimate mix of all the above. It has created “a fusion of ideas, resulting in out-of-the-box thinking and thus making Toronto very attractive for media business”. It also didn’t hurt that a highlighting handout backed Finestone’s finely made remarks.

Frankfurt was show pieced by Dr. Urda Martens-Jeebe (CEO, Frankfurt Economic Development GmbH).

Though a tad too timid and formal at times she, nevertheless, managed to make the point succinctly: as an untouchable leader in banking, finance, air travel service, exhibition and fair ground management, Frankfurt not only is the gateway to Europe but “your stepping stone to success”.

“Frankfurt is very international”, provides an amazing closeness as well as proximity “to ones clients and consumers”, and features “innumerous international business-2-business services”.

The city for its part will provide Torontonian doers with comprehensive market information, support business establishment, and assist with any other outstanding questions or upcoming issues. In short, Frankfurt is well prepared and happy to serve and assist.

This was underscored by the Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt GmbH, Detlef Braun. “Frankfurt stands for openness and internationality…and offers a highly successful platform in media and for communications”.

Closing the list of presenters came in form of the animating Karen Thorne-Stone, newly named President & CEO of the Ontario Media Corporation. This agency’s work is so innovate and trend setting that it surely has to be considered by the City of Frankfurt or perhaps even the Province of Hesse. The work they do vis-‡-vis economic development opportunities, arm’s length consultation, and bringing together and/or matching players within Ontario’s media industries – also inclusive of foreign originated initiatives, especially ones coming from Frankfurt – has yet to meet its match!

An amazingly healthy luncheon ended the day’s events and was very conducive to a slur of cheer, conversation and, particularly, networking.

For both cities this was a major win-win situation and all participants should be congratulated on a job very well done.



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