How much do Toronto’s new foreign-born CEOs know about the city?

In the past year, the top jobs at seven of the GTA’s most venerable institutions have gone to imported overachievers. Not that there’s anything wrong with putting non-Canadians at the helm, but a little knowledge of the local landscape must surely be a plus. How high are their Toronto IQs? We quizzed them all to find out.

Mark Shapiro
(Image: Dome by Getty Images)

Mark Shapiro

President and CEO, Blue Jays

Arrived: October 2015 from Cleveland, where he ran the Indians Past visits to Toronto: 6 Local cred: Has knowledge of Toronto’s art galleries because his wife is an artist Current ’hood: North York

1. What do people commonly call the Toronto building that’s home to the Ontario parliament?

Damn, I can picture it but I don’t know the name. (Queen’s Park)

2. True or false: Céline Dion is from Toronto.

False. Of course I get the pop-culture one right.

3. Which is not a stop on the Sheppard subway line: Bayview, Senlac, Bessarion, Don Mills?

I know Bayview and Don Mills. I would say Senlac.

4. Where did the Maple Leafs play before the ACC?

No idea. I just know the ACC. The Leaf Dome? (Maple Leaf Gardens)

5. Name two rivers that run through Toronto.

One’s the Don. I don’t have any idea of another one. Queen’s? (Humber, Rouge)

6. Who said, “I cannot comment on a video I have not seen or does not exist”?

Rob Ford.

7. What’s one nickname for Toronto?

There’s the North, as in We the North, or T.O.

GRADE: 57% = D+

Anthony Sargent
(Images: Luminato by David Ley; Sargent by Tony Hauser)

Anthony Sargent

CEO, Luminato

Arrived: July 2015 from Newcastle, where he was the founding director of Sage Gateshead music school Past visits to Toronto: 5 Local cred: Has seen more than 100 theatre shows in Toronto since arriving Current ’hood: Trinity Bellwoods

1. What’s the former name of the Rogers Centre?

Something to do with that roof—was it SkyDome?

2. After which Toronto mayor is the square outside city hall named?

New city hall has Nathan Phillips Square. Old city hall doesn’t have a square.

3. What colour are Trinity Bellwoods’ famous squirrels?

White. I actually saw one on the tree outside my house last week.

4. In Toronto, what does the Vomit Comet refer to?

In Oxford, there’s a late-night train we called the Flying Fornicator. I’m guessing it’s a late-night bus for people who’ve had a few too many drinks.

5. Who said, “I do not use crack cocaine nor am I an addict of crack cocaine”?

It wasn’t true, but Rob Ford said it.

6. True or false: Drake’s stage name is inspired by the West Queen West hotel.

I somehow imagine he’s bigger than that. False.

7. What’s one nickname for Toronto?


GRADE: 100% = A+

Josh Basseches
(Images: ROM by Getty Images; Basseches courtesy of The ROM)

Josh Basseches

Director and CEO, ROM

Arrived: March 2016 from Salem, Massachusetts, where he was deputy director of the Peabody Essex Museum Past visits to Toronto: 15 Local cred: Has worked with numerous U of T grads over the years Current ’hood: Yorkville

1. What street marks the northern border of Toronto: Finch, Steeles, Highway 7, Major Mackenzie?

I’m going to go with Steeles Avenue.

2. Who designed the current façade of the ROM?

The Michael-Lee Chin Crystal? Daniel Libeskind.

3. True or false: the Weeknd is from Toronto.


4. Which Toronto politician promised to stop the “gravy train”?

Was it Rob Ford?

5. How far did the Blue Jays make it last season?

They made it very far. I think Kansas City eliminated them in the American League finals.

6. Name one of the TTC expansions currently under construction.

There’s the extension of the Yonge-Spadina line.

7. What’s one nickname for Toronto?

I know there are a number. Is the Big Smoke one?

GRADE: 100% = A+

Stephan Jost
(Images: AGO courtesy of The AGO; Jost by Amanda Hadi)

Stephan Jost

Director and CEO, AGO

Arrived: April 2016 from Honolulu, where he was director of the Honolulu Museum of Art Past visits to Toronto: 20+ Local cred: Married his Toronto-born husband, Will Scott, at Osgoode Hall Current ’hood: Little Italy

1. Finish this motto: Toronto the a) Good b) Green c) Friendly d) Gridlocked.

Green, because of all of the parks. (Good)

2. What city is Pearson airport actually located in?


3. What sport do the Toronto Rock play?

The Raptors are basketball, the Leafs are hockey, so, soccer? (Lacrosse)

4. Name two famous Toronto artists.

Lawren Harris and Frank Gehry.

5. Which recent Toronto mayor refused to march in the Pride Parade?

Mr. Ford.

6. True or false: the 505 streetcar runs on Dundas Street.

True! We just bought a place between College and Dundas.

7. What’s one nickname for Toronto?

The Capital of Upper Canada? But actually: YYZ.


GRADE: 71% = B-

Bill Manning
(Images: Stadium by; Manning courtesy of TFC)

Bill Manning

President, TFC

Arrived: October 2015 from Salt Lake City, where he was president of soccer club Real Salt Lake Past visits to Toronto: 5 Local cred: First visited the city at age 14 for a soccer tournament Current ’hood: Yonge and Eg

1. What does the CN in CN Tower stand for?

Canadian National. I looked that up after I saw it sticking above the clouds during a flight.

2. Which Toronto sports team has the most championships?

The Toronto Maple Leafs—though they haven’t won in a long time. (Argos)

3. Who is Mel Lastman?

He’s a former mayor.

4. Which is not the colour of a TTC subway line: yellow, green, purple, orange?

Yellow. (Orange)

5. Finish this Rob Ford quote: “We’re putting an end to the…”

Bullshit. (Gravy Train)

6. True or false: Drake was in the TV show Degrassi.

False. (True)

7. What’s one nickname for Toronto?

The Big Smoke.

GRADE: 42% = F

Tim Carroll
(Images: courtesy of Shaw Festival)

Tim Carroll

Incoming AD, Shaw Festival

Arrived: December 2015 from London, where he was associate director of the Globe Theatre Past visits to Toronto: 10 Local cred: Directed three shows at Stratford before joining Shaw Current ’hood: Niagara-on-the-Lake

1. Name three Niagara wineries.

Oh, that’s easy: Trius, Inniskillin, Stratus.

2. Which school is not located in Toronto: Ryerson, York, McMaster, George Brown.


3. Name three famous actors from the Toronto area.

Martha Burns, Paul Gross, Fiona Reid, Tom McCamus. I could go on.

4. True or false: the Raptors have won an NBA championship.

I think that’s very unlikely. False.

5. Who was the first person to swim Lake Ontario between Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto?

Oh, there’s a board in the park with a whole list. No, you got me. (Marilyn Bell)

6. Which Toronto figure coined the term “drunken stupor”?

Whenever I talk to anyone in Britain about Toronto, they say, “Oh, Rob Ford!”

7. What’s one nickname for Toronto?


GRADE: 85% = A

Will Fleissig
(Images: courtesy of Waterfront Toronto)

Will Fleissig

President and CEO, Waterfront Toronto

Arrived: January 2016 from San Francisco, where he was president of Communitas Development Past visits to Toronto: 10 Local cred: Has worked with Toronto-based KPMB Architects Current ’hood: Church and Wellesley

1. What is the Leslie Street Spit?

I’ve biked there; it’s the park past the Hearn at the end of Leslie Street.

2. How much does an adult Metropass cost?


3. What does 905 refer to?

It’s the area code beyond city limits.

4. True or false: the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup in 1977.

I’m a Canadiens fan, but my daughter is a diehard Maple Leafs fan. False.

Who said, “I cannot comment on a video I have not seen or does not exist”?

Was it that reporter who was in court, Jian Ghomeshi? (Rob Ford)

6. Name three of the municipalities that amalgamated to become Toronto.

Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York and I guess there’s got to be an East York, too.

7. What’s one nickname for Toronto?

I don’t know, Badgertown? (False)

GRADE: 71% = B-


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