David Crombie is former Mayor and Member of Parliament. He founded the Waterfront Regeneration Trust as a charity in 1999 with support from waterfront communities as a way to continue the extraordinary work begun through the Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront and Waterfront Regeneration Trust agency. At the core of this work was the creation of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail--one of David’s finest legacies.
Crombie was elected to Toronto’s city council in 1970, and became Mayor of Toronto in 1972, ushering in an era of socially responsible urban development inspired by thinkers such as Jane Jacobs.
Crombie was enormously popular as mayor, being re-elected in 1974 and 1976 with large majorities. With his great public appeal and small stature, he was repeatedly described in the media as the city’s "tiny, perfect mayor".
He left City Hall in 1978 to move to federal politics, winning a by-election as a Progressive Conservative candidate that gave him a seat in the House of Commons. Crombie served as Minister of Health and Welfare in the minority government of Prime Minister Joe Clark.
When the PC party came back to power in the 1984 election, Crombie was appointed Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and later Secretary of State and Minister of Multiculturalism. After retiring from federal office in 1988, David Crombie was appointed by the Government of Canada as Commissioner of the Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront. In 1989 the Commission received an additional mandate from the Provincial Government.
From 1992 to 1995 David Crombie headed the Waterfront Regeneration Trust Agency, established by the Province of Ontario to implement the 81 recommendations in the Commission’s final report. In 1999 David Crombie founded the Waterfront Regeneration Trust Corporation, a charity continuing the work of the Agency, with a focus on the completion, expansion and promotion of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail as catalyst for waterfront revitalization.
Crombie was appointed Ryerson’s first chancellor in 1994 when the polytechnic was granted university status. He served in that role until 1999.
Throughout the years he served in various advisory capacities to city and provincial governments relating to urban issues including a stint as CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute.
In 2004, Crombie was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2012, he was made a member of the Order of Ontario.