Sadiq with the cast from Hamilton: an American musical

Sadiq's trip to Montreal, Chicago and New York

15 September 2016

In September the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, went on a five-day trip to Montreal, Chicago and New York.

His message to these major cities was that #LondonIsOpen, and will remain open, for business, investment and tourism.


What was the purpose of this trip?

The aim was to strengthen ties with all three cities, and to demonstrate that London remains open for business as well as an important destination for investment, business and tourism, following the EU referendum.

Over the five days, Sadiq:

  • attended 29 events
  • made 13 speeches to around 3,000 people
  • shared platforms with the Prime Ministers of Canada and Italy, the President of Argentina, the former President of the USA and Mayors from all three cities
  • met with many business, community and faith representatives

They discussed the issues that affect all four cities, focusing on: social integration, regeneration and new affordable housing.

In Chicago and New York, Sadiq was also accompanied by a delegation of 30 London tech entrepreneurs. This Trade Mission successfully showcased London’s growing tech sector and introduced the entrepreneurs to new international opportunities and investment.


What did he do while he was there?

The Mayor had a very busy schedule in each city. His Twitter account @MayorofLondon and Facebook page @SadiqforLondon were kept up-to-date throughout his visit with posts, photos and videos.

This blog summarises some of this activity. 


Day 1

Meeting the Prime Minister in Montreal

On Thursday, Sadiq landed in Montreal, ready to start his busy schedule.

First up, Sadiq met Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

Sadiq and Justin Trudeau in front of British and Canadian flags

Together they spoke at the Global Progress Summit about the politics of hope and inclusion. You can watch the talk online.

Sadiq meets Justin Trudeau

Meeting the Mayor of Montreal

Sadiq then met Denis Coderre, the Mayor of Montreal, to discuss policy ideas. 

Sadiq and the Mayor of Montreal

Visiting the Bombadier headquarters

In the afternoon, Sadiq met with executives at Bombardier Inc, a multinational aerospace and transportation company.

He was there to talk about their investment in a new European maintenance centre which will open at London Biggin Hill Airport. This will bring high quality engineering and support jobs to London.

Sadiq visits Bombardier Inc

Speaking about social integration in Chicago

Sadiq then flew to Chicago where he got straight to work, giving a keynote speech at the Chicago Council for Global Affairs.

He focused on the need to create socially integrated cities where every community can thrive – ‘building bridges, not walls’. You can watch the full speech below and read the Chicago Tribune's editorial piece.

Day 2

Visiting Chicago's Riverwalk

On Friday morning Sadiq met Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel.

Together, they took a trip to Chicago’s Riverwalk. This former industrial site has had a £7bn revamp and now draws visitors from around the world. They come for the restaurants, bars and array of entertainment spaces.

Chicago’s Riverwalk is a great model for Barking Riverside, here in London. There are big plans for this former industrial site on the north bank of the Thames. This includes building over 10,000 new homes (up to half affordable), new schools, a train station, community facilities and acres of green space. Barking Riverside will only succeed if it becomes a neighbourhood, not just a housing development. Chicago’s Riverwalk is a great example of how this can be done.

Sadiq visits Chicago's Riverwalk

Barking Riverside facts

Learning about community food projects

On Friday afternoon, Sadiq accompanied Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to visit the site of a new Whole Foods Store in Englewood, Chicago. As well as meeting the sellers and sampling the produce, Sadiq was there to learn about Whole Food’s new programme. It encourages the local community to sell their products through the store and helps young people learn about the food industry.

Almost half of Englewood residents live in poverty. It has an unemployment rate almost triple the US average. The new Whole Foods Store is part of a larger Englewood Square development to boost the area. It aims to create 200 jobs and give local people access to fresh, healthy organic food.

Sadiq also announced that we’ll be expanding our own partnership with Whole Foods in the UK (through their Whole Kids Foundation). The London School Garden Grants scheme provides grants to London schools so that they can develop food gardens for students. It’s given thousands of children the confidence to grow their own food. This expansion means we can increase the number of schools and students who can benefit from the scheme.

Englewood market, Chicago


Day 3

Chicago's Temple Sholom

On Saturday morning, Sadiq went to Chicago’s Temple Sholom synagogue to meet young people from different faiths and backgrounds. They discussed how communities around the world can come together to build stronger, more tolerant places. 

The Mayor believes it should be the norm for different faiths to cooperate with each other. He launched the #LondonIsOpen campaign in July to spread the word that London is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.

Sadiq's visit to Temple Sholom, Chicago

Meeting Shad Khan

Sadiq then met with Shad Khan, owner of Fulham FC and Jacksonville Jaguars.

They discussed business, #LondonIsOpen and Sadiq's ambitions to bring an NFL franchise to London.

Hamilton: An American Musical

Sadiq later travelled to New York. In the evening, he saw Hamilton, the latest Broadway musical smash. He also went backstage to meet the cast afterwards.

The show tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers. Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda it scooped 11 Tony Awards, second only to The Producers. It also won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The show will be coming to London next October for the reopening of the Victoria Palace Theatre.

Chicago's data focus

Mayor Rahm Emanuel then took Sadiq to visit Chicago's UI labs. They discussed how Chicago is moving towards becoming a data-driven city.

New York statement

While the Mayor was in New York, the city suffered a terror attack which injured twenty-nine people. Sadiq released the following statement: 


Day 4


On Sunday afternoon, Sadiq tried his arm at baseball at the New York Mets’ Citi Field stadium in Queens. The Mayor threw the first pitch of the game against the Minnesota Twins.

Working with Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Major League Baseball, the Mayor plans to bring US baseball games to London in 2018. London will be the first European city to host Major League Baseball. Hosting an annual series would help build London’s reputation as the world’s top destination for big sports events.

Sugar Hill

Sadiq later joined British architect David Adjaye OBE to visit his Sugar Hill housing development in Harlem. He was there to find out about the scheme’s three-part approach which mixes housing, education and art.

Completed in late 2014, the project is in an area where more than 70% of children are born into poverty. All 124 apartments have now been leased to families and adults on low incomes. Sugar Hill also hosts a community art gallery, a children’s museum of art and storytelling and a seasonal green market.

Sadiq also announced plans for a ‘London Living Rent’. This is a new type of tenancy for newly-built affordable homes in London. Rents will be around a third of average household incomes in each borough.


Day 5

Sweeney Todd

The Mayor met the team bringing London’s celebrated musical Sweeney Todd to the New York stage. He visited Barrow Street Theatre in Greenwich Village where the Tooting Art Club’s production opens next February.

The show started out in Sadiq’s home neighbourhood in south London just two years ago, in Harrington’s, the oldest pie and mash shop in London. There was a cast of eight actors and three musicians playing to an audience of 32.

With the help of legendary theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the show transferred to the West End in 2015. Sadiq used the occasion to talk about the shared cultural DNA of London and New York, and the mutual flow of creative talent between the two cities.

A pie baked with the topping '#LondonIsOpen'

Ringing the New York stock exchange bell

That evening, Sadiq rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange, alongside leading tech entrepreneurs from London.

Sadiq ringing the closing bell at the New York stock exchange