The Key to the City is bestowed upon distinguished persons and honoured guests of the City of Toronto.

Image of the ceremonial Key to the CityIn Toronto, the act of giving the Key to the City is symbolic, since the city has no gates to unlock, and involves the presentation of a ceremonial key to honour the outstanding civic contributions of the recipients.

Historically, it is at the discretion of the Mayor to determine who receives the Key to the City.


Wilmot and Judy Matthews

Judy Matthews holds key to the City while smiling for cameras with husband Wilmot and Mayor John Tory at City Hall.
Wilmot and Judy Matthews were officially presented a Key to the City on July 25, 2018.

Officially presented July 25, 2018

Official citation: Judy and Wilmot (Wil) Matthews are civic leaders and philanthropists who give to a wide variety of Toronto-based organizations that support education, medical research and advancement, culture and city-building initiatives. As passionate Torontonians, they are deeply committed to enriching the city and its residents. Wil and Judy are presented with a Key to the City to honour their philanthropic work including their $25 million donation to The Bentway, a unique and innovative public space that transforms 1.75 km underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway into a vibrant new gathering place for our city’s growing population.

Patricia Moore

Officially presented June 30, 2018

Mayor John Tory standing with Patricia Moore who is hold a Key to the City. Above them is a Toronto road sign that reads Pat Moore Dr.
Patricia Moore was presented a Key to the City of Toronto on June 30, 2018.

Official citation: Patricia Moore has lived in Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park for more than 40 years. Patricia is presented with a Key to the City for working tirelessly to ensure that those without a voice in our city, have one. She is known as an advocate for the underdog on issues related to housing as well as youth and women’s rights. Over the years, her work has contributed to the creation of tenants’ associations, which help to protect the rights of tenants, as well as more available co-op housing within the community. She has raised awareness of the need to stop violence against women and has created community programs to support the growing youth population in her neighbourhood.

Fran Sonshine

Officially presented June 25, 2018

Fran Sonshine is presented with the Key to the City by Mayor Tory
Fran Sonshine was officially presented her Key to the City by Mayor John Tory on June 25, 2018.

Official citation: Fran Sonshine is presented with a Key to the City for being a philanthropic and volunteer leader in Toronto. She is the National Chair of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, which seeks to promote awareness of the Holocaust and its universal lessons through educational and commemorative programming, and played a key role in fundraising to build Canada’s Holocaust Monument in Ottawa. Fran has participated on several boards in Toronto including the Baycrest Centre Board, North York General Hospital Advisory Board, the ROM Board of Governors and the Toronto United Jewish Appeal’s Annual Campaign. Fran has been honoured with numerous awards for her contributions to many organizations and campaigns.

Zanana Akande

Officially presented June 23, 2018

Zanana Akande with her Key to the City
Zanana Akande was officially presented a Key to the City on June 23, 2018.

Official citation: After serving for many years as an educator, Zanana Akande was the first Black woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the first appointed as a Cabinet Minister. She has served many organizations over the years including the YWCA, Centennial College, Harbourfront Centre and the Urban Alliance on Race Relations. Zanana is presented with a Key to the City for dedicating her life’s work to addressing equity issues in the community and improving the social, economic, cultural and political status of women in Toronto.

Peter Oundjian

Officially presented June 22, 2018

Peter Oundjian is presented with the Key to the City by Mayor Tory.
Composer Peter Oundjian was officially presented a Key to the City by Mayor John Tory on June 22.

Official citation: Peter Oundjian began studying the violin at age seven, before shifting his focus to conducting. After serving as Artistic Director of several international festivals and orchestras, he was named Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) in January 2003 and became the first Canadian to hold the position since 1973. Peter is presented with a Key to the City for invigorating the TSO with recordings, tours, and innovative programming during his tenure. He found ways to grow the audience and improve appeal of the TSO which has strengthened the ensemble’s presence and popularity around the world. As Conductor Emeritus, his final season culminated in June 2018 as part of a month-long musical celebration of his career.

Susan Gapka

Officially presented May 17, 2018

Susan Gapka is presented with the key to the City by Mayor Tory
Susan Gapka was presented a Key to the City by Mayor John Tory on May 17, 2018.

Official citation: Susan Gapka is well-known as a tireless and effective campaigner for social justice. Susan is presented with a Key to the City for her long and proud record of addressing issues related to affordable housing, education, mental health, and community safety in the LGBTQ2S community. Susan has actively contributed to organizations such as Central Neighbourhood House, the 51 Division Community Liaison Police Committee, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Save Our Structures, and the Toronto Trans Coalition Project.


His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj

Officially presented July 22, 2017

His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj accepting the Key to the City from Mayor John Tory.
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj was officially presented a Key to the City on July 22, 2017.

Official citation: This recognition honours His Holiness as the sixth spiritual guru of Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS). His Holiness travels the world inspiring people with his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct.  The virtuous lifestyle and ideals to which His Holiness adheres are what many people strive to achieve, and he is an inspiration for youth.

His Holiness is the head of a worldwide spiritual and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to community service, peace and harmony through Hindu principles. Toronto has been enriched by many contributions from BAP Charities Canada to health and disaster relief causes. The unique BAPS Mandir, located in Toronto, serves as an architectural masterpiece and adds to the multicultural mosaic of the city and Canada


  • Paul Beeston – September 28, 2016
  • Rush – Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart – September 17, 2016
  • Aubrey Graham a.k.a. Drake – February 12, 2016


  • Doug Holyday – August 20, 2013
  • George Chuvalo – March 26, 2013


  • George Cohon – June 21, 2012


  • His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama – October 22, 2010


  • Former Police Chief Julian Fantino – April 14, 2005


  • Mike Myers – June 25, 2003
  • Eng. Ferro Rodrigues – July 8, 2003
  • The people of Prince Edward Island – July 28, 2003
  • The Rolling Stones – Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and Michael Cohl – July 30, 2003
  • The Anson Carter Family – July 31, 2003
  • Nickelback – Ryan Vikedal, Ryan Peake, Chad Kroeger and Mike Kroeger – September 19, 2003
  • Deputy Mayor Case Ootes – September 23, 2003


  • Tiger Woods – May 27, 2002
  • Dr. Carlos Cesar – June 8, 2002
  • Father Tom Rosica – July 31, 2002
  • Ronnie Hawkins – October 4, 2002
  • Muhammad Ali – October 20, 2002
  • Tony Dionisio – November 2, 2002


  • Boris Spremo – January 22, 2001
  • King Constantine – May 23, 2001
  • Sylvester Stallone – May 26, 2001
  • Sophia Loren – June 5, 2001
  • Margaret Atwood – October 19, 2001
  • Joni Mitchell – October 19, 2001
  • Jackie Chan – November 18, 2001
  • Blue Rodeo – November 30, 2001


  • Sharon, Lois & Bram – February 11, 2000
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu – February 16, 2000
  • David Boothby, Chief of Police – February 1, 2029
  • Neil Young – March 30, 2000
  • Donald Sutherland – March 30, 2000
  • His Excellency Constantinos Stephanopoulos, Pres. of the Hellenic Rep. of Greece – June 1, 2000
  • Pastor Jan Paulsen – June 2, 2000
  • Pastor Orville Parchment – June 29, 2000
  • His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj – July 23, 2000
  • Barenaked Ladies – September 21, 2000
  • J.K. Rowling – October 22, 2000


  • Yo-Yo Ma – January 15, 1999
  • David Gunn – February 11, 1999
  • Norman Jewison – April 14, 1999
  • Mickey Mouse – July 21, 1999
  • Frank Alvarez  – August 29, 1999
  • Jorge Ferreira – August 29, 1999
  • Celine Dion – September 17, 1999
  • Jose Lello – September 23, 1999
  • Ron Huldai – September 29, 1999
  • Joe Foti – October 5, 1999


  • Mickey Rooney – June 5, 1998
  • Bobby Curtola – July 4, 1998
  • Sheldon Kennedy – July 8, 1998
  • Bobby Rahal – July 19, 1998
  • Ed Mirvish – July 26, 1998
  • Roberto Leal – August 30, 1998
  • Charles Adler – August 27, 1998
  • Nelson Mandela – September 25, 1998
  • Barbara Ann Scott-King – November 27, 1998
  • Johnny Lombardi – December 4, 1998