Special Report: Light Rail

Brampton Business Owner Passionately Defends Light Rail

Daniel Lewis gave some of the most articulate, passionate and intelligent deputations in favour of LRT that I've seen.

By Chris Drew
Published July 28, 2016

A version of this letter was sent to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Downtown BIA and International Village BIA.

My name is Chris Drew and I'm the co-founder of Fight Gridlock in Brampton. We're a Brampton-based citizen advocacy group that supports transit and complete streets. We supported the Hurontario-Main LRT (HMLRT) and were disappointed when Brampton City Council voted against it.

I've been closely following the LRT situation in Hamilton because of the similarities with Brampton's situation. Just like in Brampton, the Province has offered 100 percent capital funding to build the LRT in your community. I sincerely hope that your Council continues to support the project and works to get shovels in the ground.

I noticed this week during a meeting of the Hamilton Light Rail Transit Sub-Committee that some concerns were raised about the impact of LRT construction on local businesses. I reflected on the deputations gave by one of Brampton's most outstanding local business owners, Daniel Lewis, who operates T By Daniel on our Main Street.

While many people spoke in favour of the HMLRT to Brampton Council, Daniel gave some of the most articulate, passionate, and intelligent deputations in favour of the LRT. In fact, until I heard Daniel speak, I hadn't even shopped at his store. I certainly did after witnessing his passion and local business leadership.


June 2015 Committee Meeting:

July 2015 Council Meeting:

October 2015 Council Meeting, final 'no' HMLRT vote:

I highly, highly recommend watching all three of his five-minute deputations to Brampton Council. Daniel's business would be on the street where LRT construction would have taken place.

I also encourage you to watch the part in the June 2015 video where certain Brampton Councillors ask pointed questions to Daniel about the impact of construction on his business and Daniel's responses.

I highly recommend that you share these videos. Daniel is one of the most inspirational local startup entrepreneur business leaders I've ever met. Brampton is lucky to have him. Daniel also does guest speaking - I think folks in Hamilton would be really interested in his story of setting up a local business, or as part of a meeting with local Hamilton businesses as part of a LRT discussion.

I fully know that it won't be easy during the LRT construction. However, I think the end result will be worth it and it will draw people like me from outside Hamilton to come and visit.

Finally, I'll commit to coming to Hamilton during construction and bringing friends to "shop local". Recently, we took a group of Brampton residents who support LRT to Kitchener-Waterloo to check out the LRT construction. (Some Hamilton LRT advocates came with us.)

We met with both Mayors, the MPP for Cambridge, local LRT advocates and the LRT project team. We shopped local while there and will do the same for Hamilton. We also brought one of Brampton's best export products, tea from T By Daniel.

During the LRT construction in Hamilton, we'll spread the word far and wide that people should come to your city and support the local business. Because if the LRT can be a success in Hamilton, which I'm confident it will, it will give us hope on our journey in Brampton.

PS If you want to try some of Daniel's tea, he takes online orders.

Chris Drew is co-founder of Fight Gridlock in Brampton, a citizen advocacy group that supports transit and complete streets in Brampton.


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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted July 29, 2016 at 01:16:01

I love the bow ties. I see from Daniel's business website that this is part of his branding.

Also the "I'll do whatever it takes to make the business succeed" attitude. This is a refreshing change to the "can't do" approach that is far too common today.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2016-07-29 01:34:17

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By Haveacow (registered) | Posted July 29, 2016 at 16:51:15

A friend of mine, who also happened to be a Peel Region LRT supporter went all the way to his downtown Brampton shop to show support for him. Turned out that the tea and baked goods were pretty good too. Win, Win on both accounts.

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