Tom Drake


I was born and raised in Stratford, graduated from Western University, and the University of Toronto. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Math and Chemistry, with a minor in Economics. I am a Doctor of Dental Surgery, and a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, and serve on the medical staff of three hospitals in the SWLHIN. For the past five years, I’ve worked on the Political Action Committee of the Ontario Dental Association, lobbying to improve conditions for patients and providers in this province. Locally, I’ve led the Stratford and District Dental Society for two terms as President, and volunteered to bring oral health awareness into elementary schools and nursing homes.

My dental practice is located on Ontario St, and is a partnership with my twin brother. We have also built up several agricultural businesses in the surrounding area.

Outside of work, I have had opportunities to travel across Canada and internationally with a variety of amateur musical ensembles, and I enjoy playing violin in the Blyth Festival Orchestra.

My wife Dorothy and I have three daughters in their late teens and early twenties, and I want them to be the fourth generation of my family to find a successful career and a comfortable home here in Stratford.


Each Candidate was asked to send a bio, photo and to respond to the ten questions below with a limit of 75 words per answer. We have identified any truncated content with “...[]” Please feel free to reach out to each candidate for more information.


1. Over the last five years, how have you contributed to the City of Stratford (volunteering, boards, etc.)?

I’ve been working to fill the holes in oral health.

For the many patients who rely on government programs to fund their dental care, there is a significant shortfall between the coverage they are allowed and the actual value of the services they need. I find myself subsidising that gap in order to complete their treatment plans. This segment of the population is at risk of receiving inadequate care until they find a dentist (like...[]

2. What do you believe your unique contribution will be to council (strengths)?

Being a curious scientist, I research any new topic to fully understand all the alternatives and their consequences. When developing my small businesses in both Stratford and in other municipalities, I’ve had more experience than most people in dealing with local governments, and I can compare how things are done in Stratford to other places. Any success in life that I have comes from being independent and working hard, so I feel I don’t owe...[]

3. What would you like to see achieved over the next four years (be specific)?

The financial uncertainty over the Cooper site needs to be settled. The City needs to have control over enough land to plan for an appropriate mix of housing, for parking where we want it, for a new police station, and for attracting new business. We need to be a leader in a regional transportation system that can move people to and from Stratford for work, health care, shopping and recreation.

4. What committees do you see yourself sitting on and what experience qualifies you for that committee?

The mayor should be interested in all committees and ensure that each one has diverse representation. The mayor needs to notice when the work of one committee connects to another, and facilitate the sharing of information between them. I am prepared to put in the time and effort to be present for any important debate in the City.

5. What means of transportation are you using in the city, and/or in and out of town and what improvements do you recommend?

I ride my bike to my main office on Ontario St, and drive out of town to my other job locations. There’s a difference between using a bicycle to get to work or school on the same streets as cars, and riding for recreation on a dedicated trail that avoids the city centre. I’d like to see new bus routes designed with more frequent service on main arteries across town. Then we need new north...[]

6. Describe what you believe the Cooper Site should look like in 10 years?

We must retain as much of the original structure as possible because if we lose that footprint we won’t be able to park cars or build anything new that close to the railway tracks, and a significant portion of the land will be wasted. The tragedy in Lac Megantic changed the rules on setbacks from train tracks. If we want public use facilities on this site, then we also need to have new commercial properties...[]

7. What are your objectives with respect to housing and how do you expect to accomplish them?

The City needs to plan for population growth and provide a mix of all types of housing without encroaching on prime farmland. If we can’t spread out, then we need to build up whenever possible. Britannia St is one of the last places where the city can increase its inventory of below-market rental units. The new development could be doubled in size by building four storeys instead of only 2. The City can support local..[]

8. If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?

It’s time to stop spending on legal fees, consultant reports, and conduct a thorough review of each cost centre in the city’s budget. One of the first areas I’d look into would be public works, to recalculate the cost of outsourcing vs. using existing staff and equipment.

We need to know what it’s going to cost to resolve the Cooper site fiasco, before making any more plans.

9. How will the new provincial legislation with respect to conflict of interest on municipal councils, coming into effect January 2019, hinder your effectiveness on council?

I don’t expect to have many conflicts of interest. I own a house, my office building, and a small lot where I could build a new office, so I have no pecuniary interest in any other initiatives in Stratford.

10. How will you encourage youth engagement, retention, re-attraction and skills development?

Let’s make it easier for young people without a car to get around town with better bus routes and bike lanes, so that they can get to work, or visit our existing recreational facilities. I’ve heard that it would be helpful to better publicize all the activities available for youth. I’d like to partner with schools or industry associations to offer a training program to help young people get certifications for safety in the workplace...[]