Category Archives: Board Chair and Executive Director Messages

ULI Toronto announces Chair, Les Klein

ULI Toronto is pleased to announce that Les Klein, Co-Founder and Principal of Quadrangle, one of our city’s most active and successful architecture and design firms, has been appointed as Chair. Les’ work in innovative urban residential developments, the adaptive reuse of existing structures, broadcast facilities and dynamic environments for ideas-based entrepreneurs has been at the heart of Quadrangle’s growth and success. In 1994, Les was inducted into the College of Fellows of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and received the Order of Da Vinci Award from the Ontario … Read More

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Walk With Joy

The mind boggles at how far back the agenda for a new deal for Canadian cities has suffered under the first few months of a new provincial government in Ontario, and it has nothing to do with ideology or partisan party politics. A generation ago there was near universal consensus that as major urban metropolitan regions are the foundation of provincial and national economic growth, social well-being, and environmental stewardship, greater powers and own-source revenues need to flow to the constituent municipalities of these regions. They also required stronger governance … Read More

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Toronto: A Unique City Region With Not-So-Unique Challenges

At first blush Toronto is any-city North America. Our commercial buildings, our leafy neighbourhoods, our housing projects and suburban cul de sacs, our vibrant marketplaces, our congested highways and car dominated streets, our parks and streetscapes, our architecture and urban design: all read very familiar to an outsider looking in. Yet closer inspection reveals a much different city: a city that has been shaped and molded by a different history and sensibility than its U.S. counterparts; a city with its eye on a very different future. Some of Toronto’s story … Read More

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Statement from ULI Toronto re: Jennifer Keesmaat’s Mayoral Candidacy

ULI Toronto will appoint a new Chair in the coming weeks to replace Jennifer Keesmaat, who stepped down last month when she became a mayoral candidate in the upcoming City of Toronto municipal election. ULI Toronto thanks Ms. Keesmaat for her contributions to the strategic direction of our dynamic and fast growing District Council. Current Vice Chairs, Hillary Marshall Vice President, Stakeholder Relations & Communications GTAA, and Michelle Ackerman Consultant, Infrastructure Development, Kilmer Group, will act as Co-Chairs of ULI Toronto until a new Chair is confirmed. ULI Toronto is … Read More

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Summer 2018 Update from Executive Director Richard Joy

It’s hard to comprehend that Derek Goring’s two-year term as Chair of ULI Toronto, and Emma West’s term as Vice Chair has come to end – what an amazing whirlwind tenure they have had. Allow me to inventory some of the hi-lights… Our programming has tripled from 25 to 75, and doubled total registrations to over 7500. Stand outs from those 75 events include hosting our second major Symposium in Spring 2017 in conjunction with our sold out Meet the Chiefs gala and public event for a total of nearly … Read More

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An open letter to the future Ontario provincial government

I write this letter days ahead of the Ontario provincial election. I don’t know who will receive this letter, other than it is likely a new premier with either a majority or minority government. First off, congratulations! They say the people are always right. I hope you prove them so. Four years ago, in the wake of the provincial and municipal elections, I noted in a blog that the province was entering the longest election-free period ever for the two orders of government that most directly impact our region. The … Read More

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Diversty, Our Strength

By: Richard Joy Diversity is our strength. As a city building industry, however, it’s not really our practice according to a national 2016 Matrix Search Group study. Over 70 percent of industry professionals in Canada are of Caucasian or European descent. While overall workforce gender balance is progressing slowly, fully 79 percent of women are not from diverse communities. Individuals identifying as LGBTQ are reflected in proportion to Canadian demographics, but employees of aboriginal descent and from the disability community are significantly underrepresented. The Matrix report digs into other details … Read More

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Awakening Transit Advocacy

  By: Richard Joy It’s been awhile, but frustration with transit gridlock in the Toronto Region is finally boiling over again. Distracted by the shiny objects of Toronto Mayor John Tory’s “Smart Track,” and the provincial government’s expanded version of this idea — the full electrification of the diesel commuter network — transit advocates went into a four-year hibernation. No doubt the fatigue of several bold and failed attempts to deal with regional transit’s number one challenge, dedicated taxes, contributed to this deep sleep. In this vacuum of advocacy, funding … Read More

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Affordability hack-a-thon

By: Richard Joy There is no coincidence that as the fastest growing urban region on the continent, the Toronto region is tracking to become the least affordable metropolitan area on the continent. It’s a worrying fact that every highly successful urban economy in the world has left its poorest residents on the losing side of this prosperity, not to mention its middle class. Must this be the Toronto region’s destiny? Is there a missing piece in our growth equation that can address this universal urban economic failure? Amazing work and leadership is being undertaken by an array of organizations, progressive developers, academics and government to bend this dangerous trajectory. It’s widely recognized that … Read More

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End of Year Message from Chair, Derek Goring

The end of the 2017 calendar year is bittersweet as takes me into the home stretch of my two-year term as Chair of ULI Toronto, and while such a milestone warrants a look back on highlights, my eye is focused on the future. My term overlapped some of the most significant shifts in the public policy landscape that our industry has ever witnessed. In addition to the anticipated 10-year reviews of the provincial growth plan and Metrolinx’s regional transportation plan, the province has moved to abolish the Ontario Municipal Board. … Read More

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