Category Archives: Board Chair and Executive Director Messages

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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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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Leapfrog Exurbia?

By: Richard Joy If there was a stinging criticism of the provincially imposed greenbelt, designed to curb the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) urban sprawl, it was the concern that homebuyers would be determined to pursue the dream of low density, detached homes and would leapfrog over the two-million acres of protected land to the promise land of outer exurbia. Headline stories of desperate families sleeping in their cars for days in mid-winter to get a slice of cul-de-sac nirvana became proof points of failed land use policies forcing higher densities in the GTA. Home buyers want … Read More

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Toronto- A World Class City

Toronto is not a world-class city. To think otherwise is delusional and un-Canadian. We are a humble, beta-city that knows our place in the world. If you don’t believe me, ask any self-respecting local urbanist. But can we at least allow that we are a global city? It may be semantics, but as North America’s fastest growing city region — recently passing Chicago in population and tracking to surpass Los Angeles by mid-century —is it untoward to acknowledge our international ascendency? We accept that we are the world’s most diverse … Read More

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Tools to tackle housing affordability in Ontario

By Richard Joy, Executive Director, ULI Toronto No Toronto real-estate story has dominated 2017 more than the sudden spike of housing prices and its social consequences. While the dream of becoming a homeowner of anything larger than a shoe box has long escaped those with their sights on downtown neighbourhoods, the nightmare of being priced out of our region’s suburbs is also setting in. This concern was at the foundation of a recent housing conference that the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Toronto helped organize with the Canadian Urban Institute and the … Read More

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Summer Message from ULI’s Chair Derek Goring

              This summer marks my mid-term as Chair of ULI Toronto, and I am proud to be able to look back on amazing year. After a period of growth, that saw us double our membership (now over 1500), the past year was focused on program expansion and community impact. The broadening of our programming reflects a commitment to offering our membership a wide range of thought leadership, networking and educational experiences, as well as opportunities to give back to our local communities. Highlights this … Read More

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