Director, Parks, Development and Capital Projects, City of Toronto
Magic Moment: Railway Lands Master Plan – late 80’s and early 90’s. Being part of the team to advance the Railway Lands Secondary Plan that created a new comprehensive mixed-use plan extending and connecting this area to the surrounding downtown and waterfront – through a street, block and open space plan and ensuring the provision of needed community infrastructure including schools, community centre and child care. I’ve come full circle on this plan with the opening of the new co-located Canoe Landing Community Recreation Centre and public and catholic elementary schools adjacent to the Canoe Landing Park, all of which is serving a large and vibrant community.
Key Influence: Barbara Leonhardt and Gregg Lintern.
Key Lesson: Barbara was ‘leaning in’ long before there were any books on the topic. She taught me to think first and foremost about the public objectives that need to be achieved through policy and development approvals. She was always forward thinking, bold and had a huge passion for ensuring that planning addressed the needs of our most vulnerable populations. Her brilliance and commitment to excellence set a high bar for me in my career.
Gregg is one of the great city builders I have had the pleasure of learning from over my 30+ year career at the city. He is forward thinking, balanced and bold. He creates an amazing environment for team work within City Planning and is always open to new ways of thinking. The work achieved and now being implemented through TOcore – the Downtown’s future Plan are a credit to his leadership and future thinking.
Next Big Challenge As An Industry: Investment in our parks and public realm – to create great places. Municipalities and developers need to really work together to comprehensively address this need – the value and benefit will be generational. Investment in affordable housing – to keep our younger population and families. Without making significant gains in affordable housing in all areas throughout cities, we risk hitting a tipping point that will result in greater polarization and ultimately a decline of our urban areas.
On Championing Others… I actively mentor staff across many division’s in the city – our younger staff are our future city builders.
One word that captures you: Passionate about city building – particularly the softer side. My best moments were working in the equity seeking areas of the city – Lawerence Heights, St. James Town, Bathurst Quay. Working with community members and seeing first hand their dedication, commitment and investment in improving their communities despite the many personal challenges they faced, energized me and made me even more committed to ensuring good and equitable city building outcomes were achieved.
Secret Talent: Baking!