Jennifer Keesmaat's Presentation: Unapologetically Urban | Download Here

Thank you to our sponsors!  View pictures from the event here.


Canada's applied urban policy organization, the Canadian Urban Institute is commemorating the enterprise's 25th anniversary by hosting Urban Leadership Day on December 4, 2015.

The day will start with the 19th Annual Meeting with the Chief Planner hosted in collaboration with NRU Publishing. This interactive discussion will feature:

  • Jennifer Keesmaat Chief Planner, City of Toronto
  • Mark Saunders Chief of Police, City of Toronto
  • Dr. David McKeown Medical Officer of Health, City of Toronto
  • Vickery Bowles City Librarian, City of Toronto

They will share insights about how Toronto is dealing with unprecedented growth. Mary Wiens (Metro Morning CBC Radio) will facilitate this discussion.

The seminar will be followed by CUI's 12th Annual Urban Leadership Awards. This program celebrates individuals and organizations making a profound impact on the quality of life in Canada's urban regions. This year, we recognize the following recipients:

Margie Zeidler recipient of the Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by KPMG, recognizing an individual who has had significant impact on the health of their region consistent with Jane Jacob’s belief that successful cities foster a place-based, community-centred approach.

Margie is founder of Urbanspace Property Group whose first project, created 21 years ago, was 401 Richmond – the adaptive reuse of a 19th Century industrial factory building in the heart of downtown Toronto. With a community of over 130 diverse tenants and a focus on the arts, 401 is a veritable village within the city. Margie is also the founder of the Urbanspace Gallery, devoted to creating exhibitions and hosting fora on urbanist issues. In 2004, Margie co-founded the Centre for Social Innovation. Urbanspace financially underwrote the first year of the Centre’s operation at one of their projects - the Robertson Building (215 Spadina).

Ken Seiling recipient of the David Crombie Award, sponsored by Loblaw Real Estate, recognizing an individual who has demonstrated the ability to engage the community, government and the private sector to regenerate and enhance the public realm in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Ken is Chair of the Region of Waterloo. He is the third Chair of the Region and was elected for a 10th term in 2014. He is recognized for his role in championing the Region’s investment in light rail transit. He worked with local leaders for many years to build a broad base of support for the ION light rail transit project, which finally broke ground last year.  Due to be completed in 2017, the project has already stimulated commercial and residential development valued at more than one billion dollars.

CivicAction recipient of the NextGen Award, sponsored by TD Bank Group, recognizing an organization or individual committed to supporting leadership skills among the next generation of urban leaders.

CivicAction brings together senior and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle challenges facing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The DiverseCity Fellows program – now in its 7th year – is a free year-long fellowship that exposes participants to important regional issues, provides opportunities for personal leadership development and helps them grow a strong network of civic-minded peers across sectors.  It also provides access to the region’s top influencers and is a unique platform for community-focused action.

Michel Labbé recipient of the City Builder Award, sponsored by Aird & Berlis LLP, recognizing an individual’s ability to translate a bold vision into actions that have a long-term impact on city building.

Michel is the founding President of Options for Homes, a non-profit organization that has helped nearly 6,500 families achieve their goal of affordable home ownership since the company’s formation in 1993.  The Options philosophy promotes the idea that wealth generated by business should be reinvested in perpetuity for social purpose. The Options development model has enabled investment in renewable energy, car sharing and most recently development of a sustainable clam fishery in Nunavut. Options for Homes’ first international development is underway in Cameroon with additional partnerships established in Kenya, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Condo and Ecuador.

About the Urban Leadership Awards

These awards celebrate individuals and/or organizations making a profound impact on the quality of life in Canada’s urban regions. This program raises funds that support our local and international internship program. Since 1997, CUI has offered hands-on learning experiences for 250+ students and recent graduates from across Canada.