About the Program

The 2017 Toronto Urban Design Awards program will acknowledge and celebrate those who are helping to improve communities by shaping the physical environment, and the significant contribution that architects, landscape architects, urban designers, artists, design students, and city builders make to the look and livability of our city.

The Awards provide a snapshot of what we have accomplished, enable us to reflect on how we can best contribute to the process of city-building, and inspire us to keep raising the bar.

Important Dates

March 02, 2017

Call for Entries

May 04, 2017

Submission Deadline

May 15, 2017

Sponsorship Deadline

September 2017

Exhibit of all Entries (City Hall)

September 13, 2017

Awards Ceremony

September 2017 -
October 2017

Exhibit of Winners (City Hall & Civic Centres)

2017 Toronto Urban Design Awards Jury

ExpandDavid Anselmi

Urban Design Awards Juror David Anselmi David Anselmi is Director, Real Estate for Canada Lands Company CLC Limited, an arms-length, self-financing federal Crown Corporation owned by the Government of Canada. Canada Lands purchases surplus federal properties at fair market value, improves them and sells them in order to optimize their financial and community value. Canada Lands also holds and operates selected assets such as the CN Tower in Toronto.

Canada Lands Company and Downsview Park have recently amalgamated whereby Canada Lands has direct responsibility for the Real Estate development of the Downsview Lands, leveraging their experience and proven track record in community building.

Downsview Park itself consists of 231.5 ha (572 ac) of land in the north-west quadrant of the City of Toronto, and in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area. The vision for Downsview Park is to create a great urban community, combining significant public open space, recreation and cultural activities with residential and mixed-use neighbourhoods.

David’s primary responsibility is for the overall planning, design and implementation of all aspects of the Downsview Lands and the execution of capital projects throughout the site and its 1.7 million square feet of existing buildings. David is also involved in Real Estate planning and development activities on other projects throughout the Ontario and Atlantic Provinces region of Canada Lands.

David is Chair of the City of Toronto Public Art Commission, a member of the Toronto Community Housing Design Review Panel, a member of the City of Mississauga Urban Design Advisory Panel, and a past member of the Nathan Philip Square Revitalization Public Advisory Committee. David was an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture , Landscape and Design from 1990-1997, A Past President of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects from 1996-1998 and a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects.

ExpandGary McCluskie

Urban Design Awards Juror Gary McCluskieGary McCluskie is a Principal with Diamond Schmitt Architects. In over twenty-five years with the firm, he has led the design of award-winning cultural, institutional and residential buildings with a focus on public and assembly spaces.

He is currently leading the design team (in collaboration with Heatherwick Studio) for the re-creation of David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, the home of the New York Philharmonic in New York City. The design brief calls for the new concert hall and public spaces to support the evolution of the symphonic art-form for the next 50 years, and to engage both new audiences and new technologies.

A significant focus of Gary’s work has been the design of performing arts spaces, where design themes have explored creating a community within the performance spaces as well as reimagining the engagement of the building within the urban context. He was the Managing Principal for the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto; Montreal’s concert hall, La Maison Symphonique; Sidney Harman Hall in Washington D.C.; the New Mariinsky opera house in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, a four-stage venue in St. Catharines, Ontario that opened in

2015. And most recently, the Lyric Theatre at the Toronto Centre for the Arts opened in 2017, where the innovative design wraps the audience with interactive LED lighting to extend the immersive character of the stage to the entire audience chamber.

Gary also designs libraries, where the evolution of this building type in the age of digital media has led to designs that refocus the institution in support of a broader range of community activities. Completed projects include the academic e-learning library in North Bay, and the Gerstein Library at the University of Toronto. Two projects currently under construction continue the exploration of these themes: the Robarts Common, a new wing to Robarts Library at the University of Toronto that focusses exclusively

on the creation of 1200 study spaces; and the renovation of the North York Central Library, a reimagining of Toronto’s busiest branch library to include additional individual and group study spaces as well as public access to emerging technologies such as 3D printing.

He has also led the design of other public building types including city halls, such as the LEED Gold certified administration building in Cambridge, Ontario; recreation facilities including the community focused McCormick Community Centre in Toronto; and museums including the interactive environment of the Weston Innovation Centre at the Ontario Science Centre.

Many of his projects have been recognized with design awards including the Governor General’s Medal for the Richmond Hill Library, the Award of Excellence from the Ontario Association of Architects for the Etobicoke Memorial Pool, and the American Library Association Award for the Pierre Berton Resource Library as the best public library in North America.

ExpandElsa Lam

Urban Design Awards Juror Elsa LamElsa Lam is editor of Canadian Architect magazine.  She holds a doctorate in architectural history and theory from Columbia University, completed under the supervision of Kenneth Frampton and Vittoria di Palma. She previously studied architectural history at McGill University and architectural design at the University of Waterloo.

Lam was the 2012 winner of the Phyllis Lambert Prize for writing in architecture, awarded for her doctoral dissertation “Wilderness Nation: Building Canada’s Railway Landscapes, 1885-1929.” The dissertation explores the role of Canada's railway hotels, western national parks and other railway-sponsored buildings and landscapes in forging a sense of national identity. 

Lam has written extensively for architecture and design magazines, as well as collaborating on the editing and writing of several books. Previous to her role at Canadian Architect, she worked with the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. She is currently co-editing a book on modern and contemporary Canadian architecture since 1967, to be published by Princeton Architectural Press.


ExpandBetsy Williamson M.Arch, OAA, FRAIC

Urban Design Awards Juror Betsy WilliamsonBetsy Williamson is a principal in the architectural design studio Williamson Williamson, an office committed to using both built and unbuilt work as vehicles to explore contextual specificity, materials research, fabrication methods and diverse issues of sustainability.

Betsy is a registered architect with the Ontario Association of Architects and a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.  Through her years of experience in small award winning design firms, Betsy brings to the profession her enthusiastic commitment to architectural practice and high quality design.  She has developed expertise in detail clarity and creative solutions balanced by focused project management skills.

Betsy received a Master of Architecture from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Architecture from Barnard College.  Her office's work has been awarded the 2014 Emerging Architectural Practice Award by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the 2014 Emerging Voices Award by the Architectural League of New York.  Betsy was also named a finalist for the Architects' Journal 2015 Emerging Woman Architect of the Year Award. In its early days her office was awarded the Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement from the Canada Council for the Arts and won the Canadian Prix de Rome for their research in the field of innovative wood construction.

Betsy continues to foster her commitment to engaging the city in a greater capacity through volunteer work on a number of boards and committees. As a member of the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel, she actively contributes to a culture of quality at an urban scale by signaling that high quality design is a critical consideration for the development of Toronto's waterfront and the city.

Her work with the RAIC's Age Friendly Housing Task Force addresses the responsibility of the architectural profession to create design solutions that assist older individuals to live well and safely in their community of choice. Her office’s work has engaged this subject directly over the years, having done a number of intergenerational homes on small lots in Toronto that have allowed families to address this important issue.

Betsy is also a tireless advocate for equality in the profession. With a group of like-minded architects, she founded and professionally advises BEAT, Building Equality in Architecture Toronto. BEAT is dedicated to the promotion of equality by creating events and web content for the advancement of women in the profession and by providing mentorship, networking and leadership opportunities.