top of page


Council for Canadian Urbanism - Urbanizing Suburbia Caucus

“Urbanizing Suburbia in Canada :
Issues, trends, perspectives”

The Council for Canadian Urbanism and its Urbanizing Suburbia Caucus 

held this virtual public session on February 24th, 2022.


The session, entitled “Urbanizing Suburbia in Canada : Issues trends, perspectives” built on CanU’s work for many years on suburban issues* and the series of virtual events organized in 2021. The session focused on key issues of the urbanization of suburban areas within Canadian cities and towns with relevant Canadian examples and projects. 


Planned in an interactive, participatory format this session brought together members of the Caucus, urbanists with experience on this challenging work from across the country and discussed current issues and trends (such as the emergence of urban centres and urban forms, higher order transit and transit oriented development, suburban forms and infrastructure retrofit, tools for planning and design), lessons from the pandemic, key issues and engaged in an open dialogue with the participants.

  • Welcome remarks : Eric Turcotte

  • Background : Alex Taranu

    - CanU and Caucus’ work on this topic (history, purpose, goals and objectives; key topics, research, examples and case studies, conference presentations, Summit, articles)
    - Key issues, nation-wide trends

  • Presentations :
    - Renée de St. Croix, BC
    - David Down, AB
    - Sharon Mittmann, ON
    - Peter Soland, QC

  • Panel discussion, Q&As
    - Dan Leeming, ON
    - Katherine Perrott, ON (moderator) 

Session Outline


Still Suburban? Growth In Canadian Suburbs

2006-2016 D. Gordon et all

Past CanU work
Transforming and Urbanizing Suburbia

2014 Summit
CanU 6 Toronto (2014)

Cities at the Edge - Urbanizing Suburbia

The Image of the Suburbs : Planning Urbanity in the Toronto Region

Katherine Perrot (PDF document)

A Challenge for Today and Tomorrow : Urbanizing Suburbia - the Canadian Way

Published in 2018



Katherine Perrott


Katherine Perrott is a Postdoctoral Fellow at York University's Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. She received competitive grant funding from CMHC and  SSHRC to examine the relationship between housing density and amenities. The « urbanization of the suburbs » in the Greater Toronto Area was the topic of her doctoral research at the University of Toronto. Katherine has 12+ years as an urban planning and design researcher, lecturer and consultant.


Sharon Mittmann

Manager, Urban Design at the City of Mississauga


Sharon Mittmann is the Manager, Urban Design at the City of Mississauga, the 6th largest city in Canada.   She has an undergraduate degree in Architectural Science from Ryerson University and a Masters in City Planning from the University of Manitoba.  She held several
positions of increasing responsibility in areas that include architectural control, policy development, heritage planning and special needs housing policy prior to joining Mississauga in 1999.  In her current role she works in the Planning and Building Department and oversees a team of urban designers, architects, landscape architects and landscape architectural technologists. Her team develops strategic policies and implementation plans as well as provides expert review of development applications to ensure great urban design as the City of Mississauga grows and develops at a rapid pace. She also is a Board Member of the Design Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC) and an active member of the CanU Urbanizing Suburbia Caucus.


Renée de St. Croix

MCIP - Manager of Long Range and Community Planning at City of North Vancouver, BC

Renée de St. Croix has been a city planner, urban designer, and urbanist for over 14 years and is passionate about building better cities for people. She is responsible for major city-
wide policy initiatives, long range and community planning, and other special projects for the City of North Vancouver. Prior to joining the City, Renée worked for the City of Burnaby for 8 years, and before that was a planning consultant working on award winning projects in multiple cities across Canada and the United States.

David.Down Headshot2.ColinWay.2019.jpg

David A. Down

Architect, AAA, FRAIC, LEED AP Senior Architect/Chief Urban Designer, City of Calgary

David Down is Senior Architect and Chief Urban Designer with The City of Calgary. He joined The City in 2005 with a mandate to advocate for higher standards of architecture and urban design. His City Wide Urban Design team provides design guidance through design policy creation and application review. Prior to coming to the City of Calgary, David was principal of his own award-winning architectural firm (Down + Livesey Architects). He holds a MArch degree from the University of Calgary and is LEED accredited. David is a registered member (and Past President) of the Alberta Association of Architects, a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape (SAPL) where he is regularly involved in architecture and urban design studios and lectures on professional practice and Asian architecture and garden design.


Daniel H. Leeming


A founding partner of The Planning Partnership, Dan’s expertise is combining good urban design with sustainable and public health initiatives to create complete, livable communities. He has received awards from Provincial and National Planning Associations, the private sector and the Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Dan is adjunct professor, University of Guelph, taught at the University of Toronto and was the 2014-2015 University of Waterloo ‘Planner in Residence’. He writes on changing energy
needs, public health and urban design, aging society, climate change, and sustainable innovation. Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners, and a Board Member with the Council on Canadian Urbanism (CanU).


Peter Soland

Urban Designer, Architect, Landscape Architect, LEED Green Associate, OAQ, AAPQ, CSLA – Founding partner, Civiliti, Montréal

Peter Soland is as an architect and landscape architect trained at the University of Montréal and Yale University. He founded his urban design firm in 2001 and launched civiliti in 2015. The firm has been awarded prizes in urban design, landscape architecture, planning and placemaking. Civiliti is involved in large-scale planning, the integration of urban infrastructure, the design of streetscapes, public space and parks, as well as the production of smaller commemorative landscapes. Keen observer of the urban condition, Peter Soland’s work is anchored by a poetic approach to the city and is centred on the creation of inclusive urban landscapes that carry the city’s identity into diverse built environments. He is inspired to create contemporary spaces that are seamlessly integrated into their environment, while supporting the creation of new forms and meanings.

ATaranu 20110503 N_003 med.jpg

Alex Taranu

FCIP, FRAIC, OAA, RPP, Sr. Advisor, Design, City of Brampton

Alex is an architect, urban designer and urbanist with extensive experience in Canada and
abroad on master planned communities, transit oriented development, downtown revitalization, resilient, sustainable and healthy development, the urbanization of suburbs, heritage integration and sustainable infrastructure.

He is also a strong advocate for sustainable, liveable, authentic Canadian urbanism, founding director of the Council for Canadian Urbanism (CanU) frequent presenter at numerous conferences and symposiums, lecturer on urban design at universities and colleges, member of urban design review panels, national and international design juries.


Ronji Borooah

City Architect and Head of Urban Design, City of Markham

Ronji Borooah is a Registered Architect and Registered Professional Planner with expertise in Urban Design. Ronji became a member of the Ontario Association of Architects in 1986 and became a Registered Professional Planner and member of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute in 1988. Ronji has been the City Architect and Head of Urban Design, City of Markham since 2007( note : Town Architect, Town of Markham, until status change to City). Ronji has been a member of the RAIC College of Fellows since 2010, and is a former jury member of the Ottawa Urban Design Awards program, the Toronto Urban Design Awards program, the TTC York-Spadina Subway Extension Public Arts program,and the Markham Design Excellence Awards program. Ronji is a member of the Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel since 2013 and in charge of the Markham Design Review Panel.

Ronji has been in private practice in the fields of Architecture and Planning since 1974. Ronji’s previous career in the private sector with Young+Wright Architects and Markson Borooah Architects resulted in several major awards , including the Governor General’s Award for Architecture, the City of Toronto Urban Design Award, and awards from the OAA, CIP, OPPI, CSLA. Ronji has been an Adjunct Professor of Urban Design at the University of Toronto, and has been a speaker at several conferences of the RAIC, OAA, CIP, OPPI, APA, Construct Canada, Strategy Institute, Land and Development Conference and other.

bottom of page