City of Toronto hires new Chief Planner
The City of Toronto announced today that it has selected Jennifer Keesmaat to be the City’s new Chief Planner.
Keesmaat, a principal at design firm Dialog, has had a distinguished career as a planning consultant and has been called one of Canada’s foremost strategic planners. Her career has taken her to international projects in the United States, Ireland and Greece. In Canada, Jennifer has led master planning initiatives across the country in Toronto, Vancouver, Mississauga, Regina, Moncton, London and Halifax, among others.
Keesmaat’s innovative work in mid-sized Canadian municipalities has frequently been recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners, the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI), the Design Exchange, and the Environmental Design Retail Association (EDRA), with a variety of awards for Planning Excellence.
Since earning a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies, Urban Planning, Keesmaat has successfully managed complex and multi-disciplinary projects, including large-scale municipal planning, urban design, campus planning, visioning and public policy development processes. She has a history of extensive experience developing urban planning policies and designs, collaborating with large stakeholder groups, and building capacity related to best practices with municipal staff.
“I am delighted to see Jennifer bring her talents to City Hall,” said Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore), Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee.”Her breadth of successful experience is sure to bring a fresh perspective to the City’s growth and development that will serve our residents well in the decades to come.”
As the new head of the City Planning Division, Keesmaat will be leading a number of significant projects that are underway, including the five-year review of the Official Plan, and will steer other important initiatives such as the new City-Wide Zoning Bylaw through to completion. Her other priorities will be to deliver complex, innovative and transformative projects successfully, build communities, improve customer service and promote a sustainable, healthy and economically vital city. She will begin her new career with the City of Toronto on September 10.
“I am both excited and humbled to be selected as the City of Toronto’s next Chief Planner,” said Keesmaat. “We have significant and important issues to address in this city moving forward. As Chief Planner, I hope to build strong, new collaborations and meaningful dialogue, not just within City Hall, but also with residents, political leaders from all levels of government, NGOs, developers and businesses. I look forward to working with the residents of this great city to address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.