Building a better city

Since its inception in 2004, the Urban Leadership Awards program has been paying tribute to individuals, groups and organizations that have made a profound and lasting impact on the quality of life in Canada’s cities and urban regions. Over 50% of us now live in urban areas. Better cities draw more and better employees. So we wanted to recognize the accomplishments of these great innovators who make life better for us all.

For 2010, the Canadian Urban Institute issued ten awards:

  • Local Hero: Jehad Aliweiwi, Thorncliffe Neighborhood Officer: for his dedication to Thorncliffe and vision for its future and Hamilton Emergency Shelter Integration and Coordination Committee (HESICC): for its innovative program to transition Hamilton’s homeless out of shelters into long-term housing
  • Global City: Tim Jones, Artscape, President & CEO: for championing the role that arts can play in transforming cities and communities
  • Imagination: East Village Re-Vitalization, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation: for the use of an inventive financing mechanism to support the re-development of the East Village in Calgary
  • Prosperity: Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute (REI): for providing education, funding and resources to aspiring entrepreneurs
  • Renewal: The Women’s Religious Project, Habitat for Humanity Toronto: for building a partnership, new affordable homes in a mixed-income development and a grassroots women’s movement.
  • Safety and Resilience: Connie Guberman, Status of Women Officer: for her leadership and body of contributions towards ending violence against women and making communities safer
  • Youth: Shiré Brandi, Youth4Water: as a founding member of of YouthInPower and Youth4Water, he empowers underprivileged youths to become leaders and eliminate the stigma of violence, poverty and discrimination in their own communities and Camille Gordon, Artist: for her vision and using her art as social commentary, to explore themes of identity, marginalization and the universal struggles of women around the world
  • David Crombie Award: Toronto City Summit Alliance: for using collective leadership in forming working partnerships to accelerate social and economic development in the Toronto region
  • Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award: The Hon. William G. Davis: for his extraordinary contributions to the public realm in at least three distinct areas: education, urban development and the environment

Although all of these award recipients are deserving of our gratitude, we at MaRS want to recognize two award winners who are also our key partners: Toronto City Summit Alliance (TCSA) and Artscape.

The jury noted that the accomplishments of TCSA have a positive effect on all aspects of the region’s public realm and have done so almost from the outset. This award acknowledges the Alliance’s contribution to the region’s economic, social and environmental wellbeing, not only in practical terms but in nurturing and articulating a sense of common purpose for the region’s diverse population.

This video featuring Julia Deans of the Toronto City Summit Alliance was shown at the award ceremony.

Tim Jones, of Artscape is featured in this video. We have worked with Tim on the very successful Creative Places and Spaces conferences and are very supportive of his efforts to champion the role that arts play in transforming cities and communities.

Please join all of us at MaRS in congratulating these urban leaders.

Allyson Hewitt

Allyson is the JW McConnell Family Foundation Senior Fellow, Social Innovation at MaRS, where she has been leading the SiG@MaRS program; advising social entrepreneurs; building the social innovation ecosystem; and incubating successful programs such as the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, the MaRS Solutions Lab and Studio Y. See more…