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Architecture as an Economic Driver: Chamber of Commerce Events 2015

Five cities, two months, one collaboration

This year, the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) partnered with local Chambers of Commerce in Sudbury, Hamilton, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Windsor to organize panel discussions on “Architecture as an Economic Driver”.  Each community offered unique insight into specific local issues while at the same time adding to the expansion of the theme.

Karen Hourtovenko, Chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce opens the discussion.
SUDBURY  I  September 8
“Cities should not discount the benefits of good design,” said OAA President Toon Dreessen, in Sudbury where the OAA co-hosted the discussion with the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce about how Architecture Invigorates Sudbury's Downtown Core.
Jeff MacIntyre, chair of the Downtown Sudbury Business Improvement Area, said good design doesn't necessarily mean tearing down old buildings to build something new, either. “We need to protect what's left.”
The lunchtime event was held at the Vale Living with Lakes Centre, the 2015 OAA Award winner for Sustainable Design Excellence, directly across from the downtown core. The panelists included Dr. David Robinson, Director, Institute for Northern Research and Development; Kate Bowman, an intern architect with Yallowega Bélanger Architecture; Dr. Terrance Galvin, the Laurentian School of Architecture's Director; Jeff MacIntyre, Chair of the Downtown Sudbury Business Improvement Area; and Franco Mariotti, a biologist and retired staff scientist at Science North.

Hamilton/Burlington Society of Architects Chair, Graham McNally, takes the stage. 

  I  September 11
In Hamilton, the OAA and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce teamed up to provoke ideas and reach out to Hamilton's business community, examining the way that place-making can serve as an economic driver in the city, create a strong civic identity and improve quality of life in an urban environment. The panel discussion Hamilton Placemaking as a Driver for Economic Growth was held at Mills Hardware.
Panelists included Jason Thorne, General Manager of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Hamilton; Steve Kulakowsky, Partner in Core Urban Inc.; Sonja Macdonald, Principal in Civicplan; Rob Zeidler, Partner in The Dabbert Group; and Richard Allen, Director of the Renew Hamilton Project, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. 

Cory Stechyshyn, Chair of the Northwestern Ontario Society of Architects, addresses the crowd.

  I  September 30
The Baggage Building Arts Centre in Thunder Bay was the location for the Chamber of Commerce panel on Architecture is an Economic Driver that included John Stephenson, Architect, Partner FORM Architecture Engineering and OAA Senior Vice President and Treasurer; Cory Stechyshyn, Chair of the Northwestern Ontario Society of Architects, President i4architecture; Natasha Kuperman, Architect and founding principal USE Corporation, and founding principal Without Walls Limited; and Ahsanul Habib, Principal Habib Architects Inc.;
"The city can be a leader in helping to select and procure architects and architecture that creates a really positive built form in a community," said Toon Dreessen, OAA President. "It's not enough to leave it simply in the hands of private interest and development but to create a stimulating and nurturing environment that supports business initiatives."
 "These are things that help create and foster a community," said Dreessen. "They create an opportunity for business to see strength in the value of their space."
 Revitalizing downtown areas first attracts small business and that creates a hub of activity that eventually attracts more business.

John Hrovat, Chair of the Windsor Region Society of Architects, speaks at the Art Gallery of Windsor.

WINDSOR  I  October 14, 2015
The Windsor Chamber of Commerce and the OAA explored Architecture is an Economic Driver for the southern Ontario community at the Art Gallery of Windsor. They related the topic to Windsor’s unique business community and opportunities including the US influence, tourism, manufacturing and large infrastructure.  
Panellists included John Hrovat, Chair, Windsor Region Society of Architects; Thom Hunt, Executive Director and City Planner at City of Windsor; Dr. Veronika Mogyorody, Program Director, Visual Arts and the Built Environment, University of Windsor; Rakesh Naidu, interim CEO of the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation.

Crowd starts to gather at the Gordon Harrison Gallery in Ottawa's Byward Market.

  I  October 29, 2015
With so much happening in the Ottawa region, the OAA and Chamber of Commerce came together this year to discuss The Economic Impact of Site Selection--how the architect’s involvement in site selection can open a new world of ideas, business potential and economic opportunity. 
The panellists addressed the importance of how interaction with all parties involved in site selection – city officials, developers, architects and planners – is imperative to envision a landscape for urban design that pushes the boundaries of what a city can be.
Panellists included Tobi Nussbaum, City of Ottawa Councillor, Rideau-Rockcliffe; David McRobie, President David. S. McRobie Architects; Paul Kariouk, Principal Kariouk Associates and Associate Professor, Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, Carleton University; and Roberto Campos, Chair of the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects.