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04CE - The Architects, the Developers, and the Planner. How to create a new downtown?

07 May 2014 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM

3 ConEd learning hours

Course Outline

The City of Markham is in the process of creating a new downtown to transform itself from a suburban community into an urban municipality.  The new 1000 acre downtown site is located along the banks of Rouge River a natural heritage site, and will be transit-based and pedestrian oriented, with buildings that are LEED Silver (or higher), with served by district energy.  It will be the largest sustainable community in Canada.

The downtown plan was started in the 1990’s and has changed significantly in the last two decades.  This session will describe the ‘how-to’ and ‘lesson learned’ aspects of work to date, focusing on how to maintain a long term vision through several market, economic and political cycles.  The process to date, and the evolving plans, will be discussed from the viewpoints of the architect, the developer and the municipality.

Learning Objective:

  1. Learn about how to create a sustainable high density, mixed use urban community
  2. Learn about how to protect a major natural heritage feature within a high density community
  3. Learn about intensification in a low rise, low density suburban municipality
  4. Learn about coordinating between several levels of government and associated agencies to create a new Downtown


Ronji Borooah is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and a member of the Ontario Association of Architects.  He is currently the City Architect and Head of Urban Design at the City of Markham.  He has been a speaker at the national conferences of the RAIC, OAA, CIP, OPPI and APA.  He is a member of the Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel, and was a jury member for the Toronto Urban Design Awards Program, the Ottawa Urban Design Awards, and the Public Art Program for the TTC/York Spadina Subway Extension.

Randy Peddigrew is the Senior Vice President of the Land Development Division of The Remington Group.  The Remington Group, under the guidance of its principle Rudy Bratty, has been developing land in the Great Toronto Area for over 60 years.  Remington is involved in the development and management of a vast portfolio of residential, commercial and industrial land in almost every community across the Greater Toronto Area. Remington is currently developing one of the, if not the largest, LEED developments in North America. The development is know as Downtown Markham and once completed will contain approximately 7000 residential dwelling units, 2,000,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 3,500,000 sq.ft. of office use. 

Sheldon Levitt studied architecture at the University of Toronto. He joined Quadrangle Architects  in 1987 and became a Principal in 1999. Sheldon specializes in the design of challenging, large residential and mix-used developments that elegantly fit within their urban context. His special interest in the promotion of environmentally responsible design and the urbanization  of brownfield and greenfield sites has led to his involvement with innovative projects.  Notable amongst these projects is The Toy Factory in Liberty Village Toronto, and the masterplan and over 12 buildings in Downtown Markham.  With Quadrangle, Sheldon’s projects have received numerous local and international awards, including the United Nations World Habitat Award. Sheldon is a fellow of the LEAD (Leadership for Environment and Development) programme, is a member of the Vaughan Design Review Panel and an alumnus of the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy.