Biodiversity the focus of Chief Planner Roundtable in Toronto this week

May 10, 2017

The City of Toronto's 2017 Chief Planner Roundtable series kicks off with a conversation that focuses on the critical role biodiversity plays within varied ecosystems, including urban ecosystems. 

The roundtable will take place on Friday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to noon in Committee Room 1 at Toronto City Hall. Members of the public are welcome to attend in person or watch it live-streamed at

Biodiversity in this context refers to the rich variety of life in the city. In the past, concern for biodiversity has primarily been focused on non-urban areas, but that view is changing. More people are living in urban regions than in rural areas and the pressure these regions are placing on natural systems is increasing.

The Greater Toronto Area recently surpassed a population of six million people. A rapidly urbanizing world means urban regions must become more sustainable and resilient for all species that inhabit them.

"When biodiversity considerations are integrated into all aspects of city-building, such as land use planning, urban design, transportation, parks and natural heritage management, energy production, waste management and public health, we will begin to design truly sustainable cities," said Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner.

This roundtable brings together a variety of perspectives to talk about shared issues and discuss potential long-term solutions. Panelists include:

• Amy Mui, Lecturer, Teaching Stream, University of Toronto • Scott MacIvor, Assistant Professor of Urban Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto • Dave Ireland, Managing Director, Centre of Discovery in Biodiversity, Royal Ontario Museum • Dr. Faisal Moola, Director, David Suzuki Foundation • Megan Meaney, Director, ICLEI Canada – Local Governments for Sustainability • Karen McDonald, Manager, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority • Richard Ubbens, Director, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, City of Toronto

The format of the roundtable involves each panellist making a six-minute presentation, followed by a discussion moderated by the Chief Planner.

Members of the public interested in attending the roundtable event in person are asked to "RSVP" by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Social media users can monitor the conversation on Twitter by following @CityPlanTO and by searching #CProundtable.

More information about the roundtable, including an agenda, a briefing document and a link to the live-stream, is available at

This news release is also available on the City of Toronto website at

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada's 150th birthday with "TO Canada with Love," a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at and on Instagram at

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Media contact: Bruce Hawkins, Strategic Communications, 416-392-3496, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.