Toronto Pre-Conference Tours

Toronto Pre-Conference Tours

You should plan to arrive in Toronto by 1pm on Monday, September 9th, if you want to attend a pre-conference tour.

If you are registered for a pre-conference tour, please meet your tour in the lobby of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel starting at 2PM. Tours will leave the hotel promptly at 2:30PM.

All tours occur concurrently, so please register for only one tour.

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Tour 1: Evergreen BrickWorks

welcome-to-ebwDiscover and explore Evergreen Brick Works, the host venue. Hear the story of how a former industrial site, after nearly two decades of abandonment, has been reclaimed and revitalized into an award-winning environmental community centre and green technology showcase. The tour will tell the story of the natural, geologic, and historic significance of the site and the surrounding ravine system.

Opened in 2010, you will see first-hand how the Brick Works operates as a “living laboratory,” reflecting Evergreen’s mission through the spaces and programs. Specifically, the tour will highlight:

  • The complex conditions of the site and the resulting intersection of ecological and built systems
  • Cutting-edge building technologies and design features that have qualified the Brick Works for LEED Platinum certification (pending)
  • The barriers and opportunities created by re-purposing 19th century, heritage buildings with modern technological innovations
  • The creation of a large-scale campus that operates as a social enterprise, using generated income for community programs that improve environmental quality and promote health and wellness

The tour will be approximately 1.5 hours. It will be mostly outdoors, and include special access to the site’s operational facilities.

Sold Out

Tour 2: Waterfront Toronto and the Regeneration of the Docklands Walking Tour

waterfront-tor-tourThe revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront is the largest infrastructure project currently underway in North America and one of the largest waterfront redevelopment projects ever undertaken in the world.

Waterfront Toronto is the tri-government funded corporation with a 25-year mandate to transform 800 hectares of waterfront brownfield lands into Toronto’s New Blue Edge – beautiful, accessible, sustainable mixed-use communities.

See how Waterfront Toronto is bringing together sustainable development, excellence in urban design, real estate development, leading technology infrastructure and the delivery of important public policy objectives in building the first two new waterfront neighbourhoods. Senior officials will take tour participants on a special behind the scenes tour and share some of the lessons learned in financing, public-private partnership development, design, planning, technology and building efficiency.

The tour will pick up participants at the Fairmont Hotel and take them by shuttle to various sites around the Waterfront. Part of the tour will include walking so bring your walking shoes.

Tour 3: MaRS Urban Technology and Incubator

MaRS_2MaRS Discovery District is a large-scale, mission-driven innovation centre located in Toronto and networked across Ontario. It focuses on maximizing the economic and social impact of innovation while building Canada’s next generation of technology companies.

The tour includes a briefing by the Directors of MaRS as well as a walk-through of the centre. Tour participants will meet various companies working in the urban sustainability space. Participants will learn about their mission, business strategy, technologies, etc. and have a chance to ask questions.

The MaRS model uses place and partnerships to build a community in which innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists, professionals and investors can exchange knowledge, share best practices, and expand their networks.  MaRS works closely with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders in life sciences and health care; information, communications and entertainment technology; cleantech; advanced materials and engineering; and innovative social purpose businesses.

MaRS offers a broad range of educational programs and business services to address the needs of emerging and growth-oriented startup companies. Public outreach activities span both science and culture, while entrepreneurship programs for students reach a wide cross-disciplinary audience and create a culture that celebrates innovative ideas, entrepreneurship and commercialization

The mission of the MaRS cleantech, physical sciences and advanced materials practice is to advise and build globally competitive cleantech and advanced materials companies.  Our globally top-ranked practice is made up of established entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds and experiences.  We’re developing partnerships in Canada and around the world, identifying financing opportunities, and creating events and publications that will help Ontario entrepreneurs in the cleantech and advanced materials sector succeed. Our discovery pipeline and collaborative model serve both the investment community and private industry.

MaRS Discovery District is also expanding with the launch of MaRS Center Phase 2 scheduled for the fall of this year.  This expansion will make MaRS the largest innovation hub in an urban center in the world. Hear about what they have planned and how they have been able to expand into the country’s largest incubator and innovation centre.

Sold Out

Tour 4: Cisco’s Smart + Connected Communities Innovation Centre

At the intersection of urban innovation, real estate development, and information technology, there is tremendous opportunity to redefine how we design, build, use, and operate our future built environment. Cisco is working to create experiential places for future generations and technology is at the core of the path towards:

  1. Economic opportunities (job creation, cost reduction)
  2. Environmental sustainability (energy savings, carbon reduction)
  3. Social innovation (mobility, experiences, wellness)

Cisco’s Smart + Connected Communities Innovation Centre, in downtown Toronto, lies at the center of this industry transformation. Tour participants will meet with Cisco executives for briefings and demos. The latest technologies, business models, and innovative partnerships will be showcased in one place. While at the Innovation Centre you’ll see some elements that are keys to the future of building systems and community technologies. These can be used to optimize economic, environmental, and social sustainability. During this tour you’ll see how advanced integration and convergence (of building systems, operational systems, technology, signage, and environmental systems) is shrinking capital costs and operating costs, reducing the environmental footprint, and delivering new experiences to the users of the built environment. Cisco’s partnered with companies like Delta Controls, Lutron, Coopers Lighting, Park Assist, Triacta, Control4, NuLed, Tyco, Simplex, and others – all of which aim to deliver smart and connected buildings in improved urban communities.

To prepare and build intelligent infrastructure necessary to lay the foundation for smart and connected communities, Cisco is working on three core strategies with its partners. Hear from Cisco executives about how they are going about accomplishing the following:

  1. Development of IT-enabled (IP, Power-over-Ethernet, “open”) products that complete the fabric of a smart and connected infrastructure. We have already seen innovation in IP physical safety and security, LED and IP lighting and control, and IP HVAC systems – all powered over Ethernet. The aggregation of leading-edge products and services will accelerate the creation of networked and intelligent environments.
  2. Procurement models in infrastructure development are obsolete and do not lead to innovation in urban place-making. Industry thinking needs to shift from procuring “lost cost” to “high value”. New business models and operational considerations will accelerate and define intelligent future infrastructure.
  3. New partnerships need to be fostered to deliver exceptional and incremental value. Products, systems, and services in the urban infrastructure supply-chain need to converge as companies, governments and others (eg, univiersities) work to build next-generation communities.

Tour 5: Union Station Revitalization

Union StationToronto’s Union Station is the busiest transportation hub in one of the most densely built up urban areas in Canada, serving more than 250,000 passengers daily. About 65 million GO Transit, Toronto Transit Commission and Via Rail passengers funnel into the station each year – twice the passenger traffic of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

The iconic 1927 Beaux Arts station is undergoing a $640 million revitalization to improve pedestrian flow, restore the heritage architecture, and transform Union Station into a major shopping, dining and tourist destination.

Our tour will showcase the historical, modern and sustainability elements of the revitalization; including the “dig down”. The dig down is a design and engineering feat, creating two new transit concourses and expanding retail space from 30,000 to 110,000 square feet under the GO Train platform –– as train service continues largely uninterrupted. Get an inside look into one of the region’s most extensive and exciting projects.

Metrolinx is the Province of Ontario’s regional transportation agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Over $16 billion in priority transportation projects are underway to help address the gridlock problem that reflects the GTHA’s status as one of the largest and fastest-growing urban regions in North America. Our priority projects are only the beginning to The Big Move, a solution to traffic congestion, transit backlogs and reducing what are currently the worst regional commute times in North America.

Meeting of the Minds is made possible by the generous support of these organizations:
Toyota
Cisco
Shell
The Kresge Foundation
Oracle
IBM
Qualcomm
Living Cities
EY's Global Cleantech Center
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Barr Foundation
Rock Ventures
Ford Foundation
Itron
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Blossman Propane Gas, Appliance & Service
The New Economy Initiative
DTE Energy
Michigan Economic Development Board (MEDC)
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy