Toronto Joins Established 2030 Districts - First in Canada

With the signing of the 2030 Districts Charter, between Sustainable Buidlings Canada and Architecture 2030, Toronto joins eight progressive cities in announcing the first 2030 District outside of the United States. Encompassing the downtown core from Dupont to Lake Ontario, and the Don Valley to Bathurst, the landmark district will target immediate reductions, working cut District-wide emissions in half by the year 2030.  

With over 550,000 people living and working within the district’s boundaries, the Toronto 2030 District is the largest to-date, significantly growing the network, which includes Seattle, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Denver, Stamford, San Francisco and Dallas. 

These 2030 Districts focus on collectively solving the challenge of urban greenhouse gas emission reductions that government, industry and community organizations cannot achieve on their own.

This unprecedented collaboration is spearheaded by an impressive group of over 30 private and public organizations. Their goal is to create a high-performance district that aligns policy, design and market drivers to accelerate the pace of innovation in dealing with climate change.

Working together, Toronto 2030 District founding sponsors the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC), and lead sponsor Enbridge Gas Distribution, along with the members of the district’s advisory board, which includes representatives from Brookfield Office Properties, Avison Young, Integral Group, Energy Profiles Ltd., Jones Lang LaSalle, Diamond Schmitt Architects, Coolearth Architecture, BOMA Toronto, Canadian Urban Institute, the City of Toronto and Ryerson University, want to fast track positive change in the building sector.

To accomplish this they aim to leverage existing local programs, increase information sharing, promote district-wide benchmarking, create economies of scale and build performance data.

“The 2030 District is a forum for collaboration that amplifies the success of existing conservation programs, removes redundancies and fills the gaps by sharing knowledge to build best practices. It establishes a framework for other cities in Canada to follow suit,” says Jeff Ranson, Executive Director, Toronto 2030 District.

The foundation of the initiative is outlined by Architecture 2030 in its 2030 Challenge for Planning. SBC first explored the idea of bringing a 2030 District to Toronto when Architecture 2030 founder, Ed Mazria, spoke at its annual Green Building Festival.

“SBC has been part of the growth of green building in Toronto for some 15 years. Today, there is broad support to make a significant push toward improved environmental performance, and downtown Toronto is ready to be seen as a global leader. The 2030 District is a powerful platform to engage and focus industry, technical, political and community stakeholders in a specified geographic territory to establish and pursue aggressive targets,” says SBC Chair, Constantine (Taki) Eliadis.

The OAA became a natural founding partner after being the first in Canada to introduce its OAA+2030 Professional Series, a benchmark education program that assists Ontario’s architecture and construction community in eliminating greenhouse gas emissions through sustainable design.

“Architects must be leaders in designing and building projects that are sustainable. That means continuing to educate ourselves, but also partnering with other organizations in the building sector to share the responsibility. The 2030 District facilitates a holistic approach to sustainable building, creating community cohesiveness to mobilize change,” says OAA President Toon Dreessen.

The benefits of the initiative are not just local. The district puts Toronto, and Canada, on the map as leaders in dealing with climate change, and also connects the city and its industry partners to a North American-wide network of cities that are all dealing with similar challenges.

“The Toronto 2030 District allows us to harness all of our brain power, knowledge and experience to improve the way we build, manage and operate buildings. Never before have we had a forum like this that brings everyone together to develop better building, construction and operational solutions,” says Steve Ichelson, VP Operations at Avison Young Real Estate Management Services.