Collaborating to build a strong cluster in Toronto

Cluster Description

With more high-rise building construction than in any other city in North America and the highest percentage of new buildings being built to green standards in Canada, Toronto's booming construction sector is a global leader in low-carbon buildings.  Toronto is home to world-renowned sustainable architectural firms, green building developers, and leading-edge green building technology suppliers.  The strength of Toronto's vibrant low-carbon building cluster is supportive local government programs and policies, a close collaboration with Toronto's universities, colleges, and research institutions, and a construction industry that sees the competitive advantage of building sustainably.

This cluster immersion experience will visit leading cluster centres that incubate innovation and test and pilot new solutions that help Toronto to build green. It will explore how local government policies help establish the framework for industry growth, and how solid working relations between the academic sector and industry can drive innovation and global success.

Why you should attend

Learn how the gears (also known as 'triple helix for innovation') for building a strong Low-Carbon Buildings cluster ecosystem are in place in Toronto and how they interact through:

  • Experienced base of builders, developers, product manufacturers, and entrepreneurs

  • Supportive government programs and policies

  • Academia providing research, incubation, and skills training


08:15 AM
Gather in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel Toronto

08:30-09:10 AM
Board a coach bus and head to the Toronto waterfront. On the way, learn about Toronto's booming construction industry and the growth of low-carbon buildings in Toronto.

09:10-09:55 AM
Examine how supportive government policies, programs, and planning are stimulating the growth of the cluster in Toronto.

Development along Toronto's eastern waterfront is showcasing Toronto's low-carbon buildings and communities.  Led by Waterfront Toronto, the public advocate and steward of Toronto's waterfront revitalization created by all 3 levels of government (federal, provincial, and municipal), the waterfront is one of the largest community re-development projects globally.  Presentations on the bus and several short stops along the waterfront will give you information about:

  • Plans by Toronto Waterfront to make the waterfront a net-zero carbon community.

  • The City of Toronto's Office of Planning's green standard for all new buildings, it's Zero Emissions Building Framework, and polices on bird-friendly glass and green roofs.

  • How a leading developer is integrating these government market interventions into making some of the most sustainable buildings on the planet.

  • Visit a storm-water treatment plant that is a park (Sherbourne Common) as well as a park that provides flood protection for the new waterfront development (Corktown Common).

09:55-10:10 AM
Travel to Evergreen Brickworks

Learn how a centre of excellence supported by the public and private sectors can test, demonstrate, and help commercialize solutions for low-carbon buildings and sustainable communities.

10:10-10:30 AM
Visit Evergreen Brick Works, which is a demonstration hub where people can experience sustainable practices that enable flourishing cities of the future and learn more about the Future Cities Initiative they lead.

10:30-11:45 AM
Explore how the academic sector boosts growth of the cluster by supporting innovation and technology development, and developing the skills needed in the industry's workforce.

George Brown's Green Building Centre is a hub of research that partners with industry on economically valuable applied research.  This research hub focuses on the Canadian construction sectors, facilitating applied research in green construction and sustainable building practices.

At the Green Building Centre, you will:

  • Visit the Building Information Modelling (BIM) Visionarium which is used by companies to visualize building construction issues (think of Star Trek's Holodeck) where you will see a demonstration of how it's used along with learning more about the Centre and its work with industry.

  • Visit the Rooftop Testing Lab where innovations in building technologies from the private sector are tested in real world situations.

12:05-12:30 PM
Travel to the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre.

12:30-03:30 PM
At the OITC you will:

  • Eat lunch with your fellow delegates while learning more about the centre and how it collaborates with stakeholders.

  • Participate in a mini- charrette that allows you to share how your region has created successful cluster organizations and how your experiences in cluster development can help guide Toronto's low-carbon building cluster to growth and success.

03:30-03:45 PM
Travel back to the Rotman School of Management by subway and a short 5-minute walk.

Dress Code

Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring an umbrella in case it rains.

Meet the Leaders

The City of Toronto's Sector Development Office is the City's lead for supporting key sectors of Toronto.  Our mission is to advance competitiveness and vitality in the key sectors, based on our strategic knowledge and expertise. Our team of economic development professionals is committed to collaborating with business and partners to maximize business growth and overcome the challenges businesses face.

The Canada Green Building Council - Greater Toronto Chapter is Southern Ontario’s leading authority on green building best practices. With an ever-growing member network of over 3,500 building industry professionals, the Canada Green Building Council - Greater Toronto Chapter is dedicated to creating a cleaner, healthier, high-performance built environment through education, collaboration and innovation.  We work with both government and private enterprise to accelerate the adoption of green building principles, policies, standards and tools. We are the primary organization responsible for the facilitation and delivery of LEED workshops in Southern Ontario and provides a wide range of educational and networking events for our members and the green building community at large.

The City of Vaughan is one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities with a population of more than 335,000. Incorporated in 1991, Vaughan includes the communities of Concord, Kleinburg, Maple, Thornhill and Woodbridge. This culturally diverse municipality is located in the heart of York Region and the Greater Toronto Area. 

The Office of Research and Innovation at George Brown College empowers partners to take part in economically and educationally meaningful projects and collaborations that enhance local innovation and community well-being. The Office of Research and Innovation operates as the single hub of access to highly qualified and skilled personnel, state-of-the-art facilities and funding. One of its cornerstones is Sustainability and the Built Environment, with projects that connect the Canadian construction sector to market-focused applied research that accelerates local, sustainable innovation. Much of this research is conducted in the Green Building Centre which helps SMEs innovate and get new products to market faster.

With more than 60 years of experience, The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario. Working with municipalities and other partners to look after the watersheds of the Toronto region and its Lake Ontario waterfront, we help people understand, enjoy and look after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature’s beauty and diversity.

Meet your Organizers


Image credit: CreativeNature_nl, istockphoto