better country

Building on the desire for a better country

Monday, January 6, 2020

The buildings and design sectors are again represented in the newest slate of members of the Order of Canada. Governor General Julie Payette released the list of 120 honourees in late December, including: developer, Mitchell Cohen; urban planner and theorist, Ken Greenberg; and architectural glass artist, Sarah Hall.

“The Order honours people whose service shapes our society, whose innovations ignite our imaginations, and whose compassion unites our communities,” the announcement affirms.

Cohen, president of the Toronto-based development firm, The Daniels Corporation, is cited “for his contribution to urban development and commitment to community building.” During his 35-year tenure with the full-service firm, which designs, builds and manages residential and commercial projects, he has been an advocate for affordable ownership housing, a proponent of development that integrates with the existing community while supporting economic growth, and a supporter of local enterprise, non-profit organizations and charities.

Among its noted cultural projects, Daniels developed the TIFF Bell Lightbox, accommodating the headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival, and Daniels Spectrum, a 60,000-square-foot arts and community venue in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood. Earlier in 2019, the company received the Ernest Assaly Award from the provincial new homeowners’ warranty agency, Tarion. In 2018, it won BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association) GTA’s Stephen Dupuis Humanitarian Award, which recognizes philanthropy and community involvement.

Greenberg, principal of Greenberg Consultants, is cited “for leading large-scale projects in various cities across Canada and as an urban designer, teacher, writer and environmental advocate.” In a career spanning more than 40 years, he has served as the City of Toronto’s Director of Urban Design and Architecture and was a founding partner of the renowned planning consultancy, Berridge, Lewinberg, Greenberg Ltd, later renamed Urban Strategies.

His expertise and accomplishments in the revitalization of downtowns, waterfronts and neighbourhoods, and planning new communities and campuses, are anchored in a strategic, consensus-building approach to growth and urban design. An advocate of sustainability, affordability and walkability, he is the co-founder and vice chair of Ryerson University’s City Building Institute and author of two recent books: Walking Home, the Life and Lessons of a City Builder; and Toronto Reborn, Design Successes and Challenges.

Hall, principal of Sarah Hall Studio, is cited “for her contributions as an architectural glass artist and her innovations in glass production.” Based in Ontario’s Prince Edward County, she has designed large-scale art glass and solar projects for a worldwide list of clients including embassies, cathedrals, schools, colleges and universities.

She has been an innovator of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solar art glass — striking examples of which can be found in Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, the wind tower at the Regent College library in Vancouver and the Harbourfront Centre Theatre in Toronto — and bird-friendly glass. Her work will be featured as part of the Public Art in Glass exhibition, January 11 to March 22, at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario.

The newly named Order of Canada appointees will be invested at a ceremony at Rideau Hall later this year, where they will receive the distinctive six-point insignia bearing the inscription, Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam. The Order’s motto translates to: They desire a better country.

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