The City of Toronto’s Chief Planner and Executive Director of the City Planning division, Jennifer Keesmaat, has decided to depart her role effective September 29 to pursue other interests.
Keesmaat took up the post in September 2012 and has since successfully championed and led a wide variety of projects, including the first comprehensive plan for downtown in 40 years (TOCore), the City’s first Council-approved Transit Network Plan (Feeling Congested), OMB reform, Chief Planner Roundtables, the Ravine Strategy, Complete Streets Guidelines, Planners in Public Spaces and the Planning Review Panel. She has also partnered with other City divisions and agencies on several significant transit projects including the King Street Pilot Project, Scarborough Subway Extension, SmartTrack, Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Waterfront LRT and the Relief Line.
“I want to personally thank Jennifer for her tremendous passion, leadership and innovation in driving forward a number of major projects for the City as we continue to move Toronto toward becoming a more livable, affordable and functional city,” said Mayor John Tory, in a press release. “Jennifer has used her platform and voice as Chief Planner to help guide Council’s efforts to build a better city for all Torontonians and I wish her all the best in the next phase of her career.”
This position was Keesmaat’s first in public service. Prior to joining the City, she was a principal at design firm Dialog and had a distinguished career as a planning consultant and strategic planner. She has worked on international projects in the United States, Ireland and Greece, as well as across Canada.
“I would like to extend my thanks to Jennifer for her leadership of the City Planning division as well as her contributions to my senior management team,” said John Livey, Deputy City Manager. “Jennifer is a strong and forthright proponent of complete communities, cross-sector collaboration and public consultation on every project she undertakes, which has helped achieve broad support for many of the City’s major infrastructure projects.”
“It’s been an honour to work with Mayor Tory, Council, City staff and my remarkable team in the City Planning division over the last five years,” said Keesmaat. “I promised myself that after five years in public service I would review my future options. I look forward to new challenges in the important business of city building now enriched by invaluable lessons, new friends and colleagues acquired while serving the people of our great city, Toronto.”