Chief Planner & Executive Director, City of Toronto
As Chief Planner for the City of Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat is committed to creating places where people flourish. Over the past decade she has been repeatedly recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners and OPPI for her innovative work in Canadian municipalities. Most recently, she was named as one of the most influential people in Toronto by Toronto Life magazine and one of the most powerful people in Canada by MacLeans Magazine.
Ms. Keesmaat's planning practice is characterized by an emphasis on collaborations across sectors, and broad engagement with municipal staff, councils, developers, business leaders, NGO's and residents associations. Her priorities include implementing a divisional strategic plan, leading an Official Plan review process, refining public consultation to provide more access to city building conversations, transit planning, midrise development on the City of Toronto's many avenues, and overseeing development review for over 4000 applications annually.
Ms. Keesmaat is the founder of Project Walk, which premiered its first short film in 2011, as an official selection at the TIFF. In 2012 Jennifer debuted her first TED talk, Walk to School and in 2013 she delivered her second, Own Your City. She is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario (combined honours English and Philosophy) and has a Master in Environmental Studies (Politics and Planning) from York University.