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Evergreen showcases potential of Ontario Mid-Sized Cities


TORONTO, ONTARIO (May 16, 2017) – Ontario’s mid-sized cities take centre stage at a special forum hosted by the national not-for-profit Evergreen. Its new Mid-Sized Cities Research Collaborative, comprising more than 20 leading Canadian academics, will share its latest research on mid-sized city issues as part of Evergreen’s recently released report Leveraging Ontario’s Urban Potential: Mid-Sized Cities Research Series. The research explores topics from housing and transportation to economic development and the environment and will ultimately help shape and advance policy and programmatic solutions for mid-sized city leaders and provincial stakeholders.

The Evergreen and McMaster Mid-Sized Cities Forum on Thursday, May, 25, 2017 is part of the two-day CityAge Conference, co-presented by CityAge, McMaster University and Evergreen, in Hamilton, ON where the top minds and civic leaders from mid-sized cities and towns across North America will share ideas on the unique challenges and opportunities of these urban centres. During the conference, the public is invited to attend a free panel discussion Your City Your Spaces: Adaptive Reuse for Community Benefit, presented in partnership with McMaster University's Office of Community Engagement, on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the David Braley Health Science Centre at McMaster University. The event brings together community leaders to discuss how mid-sized cities are transforming underutilized public spaces for community benefit.

“City-building needs to take place in all kinds of cities, not just the big ones,” says Geoff Cape, Evergreen CEO. “Through our Mid-Sized Cities Program, we have seen how these urban centres can become leaders in sustainable and inclusive city-building initiatives across the country. With the right investment in infrastructure, facilities and capacity, mid-sized cities can offer much of the benefits as bigger centres, creating flourishing cities for residents to live, work and play.”

Canadian mid-sized cities – whose population falls within 50,000 to 500,000 residents – are at a turning point. Once defined by a single industry, mid-sized cities are building innovative and inclusive new economies. Currently 25 Ontario cities and towns fall into this category. Outside of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) they represent more than 25 per cent of Ontario’s urban population; including the GTHA, they represent more than 44 per cent.

Identifying this potential, last year Evergreen launched its Mid-Sized Cities Program to gain knowledge and advance new initiatives to support leading Canadian researchers, influential community leaders, practitioners and policymakers in developing policies, programs and strategies unique to these smaller urban centres. Already a series of pilot projects in Hamilton, London, Peterborough and Greater Sudbury have experimented with reanimating underutilized spaces, reinvigorating neighbourhoods and encouraging innovation.

“Nearly half of Ontario’s city dwellers are located in mid-sized cities but these cities have been largely overlooked in academic research, policy development and mainstream conversations – until now,” says Jo Flatt, Evergreen Sr. Project Manager and Lead of the Mid-Sized Cities Program. “Not all mid-sized cities are made the same but all have experienced significant economic, sociodemographic, environmental and fiscal changes, prompting a reinvention of themselves. The Mid-Sized Cities Research Collaborative aims to fill a key research gap and support practitioners in unlocking the unique potential of mid-sized cities.” 

Evergreen’s Mid-Sized Cities Research Collaborative includes the knowledge of leading researchers from 14 Ontario colleges and universities, featuring topics such as:

  • Overcoming the Middle-Child Syndrome: Immigrant Attraction and Retention in three Mid-Sized Municipalities (London, Sudbury and Kitchener-Waterloo) begins to explore how immigrant attraction, retention and settlement are one area of urban policy can support economic development and the local social sustainability - York University
  • Co-working in Ontario’s Mid-sized Cities: An untapped urban entrepreneurial ecosystem illustrates the rise of the co-working movement and how this knowledge-based economy can benefit the local economy and downtown core - University of Waterloo
  • Suburbs in Canada’s Mid-Sized Cities studies the population change in suburbs, exurbs and downtown cores and urges policy makers to ensure the survival of downtown – Queen’s University
  • Climate Change Planning for Mid-Sized Cities looks at the important role these small centres play in reducing greenhouse gases and the barriers they face when addressing climate change –Trent University
  • Communities in Transition: Planning for Slow or No-Growth describes how many mid-sized municipalities are experiencing slow growth, no-growth or decline and that planning systems must shift from the facilitation of growth to the management of maintaining the existing built area – University of Waterloo

For the full list of research papers and authors, please visit:

The public event Your City Your Spaces: Adaptive Reuse for Community Benefit panel discussion is supported by the Government of Ontario.

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