May 26, 2013
by Canadian Architect
Glenn Miller, acting President & CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, recently announced that the winner of this year’s Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award is William “Bill” Teron, who is well known in Eastern Ontario and beyond as the “Father of Kanata,” a greenbelt satellite city now amalgamated into the City of Ottawa. Teron will receive the award on Monday, June 17, 2013 at the CUI’s annual Urban Leadership Awards luncheon, to be held at the Westin Ottawa in Ottawa.
Bill Teron has established a reputation as a passionate advocate for quality design, and had an equally influential career in public policy. He has focused on improving both the urban setting, with projects such as 300 Driveway, Inn of the Provinces, Canal 111, Park Square and Somerset Gardens, and the suburban setting with Lynwood Village, Qualicum and Kanata in Ottawa. In 1971, he affected the future of Toronto as the originator of the urban park waterfront concept and the provider of the land that became Harbourfront. He is also hard at work as a private citizen encouraging continued vitalization of Kanata’s Technology Park to reflect the importance of Kanata as the Silicon Valley of the North.
Teron shares a passion for activism, arguing for and providing innovative solutions for replacing Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway and covering the Peripherique expressway in downtown Paris to join the Bois de Boulogne public park to the centre of the city.
His commitment to development dates back more than 50 years. In the 1960s, he designed the Greenbelt City of Kanata. His company designed and built Kanata’s first residential community of Beaverbrook and provided the sites for the early occupants of its Technology Park. Beaverbrook’s garden city concept received an award from the Canadian Housing Design Council for its comprehensive treatment of embracing nature as the prime architecture.
In 1970, Teron’s decision to turn over derelict industrial lands in Toronto to the federal government at cost in return for a commitment to create a public park inspired the 1972 announcement of Harbourfront by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau – a decision that had a major impact on the city. From 1973 to 1979, he accepted the full time “tour of duty” position as Chairman and President of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. During his term, he introduced policies and programs for non-profit, co-op, rural and native housing and inner city redevelopment. In addition, the Assisted Home Ownership Program had a major impact on housing production in Canada, resulting in the largest housing production in the history of Canada in any one-, five- or ten-year period.
In 1976, Teron took on the additional role as Deputy Minister of the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs. Although the Ministry closed in 1979 as a result of federal-provincial constitutional discussions, its final years under Teron’s direction saw CMHC and Urban Affairs expand their roles as a project partner in numerous large-scale urban projects, including the redevelopment of Granville Island in Vancouver. During that same period, he was the head of mission at the United Nation’s Habitat Conference in Vancouver, which directly led to his future work internationally.
Upon his return to the private sector, Teron led the research and development of new building technology to improve the cost efficiency and quality of residential and commercial development. This technology has subsequently been used to build millions of square feet of buildings in North America and internationally. He continues to be a full-time member of the family business.
Teron has served on the Board of Governors of Carleton University and as a Trustee of Pearson College and in both cases acted as the chair of their building committees. He has also served as a founding trustee of the National Arts Centre and as a trustee of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, as a Director of the Canadian Housing Design Council and the Canadian Council on Urban and Regional Research.
He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1983 and is a recipient of the Silver, Gold and Diamond Queen’s Jubilees medals. Additionally, he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and an Honorary Member of the Ontario Association of Architects.
Teron established the William and Jean Teron Foundation with a priority to provide Teron Scholar design awards at Carleton University’s School of Architecture and Urbanism and its School of Industrial Design to recognize excellence in design.
For more information about this year’s Urban Leadership Awards Program, please visit www.canurb.org/awards/urban-leadership-awards.html.
The Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a person who has made an extraordinary contribution to the public realm, over many years and in more than one field, thereby gaining reputation and acclaim for their vision, passion and impact. It is the capstone award of the Urban Leadership Awards program, which has been paying tribute to individuals, groups and organizations that have made a profound and lasting impact on the quality of life in Canada’s cities and urban regions. The awards program is also a fundraiser for the Institute in support of our internship program, dedicated to providing undergraduate scholars with practical work experience.
The CUI is Canada’s leading applied urban policy institute with a mission to identify, develop and deliver policy and planning solutions to enable urban regions to thrive and prosper. The Institute’s work is dedicated to building strong communities and equitable, sustainable and competitive urban regions.