Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s chief planner, steps down

Jennifer Keesmaat is seen at Toronto City Hall on Feb. 28, 2013. Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail/The Canadian Press

After five years as the City of Toronto’s Chief Planner & Executive Director of the City Planning division, Jennifer Keesmaat has announced that she will be stepping down from her position at the end of September.

“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,” Mayor John Tory said.

“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.”

During her time with the City, Keesmaat was instrumental in countless projects aimed at developing long-term strategies for parks, roads, and the downtown core, including Feeling Congested, TOCore, OMB reform, Chief Planner Roundtables, the Ravine Strategy, Complete Streets Guidelines, Planners in Public Spaces and the Planning Review Pane.

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Keesmat was also involved in the King Street Pilot Project, which is designed to evaluate how best to overhaul the way in which the busiest street-level transit route in the city is used on a daily basis.

Keesmat called working with Tory and staff at City Hall an “honour.”

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“I promised myself that after five years in public service I would review my future options,” she said.

“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.”

Before joining the City in 2012, Keesmat worked as a planning consultant on projects in both North America and Europe.

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