Join the Livestream of the Heart of the City Conference 

Join the livestream of Park People for Heart of the City conference, Canada’s first-ever national gathering of city park champions.  Learn from and be inspired by leaders who are shaping the future of city parks across North America.
The livestream is available in both French and English

Mimages (3)onday March 6

9:40-12:00 (MST) &

  2:00-4:30  (MST) 


9:40-10:40 (MST) Keynote

 Adrian Benepe

A Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land, Adrian Benepe is a leading expert on the nexus of the public, private, and non-profit sectors in public space development and management.

Born and raised in New York, Benepe served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation for eleven years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg (part of a 27-year career in that department). During that time he oversaw a major expansion of the city’s parks system, including restoring historic parks such as Central Park and Battery Park, adding 730 acres of new parkland including Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the High Line, and laying the groundwork for an additional 2,000 acres within the city.

Read Park People’s interview with Adrian Benepe

11:00-12:00 (MST) Panel Discussion

Inclusive Cities: Realizing the Social Benefits of City Parks

We are all familiar with the economic, health and environmental case for city parks, but what about the social case? In this panel discussion, hear firsthand stories of the social impacts of park engagement in underserved neighbourhoods, and learn how projects led by communities themselves are delivering benefits often unrealized by traditional community engagement processes.

Moderated by Denise Pinto, Urbanist, Writer, Former Executive Director of Jane’s Walk

2:00-3:00 (MST) Panel Discussion

Leveraging the Power of Philanthropy for Parks

Philanthropists of an earlier era gave us some of Canada’s historic city parks. In our current era of limited budgets and increasing demand for city park space, philanthropic dollars can mean the difference between a great idea staying on the page and a new park coming to life. This panel discussion will explore how philanthropic initiatives are generating new park spaces, dynamic programming and revitalizing existing parks.

Moderated by Mary-Margaret McMahon, Chair, City of Toronto, Parks and Environment Committee 

3:30-4:30 (MST) Keynote

Jay Pitter

Jay Pitter, MES is an author, placemaker and senior stakeholder engagement professional. Throughout her career, Jay has spearheaded noteworthy projects with organizations such as the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Community Housing, The Health and Safety Task Force, the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and DIALOG, a national architecture firm. Her work has consistently resulted in increasing the capacity, resources and relationships required for co-creating more inclusive, safe, and vibrant cities. Jay has been a guest lecturer and faculty member within post-secondary institutions and has also co-led a number of participatory research processes. Most recently she collaborated with Westbank to increase community engagement in the Honest Ed’s redevelopment process, co-edited Subdivided, a Coach House anthology exploring inclusive city-building, and was one of two authors selected to be interviewed by Premier Kathleen Wynne at the recent Word on the Street Festival. She is currently the Director of Stakeholder Engagement with the Inspirit Foundation and shooting a five-part walk show with Bell Media.

Read Park People’s interview with Jay Pitter

Thank you to our sponsors

             Livestream Sponsor

              Presenting Sponsor