Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, Park People wrote about the 7 questions we faced about the future of city parks.

This webinar series was created to directly address these questions. In the series you'll learn about park-based solutions to address the urgent and immediate needs arising out of Covid-19 and parks’ role in creating a more inclusive and sustainable future.

The series is ticket-based with a pay-what-you-can structure. All donations will go directly to support Park People’s programs and initiatives.

The webinars are in English but a number of the sessions will offer simultaneous French interpretation. View the specific webinar links to find out more.

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Don’t just tick the box, think outside it: Reimagining public engagement in parks and public spaces

Wednesday, September 30, 2020, at 2:30 pm EST

Covid-19 has shaken up standard community engagement methods. How can we seize this moment to develop more creative methods and get better results for park users and communities?

This webinar will look at a new wave of creative and community-centric approaches of community engagement that happen long before park designs are rendered and long after the ribbon is cut.


The panellists:


Cheryll Case, Founder and Principal, CP Planning; City of Brampton

Cheryll Case practices a human rights approach to community planning. As founder and Principal Urban Planner of CP Planning, Cheryll coordinates with charities, private sector industries, and communities to resource the systems necessary to secure dignified living for all peoples. This includes an acute focus on housing as a human right, supporting urban agriculture, and improving the ability for marginalized residents to access arts and culture opportunities.


Jennifer Franks
Lead, Indigenous Placemaking, City of Toronto

Jennifer works in the Indigenous Affairs Office at the City of Toronto and is the Lead for the City's Indigenous Place Making strategy. She is Plains Cree, Irish and Norwegian and grew up primarily in Alberta and British Columbia, where her family on both sides have hunted, trapped, farmed and lived on the land for generations. Jennifer has a Master's degree from the University of British Columbia in Community and Regional Planning, where her research and thesis focused primarily on contested public space in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, namely the tension between the area's large Indigenous population and their use of park space and encroaching gentrification. Since living in Toronto, she has worked in the NGO sector (Canadian Urban Institute), the provincial government (Municipal Affairs and Housing) and now the City of Toronto. She is excited to be working with Indigenous partners, community members, community organizations and City colleagues to advance Indigenous Place-Making and to enhance the visibility of Indigenous cultural traditions, language and community in the City of Toronto.

Mikael St. Pierre, Project and Development Manager at Montréal Urban Ecology Centre

Mikael St-Pierre is an urban planner and designer from Montréal, Québec. He is currently the National Coordinator for the Active Neighbourhoods Canada network and Project and Development Manager at Montréal Urban Ecology Centre.

He is also a Ph.D. student at École Nationale d'Administration Publique. His practice and research interest are centred on community planning, participatory democracy and municipal innovation. 

Sophia Horwitz, partner and co-founder of COLAB 

Sophia Horwitz is a community builder, and sustainability practitioner and facilitator, who is passionate about increasing the capacity of individuals, communities and organizations to contribute to a flourishing future. Sophia has 14 years of experience leading civic and social innovation initiatives and transformative collaborative processes in Canada, Cuba, Honduras, Japan, Denmark, and Sweden. Her international background and experience help bring a global perspective and best practices to granular issues.

She is a partner and co-founder of Halifax-based COLAB, where she has helped launch programs, projects and organizations such as Mainstreets, Art of Social Innovation, Participatory Budgeting, Placemaking Halifax and cross Canada Placemaking research and network development. Her wide-ranging roles have included acting as Sustainability Officer in Honduras to ambassador of North America in Japan’s rebuilding efforts post-2011 tsunami. Her recent work includes bringing the Participatory City initiative from the UK to a number of cities in Canada. In her free time, you can find Sophia swimming at a lake, walking in the forest, chasing her toddler through streams, or dancing with her movement troupe. 


This session will be offered with simultaneous French interpretation.


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Open Streets or Equitable Cities: Who gets to write urbanism’s next chapter?

Monday, October 5, 2020, at 11:00 am

Urbanists are caught in a high stakes tug-of-war.

Many experts advocate that COVID-19 is the once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine the public realm by creating more space for active transportation and pedestrians. Other urbanists staunchly argue that this is the moment to address the systemic racism, oppression, and injustice in parks and public spaces that have been brought into stark relief by the pandemic.

In this webinar inspired by urbanist and placemaker Jay Pitter, we will explore the relationship between public space, race and the systems of oppression that characterize our public realm. We will identify conventional policies and practices that need to be addressed and offer a vision for the future of urbanism.

The panellists:


Tamika L. Butler, Principal + Founder of Tamika L. Butler Consulting

Tamika L. Butler is a national expert and speaker on issues related to building environment, equity, anti-racism, diversity and inclusion, organizational behaviour, and change management. 

Most recently, she was the Director of Planning, California and the Director of Equity and Inclusion at Toole Design. Previously, Tamika served as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a non-profit organization that addresses social and racial equity, and wellness, by building parks and gardens in park-poor communities across Greater Los Angeles.

Chúk Odenigbo, Director of Ancestral Services for Future Ancestors

Chúk is a black Franco-Albertan from Calgary. He is passionate about the interactions between health, culture and the environment.

This passion inspired him to pursue his Ph.D. in Medical Geography at the University of Ottawa after completing his master's degree in Environmental Health at the School of Public Health at the University of Montréal. Chúk was ranked amongst the top 30 Change-Making Albertans under 30 by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation, the top 10 young Franco-Albertan leaders by Radio-Canada and the top 25 environmentalists under 25 in Canada by the Starfish for three years.

Guillermo (Gil) Penalosa, Founder and Chair of 880 Cities

Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people. He advises decision-makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of age, gender and social, economic, or ethnic background. His focus is on the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, using public transit, and new use of cars.

Gil is the founder and chair of the board of the successful Canadian non-profit organization 8 80 Cities. He is also chair of the board of World Urban Parks, the international representative body for the city parks, open space and recreation sector. 



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Homelessness, parks & Covid -19: Moving from displacement to inclusion

Past Webinar - Thursday, September 3, 2020, at 1:00 pm EST

More people than ever are sheltering in parks and public spaces. And yet, many municipalities are still using enforcement methods to address unhoused park users.
This webinar will explore inclusive alternatives to enforcement and displacement-based approaches and explore how we can better share parks and public spaces, and build connections between differently housed community members.

The panellists:


Nakuset, Director of the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal

Nakuset, the Executive Director of the Native Women's Shelter of Montréal, is Cree from Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan. Nakuset created, produced and hosted the television series Indigenous Power, she was voted “Woman of the Year 2014” by the Montreal Council of Women, and she is the Indigenous columnist for MaTV’s CityLife. She is honoured to spearhead and run the Cabot Square project since its inception and to co-found Resilience Montreal. She is dedicated to improving the lives of urban aboriginals.

Matthew Huxley, Chair of the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness Lived Experience Working Group

Matthew Huxley is a non-status Indigenous person that spent most of his life, from a very young age, in “the system”. Matthew has also spent 20 to 22 years on the streets struggling to live. He is waiting for housing but in the meantime is staying with a friend.

Matthew wanted to be a part of the People With Lived Experience (PWLE) group at Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness to stand up and try to get a voice in the crowd so he can speak out about the issues surrounding poverty. Matthew believes that PWLE needs to have a voice and will eventually be involved in helping solve the general goal of ending homelessness and poverty.

During COVID-19, Matthew was an expert informant on Maytree Foundation’s report Engaging lived and living expertise in COVID-19 recovery planning. Through working closely with his network of friends and peers living in park encampments, he brings critical insights into the experiences of people sheltering in parks during the pandemic.

The moderator:


Adri Stark

Adri Stark is a project coordinator at Park People specializing in park research and policy. Aside from co-authoring the Canadian City Parks Report, Adri has co-led several public life studies and co-wrote Park People’s Sparking Change report on the social impacts of parks in underserved neighbourhoods.




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Thank you to our generous sponsors

TD Bank Group

Metcalf Foundation

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