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Matthew Blackett

Matthew Blackett is the publisher, creative director and one of the founders of Spacing magazine. As publisher, Blackett has helped shape the magazine into one of Canada's top small magazines: Blackett was named Editor of the Year for 2007 by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors and Spacing has been named Canadian Small Magazine of the Year six times (2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015), and Best Canadian Magazine Blog (2011, 2012, 2013) and Best Canadian Magazine Web Site (2013, 2014, 2016). In 2015, Blackett was appointed as an advisory director to Ryerson University’s City Builders Institute.

Since 2003, Blackett has also worked independently as a design and communications strategist for a variety of organizations and companies such as the Mozilla Foundation, Toronto Transit Commission, University of Toronto Cities Centre, Sierra Club of Canada, Metcalf Foundation, Conservation Council of Ontario, Toronto Atmospheric Fund, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, and the Hockey Hall of Fame. Matthew taught publication design to journalism students at Humber College in Toronto from 2004-2008.

In 2014, Blackett led the launch of the Spacing Store, a retail extension of the magazine’s brand. The store is only retail outlet focused exclusively on Toronto-centric products. The opening of the shop made Spacing the only consumer magazine in the Canada to operate a bricks-and-mortar shop.

Harold Madi

Harold Madi is an award-winning urban designer and planner with over 20-years of professional experience. With an insightful, ‘big picture’ perspective on all aspects of urbanism from regional land use policy to detailed streetscape design, he leads Stantec’s Urban Places Group in Canada. Headquartered in Downtown Toronto, Urban Places Group is an interdisciplinary studio and centre of excellence dedicated to incubating and advancing best practices in sustainable city-building and placemaking across North America.

Prior to joining Stantec, Harold was the Director of Urban Design for the City of Toronto, where he led nearly 80 professional staff that work within the eight Units comprising the City's Urban Design Section: Civic Design; Heritage Preservation Services; Graphics and Visualization; Place-Making and Transit Design; and, the Urban Design Development Review units based in each of the City's four Districts.

Harold has also held several key positions in prominent Toronto-based firms, including Senior Associate at Brook McIlroy-PACE Architects, a founding Partner at Office for Urbanism, and Partner at The Planning Partnership. In those capacities he developed a respected expertise for having led numerous leading- edge and award-winning projects. These projects have included comprehensive master plans, revitalization and regeneration strategies, and urban design visions and guidelines for a wide range of contexts and scales, including transit oriented developments, university campuses, downtowns, main streets, waterfronts, brownfields, existing and new neighbourhoods, and public spaces.

Lola Sheppard

Sheppard is a Registered Architect and founding Partner at Lateral Office. She received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Bachelor of Architecture from McGill University and a Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is an Associate Professor and the Undergraduate Officer of the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo where she also serves as Undergraduate Officer. She has taught at the University of Toronto, Ohio State University, and California College of the Arts. Sheppard previously worked in the offices of Jean Nouvel (Paris), Peter Rose (Cambridge), and Allies and Morrison (London) before forming Lateral Office. She is committed to architecture's new relationship to social and ecological possibilities - not just solutions. Sheppard is the recipient of the 2012 RAIC Young Architect Award.

Gary Sorge

Gary joined Stantec in 1987 and is a Vice President and Discipline Leader for Planning and Landscape Architecture for the global design firm. His leadership, planning, design and technical capabilities span a broad range of project types including complete streets, parks and public plazas; restoration of urban, historic, waterfront and remediated sites; greenway and multi-modal corridors; recreation and cultural facilities; and transit oriented development. Gary has led many interdisciplinary projects encompassing infrastructure and site engineering; architecture; interpretive design; public participation; regulatory approvals; landscape resiliency and place-making.

Gary’s projects of note include the design for the redevelopment of parks and open space for the Yankee Stadium Uplands project in the Bronx, NY;  the design of the award-winning Open Hearth Park on the former Sydney Tar Ponds in Sydney, Nova Scotia; and the redevelopment design of the former Amethyst Site, now Portland Landing, a new 13-acre waterfront space in downtown Portland, Maine.

Mr. Sorge was elected Fellow with the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2009, recognized for his works in public space design, reconstruction and restoration.  He is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects.

Gary’s professional interests touch his private life as he has served in municipal appointed and elected positions as Conservation Commission member, Town Council Member, and on various boards and commissions advocating for watershed protection, historic parkway preservation and education facility development.

Jason Thorne

Jason Thorne joined the City of Hamilton as General Manager of Planning and Economic Development in May 2014. As General Manager, Jason leads a department of approximately 800 staff that has responsibility for a wide range of City services including planning, building, growth management, economic development, tourism and culture, licensing and bylaw services and light rail transit.

Born and raised in Hamilton, Jason has been working in planning and community development his entire career. As a Manager with the Ontario Growth Secretariat, Jason was one of the key architects of the Places to Grow initiative and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. As Director of Policy and Planning for Metrolinx, Jason was one of the lead authors of the Big Move, the regional transportation plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Jason also worked as a planning consultant for communities across Canada and in Africa and Latin America as a Principal with the Toronto-based planning, architecture and design firm planningAlliance.

Jason has also worked for a wide range of non-governmental organizations including the Bay Area Restoration Council, Bruce Trail Association and Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment. Jason is a passionate advocate of community-based planning, sustainable and inclusive development, and the creation of complete, vibrant cities.  Most importantly, he is a proud Hamiltonian who is excited to be working in his hometown.

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