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October 2023

Annual Conference 2023 Recap

Thank you to all the Adaptation Transformation attendees for participating in our 2023 Annual Conference from September 20th to 22nd.  

Over three days, the conference agenda was filled with informative panels, fun events, a memorable PlanON awards ceremony, and plenty of time to network and connect with colleagues, friends, and Registered Professional Planners (RPPs) from across Ontario. Whether attendees joined us in person at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa or joined us virtually, this year’s conference was one to remember!  

Keep reading to learn more about some of our favourite memories from Adaptation Transformation 2023. 

Top 5 Conference Highlights 

1. Opening ceremony and keynote speaker 

To kick-off the conference and welcome attendees, a group of dancers from Indigenous Experiences performed a moving welcome dance. Then OPPI President, Paul Lowes, and RPP, Don Herweyer from the City of Ottawa provided opening remarks and set the stage for the rest of the conference. The opening ceremonies were closed off with an impactful keynote speech from Mitchell Silver, Principal for urban planning at McAdams, who spoke about planning urban parks in New York City and the Code of Ethics. He concluded with an insightful perspective on the current climate in the profession, noting that planners can either be “bitter or better” and encouraged attendees to choose the latter.  

2. PlanON Awards Soiree  

The highly anticipated PlanON Awards Soiree took place on the first night of the conference. The ceremony honoured the 2023 award winners, all 11 of whom exemplify excellence in the planning profession while showcasing the inspirational research and work happening in planning across Ontario. Learn more about the winners in a separate blog post, here.  

3. Marketplace  

To support local business and promote sustainability, this year OPPI opted to host a “Marketplace” instead of handing out traditional swag. The Marketplace featured seven vendors selling hand-made, locally produced products which participants could purchase with a voucher that was included as part of their conference tickets. People enjoyed having the opportunity to choose their own item, and bringing home a unique souvenir. Over $10,000 was contributed to the local vendors with even more in additional sales. 

4. The Annual General Meeting  

Around 150 voting members participated in the OPPI Annual General Meeting (AGM) which took place both in-person and virtually at the conference. All OPPI By-law updates were approved, the new OPPI Chair, Claire Basinski, was introduced, and the new 2023-2024 Council was announced.  

5. Conversation Corner 

Five of OPPI’s industry association partners joined this year’s Conversation Corner, a space where attendees could ask questions and speak with partners about critical topics impacting the planning profession. Thank you to our amazing partners who participated including The Black Planning & Urbanists Association (BPUA), BMS Insurance, The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), The Professional Standards Board for the Planning Profession in Canada (PSB), and UrbanMinds.  

6. Bonus Highlight: Student Networking Lunch 

Encouraging and nurturing the next generation of planners is a priority for OPPI. In addition to offering free conference admission to students, we also hosted a successful Student Networking Lunch where over 80 attendees including Council and DLT members got to know students and shared career advice over a delicious lunch at the Grand Pizzeria.   

Thank you again to everyone who attended OPPI’s Annual Conference, Adaptation Transformation. Special thanks to all of the talented speakers, keynotes, and industry partners who were a part of the agenda as well as to the OPPI team for organizing another successful conference.  

For more memories check out OPPI’s Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and X pages. Otherwise, we can’t wait to see you again next year!  

We want to hear from you! Tell us about what you enjoyed most and share your ideas for next year’s conference by reaching out to us at