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Beyond 25 Banner

virtual conference | Sep 23, Sep 30, Oct 7 & Oct 14

Finding a Place in
Evolving Communities

Register Now


Beyond 25 Banner

virtual conference
Sep 23, Sep 30, Oct 7 & Oct 14

Finding a Place
in Evolving Communities

Register Now


Keynote Speakers

OPPI is pleased to offer a great program and several timely, fantastic keynote speakers for OPPI20: Jay Pitter (Sept 23), Nova Nicole (Sept 30), our GTA Affordable Housing keynote panel (Oct 7) and David Wachsmuth (Oct 14). Register for our conference by visiting our registration webpage

Jay Pitter - Facing the Future - September 23rd Keynote Speaker

This keynote will historically spatialize this moment of reckoning while calling urban planners to embrace both aspiration and accountability for creating equitable cities.

Author, John Bousfield Distinguished Visitor in Planning, UofT, Jay Pitter, MES, is an award-winning placemaker whose practice mitigates growing divides in cities across North America. She spearheads institutional city-building projects specializing in public space design and policy, forgotten densities, mobility equity, gender-responsive design, inclusive public engagement and healing fraught sites. What distinguishes Jay is her multidisciplinary approach, located at the nexus of urban design and social equity, which translates community insights and aspirations into the built environment. 

Ms. Pitter also makes significant contributions to urbanism theory and discourse. She has developed an equitable planning certificate course with the University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture and taught a graduate level urban planning course at Ryerson University, among others. Jay also delivers keynote addresses for entities such as the United Nations Women and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

She is the co-editor of Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity. Her forthcoming books, Black Public Joy and Where We Live will be published by McClelland & Stewart, Penguin Random House Canada in 2021.

Nova Nicole - September 30th Keynote Speaker

Nova masterfully weaves life lessons she’s gathered from her career in Hollywood to deliver instantly relatable presentations. She helps spark a renewed sense of confidence and empowerment over one’s own life. Audiences walk away with a fresh appreciation for their past, a bold affirmation of their power to transform their current experience, and effective tools to manifest dreams into future success.

On stage Nova shares stories that offer penetrating insights into the human condition. Her presentations are authentic, compassionate, and tell-it-like-it-is, while at the same time offering a touch of humour. Nova is a speaker who shares a dialogue with her audience. Her presentations are often accompanied by longer Q&A’s with audiences put to ease, and eager to engage in a deeper conversation around the topic at hand.

She’s a Workplace Mental Health Advisor and Leadership Development Facilitator at Shopify. Nova’s also a fixture on the internationally syndicated talk show CTV’s “The Social”, and has been profiled in outlets like Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, Chatelaine, CBC and CTV.

Professionally, Nova spent over a decade working behind the scenes in Hollywood in marketing and promotions. Tales of the music business pique the interest of pop culture junkies, while her witty quips, heartfelt anecdotes and candid vulnerability drive every point home. Nova masterfully weaves the life lessons she has gathered from her interactions with celebrities and the downtrodden alike to deliver relatable workshops, motivational talks, and results- driven coaching sessions.

Participants walk away with a fresh appreciation for their past, bold affirmation of their power to transform their current experience and effective tools to manifest dreams in the future. Nova has presented to audiences such as the United Nations Association, YWCA, NAACP, COCA, Oprah Winfrey Network, University of Toronto, City of Toronto, Toronto District School Board, Dufferin-Peel School Board, Historica Canada and many others.

GTA Affordable Housing Keynote Panel - Curt Benson, RPP, Sarah Cameroon, RPP, Naheeda Jamal, RPP, and Nick Michael, RPP - October 7th Keynote Panel

Panel Moderator Jeanhy Shim, President of Housing Lab Toronto

Curt Benson, RPP, MCIP

Sarah Cameron, RPP, MCIP

Naheeda Jamal, MES, MPA, RPP, MCIP

Nick Michael, RPP, MCIP, PLE

Ontario is currently experiencing a housing crisis. Existing affordable housing stock is limited and to make matters worse, the 2016 Census projects that the population of Ontario will grow by 38% by the year 2046, and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is poised to be one of the fastest-growing parts of the province.
How can planning, and planners, address current and future housing needs? Moderated by Jeanhy Shim, President & Founder of Housing Lab Toronto, this exclusive keynote panel will discuss these questions through the exploration of affordable housing initiatives from municipalities in the GTA.

For more information on our speakers, please visit our panel speaker biography webpage.

David Wachsmuth - October 14th Keynote Speaker

David Wachsmuth is the Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance at McGill University, where he is also an Associate Professor in the School of Urban Planning. He directs UPGo, the Urban Politics and Governance research group at McGill, where he leads a team of researchers investigating pressing urban governance problems related to housing policy, environmental sustainability and economic development.

He is the co-lead of the Adapting Urban Environments for the Future theme of the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative, where he is part of a broad interdisciplinary team developing new ways of conceptualizing, measuring, and improving urban sustainability. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the impacts of short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb on cities around the world, and consults widely with municipalities and community organizations on designing appropriate regulations.

Dr. Wachsmuth has published widely in top journals in urban studies, planning and geography, and his work has been covered extensively in the national and international media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and the Washington Post. He was the winner of McGill University’s 2020 Principal’s Prize for Public Engagement Through Media, is the Early Career Editor of the journal Territory, Politics, Governance, and serves on the editorial boards of the journals Urban Geography and Urban Planning.

For more information, visit his lab website at