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WHEN September 14-15, 2022

A unique gathering of diverse expertise on the future of Canadian forests and the role of design, climate science and cultural leadership

About the event

Leading edge conversations:

How will we ensure the long-term health of forests while realizing their critical role in providing sustainable timber for the next generation of housing and other building infrastructure?



On September 14th and 15th, a diverse group of leaders will gather to share insights, perspectives, and expertise on the past, present, and future of Canada’s forests. The architectural community and allied professionals from across Canada are invited to join this online conversation that will take place over two half-days.  


The event is designed to foster deep engagement and learning among leaders with different expertise and perspectives. It is our intention that all panelists and moderators are present for both sessions over two half days to support the continuity of the conversation and ensure that ideas from the first day carry over to the second day. 



The conversation will be rooted in a growing web of understanding that thriving forests are vital to the climate, biosphere, and ethnosphere. We depend on forests for physical, ecological, and socio-cultural necessities. At the same time, demand for timber is increasing as new technologies make it possible to replace high carbon-emitting materials, like steel and concrete, with wood structures in dense urban settings. Whether these concurrent demands compete or complement each other will depend on our approach. The departure from a fossil fuel-based society is mirrored by the imperative to transform our cultures and systems of exploitation into sustainable, equitable, regenerative, and thriving systems. Moving forward with humility and respect for the complex web of interrelationships depends on creating shared understandings based on broad data and experiences. By listening to and learning from many perspectives, including the voices and experiences of Indigenous peoples and communities, we can co-create new shared pathways together. 



This gathering aims to inform, engage, and serve the architectural community and allied professionals across Canada, who collectively have a role to play in policymaking, public engagement, and adoption of new principles to proactively source sustainable building materials. Through shared and co-created conversation, we can contribute to a balanced path forward and bring greater insight to the work of shaping places, buildings, and landscapes.



The dialogue will be built around a series of six themed panel discussions—three on each of the two half days. During each panel, four leaders will reflect on the theme through the lens of their own work. A moderated panel discussion will follow these short presentations, which will in turn be followed by a broader facilitated conversation amongst the entire gathering. In addition, there will be ideation breakouts and social networking time.


This event is being developed in partnership between the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and Pilot Projects Design Collective (Wood at Work).


1. Ways of Seeing a Forest : Ecology, Forestry, Society, Indigeneity 

2. Carbon & Climate Change

3. Policy and Practices (Forestry, Building Code, Climate Targets)

4. How Can We Build with Wood Today? 

5. Specification, Transparency & Engagement

6. The Role of Architects in Supporting Thriving Forests and a                   Regenerative Built Environment

Contact Information

To reach us with any questions regarding the event, please send your email to

Event structure 

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Event Contributors

  • Justina Ray (WCS Canada)

  • Louis-Philippe Poirier (Nordic Structures)

  • Rob Keen (Forests Ontario)

  • Danny Robertson (North Pacific Timber)

  • Joseph Fobister (Grassy Narrows Land Protection)

  • Phil Northcott (C-Change Labs)

  • Bruno Gagnon (National Resources Canada)

  • Greg Paradis (University of British Columbia)

  • Gaby Kissinger (Lexeme Consulting)

  • Patrick Stewart (Patrick R. Stewart Architect)

  • Patrick Enright (City of Vancouver)

  • Jean-Michel Beaudoin (University of Laval)

  • Janette Balkan (University of British Columbia)

  • Francois Dufresne (FSC Canada)

  • Roy Brooke ( Municipal Natural Assets Initiative)

  • Richard Kroker ( Dalhousie University)

  • Carol Phillips (Moriyama & Teshima Architects)

  • Mo Mohammad (National Resources Canada)

  • Ian Boyle (Fast + Epp)

  • Alfred Waugh (Formline)

  • Peter Moonen (Canadian Wood Council) 

  • Kelly Alvarez Doran (MASS Design Group)

  • Chris T Cornelius (studio:indigenous)

  • Herb Hammond (Silva Forest Foundation)

  • Joanne Purdue (University of Calgary)

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