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George Baird Lecture: Leslie Woo, Toronto

Wed, Nov 14/18 – 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Main Hall, 1 Spadina Crescent

Registration is required for this event. Reserve your ticket on the registration page.

Doors will open at 6pm. Ticket holders must arrive by 6:20pm (with their printed or mobile ticket) to claim their seats. There will be a rush line for those without tickets. Any unclaimed seats will be released to the rush line at 6:20pm.
This event is part of the Home and Away lecture series at the Daniels Faculty.


Leslie Woo will present the 2018/19 George Baird Lecture. She will share insights into her career journey from traditional architecture practice to her current role as Chief Planning and Development Officer at Metrolinx - one of the world’s largest transportation infrastructure programs. She will touch on the challenges ahead as the world’s population continues to aggressively urbanize and what design thinking offers in the way of solutions.

Leslie is Chief Planning and Development Officer at Metrolinx, the regional transportation authority for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the fastest growing urban region in Canada. Leslie is the executive lead for transportation planning, a multi-billion dollar real estate portfolio and a $35B expansion in public transit infrastructure (approximately $4B capex). Leslie was named Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2017, Spacing Toronto's Transit Change-maker of 2016, and Canada's Women's Infrastructure Network's 2015 Outstanding Leader.

Leslie leads the strategic transportation planning for a full range of mobility services. She heads business areas in benefits management, business case evaluation, design excellence, strategic land development and corporate property management. Leslie manages key relationships with municipalities, not-for-profits and the private sector. She is also a champion for driving sustainability and Metrolinx’s network for women.

Prior to Metrolinx Leslie worked in the municipal, private and not-for-profit sectors. She was the key author of the original Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan (2006), which by 2016 had resulted in urban intensification totalling over 18 per cent increase in multi-family residential development, a two-thirds reduction of greenfield lands consumption, and conserved about 800 square kilometres of agricultural and rural land.

Leslie is a member of the Americas Executive Committee and Governing Trustee with the Urban Land Institute, and a retired member of the Ontario Association  of  Architects. A 2011/12 Fellow of the International Women’s Forum, Leslie’s community leadership includes her current role as Board Director  with  Women’s’  College  Hospital and former role on the board of YMCA  for  the  Greater  Toronto  Area for eight years (2009 – 2017).

Leslie is the creator of the blog celebrating women city builders around the world. Leslie received a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Waterloo where she also studied Urban and Regional Planning. She is also the 2015 recipient of the Renison University College Distinguished Alumna Award. Born in Trinidad, Leslie is the mother of two.