Showcasing Burlington for the Pan Am Games Torch Relay

Innovate Burlington is a not-for-profit marketing consultancy dedicated to supporting the growth of local businesses. Combining the fresh thinking of recent graduates with the guidance of expert mentors, Innovate Burlington partners with companies to deliver new ideas and insights that have a lasting impact on their strategy and marketing. Learn more on their website.

Innovate Burlington is working with the upcoming Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games organizing committee on engagement and community support for their Torch Relay.

I am pleased to share with you a guest blog by Kevin Degruijter, Sales and Marketing Coordinator with Innovate Burlington.

Viva PanAm BurlingtonThe Pan Am Games, the world’s 3rd largest international multi-sport games, are coming to Toronto in 2015! Close to 7,000 athletes from 41 nations will be participating in the 36 Pan Am and 15 Parapan Am sports (List here). The games may be a year and a half away, but like the athletes, that doesn’t mean we can’t start getting prepared now!

With close access to competition venues in Hamilton (soccer), Milton (cycling) and Toronto (multiple sports), Burlington residents have a great opportunity to become involved and witness the games first hand!

In advance of the games, the Torch Relay will make its way through the Burlington. We want to know your ideas for how to make this the best possible showcase of Burlington! To accomplish this, we are hosting a Twitter Party on Tuesday, November 19th from 8-9pm.  Here are the questions we will be asking you:

  • What do you love about Burlington?
  • Where’s your favourite place to go in your town?
  • Who is your local sports/Olympic hero?
  • What’s your favourite picture of Burlington? Share it with us for a chance to win a special prize!
  • What Burlington community event do you always look forward to?
  • What’s your favourite Pan Am sport?

A Twitter Party is an online discussion designed to inform and engage with people on a particular issue. We hope to start the conversation with local residents early to make sure their voices are heard and become an integral part of the Torch Relay planning process.

The official hashtag for the event is #YourPanAm, signifying the opportunity to truly make the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games your own.

To participate, all you need is a Twitter account and to follow us @InnovateBurl so you can tweet with us (using the hashtag #YourPanAm) on the night of the 19th.  It’s that easy!

For more information and to register for the chance to win a Pan Am Games prize pack, visit our Twitter Party invite page:

If you’d like more information on getting involved with the games, click here.

We hope to hear from you on the 19th!

Inspiring Healthy Communities

May 9, 2013

Over the past 2 years we have heard from some great speakers about what makes a great city and they have provided us with inspiring ideas on how to build our community better. Several of our events have involved conversations around ways that urban planning can impact community life – whether it is the environment, our economic prosperity or public health.

Last week we heard from Dr. David Mowat, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Peel Region about building healthy communities and how the built environment (our roads, buildings, parks) can have a direct impact on public health. Picture1

Some key points that really resonated for me:
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We’re Growing in Place: Burlington’s Official Plan Review

December 6, 2012

The City of Burlington has begun a review of our Official Plan. An Official Plan is a statutory document required by the Province that describes a city’s land-use strategy over the next 20 years.

The choices we make today will have a lasting impact on our city’s future.

Your city is changing. Hear what people are saying. Watch the “Growing in Place” video and join the conversation.

We’re Growing in Place: Burlington’s Official Plan Review


In Our Backyard

This column appeared in the Burlington Post, March 20, 2012 and is available online.

March 20, 2012

Part of building a city is the challenge of different ideas about what shape the city is taking.

Development ideas often seem great until they are happening right next door and in our backyards. Over the past 30 years Burlington has grown significantly. Most of this growth has been in “greenfield” areas; new communities and developments built in open areas.

Growth in neighbouring communities  Oakville and Milton will continue to be this type of greenfield development for the near future, with lots of open green space still to be developed. Burlington’s future is different. Our growth will be within existing urban boundaries.

We are committed to protecting our rural area north of Dundas Street.  This is defined by greenbelt legislation and also in our city planning. Our growth will create  opportunities to create vibrant neighbourhoods across the city while we protect traditional neighbourhoods. Part of creating vibrant neighbourhoods is creating more local employment opportunities so that more residents can work in the community they live in. We will have increased density in both residential areas and employment areas.

As we work through these changes over the coming years, we will face several challenges together. How do we plan for residents that will be here in the future? What will their needs be?

How can we, as elected representatives and city officials, keep the plan in front of residents so that everyone knows which direction our community is headed in? How do we keep residents interested in planning the future of our city?

The process of planning for land use is called the Official Plan. Official Plans are formal documents done at both the city and regional level which define the layout and land use for the future. They take into account residential needs, employment needs and infrastructure needs. In this way, we define what we want our city to be in the future. The process is ongoing.

Right now Burlington is starting an update to its Official Plan to identify plans for the city through 2031. This process will take three to five years to complete.

There will be many public sessions that I invite you to attend.

In support of this process, I have invited Ken Greenberg to Burlington to speak on Wednesday, April 11 about city planning as part of the Inspire Burlington series. He is a highly-respected visionary on city planning and will share some of his ideas with us to consider as part of our Official Plan update.

I know our planning staff is excited about his visit. For anyone interested in the future of our city’s development, this is a great opportunity.

Your vote matters to Burlington

This column appeared in the Burlington Post on September 21, 2011 and is available online at–your-vote-matters-to-burlington

September 21, 2011

Voting is both a democratic right and a responsibility.

The Thursday, Oct. 6 provincial election again presents an opportunity for all of us to have our say.

As we saw in the recent federal election, the public can speak and create change.

In the coming provincial election there are some very important issues that affect us directly here in Burlington.

The first important issue surrounds the redevelopment of Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital.

Council feels strongly enough about the need to re-develop our hospital that we have committed $60 million to this project on behalf of the residents of our community.

We heard loud and clear that this was very important to the community. I will continue to work with council and with Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital officials to make this a reality.

The other important aspect of the election is the protection of our rural land. Burlington has an urban boundary line, the Dundas/407 corridor, which separates the urban centre from the rural areas.

The decision to expand within the urban area is a positive decision. Burlington will have increased urban areas, which offer lifestyle alternatives, we will have protected suburban neighbourhoods to preserve the traditional Burlington, and we will have rural and agricultural areas, which will become more and more important over time.

I recognize that traffic is a problem. I recognize that moving commercial goods through the GTA is also becoming more and more challenging. I also recognize that the continuing development of Toronto as a world economic centre is paramount to the success of Burlington, the GTA, Ontario and Canada.

We need to have both the provincial and federal governments recognize the GTA’s importance and get on board developing the public transportation infrastructure that we need for this prosperity. Another highway is an alternative, a very expensive and potentially destructive one.

The Liberal and Conservative leadership have taken opposing views on both of these decisions.

Over the next few weeks I encourage everyone to review election information, talk to the candidates and make an informed decision on Oct. 6. Please vote — it’s your right and your responsibility.