Urban planner’s mantra: Own your city

York University alumna Jennifer Keesmaat, 43, is the new chief planner for the City of Toronto and is now putting her views into place in Canada’s largest city, reported the Vancouver Sun Dec. 4. She is determined to make city building and urban planning synonymous, and argues that people should own their city and that cities need to collaboratively plan with their residents. She actively uses social media to get out her message and in March she was invited to explain her views in a TEDx speech at York University. On Friday, Keesmaat will return to Vancouver to give the annual Warren Gill lecture at Simon Fraser University’s City Program. Read full story.

Sun Life appoints Marianne Harris to board of directors
Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) Monday announced that Marianne Harris, a member of the dean’s advisory council for the Schulich School of Business and the advisory council for The Hennick Centre for Business and Law, has been appointed to the board of directors effective Dec. 1. Until recently, Harris was a managing director at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch and president of corporate and investment banking at Merrill Lynch Canada Inc., reported Investment Executive Dec. 2. Read full story.

The gender politics of NASA’s Cold War celebrity space monkeys
How NASA and the media anthropomorphized a pair of female space monkeys – one as a male military hero and the other as a housewife – in 1959 sheds light on how mythologizing astronauts can obscure real military and political goals for space exploration, according to Jordan Bimm, a York University researcher. Bimm’s paper argues the primates, which were originally seen as tools and chosen for their physiological similarities to humans, were imbued with human traits upon their return, revealing more about us humans than the monkeys, reported Metro Dec. 2. Read full story.

Real Wealth Group’s Paulo Abate talks about University Heights
Real Wealth Group of Companies is launching a new 8-storey, 180,000-sq.-ft. commercial development called University Heights in the heart of what will soon be a major new public transit hub at Keele Street and Finch Avenue, reported UrbanToronto.ca Dec. 2. The building will comprise a pharmacy and retail space on the ground floor, a second floor mezzanine with a major medical lab and other professional offices on the upper levels. Situated in proximity to three hospitals, three courthouses, the coming Finch West subway and LRT stations as well as York University; it is the perfect location for a developer with an eye to the future. Read full story.

A Chinese delegation visits Canadian blueberry farms
The opportunity came out of the blue with a phone call from Elena Caprioni, program director of York University’s Asian Business and Management program. Fluently bilingual in Mandarin, she was responsible for organizing an intense three-week trip that focused on blueberry production in Ontario and British Columbia. “Blueberries represent a new market in China,” explained Caprioni in The Grower’s December 2013 issue. “These extension workers want to learn about different blueberry production systems, irrigation, pest management and, of course, import-export.” Read full story.