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City of Oshawa, educational partners launch ‘Teaching City’ Initiative

University President and Vice-Chancellor Tim McTiernan speaks at launch of the City of Oshawa's Teaching City Initiative (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, June 5, 2017).
University President and Vice-Chancellor Tim McTiernan speaks at launch of the City of Oshawa's Teaching City Initiative (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, June 5, 2017).

The City of Oshawa has embraced the need for continuous improvement and innovation as a way of meeting its challenges and the needs of the community. The City, along with educational partners, will formally collaborate on making Oshawa a ‘Teaching City’ that builds momentum and establishes the city as one focused on experiential learning, applied research and innovative teaching partnerships to address urban issues.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Mayor John Henry and the following educational partners to establish Oshawa as a ‘Teaching City’:

  • Don Lovisa, President of Durham College
  • Tim McTiernan, President of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Brent Sleep, Chair of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto
  • Peter Halsall, Executive Director of the Canadian Urban Institute

The City of Oshawa, along with local and regional partners, will develop the City as a ‘living laboratory’ to address and study complex urban issues and identify opportunities. As a nimble mid-sized municipality that is part of one of North America’s largest urban areas, Oshawa is uniquely positioned to take on this role.

Together the partners will explore and pursue the following objectives:

  • Identify and develop initiatives focused on creating practical, scalable and sustainable solutions to urban issues
  • Develop and potentially commercialize technologies and techniques
  • Develop and coordinate joint experiential learning opportunities, applied research, and innovative educational activities
  • Contribute to seminars, workshops and academic initiatives that drive the business goals of the City
  • Share access to facilities, equipment, systems, information and data
  • Work toward the long-term positioning of Oshawa as a locally and globally recognized community of urban research and learning.

Partner Quotes

“Engaging our post-secondary institutions and other partners gives Oshawa a unique opportunity to work with the academic community in ways that will advance our City. The initiative signals Oshawa’s intent to continuously adapt and embrace new ideas to the benefit of our residents. This partnership has great potential and we’re looking forward to watching it evolve over time and position Oshawa at the forefront of urban innovation."
-John Henry, Oshawa Mayor

“Oshawa is already a great place to live, work and innovate. Today, Oshawa became an even brighter spot in Canada's knowledge economy because there will be new opportunities for DC students to explore and problem solve through the issues that matter to residents and businesses, with city staff, DC faculty and other education partners. This is experiential learning at its best.”
-Don Lovisa, President, Durham College

“If they ever were, universities have long since moved away from being ivory towers isolated high on hills. More and more, universities are becoming engaged in many ways with their home communities and region. We are proud to be a partner in this initiative, which is at the forefront of city-university ‘learning from living’ so that quality of life and the community are enhanced.”
-Tim McTiernan, President, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

“This is a bold and timely initiative. With this innovative partnership University of Toronto Engineering students, working across the spectrum of urban issues, will be able to engage with Oshawa staff, residents, and businesses to solve real-life problems facing urban areas today. This is a tremendous educational opportunity for our students and we are excited to begin developing our first activities and projects.”
-Brent Sleep, Professor and Chair, Civil Engineering, University of Toronto

“Oshawa’s Teaching City Initiative is a forward-thinking approach to prepare the community to thrive in the 21st-century economy. It will enhance the prospects for the City and be a model for others to learn from. The Canadian Urban Institute has been helping build capacity for achieving healthy communities since 1990 and we look forward to applying our experience to work with the City and academic partners to help connect the learning to policy and practice.”
-Peter Halsall, Executive Director, Canadian Urban Institute

City of Oshawa media contacts:

John Henry, Mayor 
905.436.5611 ext. 5611;

Jag Sharma, City Manager
905.436.3311 ext. 2259;  

Kyle Benham, Director of Economic Development Services
905.436.3311 ext. 3859;


Educational Partners media contacts:

Durham College
Hélène Asselbergs, Chief of Staff
905.721.2000 ext. 2257;

University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Bryan Oliver, Communications Officer 
905.721.8668 ext. 6709;

The Canadian Urban Institute
Peter Halsall, Executive Director 
416.365.0816 ext. 233;

University of Toronto Department of Civil Engineering
Brent Sleep, Chair