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Table discussions at CAFE Ontario

CAFE Ontario Discussions

Students Join National Conversation on the Future of Architecture

March 3, 2020 — 

The Canadian Architecture Forums on Education (CAFÉ) are part of a national, collaborative effort to develop and implement an aspirational vision for architecture in Canada. This national initiative is engaging with practitioners, educators, students, and the public in order to develop a comprehensive policy that addresses four critical categories: Place, People, Prosperity & Potential. Led and initiated by University of Manitoba Professor Lisa Landrum, the CAFÉs are a series of five unique events hosted by Architecture schools across the country to engage key stakeholders in these important discussions about the future of architecture. 

CAFÉ Ontario, hosted by Ryerson University on February 6th, was the third of five forums, following CAFÉ Québec (Université de Montréal in November) and CAFÉ Atlantic (Dalhousie University in October). Master of Architecture students Jessica Piper and Tia Watson were invited delegates representing the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba.  This event afforded the unique opportunity to develop an understanding of design culture and issues across Canada; to engage directly with students and educators from other major Canadian universities; and to share experiences from a local Manitoba perspective. CAFÉ Ontario allowed students to share their current achievements and future aspirations, and facilitated the sharing of ideas and initiatives between schools across Canada through short presentations and a subsequent guided discussion session.

Delegates from schools across Canada attended the event, many of whom presented exciting student-led programs underway at their respective institutions. Student organizations across the country are focused on a diverse range of important initiatives in architectural education. Highlights included Waterloo’s student-led program to introduce functional changes towards operational sustainability in response to the growing climate crisis, and Dalhousie students’ focus on understanding and fostering equality in the realms of both architectural education and practice. For both UofM delegates, learning about these important student-led initiatives underway at schools across the country highlighted the potential to communicate and collaborate between institutions to foster change within our respective faculties.

Although Canada is an indisputably large and diverse country through climate, geography, culture and politics, attending CAFÉ Ontario it was clear that students and educators across the country share many of the same concerns and dreams for the future of architecture in Canada. The development of a nationwide policy document will give voice to the upcoming generation of architects and city-builders, and help us to collectively build and grow an equitable, sustainable, Canadian future. 

The conversation about the future of architecture in Canada continues with CAFÉ Prairie, here at the University of Manitoba on Friday, February 28th. More information can be found on the CAFÉ website,, or instagram, @archcanadacafe.



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