City Building and Civics: Toronto’s Asian Heritage

When and Where

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:45 pm to 8:00 pm
Urban Space Gallery
401 Richmond Street West Toronto, ON M5V 3A8


Join us to discuss and celebrate the contribution of Toronto's Asian community through the lens of city building and civic engagement.

The Toronto Asia Pacific Youth Council (TAPYC), an initiative of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, is excited to host ‘City Building and Civics: Toronto’s Asian Heritage,’ in partnership with the University of Toronto School of Cities. In honour of Asian Heritage Month, this event will celebrate and discuss the contributions of Toronto’s Asian community to the city’s culture, built environment, and economy through the lens of city building and civic engagement.

Following opening remarks from Olivia Chow, a prominent Asian-Canadian civic leader, Dr. Erica Allen-Kim will present her research, ‘Chinatown Futures: Shaping a Diverse Inter-generational Landscape.’ Dr. Allen-Kim will discuss the effects of changing demographics on downtown Toronto's Chinatown businesses, public spaces, and culture within the context of the city's cultural heritage, urban planning initiatives, and gentrification pressures.

This event was made possible with support from the University of Toronto's School of Cities.

Event Program

  • 5:45 p.m. - Registration & Networking
  • 6:30 p.m. - Welcoming Remarks by Christine Nakamura, Vice-President, Toronto Office, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
  • 6:33 p.m. - Introductions by Shreya Nayak, President, Toronto Asia Pacific Youth Council (TAPYC)
  • 6:35 p.m. - Opening Presentation – ‘From Passion to Action’ by Olivia Chow,
  • Founder and Director, Ryerson Institute for Change Leaders, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University
  • 6:55 p.m. - Presentation – ‘Chinatown Futures: Shaping a Diverse Inter-generational Landscape’ by Dr. Erica Allen-Kim, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design
  • 7:15 p.m. - Closing Remarks by Shreya Nayak, President, TAPYC
  • Until 8:00 p.m. - Networking Reception

Speaker Biographies

Olivia Chow

For more than 30 years, Olivia Chow has been an effective and well-known public figure, serving in Toronto’s municipal politics and on the national stage as a Canadian Member of Parliament. She was voted Best City Councilor seven times by readers of NOW magazine and Best MP in 2010. Readers of the Toronto Sun voted her Top Torontonian in 2012 and Canadian Immigrant magazine named her one of Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants. Olivia also wrote the best-selling memoir, My Journey, published in 2014.

In 2015, Olivia joined Ryerson University as a Distinguished Visiting Professor. Her work focuses on community engagement and leadership development.

As a founder of the Institute for Change Leaders, Olivia and her team of 30+ trainers have taught community and political organizing to thousands of people since March of 2015. The Institute for Change Leaders’ mission is to ensure organizers are continually developing the skills they need to transform the resources they have into the change they want. The Institute does this by teaching organizing strategies and providing a platform for the growth of a network of organizers.

Dr. Erica Allen-Kim

Dr. Erica Allen-Kim is an historian of modern architecture and urban design. Her work on global cities and cultural landscapes focuses on issues of memory and citizenship. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto. She is completing her first manuscript, Mini-malls and Memorials: Building Little Saigon in American Suburbs, and has published on Vietnamese-American war memorials and the transnational politics of Chinatown gates. Erica’s current book project, Chinatown Modernism, situates the architectural and urban projects of American Chinatowns within the broader context of modern architecture and planning.

About the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing Canada’s relationship with Asia by providing action-oriented support to government, business and other stakeholders. Our mission is to be Canada’s catalyst for engagement with Asia and Asia’s bridge to Canada. Visit for more details on APFC.

About the Toronto Asia Pacific Youth Council

The Toronto Asia Pacific Youth Council (TAPYC), an initiative of the APF Canada, is a collaboration of young Canadian professionals committed to raising awareness among Canadian youth about Asia and its increasing importance to Canada.

Contact Information


School of Cities


401 Richmond Street West Toronto, ON M5V 3A8