Architecture and Design Permaculture

Eco-Design Symposium

Planting Seeds of Change & Building Networks

The Eco Design Symposium brought together designers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, and students in Toronto, on January 19, 2019 around the theme of ecological design within the context of the unfolding eco-crisis.

The goals of this symposium were to:

  • Foster conversations about designers role in the eco-crisis
  • Share examples of ecological design in action
  • Facilitate networking among like-minded people.

The Symposium included Presentations, Roundtables, an Unconference, and a Social. Despite the massive snowstorm we received during the event over 100 people attended!

This symposium was organized as part of the DesignTO festival,  happening from January 18-27,2019.  DesignTO takes design out of the studio and into the city, transforming the urban sphere into a celebration for all things design.

Speakers Included:

Christina Cholkan

Finding energy among both urban corridors and glacial mountains, Christina Cholkan has been inspired since the summer camp years to better understand how we can build healthier cities. With an interest in strategizing and developing applied solutions, Christina completed an Environmental Engineering degree at the University of Guelph and entered into Water Resource engineering consulting.

Daimen Hardie

Daimen Hardie is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Community Forests International. He works closely with teams in Canada and Tanzania on a shared mission to fight climate change by empowering rural communities to thrive with nature. To Learn more visit:

Rob Avis

Rob Avis, P.Eng owns and operates Adaptive Habitat, a leading edge design firm for high-performance properties and Verge Permaculture, a globally recognized award-winning education business. To learn more:

Chris Magwood

Chris Magwood, from the Endeavour Centre near Peterborough will share research into the embodied carbon of buildings and the impacts that design can have in lowering emissions, as well as the Zero House, which is designed to have zero net energy use, zero carbon footprint and zero toxins. To learn more visit:

Eric Davies

Eric Davies,  from the Faculty of Forestry University of Toronto, will share research into the biodiversity of the Greater Toronto Area ravine system, including mapping old growth trees, and charting eco-system health.  To learn more:

Ya’el Santopinto

Ya’el Santopinto is a registered Architect and Associate at ERA Architects, where she specializes in affordable, healthy, and climate-resilient housing rehabilitation and retrofit. She is currently Project Architect on the retrofit of more than 650 units of affordable housing in Toronto, and on the retrofit and renewal of a Hamilton apartment tower to the Passive House EnerPHit standard.  To learn more visit:

You can visit the Eco-Design Symposium here for more information:

See a Globe and Mail (scroll to the bottom) mention about the Symposium here:

Thank you to Jayne Grigorovich for the logo and branding!

Also, special Thanks to the team at York Heritage Properties for hosting us at their space in The Bakery, Liberty Village.