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BEYOND THE BUZZ: Researcher makes a case for the wild bees p10

READY FOR ITS CLOSE-UP: UTSC is a hub for the arts in Scarborough p12

FALL 2016




The Food Capital of the World



BENEATH THE SURFACE: What’s happening in Lake Ontario? p22


A magazine for the alumni, friends and community of the University of Toronto Scarborough Fall 2016 Volume 6, Issue 2 Produced by the Department of Communications & Public Affairs 416-287-7089,



Editor Chris Garbutt

Scarborough may be well known, but it hasn’t been known well. This area of the city has been woefully underserved in terms of public investment—certainly in public transit, economic development and health facilities. From United Way reports, we see how things have unfolded. As people with the most wealth moved into the city’s core, the inner suburbs, and Scarborough in particular, became identified with highrise, warehouse-like public housing, signalling impoverished neighbourhoods amidst the mid-century style characteristic of the area. Yet there are proud local traditions here, beautiful natural landmarks and creative endeavours in community building, sports and the arts. These are led by educational institutions, hospitals, sports clubs, artists, immigrant associations and local businesses. Cities and neighbourhoods aren’t static, and neither are their stories. As we update the Scarborough story, we also need to revise the Toronto narrative. With the GTA now ranking among the 10 largest urban agglomerations in North America, we need to leave behind the idea that a city is just one thing. Toronto celebrates diversity and difference—let’s rethink the city from that lens. From my discussions with U of T President Meric Gertler and others, I know there is an understanding that the University must leverage its three distinct locations—downtown Toronto, Scarborough and Mississauga—and the accompanying community relationships, geographies, economies, academic strengths and student populations. Our three distinct narratives are linked by common policies and tremendous synergies, making U of T the university for the GTA. Each of the three campuses provides a window into—and a very special resource for—our very complex region. The eastern GTA has many good things going for it. Being located here is a tremendous opportunity. We are contributing to the Canadian dream of many families—educating their children, engaging in community-based and globally relevant research, and partnering in planning improvements. We train local youth; we support local business. We are helping people in Scarborough to tell their stories of creativity, compassion, community building, arts, culture and sport. We’re a partner. That’s an important achievement for the University.

Bruce Kidd, OC, PhD, LLD Vice-President, University of Toronto, and Principal, UTSC

UTSC Commons | Fall 2016

FALL 2016

Principal Photographer Ken Jones Communications Intern Bianca Quijano Art Direction, Design & Production Hambly & Woolley Inc. Editorial Advisory Group Pankaj Aggarwal Associate Professor, Department of Management Maydianne Andrade Professor, Department of Biological Sciences Andrew Arifuzzaman Chief Administrative Officer Dan Bender Professor, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies Joe Hermer Associate Professor, Department of Sociology Shelley Romoff Director, Communications & Public Affairs Georgette Zinaty Executive Director, Development & Alumni Relations To contact us, please visit, email or write us at UTSC Commons, Communications & Public Affairs, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4 UTSC Commons has a circulation of 30,000 and is published twice a year by UTSC’s Department of Communications & Public Affairs. All material is copyright © 2016 University of Toronto Scarborough and may be reprinted with written permission. Alumni receive the magazine free of charge. For information about how you can support University of Toronto Scarborough, please contact Development & Alumni Relations at 416-287-7115, or at the postal address above. Visit us online Facebook UofTScarborough Instagram & Twitter @utsc The University of Toronto Scarborough respects your privacy. We do not rent, trade or sell our mailing lists. If you do not wish to receive the magazine, please contact us at 416-978-2139 or 1-800-463-6048 or


12 16 22 25


Read about the work our faculty, students and alumni are doing as part of the Scarborough arts community. by Berton Woodward


There’s no better place to eat than the eastern GTA. by Donna Paris


UTSC researchers discover new secrets below the surface. by Patchen Barss


UTSC grad and vice chairman of the world’s largest golf resort. by Laurie Stephens


mosaic BIG PLANS

Scarborough is poised for amazing growth, says Toronto’s chief planner. p2 BREAKTHROUGH THINKING

What do art history and chemistry have in common? p4

Above: Did you know that the world’s largest golf resort is in China? And that it’s run by a UTSC alum and his brother? Cover: Illustration by Isabel Foo.


Three local politicians, who happen to be UTSC alumnae, consider UTSC and the eastern GTA. p6

Visit us online at

campus news

New social science building begins construction. p28 UTSC plays a key role in new Scarborough Business Association. p28 Take a stroll along the Rock Walk. p30

meeting place

Say hello to Marc Saltzman, psychology grad and tech guru. p32

from the field

The case of the dying bees is more complicated than you think. by Bianca Quijano p10 UTSC Commons | Fall 2016




take home


Ideas & Observations

Toronto’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat says Scarborough has a great urban future.


Any discussion about Scarborough’s

future usually ends up in an argument about transit. But if Toronto City Council’s recent decision to build a subway extension and an LRT to U of T Scarborough is realized, the benefits will go well beyond shiny new trains. 2

UTSC Commons | Fall 2016

Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat says the transit plan is a piece of a larger vision for the growth of our part of the city. In 2013, a series of city-hosted roundtables focusing on built form, mobility and the suburbs as a place where newcomers to Canada arrive were illuminating, Keesmaat says. “Contrary to the myths of suburbs being where people drive, we heard that many people don’t have driver’s licences,” she says. “They’re

dependent on transit for school, jobs and the activities of everyday life.” The problem, of course, is that Scarborough came of age at a time when planning was based on the assumption that everyone would own a car, even in the so-called tower communities, where housing is dominated by high-rises. “That myth didn’t hold for very long,” Keesmaat says. The vision is to densify. Not everywhere, but in key locations such as Scarborough Town Centre, which is to become a high-density urban centre anchored by a subway stop, and along Eglinton and Kingston Road, where the city’s “avenues” strategy will be implemented. The “avenues” approach adds what Keesmaat calls “gentle density” to an area that is currently low density and dominated by roads and parking lots. “It’s one of the reasons why the LRT offers such opportunity,” she says. “It presents the opportunity to create a Main Street there.” As for UTSC, the city is being guided by the campus’s secondary plan to develop the area as a mixeduse “live-work-play” hub for the region, not just for Scarborough but for neighbouring communities in York and Durham regions. The plan is to have more residential and commercial buildings, which, combined with the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, will attract much more activity to UTSC’s neighbourhood. The project will be many years in the making, and requires that all the plan­ning pieces fall into place. “You really need the right components together to attract people,” she says. “But when you get it right it’s a no-brainer.”


(or, just a few reasons Scarborough is the centre of the universe)

What’s so great about being in the east? We asked members of the U of T Scarborough community to give us examples. Here’s a sampling of what they told us.


You’re hiking in Rouge National Urban

Park. You see a strange-looking plant. You’re itching to learn more about it. Enter Parks Canada and four UTSC students from The Hub, the campus’s entrepreneurship centre—they’re creating an app that people can use while visiting the park. It will feature information about the area’s wildlife, plant life, agricultural community and 10,000 years of human history. “We’re using technology as a bridge to experience nature,” says Kaitlyn Chow. Her job is to get to know the park better by regularly “taking hikes,” along with fellow environmental science master’s student Winston Lee and computer science undergrads Derek Etherton and Alexander Cavanagh. Development of the app will take two years. It will grow along with the protected area itself, which will expand to a full size of 79.1 square kilometres, about 50 times the size of Toronto’s High Park.

1 2 3 4 5 6

Babu’s Sri Lankan Takeout Savory, spicy, authentic (so my Sri Lankan students tell me) food at reasonable prices. Their Bonda (potato balls) are round bits of the divine. Maydianne Andrade, Professor and Canada Research Chair, Biological Sciences Highland Creek Trail from UTSC to the lake It is particularly spectacular in the fall. William Bowen, Associate Professor and Chair, Arts, Culture & Media Lamanna’s Bakery Amazing cakes. Great sandwiches. People actually travel from the west end of the city to taste their wares. Sandra Bamford, Associate Professor and Acting Chair, Sociology Miller Lash House Go into the valley and visit this place. It’s a great walk that helps me to refocus my thoughts after a long day of work/ research/thinking. Bernie Kraatz, Vice-Principal, Research Rouge National Urban Park Hiking trails, larger than Central Park in New York, they have guided walks and nature hikes, or you can explore on your own. You forget that you live in a large urban centre. Prof. Sandra Bamford The Waterfront All of it. In Pickering, so few people realize there are protected sand dunes [near Frenchman’s Bay]. I actually rode from Niagara to Quebec along the waterfront. Jennifer O’Connell, MP, Pickering-Uxbridge

What’s awesome about the east end? Tweet us your favourites @UTSC!

UTSC Commons | Fall 2016



breakthrough thinking

PERFECT MATCH Science and art come together through interdisciplinary workshops

DID YOU KNOW? Insta-famous: the UTSC story behind the global sensation

Picked up by news media around the

world, the uoftdrizzy Instagram account has more than 17,000 fans— including Drake himself—following, liking and posting comments. The parody account features images of the Toronto-born rapper placed in various landmarks around campus, captioned with snippets of his lyrics. It’s become UTSC’s unofficial mascot. The UTSC student artist behind the account isn’t just into Drake and Photoshop—the Instagrammer also runs a youth basketball program and has counselled women and children living in abusive environments. One rule: No U of T Drizzy on the weekend. That time is spent disconnected from the online world, connected to family, friends and Sunday meal prep. To freely capture student life, the Instagrammer remains anonymous, and plans to continue U of T Drizzy as long as it’s entertaining. “I put a lot of love into it. I feel I get a lot of love back.”

Alen Hadzovic has won an award for

watching paint dry, sort of. An assistant professor in UTSC’s Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences, Hadzovic is one of three recipients of U of T’s Early Career Teaching Award. The award is given annually to faculty members who show exceptional commitment to student learning, pedagogical engagement and teaching innovation. Hadzovic has developed online interactive teaching materials for inorganic chemistry courses. Equally exciting is his work in crossdisciplinary and extracurricular learning, through a seminar he co-created with Erin Webster from the Department of Arts, Culture & Media. The seminar, called the Technical 4

UTSC Commons | Fall 2016

Art History Workshop, brings chemistry and art history students together to see what happens to paint as it ages. They also gain an appreciation of different art forms and of the techniques involved in art history. “It’s another good example of how bringing different fields together in order to learn from each other can be productive,” Hadzovic says. Creating cross-disciplinary opportunities has always been important to him. In the past he’s teamed up with Barry Freeman, from Theatre & Performance Studies, on WIDEN UTSC. They created a forum where members of the university community could share their perspectives across disciplines on a series of topics.

Hadzovic has also partnered with faculty from Historical & Cultural Studies on various projects and hopes to partner with the Department of English in the near future. “An interdisciplinary education opens the door to new perspectives and different ways of thinking. That’s something I think we can all benefit from,” he says. “At the end of the day I believe it creates better professionals.” For Hadzovic, it’s all part of belonging to a campus community that prides itself on academic excellence. “We have great teachers and researchers, and I think we’re uniquely positioned to help our students become leaders and professionals that can make a difference in the world.”


During the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan

Am Games, the Morningside Athletic Fields were the site of the horseback riding portion of the modern pen­tathlon. Now, the fields have been repurposed with two playing fields for UTSC and community groups. Since May, groups such as the Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation, catering to at-risk youth and former national player Dwayne De Rosario’s DeRo United Futbol Inc., have been renting the grounds. UTSC interns have been gaining valuable experiential learning by helping out through coaching and other activities, and with the arrival of fall, the fields will be open for students to play ultimate Frisbee, soccer and flag football. UTSC Commons | Fall 2016




1 Mitzie Hunter 2 John McKay 3 Jennifer O’Connell




– Mitzie Hunter

Mitzie Hunter: UTSC’s role in maintaining the diversity in this community is substantial. When I was a student here in the early 1990s, groups would keep to themselves and not speak to each other. I was part of the Student Council and the Cultural Committee and together we created a program 6

UTSC Commons | Fall 2016


– John McKay

Three local politicians—all UTSC grads—consider the direction of the eastern GTA and our campus’s role in it We say it a lot in this magazine because it’s true: the eastern GTA has come a long way since its early days. Today it is vibrant, diverse, and urban but with a significant connection to nature. For this issue, we invited three of our local representatives—Mitzie Hunter, MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood and Ontario Minister of Education; John McKay, MP for Scarborough-Guildwood; and Jennifer O’Connell, MP for PickeringUxbridge—for a discussion with Jeffrey Dvorkin, director of U of T Scarborough’s Journalism program. The three guests—all UTSC alumni—discussed the challenges and opportunities of Scarborough and the eastern GTA, and UTSC’s role as an anchor institution in the region.


called Mosaic, which was designed to create dialogue and exchange among the various multicultural groups. What’s great is 20 years later they’re still running Mosaic! Scarborough East’s diversity is what makes us very special as a community. People feel a level of comfort when they land here because they can connect with their culture in very authentic ways. Jeffrey Dvorkin: One of the things students tell me when they leave here is that they miss that sense of community. It’s almost a cultural coziness. But how do we make sure that our students are empowered to create an environment here and then recreate it outside campus? John McKay: A university is first and foremost a community of scholars, and the reputation of a university lies in the quality of its scholars. This campus has developed a fine reputation. Principal Kidd was telling us that for the last three years, the top U of T graduate came from UTSC. That is a huge message, not only to the local community but to the international

community — that if you want topquality education, you come here. The scholars and professors here communicate a constellation of values to the rest of the world. They are all like mini-ambassadors for not only Canadian education but Canadian values. Jennifer O’Connell: A signal that is very important for the east end is the recent GM announcement [to invest in research and innovation facilities] in Oshawa and Markham. That highlights the success of UTSC and our education overall in this area, because the reasoning for GM’s investment was our education, our workforce. UTSC is really up-and-coming in terms of quality education. You don’t have to go downtown. You don’t have to go to some of the other campuses to highlight the success stories. I lived at home, went to school here, stayed here. The international piece is important, but it’s also the piece of having the access to quality education and then not needing to move away to have a good-paying job.

JD: Thank you for raising the issue

of transportation. There’s great advantage to integrating through transportation. MH: It’s a question of vision. As a city, and as a region, we have to recognize that we’re not a town. We are a global city. Global cities require amazing institutions, like what we have here at U of T Scarborough. It also requires appropriate transit systems, and we’re at the cusp right now of embracing that. We need the courage to continue with these investments so that we can embrace this city’s potential growth in the future. JM: And vision goes both ways. Possibly one of the reasons that Scarborough feels isolated, possibly even removed, is the Gardiner Expressway. The Gardiner Expressway was to run through the Beaches, parallel to the tracks out by the Guildwood GO Station, and it was to come up the Highland Creek valley and dump out onto Highway 2 right here. The concept at that time was that the car was king. We’ve evolved from

that idea, but the consequence was that nothing got done. It’s about time the folks in Scarborough, all 600,000 of them— MH: —twenty-five per cent of the city’s population— JM: —got some decent public transportation. In some respects, it’s been beneficial in the sense that we’ve been able to re-establish an eastern Scarborough-GTA identity and preserve things like this [gestures out the window]. MH: Green space, yeah. JM: And also preserve things like the Rouge Valley, which is now a national park. Would that have been possible had we made transportation decisions such as we were going to make 20, 30 years ago? I don’t know. But what a fabulous asset to this whole region. And UTSC has been intimately involved and will continue to be intimately involved in the creation of the world’s largest urban national park— MH: …that would be accessible by transit with the expansion of the Lakeshore Line on GO. There’s a stop right there.

It links the entire region to the gift of that national urban park so that people from anywhere can just get on the GO, hop off and five minutes later they’re in this oasis. So I do think that the role of transit in connecting this region is important. JO: Coming from a different perspective of the suburbs of the GTA, I think there’s a connectivity problem, especially with transit, in Toronto. Governments need to recognize that people don’t care about municipal boundaries. If they work or go to school, that’s just where they’re going to go. So when Durham Region, for example, connected Durham Transit to UTSC, that was a big deal. We’re moving west, connecting with the TTC. With the downtown transit conversation, you forget about the suburbs. All the people who go to school there or work there, and go out to eat, to play, to do a lot of things, come not just from the downtown core. You’re now seeing the suburbs saying, “Forget it. We’re not going to wait for you to UTSC Commons | Fall 2016



4 Jeffrey Dvorkin



– Jennifer O’Connell

make up your mind. We’re going to build what our communities need.” We’re going to start making decisions and building transit in ways that people are moving, because it’s a demand on us to get people moving in a better way. And if transit stops right at city limits, so will the economy, so will the workforce, so will the education. JD: I’d love to come back to something that John raised a few moments ago about values and how UTSC becomes a place where certain kinds of values, Canadian values, become shared. MH: One of the great things about our society is that we have a place where we can learn and grow as well. We’ve just gone through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and are taking important steps to make our way through that. In Scarborough we have one of the largest urban Aboriginal and Indigenous populations and in my riding alone, there are about 3,000 residents. There’s one elementary school, Eastview, that has about 300 children. Our Indigenous 8

UTSC Commons | Fall 2016


populations are the fastest-growing population in all of Canada, so we have to make the effort to be inclusive. That’s something that we’re all learning and evolving from. We have a special place here in Scarborough called Momiji Centre, which is a home for Japanese seniors. It was established in 1978. JM: It’s at Markham Road and Kingston Road. MH: Momiji is a very special place that was established in response to the Japanese Internment, which is something from our past that we needed to reconcile with. As you can see Scarborough East is a learning place as well, but there are still a lot of conversations that we need to have. One of the areas that we really need to focus on is employment access. In my riding, the unemployment rate is almost at 13 per cent, which is almost double the provincial average. If you look at women in that category, it’s even higher. When you look at the statistics for Aboriginal young people, 23.5 per cent are unemployed. This

unemployment rate of 23.5 per cent is also the case for black youth! That’s outrageous and unacceptable. We have to work at some of those inequities. We need to have the courage to have those difficult conversations, and ensure that people have the opportunities they need. JM: Just circling back in on this issue of values, I was in Washington, meeting with congressmen and senators. I don’t think we had one conversation where they didn’t raise the issue of our bringing in 25,000 Syrian refugees. That had kind of imprinted on their minds with an uncomfortableness. In all instances, we were able to sort of say to the Americans, “Look at yourselves. You are the most powerful nation on Earth and all you can bring in is 2,000 refugees?” JO: I was recently at the Council of Europe. Refugee migration was a huge issue there. They said to us, “How did Canada do it? How did you not have revolts in the street?” Again, it’s values. And the media coverage. I found that a major turning point in the last

federal election was that image of the young boy, Alan Kurdi, who washed up on the shores of Greece. That was a turning point for Canadians in our position on refugees, our role in the world on dealing with this crisis. The media images after the Council of Europe—where there’s a big push between some of the Eastern European countries opposed to immigration and refugees—is that they are young men, terrorists. That’s all they show. That’s the picture of immigration. But here, the biggest issue I get in my constituency office when it comes to our refugee policy is why we’re not bringing in more. So it goes back to our media here in Canada not being dominated by the very sexy, flashy, quick news stories that are the fear stories, appealing to the worst part of human nature. MH: Well, millennials are not following as closely as the journalists would like to think. JD: And my job as a teacher is to help them develop a better set of filters. MH: Right, but not your students.

The category of millennials. They don’t read the papers and they’re not watching the news, right? JD: And they’re writing 140 characters at the most! MH: They are, but they are becoming their own editors, and their own publishers, because of the devices that are in their hands. I think that the role of institutions big and small becomes even more important in today’s society. Those are their day-to-day touchpoints in terms of what is happening in that bigger world. JO: When I got into politics, my first year was right when I graduated. What I learned very early is that everybody’s busy. They’re just trying to go to work, spend time with their families. There is not a lot of time. In Pickering you spend an hour and a half getting to work and an hour and a half getting back. So the way I look at it is this: take this well-thought-out argument or policy, and convey it quickly to people in a way that gets them thinking. That’s how we have to focus on the next generation. So much information

is being thrown at them. How do you get really good at giving them a teaser about a complex argument, so that they then do more research? MH: There’s a lot that is delightful about Scarborough that needs to make it into the media. Our food culture here is so strong and authentic. What about the music culture here? It’s worldrenowned. The Weeknd, right here in Scarborough! It’s in this environment where you have these clashes of cultures that excellence is produced. JD: That’s what makes this place, to me, as a relative newcomer to Scarborough, the most exciting academic environment, cultural environment, intellectual environment, that I’ve ever seen. JO: Well, I think it’s that cultural diversity that elevates the conversation. It’s the viewpoint, “Oh, I never thought of it like that.” MH: And it’s still, in Toronto terms, an affordable, accessible place for families to purchase a house. It also has some of the best green space in the region! UTSC Commons | Fall 2016



from the field


Environmental conditions are threatening wild bees in Ontario, but too much focus is on the non-native honeybee, says Scott MacIvor. “There is misinformation about which bees need saving.”

The case of the disappearing bees is more complex than you think by Bianca Quijano

By now you’ve read the headlines. You

may have even watched a documentary or two. Bees all over the world are dying and it’s bad for everyone. But beware of false advice that might contribute to the problem. “There is misinformation about which bees need saving,” says Scott MacIvor, a postdoctoral researcher in the Marc Cadotte Lab at UTSC and co-author of Bees of Toronto, part of the City of Toronto’s Biodiversity Booklet Series. “Especially in the promotion of ‘saving bees’ by keeping colonies of managed honey­bees in natural areas and in cities, rather than supporting the needs of wild, native bees, which are mostly solitary and live all around us.” In Ontario, wild bees face the same pressures as managed honeybees do, including landscape degradation and climate change. However, wild bees have additional pressure because of excessive numbers of managed honeybees. Honeybees are actually foreign to North America, brought here by Europeans in the 1600s. “Honeybees can exhaust food supplies that are used by wild bees especially when managed in large densities, and in non-agricultural habitats like reserves, parks and cities.” People with good intentions are getting into urban beekeeping without realizing this may contribute to negative impacts on wild bee populations. And there’s one more thing that’s sucking the life out of Toronto’s wild bees. Cynanchum rossicum, otherwise 10

UTSC Commons | Fall 2016

known as dog-strangling vine (DSV) is an invasive plant species affecting southern Ontario, Quebec and the northeastern United States. “DSV out-competes the native plants that bees visit, and it is spreading rapidly through the city,” he explains. “Also, three-quarters of Toronto’s bee species nest in the ground. Since DSV covers the terrain, bees have fewer places to nest.” The Cadotte Lab at UTSC has been monitoring the infestation of DSV in Rouge Park for years. This year, MacIvor and a team of undergraduates began investigating DSV’s impact on wild bees, sampling bee diversity in eight different sites with different invasion levels. The team is also inspecting pollen samples, to find out which bees visit DSV and which do not. And they’re adding native plants to DSV-invaded habitats to see how invasion levels affect bee-visitation rates to native flowers. With Professor Roberta Fulthorpe and her lab, they’re examining the microbial diversity found on bee pollen and flowers to better understand how invasion impacts bee-associated organisms. “Bees are like the proverbial canary in the coal mine,” says MacIvor. “Understanding them will tell us a lot about the health of the environment.” MacIvor hopes this work encourages the creation of pollinator-friendly habitats in Toronto’s public places. Maybe it’s time to create more buzz about our native wild bees. UTSC Commons | Fall 2016




You may find them on the Scarborough Bluffs, acting in a historical play. In an industrial strip mall, working on visual or performance art. Or soon, in a choir or garage band—learning, playing, singing. These are U of T Scarborough students, alumni and faculty who are embedding themselves in local communities to help nurture and expand the arts in UTSC’s neighbourhood. “It’s an exciting time in Scarborough,” says Julie Witt of the department of Arts, Culture and Media. “It’s an incredibly unique community in how many cultures and traditions are represented and how very active they are.” Witt coordinates ACM Connects, which presents a range of artistic, cultural and scholarly programming every year. She says UTSC is increasingly stressing community involvement in all areas, including the arts. The outreach has been building for years: English department faculty Daniel Tysdal and Andrew Westoll have held community courses on creative writing and storytelling at the East Scarborough Storefront since 2013; groups from the community often stage drama and music productions at UTSC; and student interns regularly get placements in Scarborough. But now planners want to do more. “We’re at the beginning of what we hope is a real shift in the conversation, in putting the focus and spotlight on Scarborough,” says Lynn Tucker, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, in Music. “There are great things happening here. Now it’s about building the energy and capacity around those great things.” Here is a sampling of how U of T Scarborough faculty and students are supporting Scarborough arts and artists.



C E Photography by

by Berton Woodward Illustrations by Pui Yan Fong


UTSC Commons | Fall 2016

When you think of people who are “embedded,” the first to come to mind may be war correspondents. But UTSC has plans for embedding in a very different field—community music. In a new area of focus launching this fall, Music & Culture students will visit and learn from community music partners. Ultimately, they will work with them as part of a seniorlevel seminar course. The expectation, says Lynn Tucker, is that students will then “come back to the classroom to share and critically reflect upon their experiences.” Tucker, who is an Associate Professor of Music, Teaching Stream, believes these new service-learning opportunities will benefit not just the students—but the community hosts, too. “Our students are so incredibly passionate and excited to be working with music, and so creative in their ideas that I think there’s a real energy they can offer those organizations.” Tucker believes the possibilities are vast. She has recently hired Christina Beharry to do a broad mapping project of music-makers in the eastern GTA. It will concentrate on Scarborough but go north to Newmarket and Uxbridge and east to Ajax, Pickering and Oshawa. “It’s a huge region, and we’re still working our way through it,” says Tucker. And the range will be broad indeed. The mapping can include local orchestras, bands, choirs, non-profit organizations with a music focus, community centres, places of worship, traditional cultural heritage sites and even bars, legion halls, restaurants and home garageband hangouts. “We are looking to blow the doors wide open at UTSC, and engage with all kinds of music-making from all around the world,” says Tucker. “And what better place to do that than Scarborough, which is one of the most diverse communities in North America, and at UTSC, which is one of the most diverse campuses.” UTSC Commons | Fall 2016


A Even working within traditional Western music, the Music & Culture program has always been one of UTSC’s major faces to the community, holding on-campus public performances by the String Orchestra, the Small Ensemble, the Concert Band and the Concert Choir. Also, the choir has partnered with the Scarborough-based Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra. Then there are volunteer groups led by U of T Scarborough students and alumni. The UTSC Community Concert Band is made up of a widely diverse group—high school students, community members, and of course students, alumni and staff. It brings people together for a weekly evening of music-making. So does Ruckus, the UTSC Alumni and Community Choir. On campus and off, says Tucker, “our focus is on engaging people and learning through the act of music-making.” 14

UTSC Commons | Fall 2016


It’s not the first place you’d expect to see an art gallery. Y+ contemporary, a studio and storefront gallery, is tucked between a chiropractor and a plastic-moulds maker in the interior of an industrial strip mall off Morningside Avenue. The location fits the pioneering vision of the four founding artists, all of whom graduated from the Studio program in 2015. They wanted to establish a place in their own neighbourhood where they could continue working together, and where other Scarborough artists could meet and show their work—no need to head downtown. “We wanted to create an arts hub in Scarborough,” says Y+ co-founder Tiffany Schofield, “to provide a resource for other emerging artists here who don’t have the infrastructure that you see downtown—the art


centres and shared studio spaces and galleries that proliferate there.” The 1,100-square-foot venue has an exhibition space in the front and studio space in the back where Schofield and her fellow artists— Danièle Dennis, Daniel Griffin Hunt and Dorica Manuel—create new work. It has captured attention from the start, including a positive story in the Toronto Star and a strong turnout for an opening event in November. “We were shocked by the number of people,” says Schofield. Y+ put out a call for submissions in December, and since then it has been exhibiting Scarborough-connected artists selected from the entries. The group has also received micro-funding from the Toronto Arts Council for a youth program: six young Scarborough photographic artists worked with Y+ to develop their skills, and then held a well-attended exhibit. Once a month, Y+ holds a popular “Crits + Chill” night, where local artists show their work to each other and then critique it. “This is where we’ve seen the most growth,” says Schofield. “It’s an opportunity to really connect with artists who are living and working here.” The Y+ four have stayed connected with UTSC, too. They offer an award at UTSC’s annual juried exhibition of Studio program work, selecting a student to exhibit at Y+. And Schofield says they’re now talking with faculty about how to expand the relationship in the future. The four artists, who all have day jobs, funded the storefront location themselves for the first year. Schofield says they are now finalizing grants, which should take the gallery through a second year, as they refine their vision. “It’s become clear to us that it’s less important to attract people from downtown to our events,” she says. “As much as we want to get attention and support for the artists, we want to focus on getting people from Scarborough to come out and to build a cultural space of interest to people here.”



One day Sasha Kovacs, interim program director of the community organization Scarborough Arts, got a call about a collaborative production at Tarragon Theatre in central Toronto. They needed more student actors. She knew exactly where to turn. Kovacs, who was completing a PhD in theatre at U of T, had taught in UTSC’s Theatre & Performance Studies program. She knew the talent there well. Scarborough high school students from R.H. King Academy and Agincourt Collegiate Institute were already involved in #TheDonnellyProject, adapted from a classic James Reaney play about an Irish immigrant family which was murdered by vigilantes in 19thcentury Ontario. “I immediately thought of the theatre students at UTSC,” says


Kovacs, “and how it would be great to have this collaboration between high school and university students in Scarborough and the Tarragon Theatre. It was a great combination, from emerging to semi-professional to professional theatre, and having them all learn from each other.” Each student group took on a separate section of the play, which was staged outdoors in May, at Scarborough Arts’ spectacular home on the Bluffs, in the Harrison Properties park. “It was a very cool thing, and quite unprecedented,” says UTSC’s Barry Freeman, Assistant Professor and Program Director of Theatre & Performance Studies. “As a model, it was absolutely wonderful.” Freeman wants to see theatre students involved in more such projects in future. He is already in talks with #TheDonnellyProject partners about a follow-up collaboration, which would see a public performance in spring 2017. And the UTSC/Scarborough Arts connection doesn’t stop there. The university is a sponsor of Scarborough Arts’ annual Scarborough Worldwide Film Festival, which features both Scarborough-connected films and international works that appeal to a multicultural audience. (See page 30.) “The larger idea of the festival is to screen films at locations across Scarborough,” says Kovacs. “We wanted to position UTSC as one of the hubs of arts-making in the Scarborough area.” Scarborough Arts also involves U of T Scarborough students in its annual outdoor arts festival, Art in the Park, and helps place interns from UTSC’s Arts Management program. Kovacs sees a strong affinity between UTSC and Scarborough Arts. “We want people to come to us—to stay in Scarborough and see art in Scarborough. Our mission is to connect the community to art and art to the community. And the art happening at UTSC is a big part of the artistic community in Scarborough.” UTSC Commons | Fall 2016


by Donna Paris Illustrations by Isabel Foo

We’re calling it: Scarborough, food capital of the world

Photography by

When Tyler Cowen came for a visit, three U of T Scarborough history professors knew exactly where to take him for dinner. The food was


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such a hit that it prompted the American author and economist to give Scarborough top praise in a subsequent blog post. Scarborough, Cowen wrote, is the best ethnic food suburb he has ever visited. In his life. Ever. Then he wondered if it could

even be the “the dining capital of the world.” Seriously. The world. That’s a big deal, when it comes from the author of An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies. But Scarborough is more than just a place to get some of the best pho, roti, lamb kabobs, shawarma, veggie curries, lahmajoun and dim sum on the planet. It is home to many thousands of immigrants who have put down new

roots and created one of the world’s most diverse cultural urban regions. “A large proportion of the population in Scarborough is newcomers and their children and grand­children,” says History Professor Donna Gabaccia. “Cultural difference always expresses itself in food. New groups are adapting to new foodways, and they’re trying to maintain the foodways of their original culture.” UTSC Commons | Fall 2016



A first for Culinaria She’s an assistant professor of history at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.—and the first postdoctoral fellow at the Culinaria Research Centre. Elizabeth Zanoni’s research areas include international migration, and food and mobility studies. Her current book project, Migrant Marketplaces of the Americas: Migration and Trade between Italy, the United States, and Argentina, 1880-1940, examines the connection between Italian migration and trade goods, particularly food products, during the age of mass migration. Zanoni was over the moon to be studying at U of T Scarborough in 2015-2016, where she gathered information from papers and workshops with students. “For someone like me, writing a book about migrant foodways, there is no better place than Scarborough,” she says. “It’s just an amazing multicultural city and a rich location in relation to


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how recent migrations from China and Southeast Asia have shaped the food culture in Scarborough and the GTA.” Cuisines are ever-evolving and food evolves as it migrates, catering to a larger audience. In Scarborough’s case, notes Zanoni, this can mean catering not only to traditional Canadian diets, but also to people who have migrated here from other regions. She adds, though, that in Scarborough you can find both national and regional cuisines that “aren’t watered down.” For example, “You can explore the South Asian restaurant dining scene to find Bengali, Tamil and Goan dishes. You can’t get that everywhere,” she adds. “There’s only one Indian restaurant where I live in Norfolk.” Zanoni describes the Culinaria Research Centre as “passionate about engaging the community. That’s very different,” she says, “from research institutes that stay cordoned in their own silos.”

Food isn’t just sustenance, then. It’s a connector, too, and a tangible way for first and succeeding generations in Canada to hold on to their cultural identity. “We learn which food tastes good, even before we speak,” says Daniel Bender, history professor and Canada Research Chair in Cultural History and Analysis. “And we never lose the emotion. Every immigrant group tries to replicate its culture from the homeland.” Bender, who directs the Culinaria Research Centre, adds that, “food is the one activity external to the body that you have to do. You have to eat and you have to drink. Everything else—getting out of bed, finding a job, sex—is optional.” People who don’t live in Scarborough may not realize how much the area has been shaped by immigrants in just the past few decades. “The diversity of the immigrants who have come to Scarborough since the 1950s has made it one of the leading immigrant recipients in North America,” says Jeffrey Pilcher, a UTSC professor and leading figure in the emerging scholarly field of food history. “New immigrants set up food businesses,” says Pilcher. “It’s a source of entrepreneurship for people starting in the economy.” They may not have some of the opportunities they had at home, he adds. So the food business may be all immigrants can do—and it’s a step into the economy. Bender says this is a good thing for immigrants. “Food is a key source of employment for people who have left behind families and have degrees that may not be recognized here.” He goes further, emphasizing that Ontario is one of the world’s largest food hubs, with Scarborough as one of the hub’s epicentres. “There are more jobs in the food and food processing centres here than in New York City.” He says only Los Angeles has more. It is no surprise that such a diverse population would create a dynamic and varied food industry. “It only takes a little drive to see the restaurants and supermarkets,” says Bender.

“But behind that it is even more expansive.” He describes a vast infra­structure of food buyers, processors and vendors supporting independent import markets. Gabaccia adds that you can get just about any type of cuisine or the ingredients you need to make it at home. “There are East Asian, South Asian and Pan Asian grocery stores, many started by Asian entrepreneurs with limited capital,” she says. “Think of the packaged sauces you can buy from Indonesia, or canned ackee or saltfish in Guyanese supermarkets,” says Bender. “You can probably buy six or seven varieties in Scarborough.” And think of the food we take for granted today, from beer to German-style hot dogs, which can be traced back to immigrant businesses. “Those little businesses starting up in Scarborough now are selling things that will be on everybody’s shopping list in five to 10 years,” Bender adds. That’s already noticeable. “Large Canadian food chains are competing and adapting. Look at halal and other specialty food aisles,” says Gabaccia. “In Toronto, even older Canadians are eating Greek and Italian food now, from earlier migrations of the ’50s and ’60s.” What’s more, she adds, is that in the ’80s food started to become a cosmopolitan symbol of foodies and the middle class. “As a result of global travel, this interest in food came about for long-time Canadians interested in experiencing immigrant foods.” People have many reasons for choosing particular foods, not the least of which is location. “If you live downtown, there is a real problem going to eat in Scarborough. It’s a lot of work,” says Pilcher. “But if you’re already living in the suburbs, it’s not a big leap.” And here, nestled in this unique part of the world, is U of T Scarborough, with a committed connection to the community. Moreover, part of the university’s strategic plan is to focus on the strengths of its location within

We’re not so different, after all Pranave Premakumar is a fresh UTSC grad with an Honours BSc in Biochemistry and Mental Health. One course on the road to that degree was in Global Asian Studies, looking at diasporas in the past and present. “I had no idea that this field even existed,” says Premakumar. One assignment was to interview an immigrant; Premakumar was paired with a volunteer from the Malvern Family Resource Centre. “Migration is more than just movement of our physical bodies; with migration comes movement and change of identity, traditions, modernity, beliefs, foodways, and several other key aspects of our lives.” This is what Premakumar wrote in her paper. But she had no idea of the revelation that was about to come.

“I realized the person I was interviewing had a lot in common with my life as well. So I decided to interview my mom, too.” She knew they spoke the same language (her mother is from Sri Lanka and the other woman from Chennai in India). “What I didn’t expect to find,” she says, “was that they prepared and ate similar foods and had a lot in common culturally.” This gave Premakumar a new appreciation of Scarborough—her home. “People in Scarborough are so lucky.” She describes it as a diverse community where people can keep their identities. “We can embrace the difference. Even when we go out to eat with other people and try different things. That unites us, too.” People aren’t afraid to show their culture here, she says. “They have stores and restaurants, and they don’t have to change the names of the foods. They call it what it is.”

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one of the most culturally diverse communities in the world. Witness the popularity of initiatives such as the UTSC Farmers’ Market. It is organized by students and faculty, with local vendors selling everything from maple syrup and chutneys to fresh produce and baked goods. Witness also the Culinaria Research Centre bringing students and faculty together in partnership with community organizations and other institutions. “In a way, Culinaria was possible at this location for a reason,” says Pilcher. “Many times innovative work gets done in less central locations.” Pilcher’s current research project, City Food, is a collaboration with

partners on six continents, including academic institutions, vendor organizations, non-profit groups and museums. The research is comparative, looking at migrant marketplaces, gendered labour, culinary infrastructure, regulation and sensory studies. Says Pilcher, “City Food starts with the premise that we can learn from migrant people by documenting immigrant foodways, and [by] looking at infrastructure that contributes to successful food businesses and at government regulations.” In June, Culinaria hosted Scarborough Fare: Global Foodways and Local Foods in a Transnational City. It was the joint annual meetings

and conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society; the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society; and the Canadian Association for Food Studies—the first time these organizations have ever met together. The conference featured international speakers, cultural events, kitchen demos and field trips to rooftop gardens, community food centres and urban beekeeping hives. Research at Culinaria employs a range of methodologies and approaches—field work, archival work, oral history, GIS mapping, digital humanities, etc.—to trace the foodways of multi-ethnic neighbourhoods. For example, a project called

The Urban Farm Project

What do you feel like eating? SALT! It’s a mobile app and website initiative of the Culinaria Research Centre and The Hub, UTSC’s innovation and business incubator. SALT is all about getting a little taste—or big taste—of what Scarborough restaurants offer. Think authentic dishes from China, Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, to name a few. Here’s how it works: SALT offers information on different cuisines and descriptions of specific dishes, then identifies restaurants and locations in the area. It’s easy. Just choose a cuisine, pick a dish, then select a restaurant. The site, maintained by Culinaria, also offers recipes and links to YouTube videos about the dishes. “SALT is a real window into the many different cuisines and restaurants in Scarborough,” says Gray Graffam, director of The Hub. “There’s a lot to explore.” For more information, visit


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Scarborough Chinatown collects and maps details about Scarborough restaurants, offering an interactive map. Viewers can investigate the evolution of Scarborough’s Chinatown and discover new restaurants and takeout places. So maybe that’s why Tyler Cowen sees Scarborough as the place to go—the next big thing. As an economist, Cowen champions the suburbs as the place to enjoy ethnic food because that’s where it’s cheap and innovative. “And there’s a wealth of crossover eating,” says Pilcher, “with people who are eager to discover new foods.” Why? Immigrants are serving other immigrants and prices tend to be on the low side. “So it’s easy to feed people’s interest in new foods and feed the culinary tourism that seeks to experience the ethnic foods of others.”

Pilcher adds that foods also start to migrate between cultures. “In the U.S., one of the trends now is Korean taco trucks serving up Korean barbecued short ribs in a taco. It’s a way for them to Americanize their food.” This all sounds very positive, of course. And Gabaccia says curiosity about other foods is culturally positive. But it doesn’t always transfer to other areas. “We do have crossover multicultural eating, but that doesn’t mean the battle is won and that we all accept each other,” she explains. “Accepting an immigrant’s food is not the same as accepting an immigrant.” However, she adds “Scarborough is a good start because that willingness to try other foods is there. This is hopefully the first step toward a social and economic acceptance that develops over time.”

U of T Scarborough prides itself on community outreach, and the Urban Farm Project promises to be a fine example. A collaboration between the University and the Malvern Family Resource Centre, the project is still in the approval process. “There’s a lot of work behind the scenes, but we’re expected to break ground this fall,” says Juneeja Varghese, a co-ordinator at Malvern. Scarborough already has community gardens, says Varghese, but this project is different. “This will give people an opportunity to connect, and to supplement income as well. They will be able to sell the produce.” A Toronto Public Health food strategy team, local agencies and stakeholders are working together to get the project off the ground in different parts of the city. The proposed North Scarborough farm will be located at a hydro corridor near Morningside and McNicoll avenues. “We did soil testing in 2014 and had a positive outcome. Then we started door-to-door outreach in the community to inform people and answer questions.” Now, UTSC students are sifting through applications for the 2,000- to 3,000-square-foot plots, and helping to organize sessions where farmers from other areas will share information about crop planning and how to access markets. “Many people only have experience with small personal plots,” says Varghese. “But here they will have the ability to learn things from others— such as which crops grow the quickest to get them to market faster. Everything grown here will be for sale.” She says the Urban Farm Project “will be a great opportunity to produce goodwill in the community, offering fresh, healthy produce at an affordable price.”

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For a time, it seemed Torontonians had collectively forgotten that their city was at the edge of a Great Lake. That’s slowly changing, but many downtowners still go for months without a glimpse of the waterfront. Further east, though, Toronto is experiencing a renaissance as a lake-facing metropolis. From the mouth of the Don River to 22

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the far edge of Scarborough and even beyond, boaters, beachgoers and bathers are embracing their waterfront as an integral part of everyday life. Meanwhile, at U of T Scarborough, researchers are discovering new secrets about this stretch of inland shoreline. Here are a few things lurking in Lake Ontario that you might not know about:

© Rich Carey / Bigstock

by Patchen Barss

It may come as no shock that there are fish in the lake. But who knew they’d be quite so appetizing? “Lake Ontario is an underutilized fishery with lots of good places to go fishing,” says UTSC alumna Katherine Hills, who has “pulled huge bass and huge pike” out of the lake. Hills, who did her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology and a master’s in Environmental Science at UTSC, says the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has just created a list of good fishing spots. Hills works at the TRCA, monitoring fish communities, water quality, invasive species and other factors that influence the quality of Toronto’s waterfront, especially as it pertains to fish habitats. She spends two weeks each summer and two weeks each fall “electrofishing” near the shore of Lake Ontario. A special flat-hulled metal boat acts as a cathode, and Hills’s team swing anodes out in front of the boat. When the anodes touch the water, they create an electrical current that stuns fish. “We do species identification, and log weights and lengths,” Hills says. “We tag big sport fish and record other information. We see species at risk like the American eel, alongside invasive fish like the goby and carp.” Hills’s research connects to fishhabitat monitoring. As Toronto’s waterfront develops, the preservation and restoration of fish habitats is an ongoing concern. “From the fish community surveying we do, we see a difference,” says Hills. “Where you’ve got more diversity of habitat, you see more diversity of fish.”


Theoretically, the Great Lakes have tides. But the moon and sun never change the water level by more than a few centimetres. Much more influential are seiches, long-wavelength swells that bounce back and forth across the water, changing water levels in a rhythmic cycle. Seiches are propelled by wind or variations in air pressure. “Big basins have a period similar to a tide, but not driven by the moon,” says Professor Mathew Wells of UTSC’s Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences. “In Toronto Harbour it’s one hour, during which the level goes up and down by about five centimetres. “Seiches cause water to flow into and out of the harbour,” the fluid dynamics expert explains. “It’s like the lake is breathing.” Understanding the ebb and flow of the lake provides crucial information that informs waterfront development and renewal. “When water moves slowly, it creates greater temperature differences,” Wells says. “A lot of fish need warm-water habitats, and there’s not a lot of that in this part of Lake Ontario. So we’re trying to come up with designs that allow for more.” Seiches, of course, are just one factor in how water moves around in the lake. In Pickering, Wells has been

studying the transition layer called the thermocline—where warm surface water meets colder deep water. Wells has found that the thermocline can move up or down by 15 or 20 metres in a single day. Fish tend to prefer a more consistent temperature, but Wells has found other organisms that embrace the zone where temperatures shift quickly and regularly by as much as 10 degrees. “We found out that a weed called cladophora and most of the zebra mussels are growing in this region, where the thermocline is moving up and down,” he says. “You can’t see it unless you put a measurement down. That’s where a lot of the life is.” continued on next page

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George Arhonditsis, chair of the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences, has an ocean of data about Toronto’s Great Lake. His statistical models connect the dots between environmental contaminants, fish habitat quality, fish populations and human activity. The models help predict how new policies might affect the integrity of Toronto’s lakefront systems. Also, because economics are factored in, they show how people can best profit from this great natural resource. “If we could increase the fish population in Lake Ontario by 15 per cent,” Arhonditsis says, “and that’s not a hugely ambitious target, the economic benefits would be between $3 and $6 million. “Even more impressive,” he adds, “if we could achieve just 11 fewer days each year when beaches were closed [due to pollution], it would create $40 to $75 million in total economic benefit.” 24

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Tenniel Chu M E ET

UTSC grad and vice chairman of the world’s largest golf resort by Laurie Stephens

Photographs courtesy of Tenniel Chu


Arhonditsis has conducted surveys and research to see what people know and how they feel about their lake. He is pleasantly surprised to find they are largely up to speed. “They know things are improving, and that the government has invested billions in the state of the lake.” Better yet, he says, people tend to see that investment as good value. “They are willing to spend a decent amount of money—money that comes from their own pockets—to improve water-quality conditions.” Arhonditsis’s statistical models help generate maximum return on that investment. “Modelling allows you to identify cause-and-effect relationships,” he says. “It allows you to build mechanistic understanding of how nature operates. It also allows you to project future responses and test ‘what if’ scenarios: What if you reduce emissions by 30 per cent? Or by 35 or 40 per cent? What effects will that have?” When working with policy makers, Arhonditsis is always careful to highlight the limitations of his models. “Part of my group’s job is to communicate uncertainty and make sense of it,” he says. Lake Ontario is an “open system” that is continually changing, and even the most sophisticated models rely on incomplete data. This means that for researchers, and for all Torontonians, the lake may be offering up surprises for years to come.


ring China to the world. Bring the world to China. This is Tenniel Chu’s mission in life.

The U of T Scarborough economics grad is vice chairman of Mission Hills Group, an international powerhouse in sports, leisure and entertainment that places a high value on social responsibility.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, Mission Hills established its roots as a golf destination and has since branched into property development, banqueting and conventions, international schools, shopping centres and entertainment complexes. Chu (BA, 1999) spent most of his life in Toronto, living there from age

six with his grandparents, three sisters and two brothers. His parents commuted back and forth from China to look after business interests. Chu visited all three U of T campuses before deciding on UTSC, and he says the compact size of the school made him feel part of a tightknit community. “At UTSC, you could always be so connected,” he says. “At any time, I could go to any of the professors for extra inquiries.” The quality of UTSC professors also impressed him. “They really made an effort to have a personality, to showcase and to share,” he says. Chu juggled multiple demands while at UTSC. He would attend classes full time, then head home to be a surrogate parent to his younger siblings, chauffeuring them to skating or karate lessons, or attending parentteacher meetings. “I had to play all those roles, and it really shaped me to have perfect timemanagement and good planning skills in terms of how to manage your dayto-day, from personal life and family responsibilities to education, to even my own social life.” And Chu has much to balance at Mission Hills. The resorts’ many attractions create a need for what he calls “mega-events”—international celebrity golf tournaments, carnivals and other forms of entertainment—to create buzz and attract patrons from around the world. “All of these events are to raise awareness, especially of the game of golf or, on the broader spectrum, of the new China to the rest of the world,” says Chu, who is married with a young son and daughter. The company is a family affair. Chu’s older brother, Ken, is chairman and CEO; their late father, David, launched the business, breaking ground on the first golf resort in 1992. Chu says his father’s vision was for a golf resort that would connect China to the business world. While most business deals happen at the office or around a dining table, his father UTSC Commons | Fall 2016



U of T degree is a tremendous source of pride for Chinese families, Chu says. Every two years he attends a convocation event in Hong Kong where he sees the happy faces of parents whose sons or daughters have graduated. “They see that the branding and quality of a U of T Scarborough education can go a long way in terms of their life and development.” After his own graduation from UTSC in 1999, Chu did a postgraduate program in golf course management at Humber College and then worked at PGA Tour headquarters in Florida. He wanted on-the-ground experience to complement his studies. “That’s why my first job was picking up golf balls at the driving range for [PGA superstar] Vijay Singh—getting the golf balls out of the wet mud, driving the range picker to pick up all the balls, and cleaning them and bagging them,” he says. “I really learned from the bottom up.” Working with the PGA Tour, Chu learned about golf course management and operations and developed a network in the industry, one he still finds useful as he looks for ways to build Mission Hills.


believed that there could be a better, healthier way of networking. “He thought that golf truly was the international language to connect the world to China,” says Chu. “It’s the only sport where you can have a captive audience for four and a half hours, to mingle and network. Basically, he made the golf course an extension of the office.” Today, Mission Hills is China’s ultimate playground, with significant expansion under way to serve the 1.4 billion Chinese who are enjoying newfound wealth as their economy grows. This emerging middle and upper class needs to be entertained, says Chu. So the company has established two new resorts. As well as the original Mission Hills Shenzhen in Guangdong province, there is now 26

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Mission Hills Dongguan, also in Guangdong province, and Mission Hills Resort Haikou on Hainan Island. The company is starting a movie channel and opening a new phase of a shopping mall, a Ritz-Carlton/ Hard Rock Hotel, a Renaissance Hotel, a water park and a filmthemed attraction called Movie Town. In total, Mission Hills has invested more than US$10 billion in the three resorts. “I try to attract the very best of the world’s attractions, different brands or strategic partnerships to China where Mission Hills can be the ultimate platform,” says Chu. “At the same time, we work to invite international investors and partners to work together to bring a new lifestyle to the people of China.”


His last position with the tour brought him close to history—and tragedy. On September 11, 2001, he was working at the Pennsylvania Classic tournament with golf legend Arnold Palmer when United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked as part of the 9/11 attacks. Chu remembers that the hijacked plane “flew right above our heads and crashed right next to the golf course.” After this close call, Chu’s parents suggested he head back to China to join the family business. As his “first gift to China,” he got golf star Tiger Woods to visit the country for the first time, to play in a tournament and raise awareness of golf locally and beyond. ission Hills now has close to six million golf visitors a year from five continents. With 22 courses designed by some of the finest golfers and course designers, the original resort is the largest in the world. “When they come to China and when they think of golf, this is the only destination they want to experience,” says Chu. “Who would think China would have the world’s largest golf resort?” But once the world’s largest was established there, he says, “it really staked China’s global position.”


Chu is now working on two new projects that will further establish Mission Hills as China’s ultimate playground. German tennis legend Boris Becker, who coaches the world’s top-ranked male player, Novak Djokovic, will launch his first tennis academy at Mission Hills. The goal, says Chu: to train the next world champion there. Soccer is coming to Mission Hills, too. Chu says the Chinese government is keen to establish China as a soccer powerhouse, with the goal of having Asia’s top team by 2050. He says the government has committed to building 70,000 soccer pitches and more than 20,000 academies across China to develop the sport. Mission Hills received a government contract to build China’s soccer headquarters, which will include training and administration facilities for the national team. The company will also host several high-profile exhibition matches. All this expansion is in keeping with Missions Hills’ goal of creating a sports and leisure platform that will connect people around the world in positive pursuits. Chu says the company has developed the “3-H philosophy” of doing business, aiming to bring happiness, harmony and health to Mission Hills’ visitors by asking important questions: “How do we connect the world in a perfect, one-world, one-dream philosophy? And how do we bring a greener life, a greener environment, a healthier lifestyle to the Chinese people and all of humanity?” Chu says his father, who died in 2011, had a vision that still drives the company today. “We are here to provide the ultimate platform to improve their business, and their whole life,” he says. “Whatever we touch, we try to make a difference.”

Tenniel Chu, left, brought golf superstars Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods to Mission Hills to compete in a tournament to raise awareness of golf locally. They are joined by Tenniel’s brother, Ken, right, who is CEO of the resort.

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Soon enough, people arriving at UTSC

by bus will get a warmer welcome. Construction has begun on what is tentatively named Highland Hall, between the Student Centre and the site of a new arrival court. Facing Military Trail, the five-storey, $52-million building will make a striking architectural impression. “It’s bringing a front door to a place that doesn’t have one,” says Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Arifuzzaman. UTSC’s Recruitment and Registrar’s offices, and its entre­ preneurship centre, The Hub, will all relocate to the new 134,216square-foot building. It will also provide a new home for the social sciences departments, fostering collaboration through modern labs, classrooms, study spaces and a multi-use space that will accommodate up to 600 students. So far the building has received philanthropic support totalling 28

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$1.3 million from three UTSC alumni: Mark Krembil of the Krembil Foundation, and husbandand-wife Adam Watson and Yien Ha-Watson. Paramount Fine Foods has also contributed. All gifts will be matched by the Provost. A planning committee was in place throughout the design process to make sure future users of the space were involved. “They told us what worked and what didn’t work for them,” says Arifuzzaman, who co-chaired the committee with Human Geography Professor André Sorensen and two students. For skilled labour, the campus is partnering with the Hammer Heads Program, a construction apprenticeship program for youth from under-resourced communities. “It’s UTSC’s way of building and retaining wealth in the community,” says Arifuzzaman. The building is expected to open in 2018.

Development in Toronto rivals that in Chicago, Los Angeles and even New York. But most of the attention goes to the downtown core, sometimes leaving Scarborough out of the picture. The Scarborough Business Association (SBA) aims to revitalize the east end and shed this perception problem. Established in October with U of T Scarborough as one of its founding members, the SBA’s partnership with the University gives the organization a stronger voice. “U of T Scarborough has become part of our framework,” says SBA Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator Peter Haggert. “As a major employer, U of T Scarborough has established strong relationships in the community. The University’s experience and expertise with conducting business in the area has helped us from the start.” Through educational opportunities and networking events, the SBA connects local businesses with one another as well as with international corporations. The organization holds monthly breakfasts where guest speakers share tips for success as well as their knowledge of business procedures specific to Scarborough and the surrounding area, such as the steps needed to do business with City Hall. “Our members have told us that these breakfasts are essential. They tell us that they’re getting business opportunities when they’re meeting one another at these events,” says Haggert.

SBA members, along with distinguished UTSC alumni, academics and business leaders, also participate in UTSC’s annual Leader2Leader conference. The event is an opportunity for student entrepreneurs to learn about different approaches and skills that will help them on their path to starting their own ventures. “The partnership is a great way for us to find opportunities for students,” says U of T Scarborough Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Arifuzzaman. “Many of our students end up working for organizations like the ones in the business association.” Domenic Primucci, president of Pizza Nova, was one of the keynote speakers at this year’s Leader2Leader conference. What’s more, UTSC and the SBA are founding members of the East Toronto Technology Roundtable, which aims to build a better technology community in the area. “Scarborough-based technology companies as well as stakeholders like U of T Scarborough, SBA and relevant city operations are part of this initiative, which was jumpstarted by city councillor Michael Thompson, who is the chair of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture Committee. He is also the chair of Invest Toronto, which helps foreign companies relocate to the city and access the local market,” says Haggert. The University and the SBA are also working on a series of workshops to teach small-business owners about UTSC’s procurement system. Arifuzzaman says that many of the entrepreneurs in the area do not know how to access the University’s procurement system and may be missing out on opportunities. “Other than understanding how to do business with the University, we want to help local businesses become more competitive in bidding processes,” says Arifuzzaman. The Toronto Zoo, Rouge Park and local hospitals will also be involved in the workshops. The SBA attends transit planning meetings at City Hall to advocate for Scarborough’s public transportation needs. “We’re a local voice for our local issues,” says Arifuzzaman. Moving forward, the partnership will continue to help foster leadership in the region. “UTSC is an example of progress in the community,” Haggert says. “Together we’re creating the picture of what Scarborough will look like in the future.”


Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is undertaking a

multibillion-dollar project to refurbish the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. In the midst of it is U of T Scarborough Management Co-op student Dorian Russell. “For my first work term, we were in the planning stage. Now we’re moving towards execution. It’s fascinating seeing what happens next,” says Russell. Working in the Project Cost and Change Management department, the fourth-year student creates and updates cost reports that track dozens of projects within the nuclear refurbishment plan, allowing budget owners to monitor and forecast future costs. He also provides ad hoc financial analysis of budgets, costs and forecast data for the planning and controls division of the Darlington refurbishment program. “My work allows project managers to determine whether they need to make changes to ensure their projects are completed on time and on budget,” says Russell. Through his work, Russell has developed extensive analytical and communication skills. His time at OPG has strengthened his passion for working in the public sector. “OPG oversees the generation of 50 per cent of Ontario’s electricity. That’s a very positive impact on people across the province,” Russell says. “These are the types of initiatives that I’d like to get involved with in the future.” UTSC Commons | Fall 2016



U of T Scarborough has rolled out the red carpet (well, maybe not literally) once again for the annual Scarborough Worldwide Film Festival. “This was our third year serving as a sponsor,” says English Professor Garry Leonard. One full day was set at UTSC featuring two movies with follow-up panels. Students and faculty from the Department of English participated as volunteers and promoters. Theatres across the eastern part of the city showed local and international films, including short films created by local youth. The festival’s grand finale was an outdoor screening at Bluffer’s Park. “The liaison with the film festival provides our students with access to up-and-coming creative people in the film industry in Scarborough,” says Leonard. UTSC offers a minor program in Literature and Film Studies, and Leonard notes, “We are in the planning stages of offering a major program.”


UTSC Commons | Fall 2016

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Take advantage of your group privileges: Professor Nick Eyles


Walk on the north side of the Arts & Administration Building and you may stumble into a formidable display of boulders. These aren’t just any old stones. They’re part of the Rock Walk, the latest undertaking of Geology Professor Nick Eyles. Supported with a grant from the UTSC 50th Anniversary Legacy Fund, the display will be a permanent feature on campus. Featuring the principal rock types found in Ontario, it creates a new public space where members of the UTSC community can relax and learn about the province’s ancient past. Originally from the Canadian Shield, most of the boulders are metamorphic. Eyles says they reflect UTSC’s advancement. “Over billions of years these

rocks were transformed. Similarly, the University provides stability, like the Shield, but is also transformative. People come here to change their lives.” So far there are 24 boulders in the display, weighing a total of 30 tonnes. Visually striking, each tells a unique story. Eyles hopes they will lead people to ponder the enormity of time and their place in the Earth’s evolution. “My favourite piece in the display is a marble. This particular boulder was brought south during the last ice age from part of the Canadian Shield north of Peterborough where Aboriginal Canadians cut petroglyphs and sacred symbols into marble known as Kinomagewapkong, the rocks that teach,” says Eyles. “That’s our goal for the Rock Walk.”

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Tech expert makes sense of the digital world

Marc Saltzman BSc, 1993

Marc Saltzman (BSc, 1993) didn’t go to journalism school, nor did he study computer science or technology at U of T Scarborough. But that hasn’t stopped the Psychology graduate from earning a worldwide reputation as a technology guru. Saltzman has parlayed an early love of digital media into a freelance 32

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career that includes 16 books, a syndicated column with the largest American newspaper group, regular contributions to more than 40 prominent North American publications, and numerous appearances on CTV’s “Canada AM” and on CNN as well as on the big screen during pre-movie features. His areas of expertise as a commentator and consultant include consumer electronics, video games, computers and Internet trends.

“I found that I had a knack for explaining this technology in plain language,” says Saltzman. “So maybe not having formal training or not growing up as a geek helped me out in the end.” He credits his U of T Scarborough studies for developing strong critical thinking and writing skills. Even more important, he applies his psychology background in his work, trying to lure the reader or viewer into staying longer. “The stickiness of my articles or videos is very important to me,” he says. “I don’t want to lose them half way through. So the words I use, the tone of the words, the pacing—those are all things I have learned from psychology to keep the person engaged. “That’s something that I either learned or sharpened at U of T Scarborough.” Saltzman says his lack of formal training in both journalism and technology has been a challenge, forcing him to learn quickly on the job. Self-employment can also be intimidating. “You’re basically trading stability for opportunity, but my personality is very much into that,” says Saltzman. “I’d much rather take a chance and not have that secure feeling, rather than be paid the same rate, week in and week out, and have the same job. “I consider myself very fortunate.”

Always the entrepreneur, Luki Danu (BSc, 2002) has turned a passion into a business. He helps others reach their career potential through his new company, FOCUSinspired. Danu was a successful management consultant for more than 12 years after graduating with a Co-op degree in Computer Science. In 2015, with a second child on the way, he began to question his career path. Danu had recruited UTSC students for jobs at firms where he worked. This opened his eyes to the world of career coaching and mentoring. “I now call myself a ‘career catalyst,’ having created a Career Guidance System that helps others find focus and be inspired to reach their career potential,” says Danu. His secret? “Sharing ‘SIWIKE—Stuff I Wish I Knew Earlier.’ And there are books, apps, corporate offerings, and placement services on the future roadmap,” he adds.

Danu credits UTSC for providing the foundational knowledge he needed to start his career, and also for the recruitment experiences that exposed him to the value of mentoring and coaching. He stays connected to UTSC as a volunteer, lending support at events for the Arts & Science Co-op and Computer Science departments, as well as mentorship programs. “I continue to be open to opportunities for adding more value to UTSC, and to elevate its reputation on the Canadian and world stage,” he says. Shalane Katugampola’s embrace of the

digital world has led her to a dream job at Amazon. Katugampola (BA, 2007) earned a degree in Economics for Management Studies and International Development Studies, then returned to U of T in 2009 to complete a certificate in e-commerce and web marketing. Since graduating, she has worked at some of Canada’s top media companies—including the Toronto Star and the CBC—where she embraced the digital world. She was recruited by Amazon in 2015 and now leads Online Experience for Amazon Locker at its Seattle headquarters. Amazon Locker is an online service that lets customers pick up a package at a time and location that’s convenient. Katugampola, who is a guest lecturer

in digital technology at U of T, says her diverse education at U of T Scarborough gave her the tools she needs to tackle the business challenges she faces at Amazon. “At Amazon, we have a saying that ‘every day is Day One,’ meaning that you’ll never know everything there is to know, especially in the technology industry, which changes so quickly,” she says. “I’m constantly pushed outside of my comfort zone and tasked with solving unique and complex problems unlike ones before. “I rise up to this challenge knowing that I have the right set of tools to succeed, and find myself learning and growing in so many valuable ways every day.”

UTSC Commons | Fall 2016



For Dennis Liu (BSc, 1998) graduating from U of T Scarborough was just the starting point of a whole new relationship with the University. Liu, who earned his degree in Neuroscience, is now an avid volunteer with UTSC’s Department of Athletics & Recreation. He is also an executive member of the new Athletics Alumni Association. “With all Athletics & Recreation means to me, I have been compelled to give back to the University, and the department,” he says. Liu, a practising chiropractor, has also been a faculty member at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College for 11 years, teaching and conducting research in the neuro­ science program. His research aims to find procedures that demonstrate the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment on the peripheral nervous system. Liu remains a frequent visitor to UTSC’s athletics facilities and has noticed a few changes over the years. “What was once a small gym, where you could be sure to run into friends, 34

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is now a world-class athletics facility,” he says. “There are still a lot of familiar faces. But now the facility brings me back, because I can add swimming and running to my workout.” Combining scientific expertise with business acumen, Dr. Duane Mendis (BSc, 1990) is providing a madein-Canada solution for managing the explosive growth of genomic technologies and the associated tsunami of data. He launched D-MARK Biosciences in 2008, offering leading-edge products and services—including, automation, informatics, storage and security—to scientists in the genomics sector of life sciences. “Genomics is the fastest growing technology on the planet, growing approximately twice as fast as the microchip industry,” he says. “Our customers are every major genomics lab in Canada, every molecular diagnostic lab in Canada, and the vast majority of sites performing any type of genetic analysis.” Duane graduated with a degree in

Cell and Molecular Biology in 1990. He completed a PhD at U of T in 1996, then spent some time in academia and at a private company before starting up D-MARK. He says his “biggest gift” from UTSC was meeting his wife while in first-year biology. He’s also grateful for an intimate and diverse learning environment that cultivated a balanced perspective to life that has carried over to this day. “I think that when you are at the St. George campus, you are surrounded by people who have similar sub-specialties as you, and you are influenced by others that have the same narrow focus,” he says. “UTSC allowed me to specialize, but at the same time allowed me to experience a broad set of interests.” In business, you need to spot disruptive events to your industry, he says. “That disruptive technology often comes from outside your peer group. The ability to see how other perspectives could influence the industry I work in is directly correlated to how UTSC embraces the diversity of experiences to carve out a unique path.”

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Students can use it for anything they’re working on—even if it’s not program or course-related.



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UTSC Commons | Fall 2016

Underwritten by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. Manulife and the Block Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under licence. © 2016 The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife). All rights reserved. Manulife, PO Box 4213, Stn A, Toronto, ON M5W 5M3.

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UTSC Commons Magazine Fall 2016  
UTSC Commons Magazine Fall 2016