Solitude and the City: Building Connections in Urban Canada

Union Station Toronto
© Commons wikimedia



Presented by the Canadian Urban Institute & the Goethe-Institut Toronto

A city can often feel like a lonely place. As one of the most urbanized countries in the world, Canada is familiar with the challenges of urban isolation, a phenomenon that has only intensified during the pandemic. While our urban centres continue to grow in population, more and more city-dwellers are expressing feelings of disconnection and isolation. As we emerge from COVID-19, how will we contend with the social, cultural, and mental health ramifications for our cities? How can we make Canada’s big cities feel less lonely? Join us  for a timely discussion on urban loneliness, and how to build connection and community inside Canada’s bustling city centres.

This CityTalk touches on the themes explored in the GOETHE FILMS @ digital TIFF screenings of “Loneliness in the City,” a series on urban absence and aspiration.

CityTalk Panellists:

Paty Rios leads Vancouver’s Happy City’s research projects as well as work in Latin America, focusing on social well-being in the built environment

Shadi Shami supports the integration of refugees and newcomers into the Canadian society through the Together Project. He has worked at the Ministry of Education - Kuwait, the Arab Community Centre of Toronto and The Canadian Red Cross and was a member of Etobicoke/Mississauga Interfaith Community Leaders. He co-founded the “Maqloubeh Kitchen” along with his wife to support newcomer women. 

Shane Gauthier is the CEO of the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, an organization providing Indigenous cultural connection through programs and services for the urban population.

Lucenia Ortiz works as a planner with the City of Edmonton’s Community Services. She has extensive experience in the non-profit sector in the Philippines and Edmonton, where she served as Co-Executive Director of the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op. Lucenia is also a founding member of the Edmonton Multicultural Coalition. She completed her PhD in Human Ecology at the University of Alberta, focusing on exploring multicultural health brokering as a model for improving equity of access to health of ethnic minority populations.

Moderated by Mary W. Rowe, President & CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute. As a leading urban advocate and civil society leader, she has been a frequent contributor to national and international city-building programs, including UN Habitat and the World Urban Forum.




Price: Free

Program Curator: Jutta Brendemuehl