economic trade mission Canada
The Dutch Cycling Embassy participated within the economic trade mission to Canada called “Resilient Cities” of RVO from October 2nd until October 6th.
The mission was led by Mr. Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs. Worldwide, 100 cities are appointed by the Rockefeller Foundation with many challenges on water management and other challenges (http://www.100resilientcities.org/). Both Toronto as Vancouver are listed within these 100 resilient cities. For the Dutch Cycling Embassy a first approach towards the theme of Resilient Cities and water management, aiming to learn from each other and make intersectoral connections.
The first 3 days were spent in Toronto, Ontario. With quite a packed schedule many different events are visited and organised. Within the first day, a welcome reception was organised by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in particular by the Consul General Ms. Anne Le Guellec. During the event the Dutch delegation could also get to know each other a bit more. Many different organization were gathered, for example specialised in spatial planning, architecture, water management, water filtering, tube transportation and many more; a group of very entrepreneurial and enthusiastic Dutch people together, aiming for meeting as many local contacts and organisations as possible. Later on, it appeared to be a great group, helping each other out sharing contacts and introducing each other to the right organizations present. A great feeling! So not only local steps are made, also the link within the Dutch organisations together with the link to our local representatives of the Kingdom of the Netherlands within the Consulate have been very fruitful.
The second day, after a general introduction of doing business in Canada during breakfast, a field trip was planned to Waterside Toronto, a brand new project with many shared pedestrian and bicycle facilities. A very nice and interesting area with many new developments. Next a boat trip along the waterside was planned, a great way to meet Mr. Elliott Cappell, the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Toronto. After lunch the matchmaking was planned; another great way to meet with the City of Toronto and the city of Mississauga, Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT), the transportation provider, local advocacy groups and IBI Group, a global architecture, planning, engineering and technology firm. Afterwards a trade dinner concluded a great day.
Wednesday October 4th a tour to Evergreen Brick Works was organised. Starting with the high level panels, having for example Gunta Mackars, Director Regional Planning at Metrolinx and Daan Roosengaarde, inspired us to aim high within the resilient cities ambitions. The workshop afterwards focused on the question “when would you take an alternative mode of transport instead of the car if …”. Resulting in a range of interesting behaviour choice outcomes.
Next day’s we’re heading to Vancouver, where another two days will be spent to analyse the local situation regarding cycling, with special attention to the recently installed bike sharing system Mobi Bike.