Guelph’s Mayor honoured with national City Builder Award

Press release.

The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) is honouring Mayor Karen Farbridge with its City Builder Award, which recognizes “a leader whose bold vision and ability to implement change represents true city building.” In announcing the award, the CUI congratulated Mayor Farbridge for “leadership in sustainability, community energy and the revitalization of downtown Guelph.”

The City Builder Award is one of four 2014 Urban Leadership Awards that will be presented on June 25 in Toronto. The annual Awards recognize individuals who are making profound impacts on the quality of life in Canada’s urban regions. As part of the event, Mayor Farbridge will join the three other honourees for a panel discussion moderated by Corporate Knights founder Toby Heaps.

“I am honoured and humbled to be chosen for this award, and I’m thrilled that the exciting things happening in Guelph are getting noticed by national organizations like the Canadian Urban Institute,” said Mayor Farbridge. “Competition for investment and talent is global. An enviable quality of life that balances economic, environmental, social and cultural priorities is distinguishing Guelph and ensuring sustained prosperity of our city. City building is hard work, but the alternative – complacency and short-term thinking – carries too high a cost.”

In recent years, Guelph has attracted national and international attention for a number of bold actions including the Community Energy Initiative (CEI), among the first energy plans of its kind in North America; Guelph Wellbeing, which aims to improve quality of life based on Canadian Index of Wellbeing indicators; and downtown renewal efforts that have to date attracted $85 million in private investment after decades of relative stasis.

Mayor Farbridge has championed these initiatives as Chair of the Mayor’s Taskforce on Community Energy; Chair of the Leadership Group for Community Wellbeing; Ambassador for the national group Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow (QUEST); Founder and Chair of Guelph Sustainable Solutions; and an early advocate for smart growth and downtown renewal.

She also serves on all six standing committees of Council, on the Guelph Police Services Board, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Board, as Chair of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc., and Vice-Chair of the provincial Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario.

“Guelph is a great city to be a city builder in. This award is a credit to the many, many people in our community who are engaged in the work of building a better Guelph,” said Mayor Farbridge.

This is the 11th year the Canadian Urban Institute has presented Urban Leadership Awards. Tickets to the awards dinner can be purchased at

About the Canadian Urban Institute

As Canada’s applied urban policy institute, CUI works in partnership with public and private funders to optimize infrastructure planning, promote good density, enhance regional competitiveness and build municipal capacity. CUI provides research, analysis, communication and consultation services. Learn more at


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