TeachingCity Oshawa highlights year four of innovative partnership


The City of Oshawa and its education and research partners – Canadian Urban Institute, Durham College, Ontario Tech University, Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area (Trent Durham), and the University of Toronto’s Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering – are pleased to announce that the 2020/2021 TeachingCity Oshawa Progress Report is now available online.

The Progress Report highlights numerous accomplishments achieved in year four of the TeachingCity Oshawa partnership, which spans from September 2020 to August 2021.  Some of the notable projects include:

  • 18 City Idea Lab courses – Working in a virtual environment, more than 500 students from Durham College, Ontario Tech University and Trent Durham collaborated with City staff and faculty to co-design possible solutions to various challenge questions. The City Idea Lab experiential learning opportunities were offered via credit courses during the fall, winter and summer semesters. A joint collaborative course in summer 2021 for students of Ontario Tech University and Trent Durham focused on utilizing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles in safety and well-being planning. 
  • Asphalt Pavement Deterioration Curves Research Project The University of Toronto’s Civil and Mineral Engineering Department along with the City’s Engineering Services staff created a more accurate model of predicting pavement deterioration on city roads. Through the use of advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence algorithms, this new model enables the City to make more efficient decisions regarding its roadway rehabilitation projects, which promotes sustainable development.
  • Bee City Challenges – Urban Bee Keeping and Pollinator Campaign – As a Bee City, the City issued a Call for Interest for collaboration in efforts to support the commitment to pollinator protection, education and celebration in our community. An interdisciplinary Durham College team – consisting of School of Science & Engineering Technology faculty members; Architectural Technology and Environmental Technology students; and members from FastStartDC, the college’s extra-curricular entrepreneurship program – collaborated to investigate the potential for and impacts of introducing an urban beekeeping program in Oshawa. This included developing an awareness campaign educating residents on the importance of pollinators and celebrating pollinator initiatives in Oshawa. The project helped advance the City’s Bee City designation goals.
  • Fire Navigation Systems: Localization and Mapping for Structural Firefighters – Students from a variety of engineering disciplines at Ontario Tech University are developing a smart helmet that builds a dynamic map of the smoky environment as a firefighter enters structures. The map is used as a floorplan to locate firefighters within the structure and send information about their location to an Incident Commander. This project began in 2018 and has involved 17 students to date, resulting in the development of a fully functional prototype. The collaboration between the City and Ontario Tech University is resulting in the development of an innovative, student-led start-up business and is contributing to the commercialization of a new life-saving technology for firefighters. Once this technology goes to market, this technology will allow firefighters to work safer in hazardous situations. The City looks forward to further testing and piloting of this new technology.

About TeachingCity

TeachingCity brings together the City of Oshawa and its education and research partners – Canadian Urban Institute, Durham College, Ontario Tech University, Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

The partners address Oshawa’s urban issues through innovation, collaboration, applied research and shared experiential learning opportunities with the aim to position Oshawa as a local, national and global community of urban research and learning.

Learn more about TeachingCity at www.teachingcityoshawa.ca and follow #OshTeachingCity on Twitter and Instagram.


“The 2020-2021 Progress Report celebrates year four of the TeachingCity Oshawa collaboration with our post-secondary education and research partners,” said Mayor Dan Carter. “The City of Oshawa is amazed at the many successful TeachingCity projects that are complete and underway, which are bringing new ideas and creative solutions for the City and our community.”

“Canada needs initiatives like TeachingCity that bring together academia, local government, business and civil society to tackle urban challenges”, said Mary Rowe, President and CEO, Canadian Urban Institute. “This is even more true in cities like Oshawa that are undergoing significant transitions as the economy, climate and social structures are changing. The learning benefits of this program are only accruing to the students – we all need to learn from each other.”

“It’s been another successful year for the TeachingCity initiative,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “Not only were our students involved in meaningful projects that continue to have a positive impact on the City of Oshawa and its residents, students are also able to put their new skills, knowledge and experiences into action. Durham College’s involvement with TeachingCity is a testament to the value of transformative, innovative experiential learning opportunities and we’re looking forward to its continued success.”

“Over the past several years, TeachingCity has played a vital role in providing Ontario Tech University students with hands-on learning opportunities that prepare them for their future careers,” said Dr. Steven Murphy, President and Vice-Chancellor, Ontario Tech University. “Students develop in-demand skills as they work with City staff to address pressing local issues. Their innovative solutions continue to contribute to the health and prosperity of our community. Our partnership with the City of Oshawa and the organizations involved in TeachingCity projects, along with generous support from the RBC Foundation, is a tremendous example of the importance of collaboration in developing new ideas and insights.”

“As we come to the end of another successful academic year in the TeachingCity partnership, I want to recognize the impact and contributions made by students as they participated in addressing a number of relevant social challenges,” said Dr. Scott Henderson, Dean and Head, Trent University Durham GTA. “The pandemic has certainly created a challenging environment to work in, but the students have not only excelled in finding innovative solutions and tangible outcomes, but they’ve gained valuable research experience along the way.”

“U of T Engineering strives to develop the whole engineer – experiential learning is a significant part of that,” said Professor Brent Sleep, Chair of the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto. “By partnering with TeachingCity Oshawa, our students are able to understand the impacts of what they are learning.  This past year, we have been proud to offer our expertise in asset management to benefit the community of Oshawa; we look forward to continued collaboration with TeachingCity Oshawa.”

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