GBC hosts Ontario Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Graydon Smith and industry leaders for mass-timber roundtable

Main Content
Limberlost Place tour group

Just over a year before George Brown College's highly anticipated mass-timber building Limberlost Place opens to students at Waterfront Campus, the college welcomed government and industry representatives to showcase how this project expands the boundaries of what is possible in wood construction and sustainable building practices.

Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Graydon Smith got a firsthand look at exciting progress underway with a construction-site tour on December 11, followed by a mass-timber roundtable discussion held at the Daniels Waterfront – City of the Arts complex, another Waterfront Campus location. About two dozen industry experts in various sectors, including architecture, construction, education, engineering, forestry, land development and others, had the minister's ear on unlocking the possibilities and potential of mass timber construction across the province.

Open-source sharing of mass-timber expertise  

George Brown College President Dr. Gervan Fearon, Senior Vice-President of External Relations, Communications and Real Estate Development Joe Cressy, and Luigi Ferrera, Chair of the Brookfield Sustainability Insititute and Dean of the Centre for Arts, Design and Information Technology, hosted the event that highlighted the challenges and opportunities of mass-timber construction.   

"As a post-secondary education institution, we support innovation and commercialization, which are very important to Ontario's future prosperity and productivity on a global level. That also means we can help de-risk projects," Dr. Fearon told the roundtable participants. "What we have done here with mass timber is we have helped to de-risk the project because we have done the testing and demonstrated innovation, and then open sourced it for industry so you can learn from our experiences, to take it away and improve on it."  

Industry participants tossed around ideas and discussed issues surrounding mass timber, including financing challenges for prefabricated building construction, how mass timber can be used to address the housing shortage, and the growing need for mass timber education for industry and new tradespeople.  

Limberlost Place will be the new home to the School of Computer Technology, the School of Architectural Studies and a new child care centre serving the surrounding community. It will also house the Brookfield Sustainability Institute, or BSI, where George Brown will work with business, community and government partners on tangible solutions to problems caused by climate change. In September, BSI hosted its inaugural Toronto Mass Timber Conference.  

"I was absolutely fascinated by my tour of Limberlost Place," Smith said. "We are an innovative ministry [natural resources and forestry]. We are looking toward the future, and the future is very much the present, just a couple of blocks down the road in terms of Limberlost Place. Not only is it an incredible addition to George Brown College, but it also means so much to so many people from various industries, in government and everyone in Ontario and Canada that we can be recognized as a leader." 

Learn more at

mass timber roundtable group photo