Waterfront Toronto Welcomes Indigenous Design Expert Matthew Hickey to Design Review Panel

Corporate Logo, Waterfront Toronto


December 22, 2020,  Toronto, ON – To pursue a vision for an inclusive waterfront for all, Waterfront Toronto continues to expand its relationship with Indigenous peoples and involve them directly in waterfront revitalization. In August of this year, an open call was issued seeking an Indigenous Design Expert to join the Design Review Panel. The panel is an advisory body of architecture, planning, and design experts working to set new design standards across the waterfront and help Toronto achieve worldwide recognition as a centre of creativity and good design.   

The goal was to find an expert to integrate Indigenous history and culture into project designs, and together with a representative from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Matthew Hickey has been selected as the panel’s first Indigenous Design Expert.   

Commenting on his selection, Mr. Hickey said, “The Waterfront of Tkaronto has long been an important place for Indigenous peoples. Today, Toronto houses millions of people from all over the world living together in pursuit of harmony, not only with each other, but with their surrounding environment. I am proud to be appointed as the first Indigenous member of the Design Review Panel, and I look forward to working with our community, Waterfront Toronto, and the Panel to help keep place for Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and their support of design excellence.”   

Mr. Hickey is Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve, a partner at Two Row Architect with 14 years of Indigenous design experience, a sessional instructor at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and a Member of the Board of Artscape Toronto.    

Design Review Panel Chair Paul Bedford said of Mr. Hickey, “Beyond his impressive credentials, lived experience, and traditional knowledge, I was struck by Matthew’s ability to listen to different groups, and how comfortable he is teaching and sharing knowledge with different communities. Matthew’s voice will be a valuable addition to the diverse composition of the Design Review Panel as the Toronto waterfront continues to evolve."   

In welcoming Mr. Hickey, Waterfront Toronto CEO George Zegarac said, “Out of respect for Indigenous peoples’ role as the stewards of our shores, Waterfront Toronto wants to ensure our development work acknowledges and celebrates Indigenous history, culture and ongoing presence in the area. I hope to continue working together with the many First Nations and other Indigenous peoples represented in Toronto as we build bridges to the future.” 

NOTE FOR MEDIA: “Tkaronto” is a Mohawk word meaning “the place in the water where the trees are standing,” and is the origin for the name of the present-day city of Toronto. 


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Headshot of Matthew Hickey

Image of Matthew Hickey