Since its inception in 2004, the CUI ‘s Urban Leadership Awards program has been paying tribute to individuals, groups and organizations that have made a profound and lasting impact on the quality of life in Canada’s cities and urban regions.
2011 City Champion Award:
Paul D. Oberman was President and Chief Executive Officer of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties and its
predecessor and affiliate companies for over 25 years. His vision to revive Canadian heritage properties and place them at the forefront of Toronto’s contemporary image is the backbone of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties’ mission.
Paul’s work to integrate historic buildings into the fabric of urban life began as an observer of the construction industry and found focus in his attention for detail and appreciation for authenticity. He then developed a vision to restore and revive historic properties and in turn integrate them back into the ‘big picture’ within the City of Toronto.
The result can be found in buildings that are both aesthetically pleasing in form as well as function, which contributes to the future by respecting the past. His notable projects include The North Toronto Station, the Flatiron Building and Market Street.
The winning exterior restoration of the City’s oldest bank, The Flatiron Building c. 1892, displays his commitment to displaying Toronto’s rich culture for what it is. Injecting $1.3 million into restoring the brick and fire escapes has made this well-recognized property an even more iconic structure, often used in photography to represent the image of Toronto.
The Market Street Redevelopment project, bounded by Front Street to the north and The Esplanade to the south, has a rich and vibrant story that until now has not been given the attention it once commanded. In its hustling glory days, commercial activity acted as the gateway into the flourishing city. Plans for its redevelopment include a unique urban marketplace, linking it to its past with accessibility for only transit and pedestrians. In combination with neighbouring businesses, this redevelopment will revitalize the worn and weathered area into a vibrant neighbourhood which boasts a large outside seating area, surrounded by thriving businesses. It would also bridge two neighbourhoods together in its mid-Eastern downtown location , situated between Parliament Street to the East and Yonge Street to the West; two vastly different neighbourhoods that are set to converge here.
Paul was also instrumental and vocal in making needed amendments and creating change in the local neighbourhood which he has been involved in. He was the President of the Rosedale BIA, and on the board of the Design Exchange (DX), where his insight and leadership contributed to bridging the gap between educators, businesses and the general public.