Building a better world.
Since our inception over 40 years ago, we have done things differently. We work with our clients and partners to build a better world by creating great places where people thrive, and nature flourishes.
We empower our partners to bring their visions to life because…
We understand the vision and context.
Listen First – the first of the five SvN common values. We start each project with a deep understanding of the ambition, the challenge, and the context so we can deliver innovative, unique, and tailored solutions that are pragmatic and grounded.
We’ve done it before.
Growing social and ecological systems is paramount to our approach. We’ve revitalized industrial waterfronts, developed new forms of affordable housing, designed resilient neighbourhoods, and promoted rural and urban economic development. We have a strong record of developing better housing and mobility.
We are nimble and responsive.
With a diverse team of experienced designers at the table, you can be confident that through critical thinking, innovation and an evidence-based approach, we will transform complex problems into simple and superior outcomes.
We value meaningful relationships.
We are invested in your project, the outcome, and its impact. You can count on us to provide trusted and enlightening guidance every step of the way. We work with our partners to build meaningful, long-term relationships between communities, landowners, developers and government.
Together, we will…
Build something extraordinary.
As forward thinkers, we will work together to create something unique and special that results in meaningful change and outcomes that focus on Regenerative solutions.
Build a better world.
At SvN, our vision is to build a better world by creating great places where people thrive and nature flourishes.
We are a interdisciplinary firm with a diverse staff working with diverse communities on extraordinary projects.
Who We Are Together
Our team is motivated to positively impact the built environment and take creative risks when necessary as we work together. We operate as a team that chooses its members for what they bring to the table: every person plays a critical role in achieving our collective success. As a collective, we are energized by competition. We love to win, learn from each other, and continuously improve and prepare. It's the spirit that underpins everything we do.
Our Shared Purpose
Our shared purpose is a belief system that clients trust, partners appreciate, and talent recognizes. At SvN, we endeavour to tackle the most pressing issues of our time. We think beyond our disciplines' bounds and infuse our work with research and innovation to achieve meaningful, catalytic results. Every project has ripples and the ability to positively impact communities at a social, physical and economic level. Our motivation to transform big ideas into better housing, better mobility and better communities guides everything we do, including our work and the people we hire. By focusing on opportunities that reimagine how people live, we foster value-driven relationships with partners, clients and staff who share a similar optimism and vision for the future.
Our Values Drive Our Purpose.
To achieve a meaningful impact, the following values comprise the unique characteristics that embody our team when we are at our best:
- Listen First. We listen without dogma because any idea could form part of a great solution. We seek to understand the context as a starting place.
- Think Critically. Where there are no ready-made solutions, we test the limits of what is possible.
- Consider everything. Even meanwhile spaces are meaningful places.
- Do Your F#*%ing Best. Give everything you have.
- Be Human. Respect is universal. We are thoughtful at all times. We are all connected.
- Finish Strong. We believe the last minute is as important as the first.
Our Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
As an integrated planning and design firm, land and community are the foundation of our practice. SvN works in many places, and our team is from around the world. Our main studio is located in Toronto, and we have offices in Vancouver and México City.
Toronto is from the Mohawk word Tkarón:to, which occupies the lands covered by Treaty 13 (1805), also known by the colonizers as the Toronto Purchase; an agreement between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. It is also on lands covered by the Williams Treaty (1923), signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands, of the Anishinaabe nation. These lands have been cared for, for thousands of years by many Nations, including the Mississaugas, the Anishinaabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, the Huron Wendat, the Métis, and the Inuit. Today, Tkarón:to is shared by many Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. We recognize the Dish with One Spoon Covenant, an agreement that epitomizes our collective responsibility to each other and Mother Earth.
The City of Vancouver is located on territory that was never surrendered to the Crown, and is the unceded and ancestral traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. These Nations have retain their jurisdiction and relationships with the territory since time immemorial. We are grateful for the opportunity to be able to work on these lands.
We also acknowledge that México City was colonized by the Spaniards, and was built on the ruins of Tenochtitlán, which was once the capital of the Aztec Empire. Many tribes inhabited these lands including the ancient Aztec (Mexica), Toltec and Chichimeca tribes. The City’s relationship with its Indigenous heritage is unique to its context; today, the majority of the City’s population identifies as mixed Indigenous and White heritage, as opposed to the 5% who identify as Indigenous in Canada (2021 Census). However, México grapples with some of the most stark economic inequalities in the world, where the wealthiest 1% earn 21% of the Country’s total income; a legacy of slavery and colonialism.
We give thanks to First Nations and Indigenous Peoples and their descendants who are stewards of these lands, and we acknowledge their spiritual connection to the land and water. We must learn from these caretakers, and share in the responsibility to make decisions today that sustain our world for the seventh generation.
Our frameworks of mapping, measuring, and exchanging land for monetary value are constructs of a colonial system within which we operate. Early land use planning in North America was a tool used to dispossess First Nations, Métis and Inuit from their land, while fostering destructive assimilation. The legacy of colonization and institutionalized racism continues to impact Indigenous Peoples. We firmly believe that architects, landscape architects, designers, and planners have a role to play in Truth, Justice and Reconciliation. We all share the roles of guests and caretakers of this land.
At SvN, we commit to moving forward in the spirit of Partnership, co-management, collaboration, and Reconciliation. In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we make the following commitments as part of our duty to those who graciously share this land with us.
Learning and Understanding
- Learn about Indigenous values, traditional knowledge systems, community building, land stewardship and design practices.
- Uncover Indigenous history and ground our projects in the cultural and natural context of the land.
- Honour Indigenous laws, land rights and governance practices.
- Listen, learn and accept truths from Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and Residential School Survivors.
- Establish respectful relationships with First Nations and Indigenous Peoples and organizations.
- Amplify the voices and talents of Indigenous colleagues, designers, and practitioners.
- Support industry efforts to increase Indigenous representation in planning, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture.
Implementing Through Our Work
- Seek opportunities to meaningfully engage and listen to First Nations and Indigenous Peoples throughout our project work.
- Support and advocate for First Nations and Indigenous clients to question and challenge our colonial systems of planning and governance.
- Ensure our work is respectful of the environment and its resources for current and future generations, seeking opportunities to build resiliency and accommodate all living beings.
- Integrate and communicate truths, knowledge, and Indigenous narratives into our projects.
Awards & Honours
2023: The A+ List Architecture and Design Firms to Watch
2022: AZ Awards, Urban Design Visions
2022: Jury Vote Winner, 10th Annual A+ Awards, Unbuilt Master Plan
MRKT Alexandra Park
2021: Best High-Rise Building Design, BILD Awards
Six Points Interchange
2018: RAIC National Urban Design Awards, Certificate of Merit, Urban Design Plans
2018: Consulting Engineers of Ontario Award of Merit
2017: Toronto Urban Design Award of Merit
2015: Toronto Urban Design Award of Merit
2015: Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence
2013: Institute of Transportation Engineers for the Toronto Section Project of the Year Award
Thompson Economic Diversification Plan
2014: Award of Planning Excellence. Canadian Institute of Planners
2014: Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Award for Community Engagement and Environmental Excellence, Finalist. Mining Association of Canada (2014)
Lawrence-Allen Revitalization Plan
2011: Award for Excellence in Planning. Ontario Professional Planners Institute
Greater Amman Municipality Zoning Regime
2010: Award for Planning Excellence – International Development. Canadian Institute of Planners
“Shaping the Toronto Region”
2009: Award for Planning Excellence – Planning Publication. Canadian Institute of Planners
40R Shaftesbury Avenue
2009: Award of Excellence. Ontario Association of Architects
Amman Master Plan Project
2008: Award for Planning Excellence (Honorable Mention) – International Development. Canadian Institute of Planners
Drew Sinclair, Principal
2008: Canada Council Prix de Rome for Emerging Practitioners
The Amman Plan
2007: World Leadership Award for Town Planning. World Leadership Forum
Places to Grow: The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe
2007: Daniel Burnham Award. American Planning Association
2007: Award for Planning Excellence – Re-urbanization. Canadian Institute of Planners
Evergreen at the Brick Works Master Plan
2007: Award of Excellence, Urban and Community Design. Ontario Professional Planners Institute
2006: “Brownie” Award for Brownfields Redevelopment – Best Project, Heritage/Adaptive Reuse. Canadian Urban Institute
John van Nostrand, Principal – for Contributions to the City’s Vitality
2004: Jane Jacobs Award. Ideas That Matter
Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant
2004: National Citation – Site Design. Canadian Society of Landscape Architects
2004: Planning Honor Award – Site Design. The Waterfront Centre (Washington DC)
2002: Award of Excellence – Site Design. Canadian Architect
Making Waves: Principles for Building Toronto’s Waterfront
2002: Peter Bloodoff Award of Excellence. Canadian Institute of Planners
York University Computer Science Building
Governor General’s Medal. Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
Evergreen at the Brick Works Master Plan
2004: Award of Excellence, Urban and Community Design. Ontario Professional Planners Institute
Fort Erie Gateway Master Plan
2001: Award of Excellence (Hon. Mention). Ontario Association of Architects
Pro-Home: A Planned, Progressive Approach to Affordable Housing
2001: Award of Excellence. Ontario Professional Planners Institute
St. George St Revitalization
1997: Urban Design Award. City of Toronto
West Bank Development Project – East London, South Africa
1995: Association Award for International Excellence. CIDA/Canadian Exporters
Queen/Sackville Non-Profit Housing
1994: Design Award. City of Toronto
Seaton Community Plan
1994: First Place – International Competition. Province of Ontario
Salvation Army Scarborough Citadel
1993: Award of Excellence. Canadian Architect
Bill White Cooperative Housing
1992: Design Award. Ontario Association of Architects
Lesotho Urban Upgrading Project
1991: World Habitat Award. Building & Social Housing Foundation
1991: Award of Excellence. Canadian Institute of Planners
- Birchmount Green
- Bird Construction
- Brenyon Way Charitable Foundation
- C Squared Properties
- Campus Living Centres
- Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
- Castlepoint Numa
- Chartwell Retirement Residences
- City of Guelph
- City of Hamilton
- City of Markham
- City of Mississauga
- City of Pickering
- City of Toronto
- City of Vaughan
Cochrane District Social Services Board (CDSSAB)
- Conservatory Group
- Crown Realty
- Cushman and Wakefield
- Discovery Homes
- Durham College
- Habitat for Humanity
- Halloway Holdings
- Halton Region Community Housing Corporation
- Hamilton Community Foundation
- Impressions Group
- Infrastructure Ontario
- Main and Main
- Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation
- Niagara Region
- North York General Hospital
- ONE Properties
- Ontario Ministry of Health
- Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure
- Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
- Ontario Realty Corporation
- Options for Homes
- Pemberton Group
- Petro MaxX
- Ports Toronto
- RioCan REIT
- River Oaks Group
- Saint Elizabeth Healthcare
- Slate Communications
- SmartCentres REIT
- TAS Design Build
- Toronto Community Housing Corporation
- Toronto Region Conservation Authority
- Toronto Transit Commission
- Town of Halton Hills
- Town of Newmarket
- Town of Whitby
- Trent University
- Trillium Housing
- Triple Group of Companies
- Trolleybus Urban Development
- Turner Construction
- University of Toronto
- Valentine Coleman
- Vandyk Group
- Waterfront Toronto
- Western Asset Management
For all positions and career inquiries, please send your resume and portfolio via our Careers Portal.
Join our Team!
SvN is a dynamic multidisciplinary culture-driven practice comprised of a diverse team of architects, urban planners, urban designers and landscape architects. We are always interested in meeting exceptional design professionals eager to work in housing, mobility and community. Since our inception over 40 years ago, we continue to shape the built environment in regions, cities and towns across Canada and worldwide. We have revitalized industrial waterfronts, developed innovative and affordable housing projects, designed resilient neighbourhoods, and promoted rural and urban economic development. As an integrated full-service studio, we guide both public- and private-sector projects. One of SvN's unique strengths is providing design-intensive services that resolve complex urban issues, including land-use regulations, regional infrastructure requirements, and community development.