OSPE Celebrates Canada 150

Recognizing past and future engineering innovations

Throughout 2017, OSPE is highlighting how engineers have shaped Canada. We’ll be hosting events, spearheading initiatives and sharing stories focused on industries and projects that involve engineering across Ontario and how they’ve contributed to Canada’s past, present and future.

If you’d like to get involved, download our 2017 Sponsorship Kit or share your story with us by emailing stories@ospe.on.ca.



Past Events


Ontario Professional Engineers Awards Gala

November 18, 2017  |  Find out more
Mississauga, Ontario

Hosted by John Moore of NewsTalk 1010 Canada 150: Recognizing Past, Present and Future Engineering Innovations
 

 


Taking flight on the Canada 150 Global Odyssey (C150GO) and Member Appreciation

June 11, 2017  |  Find out more
Ottawa, Ontario

Join us at the Canadian Aviation Space Museum to network, learn about some of the unique features of the Bell 429 helicopter and to find out more about the C150GO's mission to raise awareness about Canadian engineering accomplishments and innovation. Hors d'oeuvres and cash bar to follow.


Spark the Fire: Realizing the Untapped Potential of Ontario's North

May 12, 2017  |  Find out more
North Bay, Ontario

Industry, government, First Nations and engineers will come together to discuss the sustainable economic development of the north, including the future of energy, infrastructure and mining in the region.

OSPE’s MPP Queen's Park Reception

April 25, 2017  |  Find out more
Toronto, Ontario

National Engineering Month (NEM 2017)

March 2017  |  Find out more

 




150 Ways Engineering Has Shaped Canada

  • Building one of the most successful sounding rockets ever produced 
    Engineer Albert Fia, also know as the “father of Canadian rocketry,”  designed the Black Brant – Canada’s first research rocket. The Black Brant rocket established Canada’s Space program and developed Canadian expertise in upper-atmosphere testing. The rocket became a NASA favourite for its versatility and dependability. Researchers use rockets to study ionospheric phenomena, especially the Aurora Borealis, and their effect on high-frequency radio communications, and in 1959, the Black Brant was first launched from the Canadian Armament Research and Development Establishment (CARDE). Since then, more than 1,000 Black Brants have been launched, making it one of the most successful sounding rockets ever produced. 

  • Enhancing pilots' control over aircraft performance
    Wallace Turnbull, a New Brunswick engineer, designed one of the first successful variable pitch propellers. Propellers used on early airplanes had blades that were fixed at a specific angle, whereas variable pitch propellers allow pilots to adjust blade angle or pitch during flight, impacting the aircraft's thrustLow or fine pitch optimizes take off and climbing, while high or coarse pitch maximizes high-speed flight. Turnbull sold his propeller patents in 1929, and they were eventually acquired by Curtiss-Wright Corporation, an American company that used Turnbull’s invention on many of its aircraft. 

  • The experimental space sled 
    Canada’s contribution to the International Microgravity Laboratory mission, the space sled was first deployed in 1992 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery to test human adaptation to the microgravity environment of Space. The sled tested human responses to Space flight, including vision, hand-eye co-ordination, and proprioception — the body’s ability to sense position, motion, and equilibrium. Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut, used the space sled aboard the Discovery. 

  • The second passenger jet aircraft to fly in the world 
    On August 10, 1949, the A.V. Roe (Avro) Canada Ltd. C-102 Jetliner became the first Canadian passenger jet aircraft to fly in North America and the second passenger jet aircraft to fly in the world. The C-102 Jetliner would never carry any paying passengers, but it did conduct the world’s first jet airmail flight from Toronto to New York in April 1950. While the Jetliner’s technology was ahead of its time, only a single Jetliner prototype was manufactured in Malton, Ontario because A.V. Roe saw more potential in designing technologically advanced military aircrafts. 
  • Benny Pang, P.Eng., DAR - An innovator in aircraft-related noise pollution reduction technology
    As the principal engineering specialist at Bombardier Aerospace, Benny Pang, P.Eng., works to improve the quality of life of those who live and work near airports by searching for ways to reduce aircraft-related noise pollution. Pang’s expertise resulted in the outfitting of chevron exhaust nozzles on the engines of Bombardier’s CRJ900 – the first airplane to be equipped with this noise reduction technology. As a knowledge domain owner, mentoring and developing engineering staff has become one of Pang’s most important roles at Bombardier. Pang’s contributions have helped Canada establish positions on aviation environmental impacts that are balanced, based in science and reflective of the nation’s needs and realities.

  • The de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter
    First flown in 1951, the de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter is a versatile bush plane with short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities, making it well suited to operate in extreme conditions on wheels, floats, skis or tundra tires. Larger and more powerful than its predecessor, the de Havilland Otter opened up Canada’s north to industry and commerce. Until the 1980s, the aircraft was also used by the Royal Canadian Airforce for the purposes of Canadian Search and Rescue (CSR) and light utility transport of Canadian cargo.

  • Alouette I
    Launched in 1962, the Alouette I was the first Canadian satellite. Developed by Canada's Defence and Research Telecommunications Establishment (DRTE), the Alouette I marked Canada’s entry into the space age and made Canada the first nation, after the Russian and American superpowers, to design and build its own artificial Earth satellite. Now deactivated, the satellite studied the ionosphere from above. The mechanical frame and deployable STEM antennas were made by de Havilland Canada (DHC) in Downsview, Ontario. The satellite’s batteries, which were partially responsible for the satellite’s longevity, were developed by a branch of Defence Research and Development Canada.

  • NASA Mars Rover, Curiosity
    In November 2011, NASA launched a rover called Curiosity into space to explore the planet Mars and determine if the planet’s physical conditions can support life. The rover carries a Canadian-made geology instrument that can determine the chemical composition of rocks and soil on Mars. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) designed this Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) so that a main electronics unit in the rover’s body works together with a sensor head on the robotic arm to measure the emitted x-ray spectrum and collect data for analysis.


  • The Avro Arrow
    The Avro Arrow was a cutting-edge hypersonic fighter jet that made its first test flight in 1958, just months before the plane was controversially destroyed by the federal government. A symbol of Canadian innovation, the twin engine, all-weather interceptor jet was the world’s fastest and most advanced long-range interceptor aircraft at the time. The jet was developed by A.V. Roe of Canada to carry air-to-air nuclear-tipped missiles to destroy Soviet bomb attacks over the Canadian North. To this day, Canadian aerospace experts ponder the other transportation innovations that could have come out the dismantled Avro design department. 

  • The Bell 429 helicopter
    The Bell 429 is the most modern light twin helicopter on the market today. Of a clean sheet design, the Bell 429 was created by a conceptual design team of about 20 engineers from the Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. plants in Mirabel, Quebec and Fort Worth, Texas. Once the preliminary design was established, a team of approximately 300 engineers carried out the detailed design, build, initial flight testing, development and certification testing of the Bell 429 in Mirabel. Some of the most unique engineering and design features of the Bell 429 include its run-dry transmission capability of over three hours and live mount vibration control. Learn more about the engineering behind the Bell 429 in this article from OSPE’s The Voice magazine.

  • Honeywell Aspire 200
    The Honeywell Aerospace Aspire® 200 Satellite Communications System is Honeywell's smallest Inmarsat SwiftBroadband system. Designed and manufactured in Ottawa, Ontario, the Aspire 200 Satellite Communications System enables simultaneous voice and data connectivity at rates up to 650kbps on all classes of aircraft. The system was carefully engineered to overcome common connectivity challenges onboard helicopters, including mitigating the impacts of rotor blockage and high levels of vibration. Having reliable access to large amounts of data at high speeds throughout a flight increases efficiency and enhances safety. The system, for example, enables critical communication between the aircraft and the ground and ensures engine performance information is sent to the maintenance department while in flight.

  • C150 Global Odyssey propels Canadian engineering into the spotlight
    On July 1st, Bob Dengler, P.Eng., and his son Steven Dengler will celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary and their passion for engineering by completing the first Canadian circumnavigation of the globe by helicopter. The C150GO team will visit national and international landmarks of Canadian engineering significance and will share their travels on social media so that Canadians and the world can appreciate each feat of engineering in more tangible terms. The duo are applying their engineering backgrounds in a number of ways, from careful flight planning to ensure all legs of the journey remain within the range of the helicopter, to frequent risk analyses that consider the physical performance of the helicopter. Learn more about C150GO in this article from OSPE’s The Voice magazine.

  • Julie Payette, the second Canadian woman to fly in space
    Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Julie Payette is an electrical and computer engineer who is a member of L’ Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ). In 1992, she was selected by the Canadian Space Agency to become an astronaut. Payette, who worked as a technical advisor for an advanced robotics system contributed by Canada to the International Space Station (ISS), became the first Canadian astronaut to visit the Space Station. In 2009, Payette served as the flight engineer aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, where she operated three robotic arms – the Shuttle's Canadarm, the Station's Canadarm2 and an arm on Japan’s Kibo space facility.

  • The world's first anti-gravity suit 
    In 1940, the University of Toronto's Professor Wilbur R. Franks designed the world's first anti-gravity suit for air force pilots, who frequently blacked out from intense g-force pressures during flight. Franks noticed that when packed in water, his test tubes did not shatter during centrifugal testing, so he applied similar tactics to the human body when designing his rubber-based suit. Franks personally tested the anti-gravity suit at Camp Borden west of Barrie, Ontario, until it created enough hydrostatic pressure to safely counter centrifugal forces. Franks' suit has fundamentally influenced the design of the modern anti-gravity gear.

  • The first mass produced airplane in Canada
    First flown in 1917, the Curtiss JN-4 "Canuck" was the first aircraft to be mass produced in Canada. Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd. of Toronto built about 1,200 JN-4 Canucks—the standard training plane used by the British and American Air Forces during the First World War. Known for its stability and manoeuverability, the JN-4 Canuck became the go-to aircraft for stunt flights and achieved more "firsts" than any other Canadian aircraft. This model was the first to cross the Canadian Rockies and to deliver airmail in Canada.

  • First powered flight in Canada
    On February 23, 1909, aviation pioneer and engineer John Alexander Douglas McCurdy, made the first powered flight in Canada in a plane called the Silver Dart. Taking off from frozen Bras d'Or Lake at Baddeck on Cape Breton Island, the plane was constructed by the Aerial Experiment Association, which was founded by Alexander Graham Bell and several other prominent engineers. The plane was powered by a 40-horsepower Curtiss engine and was composed of steel tubing, bamboo, friction tape, wire, wood and rubberized silk balloon cloth. Unlike the Wright Brothers' plane, the Silver Dart had a three-wheel undercarriage that enabled it to take off without the use of a catapult aid. Learn more about the Silver Dart in this archived CBC interview with J.A.D. McCurdy.

  • Engineering graduates as ideal astronauts
    Travelling through space is a physically and psychologically demanding undertaking. Engineers are often particularly suited to participate in space missions because of their technical competence, analytical outlooks, problem-solving abilities and whole-systems thinking. Take a look at the remarkable profiles of the engineering graduates (many of whom were educated in Ontario) who are on the Canadian Space Agency's list of astronaut candidates.

  • Celebrating a historical female engineer
    Elizabeth Muriel Gregory "Elsie" MacGill, was the first woman to graduate with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto. She later became the first woman to earn a Master's degree in aeronautical engineering. During World War II, she became the chief aeronautical engineer heading the production of the Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft. MacGill is considered the first woman aircraft designer.

  • Creating the Canadarm
    The Canadarm is a remote-controlled robotic arm originally used on the NASA's Space Shuttle orbiters and currently aboard the International Space Station. The first arm was produced in 1981 by a team of Canadian engineers from Toronto and Montreal who applied their knowledge from previous work on a robotic arm used in the CANDU nuclear power system.
  • Building faster warships 
    Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Bras d’Or was designed and built by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) for testing anti-submarine warfare technology on an ocean-going hydrofoil. The RCN hydrofoil project had its origins in the innovative ideas of Alexander Graham Bell, who designed and tested a hydrofoil in 1919 on Bras d’Or Lake, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The HMCS Bras d’Or was a high-speed vessel that could operate like a conventional ship, with its hull floating in the water, or travel on its wing-like foils, with its hull completely out of the water, at speeds of up to 110 kilometres per hour.

  • The foghorn – revolutionizing maritime navigation 
    The first automated steam-powered foghorn was invented in Canada by civil engineer Robert Foulis i1835. Fouliswho had heard his daughter playing piano and noticed he could only hear the very low notes through the foginvented a steam-powered, automated horn that used vibrating columns of air to produce long, low, notes. He also devised a coding system based on horn sound intervals to communicate the location of hazards to ships. His invention was installed on Partridge Island in 1859–the first foghorn to be installed anywhere in the world. Check out OSPE's blog to read the full story. 

  • Maximillian Mantha, P.Eng, MBA - Innovative infrastructure line between the Toronto Pearson Airport and Toronto Union Station
    Max Mantha, P.Eng., is the Vice President and Area Manager for both EllisDon Toronto Civil and Looby Construction, and is currently the youngest Vice President in any of EllisDon’s organizations. Mantha is leading the firm to successful outcomes on multiple, complex Ontario Ministry of Transportation design-build projects. He has spearheaded several highly successful projects for the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) — including the Metrolinx Up Express Spur line between the Toronto Pearson Airport and Toronto Union Station. Mantha is also a founding member of Young Leaders in Infrastructure, a Canadian organization with a mandate to engage and create relationships among the next generation of Canadian leaders in the infrastructure sector.

  • Endre (Andrew) Bakos, BSc, P.Eng., C.E.T., ASME - Spearheaded new wireless services in TTC Subway stations
    Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) Endre (Andrew) Bakos, P.Eng., oversaw the implementation and deployment of the “20-year Wireless Services in TTC Subway” project, which allows subway riders to connect to the Internet while underground. Anyone on the TTC or in close proximity to a TTC station has access to a free hour of WIFI, along with cellular service from multiple service providers. Bakos also donates his time to the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), helping International Engineering Graduates (IEGs) enhance their communications skills and understanding of the professional engineering workplace culture in Ontario and Canada.

  • The Trans Canada Highway
    The Trans-Canada Highway, which officially opened in 1962, extends 7,821 kilometres from Victoria, British Columbia to St. John's, Newfoundland, making it the world's longest national highway. The Trans-Canada Highway links several provincial highways and includes Confederation Bridge, Canso Causeway and three ferry routes. Construction of the highway formally began in 1950 and required innovative construction and paving techniques to navigate sections of isolated wilderness, British Columbia's mountains, northern Ontario's swamps, and even Prince Edward Island's flat terrain, where rock had to be shipped across the Northumberland Straight to construct the highway's base.

  • Rides, rollercoasters and Canada's Wonderland
    Opening in 1981, Canada's Wonderland became the first major amusement park in Canada. Twelve Canadian engineering and architectural firms collaborated to design and construct the park. Structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, among others, continue to work on the design, build and maintenance of the park's rollercoasters and rides. Materials selection, track development and the inspection of mechanical parts from chain lifts to braking systems are only some of the responsibilities of amusement park engineers. Check out this video on the engineering behind a rollercoaster.

  • The earliest snow research
    Ontario-born mechanical engineering graduate George Klein was deemed "Canada's leading expert in snow cover physics and mechanics" in the 1930s. Klein helped create the international classification system for ground-cover snow, which guides research in construction, transportation and avalanche prevention. He was also a leading designer of aircraft skis, which he cleverly added to bush planes to promote the exploration of previously inaccessible areas of Canadian terrain. The mechanical instruments he developed for the military during WWII were later adapted to create the first military snow vehicle.

  • The Gordie Howe International Bridge
    Projected to open to traffic in 2022, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will connect Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan, fostering transportation improvements for international travellers and economic opportunities for the region. Though not yet built, the bridge was recently awarded the 2017 Engineering Project of the Year Award at the 10th Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum in Montreal for the planned incorporation of distinctive features, including customs plazas and a bike and pedestrian path. Proposed designs include a cable-stayed and a suspension cable bridge.

  • Creating connections through waterways
    The Rideau Canal–the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America–still runs along its original line and with most of its original structures intact. Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers designed and supervised the construction of the 202-kilometre canal through tough rocky terrain and bush. The waterway played a pivotal role in the early development of Canada by transporting migrants and supplies.

  • Improving efficiency and safety
    Elijah McCoy was an African-Canadian mechanical engineer who patented over 50 inventions, including the portable ironing board and lawn sprinkler. McCoy is best known, for his self-regulating drip-cup lubricator, which drastically improved efficiency and safety aboard locomotives and in factories and mines in the early 1870s. "The Real McCoy"–a phrase still used today–was adopted by buyers to distinguish between the high-quality original and lower quality imitation devices. Learn more on the Society Notes blog.

  • Connecting Canada from coast to coast
    The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) or transcontinental railway was a feat of engineering that played an important role in the expansion of Confederation, promoting the settlement of Western Canada. The railway is marvelled not only because of its challenging construction through the rock and muskeg of the Canadian Shield, but over the years, the CPR has also helped spur new industries rich in engineering influence, including the development of new shipping lines, airlines, and the mining and telecommunications industries.

  • The development of Canadian expertise in nuclear medicine 
    The Theratron Junior radiotherapy unit, built in 1956, marked the beginnings of Canadian expertise in nuclear medicine. Researchers at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, and at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon separately developed Cobalt 60 technology, creating machines that killed cancerous cells with precise bursts of radiation. First commercialized by Eldorado Mining and Refining Ltd, Cobalt 60 machines were later produced by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL), a Crown corporation established in 1952 to direct Canada’s nuclear program. 

  • Dr. Martha Salcudean, P.Eng., Canada's first female head of a university engineering department 
    Dr. Martha Salcudean, P.Eng.,  is an internationally recognized expert in computational fluid dynamics and was Canada's first female head of a university engineering department. Salcudean has published extensively in the area of heat transfer and fluid flow and has had numerous industrial collaborations. Salcudean’s research group is working on the mathematical modeling of multi-phase flows. The research team is working on improving the understanding of agglomerate formations, by modeling their growth and breakage in the presence of capillary and viscous forces. 

  • Making microscopic imaging accessible
    Dr. Keekyoung Kim, aassistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of British Columbia, aims to develop cost-effective systems that will optimize 3D cell microenvironments for the regeneration of human body tissues and the development of microscale platforms mimicking human physiological systems for drug tests. The long-term goal is to discover new therapeutic methods and drugs for overcoming human diseases such as cardiovascular disease, bone and cartilage diseases and cancer. Kim and his team recently developed a compact, high-performance microscope that enables wireless real-time imaging of live cells for around $100, making it a much more affordable technology for researchers than existing microscopes, which average a cost of over $100,000. 

  • Blending traditional Aboriginal knowledge with technical frameworks 
    Denise Pothier has applied her background in chemical engineering to over 20 years of work in the oil and gas sector, particularly in regulatory compliance, quality assurance and management systems, process engineering and risk assessment. A champion for marginalized groups, Pothier is the chair of Stantec’s Aboriginal awareness committee and a member of the company’s diversity and inclusion committee. Pothier applies traditional Aboriginal knowledge to business frameworks to make them more holistic. 

  • Combining biological agents with synthetic material for increased functionality 
    Dr. Zeinab Hosseini-Doust is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at McMaster University. Hosseini-Doust conducts research on bacteriophages – viruses that infect bacteria – to understand how they destroy certain bacteria species, in order to create the next generation of antibiotics, for example, particularly for tacking infectious disease. She develops biohybrid materials and devices to engineer function at colloidal scale, a task that despite the massive progress of nanotechnology has remained exclusive to biological systems. 

  • John Bianchini, P.Eng. – Championing global change
    Upon graduation from the University of Toronto, chemical engineer John Bianchini, P.Eng., who is now the CEO and President of Hatch, was eager to create new chemical processes and build equipment that create oil, gas, iron and steel. Early in Bianchini’s career, he was part of a team that developed new processes for creating pigments that are lower in cost and more environmentally friendly than existing pigment options, which encouraged industry to shift from the use of lead-based pigments. Bianchini also spent a lot of time in South Africa during the apartheid, during which time he realized that the work he does as an individual goes beyond simply helping clients improve their business.

  • William Gordon Morison, P.Eng., and Canada's nuclear energy program
    William Gordon Morison, P.Eng., helped design the first CANDU reactor and is remembered as a pioneer of Canada's nuclear energy program. Morison was head of engineering at Ontario Hydro during the development of the nuclear power program in the late 1960s - early 1970s. He was Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.'s chief design engineer for both the Pickering and Bruce Nuclear Generating Stations. Morison also played an instrumental role in maintaining the highest safety and production standards during the construction of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, despite Ontario hydro's many budgetary and scheduling setbacks.

  • The first Canadian nuclear reactor
    During his time at the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), George Klein was the chief engineer and mechanical designer of the Zero Energy Experimental Pile (ZEEP), located near Chalk River. ZEEP was the first nuclear reactor outside of the United States to sustain nuclear fission.

  • Inventing alkaline & lithium batteries
    Lewis Frederick Urry, an Ontario-born chemical engineering graduate and inventor, is credited with inventing both the alkaline and lithium battery. His revolutionary decision to create cells with acid-neutralizing materials and powdered zinc, extended the life span of the battery. Before his death in 2004, Urry achieved 51 patents. Read more in this article from The Globe and Mail.

  • Improving wastewater treatment methods through accurate field research
    The Pine Creek Wasterwater Treatment Centre in Calgary, Alberta is one of the most technologically advanced and environmentally friendly facilities in Canada. It houses the research facilities of Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets (ACWA), a partnership between the University of Calgary and the City of Calgary. The ACWA facilities allow researchers to study the impacts of pollutants in the watershed, facilitating the design of new treatment solutions, as well as improvements to existing treatment options. ACWA helps the municipality decide what is most effective and helps inform legislation and policy development. The Centre even houses 12 experimental streams, which researchers use to test their findings in a safe but accurate field environment. 
     
  • Conducting ground breaking research in microfluidics to help solve energy challenges 
    David Sinton, a professor in the University of Toronto's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, has conducted groundbreaking research in microfluidics for energyproviding innovative new tools for solving some of our most pressing energy-related challenges. Sinton and his team have shown that microfluidics – a set of techniques aimed at controlling and manipulating fluids on the sub-millimetre scale – plays a major role in global energy and its associated environmental implications. Sinton was recently elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in recognition of his contributions to the field of mechanical engineering. 

  • Clean technology innovation for industrial pollution 
    Ottawa innovators Heather Ward and Jerry Flynn, an engineering graduate, co-founded a start-up called Tandem Technical to tackle carbon emissions. Tandem’s conversion technology recycles CO2 emissions into useful mineral by-products such as calcium carbonate, a key ingredient in paint, toothpaste and fertilizer. The duo has entered their solution into the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE global competition, which seeks new ways to address harmful CO2 emissions, and so far, the start-up has made it into the top 20 mark of this four-year challenge.

     

  • Creating a new catalyst to advance artificial photosynthesis and fight climate change
    Phil De Luna, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto and a team of researchers have developed a low cost and highly efficient catalyst that chemically converts water into oxygen, bringing them one step closer to achieving artificial photosynthesis. This process would use renewable energy to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into stored chemical energy. Both capturing carbon emissions and storing energy from solar or wind power, would be beneficial in the fight against climate change.  

  • High-tech solutions for cleaner, safer drinking water 
    Professor Robert C. Andrews, P.Eng., of the Drinking Water Research Group (DWRG) in the University of Toronto’s Civil Engineering Department, works with industry and municipal partners to help provide clean drinking water to millions of consumers across Canada. The DWRG undertakes collaborative research in areas like the application of membranes to drinking water treatment, examining ways to of remove emerging contaminants including pharmaceuticals and testing the use of alternative disinfectants for drinking water treatment, which has produced a baseline of knowledge and data that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has incorporated into their disinfection regulations. 

  • Providing renewable energy to community buildings in Northern Ontario 
    S&C Electric Canada Ltd., and North Bay Hydro have partnered to deploy a microgrid at North Bay Community Energy Park. The project adopts a solar array mounted on the city’s Aquatic Centre and features the ability to operate in islanded mode separate from the main power grid. The microgrid will harness this renewable electricity to supply the neighboring Memorial Gardens ice rink and will also contribute to a charging station for electric vehicles. A storage management system will ensure grid disruptions can be monitored, and will act as an additional energy supply when required. The Energy Park will also include a cogeneration plant that will help power the microgrid and heat both the Aquatic Centre and Memorial Gardens.  

  • Waste management research for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from landfills
    Tanaji More, a postdoctoral scholar in the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering, is developing a standard protocol for accurately measuring the biomethane potential of landfills. While the current method for measuring methane generation potential was primarily developed for liquid wasteMore's complex calculations will help determine standards for measuring the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted from conventional solid waste landfills–the contents of which vary and consequently decompose differently. This type of protocol will support the development of effective technologies for reducing GHG emissions from landfills, which account for at least 25 percent of Canadian human-generated methane gas emissions. 

  • A faster and more affordable test for E. coli in drinking water 
    Sushanta Mitra, P.Eng.executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, and his colleagues have invented a fast and affordable way for developing communities to test their drinking water for E. coli bacteria. Unlike current tests, which cost about $70 and can take up to three days to generate results, the new invention uses paper strips that cost about 50 cents and produce results in under three hours. Glacierclean Technologies Inc., Mitra's startup company, is now refining the technology, which uses traces of sugar on the test paper to attract any E. coli bacteria in the water and trap it in the porous paper. The E. coli react with chemicals contained in the strip to turn the paper a pinkish-red colour, which signifies a positive test. 

  • Converting food waste to renewable bioplastics 
    Startup company called Genecis, founded by engineering student Luna Yu and her team, is dedicated to recovering value from food waste. Genecis has the potential to offset the exorbitant fees that large-chain restaurants pay to dispose of their food waste in landfills, using the money the company makes from converting the waste into bioplastics and compost. Genecis use two cultures of microorganisms to break down leftover food and to turn it into energy to grow and accumulate polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), which are a biodegradable plastic that can be made into products like thin-film packaging and bottles. The Genecis team recently won the $20,000 Lacavera Prize at the University of Toronto's 2017 Hatchery Demo Day and will use the funding to build a 1,000-litre pilot bioreactor to test the process at a larger scale. 

  • Canada's oldest solar company
    Based in London, Ontario, Solcan Ltd.is Canada's oldest solar companyMechanical engineering graduate Robert Swartman established Solcan in 1975, and the research-oriented company continues to manufacture specialized solar equipment like solar collectors and heat exchangers, today. Solcan's niche in the solar market has been design-build solar water heating systems for commercial and institutional applications, including nursing homes, car washes, fitness centres apartment buildings. The unique features of the Solcan solar collectors are its light weight properties and its use of silicone to fasten the glass to the frame.

  • International solid waste management 
    From 2002-2012, retired consulting engineer Bill Goodings, P.Eng., volunteered as an international solid waste management advisor with the Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO). During his first assignment in San Carlos City in the Philippines, he developed an economical, adaptable and sustainable waste management system that harnesses freely available natural forces and locally available materials to stabilize rotting garbage and turn it into an acceptable form of compost. In San Carlos, Goodings created loose, six-feet high windrows of waste and covered them with a 15-centimetre thick layer of rice hulls to keep monsoon rainwater, flies and animals out, but trap in enough moisture, heat and oxygen for biosystems of aerobic bacteria, beetles, worms and sow bugs to thrive and decompose any organic material.  

  • Wesley Bova, P.Eng. - Engineering healthy and sustainable communities
    Wesley Bova, P.Eng., is an OSPE member who is helping to develop and maintain critical infrastructure in remote First Nations communities. He is currently president of the Board of Directors of Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation, which represents all First Nations across Ontario. He strives to ensure First Nations communities in remote regions have access to clean water supplies, and works to help build healthy, sustainable communities.

  • Andrea Bradford, P.Eng. – “The Voice of the Fish in the Wetlands”
    Andrea Bradford, P.Eng., Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, has dedicated her career to environmental work with a focus on wetland water management. Bradford is known as the “the voice of fish in the wetlands” and works diligently to prevent the degradation of ecosystems. She develops tactics to clean water supplies and works to protect the public from flooding, thereby helping make our water systems multifunctional. As a mentor to students, an invited expert to multiple hearings and through consultancy, she has help steered government policy. Bradford continues to train the next generation of engineers to have a deep technical knowledge of the field.

  • CANDU reactors
    CANDU, or CANada Deuterium Uranium, is a Canadian-developed, pressurized heavy water nuclear reactor used to generate electric power. CANDU reactors were first developed in the late 1950s and 1960s, and are unique in that they use natural, unenriched uranium as a fuel, which helps keep costs low. With some modification, the reactors can also use enriched uranium, mixed fuels, and thorium, meaning they can be fueled by material from decommissioned nuclear weapons, helping to reduce global arsenals. While most other designs must be shut down for refueling, the CANDU reactors can be refueled while operating at full power. CANDU reactors feature safety systems independent from the rest of the plant. Each key safety component has three backups, thereby increasing the overall safety of the system, and making it possible to test the safeguards while the reactor is operating under full power.

  • Countertop hydroponic growing system
    Jolien van Gaalen and Richard Lacroix, two Western University engineering students, placed first in the Innovative Design category at the 2017 Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC) for their automated growing system, Migrova. The hydroponic (soil free) system can produce as much as half a kilogram of fresh microgreens every week. These greens are produced from the seeds of small vegetables and are harvested as soon as they reach about 10 cm and the first leaves develop, meaning they are dense in nutrition. The product’s current focus on microgreens lends itself to practical, efficient and affordable operation. The user can even control the system’s irrigation and lighting using an app on their smartphones for ease of use.

  • Municipal wastewater and potable water treatment systems
    In the early 1950s, raw sewage from municipalities across Canada was still being discharged directly into the country’s freshwater lakes and rivers without being treated. The engineering firm Gore & Storrie (G&S), which became part of CH2M Hill, was responsible for the design and construction of at least 33 water purification plants and 100 sanitary sewage treatment plants across Canada and the United States between 1909-1998. The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, for example, continues to provide safe drinking water to Toronto and York Region and was declared a national historic civil engineering site in 1992. Learn more about the history of water treatment in Ontario in this OSPE blog post.

  • Residential river turbine for green energy
    Two engineering graduates from Quebec have developed the Idénergie river turbine that converts the kinetic energy of river currents into electricity. The technology is intended to make renewable energy practical and affordable for homeowners. The turbine's subwater electric generator technology provides 24 hours of constant energy at a maximum capacity of 12 kWh. A bi-directional converter facilitates the transportation of electricity to the turbine's batteries over long distances without significant losses. The Darrieus-type turbines are shown to present no harm to the river ecosystem and aquatic fauna. 


  • Nanoflotation technology for oil sands water treatment
    David Bromley, P.Eng., president of David Bromley Engineering, invented a cost effective "Nanoflotation" technology that reduces the energy required to filter water involved in oil sands mining operations by up to 65 per cent. The technology uses a concentrated ionically charged environment to separate colloidal solids from the fluid medium for removal. The process reduces carbon emissions during water treatment, and reduces the number of chemicals required to treat process water by 86 percent. Nanoflotation allows oil sands operators to reuse all process water, thereby reducing the size of tailings ponds and amount of offsite disposal from oil sands mining operations.

  • Embracing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system
    The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is recognized as the international mark of excellence for green building in over 140 countries. Outside of the US, Canada has the largest number of both LEED-certified and LEED-registered buildings in the world. As of March 2016, engineers have played a leading role in the creation of about 44 million m² of LEED New Construction (NC) buildings and about 24 million m² of existing building projects in Canada.

  • Developing community solutions in northern Ontario
    In July 2016, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada put out a request for proposals to study the economic sustainability of greenhouses in northern communities. The long distances that food must be transported, high rates of spoilage, limited availability and high cost of food products, has prompted engineers and engineering graduates, like Andreas Zailo to develop sustainable, hybrid solar/geothermal greenhouse models.

  • Canada's first steam-powered car 
    Watchmaker and tinkerer Henry Seth Taylor of Stanstead, Quebec built Canada's first steam-powered car or “steam pleasure carriage” in 1867. Inspired by an American model, he used his metal-working skills to craft the carriage’s two-cylinder engine and driving mechanism, while a local blacksmith, Joseph Mosher, constructed the carriage frame. The car was powered by a rear-mounted coal-fired boiler and used a tiller instead of a wheel for steering.

  • The Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen  
    The Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen has revitalized Canadian Arctic science by giving Canadian researchers and their international collaborators unprecedented access to the Arctic Ocean. The ship's 65 scientific systems, 22 labs and sophisticated equipment make it a versatile research platform for scientists in the natural, health and social sciences as well as partners from government, industry and Northern communities. Since 2003, the vessel has spent over 1700 research days at sea and has accommodated over 1500 researchers and professionals from over 20 countries. 

  • The first  rotary snowplough 
    In 1870, Toronto resident J.W. Elliot patented the first rotary snowplough, which was initially designed to remove snow from railroads. The spinning fan-like snow shovel consisted of a rotary engine driving a wheel mounted on the front of a train. A steel collector on the tracks fed the snow to fan plates on the edge of the wheel, which threw the snow out of the top of the wheel casing. In 1884, inventor Orange Jull, from Orangeville, Ontario, patented an updated snowplough, which used a cutting blade positioned in front of the fan, but spinning in the opposite direction, to chop up the incoming snow for easier removal.  

  • Making artificial intelligence more private and portable 
    Alexander Wong and Mohammad Javad Shafieesystems design engineering research professors at the University of Waterloo, have co-founded a company called Darwin AI to commercialize their efficient AI softwareThe compact technology will help advance the operational functionality of deep-learning AI software, allowing devices to operate independent of the internet. The new technology facilitates lower data processing and transmission costs, and greater privacy and use in areas where existing technology is impractical due to expense or other factors. The technology fits on a chip and can be embedded into Smartphones to reduce data usage, as well as in low-cost dronessmart grids, surveillance cameras or manufacturing plants, where there are issues around streaming proprietary data to the cloud. 

  • Innovative use of complex artificial intelligence (AI) in the financial sector 
    Devinder Kumar, lead researcher and PhD candidate in systems design engineering at the University of Waterloo, has collaborated with professors Alexander Wong of Waterloo and Graham Taylor of the University of Guelph, to develop new explanatory software to analyze and explain decisions made by deep-learning artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. This software could make it easier to adopt and trust powerful AI systems that generate stock market predictions, assess who qualifies for mortgages and set insurance premiums. The program provides key insights that would satisfy regulatory authorities and give analysts confidence in their recommendations. 

  • Increasing the percentage of women in engineering
    Elizabeth Croft is a professor of mechanical engineering and the senior associate dean in the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC). During this time, she has helped increase the percentage of women in the first-year engineering class at UBC from 20 percent to 30 percent, which is 10 percent higher than the national average. A former NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, she has helped develop mentoring programs, conferences and other means to help dispel the implicit biases that act as barriers to women in STEM. Her technical research focuses on roboethics and the interactions of robots and humans for manufacturing assembly and homecare. 

  • The development of intelligent assistive robots 
    Goldie Nejat, P.Eng.is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, and the Founder and Director of the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics (ASBLab) Laboratory. By collaborating with international researchers, healthcare experts and healthcare facilities, Nejat is developing robots and devices that can be effectively transferred and integrated into people’s everyday lives. These intelligent service robots can be used in elderly care, emergency response, search and rescue, security and surveillance and manufacturing. 

  • Specialized robot to defuse landmines
    Richard Yim, a University of Waterloo mechanical engineering graduate, started a company called The Landmine Boys to develop a robotic device for defusing landmines without human interaction. Based out of Velocity, Waterloo's startup incubator, the team has developed a portable excavator that safely digs up landmines while stabilizing the detonator to prevent an explosion. The robot then cuts the landmine open to steam out the TNT explosives inside.

  • Innovation in industrial measurement
    Founded in 1953 by George Kelk, P.Eng., KELK (now Vishay Precision Group Canada) is a Canadian company specializing in the design and manufacture of electronic measurement equipment used mainly in steel and aluminum rolling mills, paper mills and mining applications around the world. To create his custom-engineered sensors, Kelk applied the experience he acquired while working on strain gages for the stress testing of jet engine turbines in the Orenda jet engines division at AVRO Canada. To this day, Canada is known to produce the toughest and the most precise tension sensors for use in the harshest steel mill environments around the world.

  • Industrializing Canada's agricultural-based economy
    Civil engineer C.D. Howe relocated from Massachusetts to become Dalhousie University's first professor of civil engineering. Between 1916-1935, he designed grain elevators that were quicker and more economical to build than competitor models. His design for the Dominion-Howe unloader further increased efficiency by significantly reducing the amount of time required to empty a grain car.

  • Building the Alaska Highway    
    The construction of the Alaska Highway, or “The Road, was a major feat of Canadian and American engineering, connecting Dawson Creek, British Columbia and Delta Junction, Alaska. Built by more than 10,000 soldiers and 6,000 civilians from both countries in just eight months in 1942the highway was meant to strengthen the strategic position of the United States and Canada following Japan’s entry into the Second World War, and opened new locations to resource extraction. It should be recognized, however, that this wartime infrastructure also had profound a impact on the Indigenous communities of the North, with many viewing its completion as a landmark in the loss of traditional ways of life. 

  • Optimization of complex systems in all sectors through systems and control engineering 
    Queen's University professor and associate dean of the School of Graduate studies Kim McAuley is the first woman to receive the D.G. Fisher Award by the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering. Dr. McAuley is being recognized for her major contributions to the systems and control engineering discipline. McAuley has worked with major chemical and polymer companies, as well as 'clean tech' firms looking to transform existing small-scale processes into large-scale operations. She recently worked with Enviro Innovate, a company based at Queen's University's Innovation Park, which has developed a technology that can remove carbon dioxide from industrial furnace emissions, which can then be used as a feedstock for bio-sourced jet fuel or to create new polymers. 

  • Designing conservation and flood controls to protect nature and the public 
    G. Ross Lord, P.Eng., is responsible for Toronto’s flood plains, reservoirs, dams and water cachement areas that ensured the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Hazel in 1985 would never occur again. Lord established measures to mitigate the effects of similar disasters, including components like the construction of multi-purpose dams and reservoirs, key channel improvements, public acquisition of vulnerable flood prone lands, the extension of stream gauging and food warning systems and zoning and bylaw changes to restrict residential encroachment on flood plains. His efforts, through the Toronto Conservation Authority, to preserve nature while providing flood protection in a densely populated urban area, would become a model for other communities.
     
  • Separating sanitary and stormwater sewers
    Willis Chipman, P.Eng., is considered to be one of Ontario’s first consulting engineers. He is best known as the originator of separate systems for sanitary and storm sewers, laying the foundation for a new standard in drinking water quality and waste water treatment in Canada. Chipman was one of the founders of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors and was also active in the founding of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario in 1922, later serving as the second-ever PEO president. 

  • Building a road to withstand Arctic climate change 
    Building a road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories was a challenge for engineers because the area is above the treeline on the tundra permafrost. Engineers conducted an environmental screening, planned, designed and then built the new road during the Arctic winter when the ground was frozen. The team chose to construct a gravel road because its malleable nature can accommodate the expansion and contraction of the ground when it freezes and thaws every year. Local, natural materials formed the fill that was placed on the tundra to support the gravel road, which was built thicker than most highways, so as not to disturb the top layers of permafrost that thaws in the summer. 

  • Strategizing the future of engineering in Canada 
    OSPE member Jeanette Southwood, P.Eng., is the vice president of strategy and partnerships at Engineers Canada where she heads the team focused on the future of the engineering professionWith twenty-six years of experience in consulting, Southwood led the Canadian urban development and infrastructure sector and the global sustainable cities teams at Golder Associates Limited, where she was the first visible minority woman to be made a principal. Southwood was named one of WXN Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2015. 

  • Mandy Chan, P.Eng. - Sounding out city solutions
    Mandy Chan, P.Eng., is a Senior Acoustics Engineer at HGC Engineering. She’s helping communicate between governments, developers and the residents of Ontario to establish effective noise control solutions. Chan balances the needs of the city and its governing bodies, with the goals of construction, so that productive results are achieved. She plays a pivotal role in designing and building infrastructure across the province, especially as land becomes scarcer.

  • Margaret Kende, P.Eng. – Canada’s first female engineering dean and international advocate
    Margaret Kende, P.Eng., was one of the first four women to graduate from the University of Toronto’s civil engineering program. Kende worked as a structural engineer for 10 years before taking on a teaching role with the Centennial College civil engineering technology program. In 1977, Kende became Canada’s first female engineering dean. Retiring from Centennial College, Kende continued to work as a management consultant and then joined the Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO), completing various international assignments to help spread Canada’s human rights and gender equity values.

  • Catherine Karakatsanis, P.Eng., FEC, FCAE – A dedicated advocate and volunteer leader
    Catherine Karakatsanis, P.Eng., is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Morrison Hershfield Inc., one of Canada’s largest engineering consultancies. Karakatsanis oversees all Morrison Hershfield operations throughout Canada, the US and internationally. Throughout her career-long work as a volunteer leader, Karakatsanis is the only engineer in Canada to have steered her provincial engineering regulator, provincial engineering advocacy body and national engineering organization. During her time as President and Chair of OSPE in 2002-2003, she advocated for the creation of a more diverse profession and worked to promote engineering among youths and women.

  • Confederation Bridge
    Confederation Bridge is the world’s longest bridge crossing ice-covered waters. The 13-kilometre-long bridge links Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick with mainland Canada. The Confederation Bridge uses a multi-span concrete box girder structure and a construction technique called post-tensioning to support its impressive length. Engineers also incorporated a number of safety features into the bridge design, including carefully executed curves to help reduce the potential for accidents. The road surface is made of a special long-lasting bituminous mixture that minimizes vehicle spray during wet weather, while more than 7,000 drain ports allow for the runoff of rainwater and melting snow and ice. A 1.1-metre-high concrete barrier serves as a windbreak and minimizes visual distraction for drivers.


        

    Photo Credit: C150 Global Odyssey, flight over Confederation Bridge on July 3rd, 2017.

  • Professional engineers’ roles in Fort McMurray Wildfire Response
    When wildfires devastated the Fort McMurray region last spring, Alberta professional engineers and professional geoscientists played a crucial role in the response. Professional engineers assisted with recovery efforts for essential services, including natural gas, electricity, and water; took on roles as auxiliary firefighters; helped assess infrastructure damage; and were part of the rebuilding efforts. When it was safe, for instance, professional engineers helped get oil sands facilities back up and running to lessen the disaster’s economic impact.

  • Rehabilitation of the Government Conference Center, Ottawa
    OSPE member and mentor Lisa Nicol, P.Eng., is a partner at John G. Cooke & Associates Ltd. Consulting Engineers in Ottawa. The company is working on a project that will allow the Government Conference Center to be repurposed as the temporary home of the Senate while renovation work continues on Parliament Hill. The project, which is scheduled to be completed by September 2018, and features several new floor plates, a new addition, and has been seismically upgraded to the current Building Code. Finding creative ways to use existing buildings brings new life to the structure and is a fantastic example of how engineering contributes to the improvement of community and society.  



  • Seismic Resilience of Infrastructure
    University of Toronto civil engineering professor Constantin Christopoulos, P.Eng., is developing self-centering seismic resistant systems that will make built infrastructure more resilient to the effects of severe winds and earthquakes. Christopoulos has pioneered the development of new self-centering and energy absorbing systems that aim to eliminate damage to structures when subjected to extreme meteorological hazards. His research also explores areas such as the use of steel castings to enhance the seismic performance of infrastructure, seismic isolation and energy dissipation strategies and vibration-based health monitoring of structures.

  • The golden era of engineering in Ontario
    In the 1950s, Ontario’s civil engineers helped design and build much of the infrastructure that continues to define our province, municipalities and way of life. In a very short period of time, engineering graduates, such as the 1951 Queen’s University civil engineering class (pictured below) designed and built sewage and wastewater treatment plants, sanitary landfills, power plants, power lines and major roadways like four-lane express highways, which continue to be extended, improved upon and repaired by engineers today.




    OSPE members Bob Goodings, P.Eng., and Bill Goodings, P.Eng., photographed with their classmates after receiving their iron rings in 1951.

  • The Distillery District
    Toronto's Distillery District, now a national historic site and restored tourist destination, was once the fully operational Gooderham and Worts Distillery. The entire district was primarily designed by David Roberts, Sr., a civil engineer, and his son David Roberts, Jr., an architect. In 1858, David Roberts, Sr. began constructing the Great Stone Distillery, which was considered the most ambitious industrial building erected in the city at the time. Roberts introduced novel infrastructural designs and materials, including the use of red-brick and panel-and-pier construction. He also managed the entire construction process, oversaw the distillery's steam-powered machinery and introduced new manufacturing and purification processes.

  • The Trans Canada Pipeline
    The TransCanada Pipeline is a system of natural gas pipelines that extend from Alberta to Quebec and into parts of the United States. Thanks to the influence of C.D. Howe, P.Eng., TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. began constructing the pipeline along an all-Canadian route in the early 1950s. Engineers built the pipeline through even the most arduous sections of terrain, including the 1,090-kilometre-long section through the Canadian Shield, which required precise blasting procedures. For two decades, the TransCanada Pipeline was considered the longest in the world. Today, pipeline engineers continue to maintain the integrity of the pipeline, managing re-coating processes, safety inspections, the evaluation of geotechnical hazards, ground stability, excavations and more.

  • The St. Lawrence Seaway
    The St. Lawrence Seaway links the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River with the Atlantic Ocean, making it the longest deep-draft navigation system in the world. Four of the canals on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River were completed by The Royal Engineers as early as 1783. The seven locks built between Montreal and Lake Ontario, alone, are recognized as one of the most challenging feats of engineering in history. The engineering behind the St. Lawrence Seaway also includes the construction of bridges and tunnels; the creation of Lake St. Lawrence; and the relocation of highways and residential communities.

  • The first NRC wind tunnels
    During his time with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), mechanical engineering graduate George Klein conducted critical wind tunnel research and aeronautical studies that helped progress Canada's aviation manufacturing industry, as well as the construction of streamliner locomotives, bridges and buildings. Klein's contributions to the construction of the "nine-foot wind tunnel" improved the assessment of new products and processes. For instance, his closed-circuit Göttingen design reduced energy use and helped control the effects of external variables during testing.

  • The Union Station Train Shed Project
    Every day an average of 200,000 commuters pass through Toronto's Union Station, which is Canada's busiest passenger transportation hub. Metrolinx and The City of Toronto began the Union Station Revitalization Project in 2010 to optimize the station's operations capacity. Engineers, heritage architects and Parks Canada have collaborated to responsibly update this designated heritage structure, blending innovative design and historic structural features. Learn more about some of the engineering challenges that the team encountered in this OSPE blog post.

  • Restoring water security to Constance Lake First Nation
    Many First Nations across Ontario cope with boil water advisories, aging water treatment infrastructure and poor surface-based drinking water supplies. Engineers play an important role in establishing facilities like the Constance Lake Water Treatment Plant, which permit sustainable maintenance costs and operational requirements. The Constance Lake Water Treatment plant features innovative technologies like greensand filtration equipment that address unsafe levels of iron and manganese in the groundwater supply. OSPE member Wesley Bova, P.Eng., discusses his role in the development of the plant in this OSPE blog post.

  • Revolutionizing the steel-making industry
    Retired Canadian engineer Gerald Heffernan pioneered a more efficient and cost-effective process to produce steel. Referred to as mini-mill steel manufacturing, Heffernan's innovative process combines continuous casting with the use of enhanced electric arc furnaces. This self-contained practice allows mills to recycle scrap metal and does not require the use of coke ovens and blast furnaces, thereby mitigating harmful environmental effects. Heffernan was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1987 for his efforts.

  • Anchoring high rises into moving ground
    Glaciers that once stood where Toronto exists today pressed the Earth's crust into the soft mantle beneath it. Today, the mantle continues to rebound, causing Toronto's skyline to raise an amount roughly equivalent to the thickness of a nickel, every year. As a result, anchoring high rises into moving ground is a challenge for the city's engineers and required specialized building techniques to accommodate. Check out Strip the City's video clip: 5:15 - 9:00 minute mark.


  • Building protection during times of conflict
    The Fortress of Louisbourg marks a 1713 French settlement on Cape Breton Island that was fortified to protect against threat of British invasion. Parisian military engineer, Jean-Francois du Verger de Verville, originally designed this National Historic Site, including the citadel barracks, and drew the first plan of the town. Verville shrewdly selected the location so as to take advantage of its natural barriers within his design.

  • Creating the world's first underwater pedestrian tunnel
    The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Pedestrian Tunnel is the world's first underwater pedestrian tunnel to an airport. During the tunnel's construction, it was the first time that a seven-drift arch pre-support excavation technique was used in Canada. The use of seven smaller, concrete-filled tunnels that arch over the main tunnel allowed excavation to continue under the crown while enabling the tunnel to hold its shape. This feet of engineering rests 100 feet below Lake Ontario's Western Channel and is 260 metres in length.




  • Accommodating urban population growth
    Engineers, architects and developers are helping accommodate urban population growth, while reducing land usage, by supporting vertical development. Canada is currently ranked seventh in the world and second in North America based on the number of completed buildings standing at 150 metres tall and higher.

  • Building the tallest tower in the world (between 1976-2010!)
    Toronto's CN Tower held onto its title as the world's tallest tower, building and freestanding structure from 1976-2010. The 553.33-metre-tall phenomenon was built to last, harnessing innovative engineering techniques that include a hexagonal concrete core with embedded post-tension cables and a centre of gravity less than 61 metres from the ground.

  • Creating the world's first fully retractable roof
    The Rogers Centre or "Skydome" is recognized as the world's first fully retractable roof, and is made up of four panels–three of which open in a smooth, circular motion. Although the roof covers a whopping 8 acres and weighs 11,000 tonnes, this feat of engineering nonetheless opens and closes in only 20 minutes.


  • Conserving Canada's history
    A heritage preservation movement has developed in many Canadian cities. From national parks to historical forts and waterfront revitalizations, engineers work closely with multi-disciplinary teams of professionals like architects, archaeologists and historians to adhere to the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. Engineers can help balance the conservation of various structures and materials, with the smooth integration of modern updates and sustainability interventions.

  • Analyzing how people fall to prevent injuries 
    Stephen Robinovitch, professor in the School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University, and his team are analyzing how people fall with the aim of preventing injuries. The Technology for Injury Prevention in Seniors (TIPS) program at Simon Fraser University partnered with two long-term care facilities in the Vancouver area to study real-life falls in a controlled lab environment. Researchers study the impact of falls and test prevention prototypes such as compliant flooring and hip protectors that can help alleviate fall-related injuries. 

  • Improving occupational health and safety standards for workers in Ontario  
    James M. Ham, ScD, P.Eng., an electrical engineer, was the tenth president of the University of Toronto. Ham played a large role in developing the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) in 1979, greatly advancing the protection of Ontario’s workers in terms of health and safety. Ham essentially established three basic rights for workers–the right to participate in occupational health and safety by helping to identify, assess and control workplace hazards; the right to know about any on-the-job hazards presented by people, equipment, materials, processes or the environment; and the right to refuse work that they believe to be unsafe without fear of retaliation by employers.  

  • Inventing an economical device for the early detection of skin cancer
    Four Canadian medical and bioengineering graduates from McMaster University have invented the sKana low cost and non-invasive device that can detect skin cancer. This handheld device is made from widely available and inexpensive components, making the detection of the disease more accessible. Winners of the 2017 James Dyson Award, the team received C$50,000 to develop the device, which uses temperature sensors to help in the early detection of melanoma. Because cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal tissue cells, cancerous tissue warms at a faster rate than non-cancerous tissue when the tissue is cooled.  
     
  • Molly Shoichet, Limited Licence, PEO, appointed Ontario's first Chief Science Officer   
    University Professor Molly Shoichet, a world-leading researcher in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, has been appointed the first Chief Scientist of Ontario. In this role, Shoichet – who has a Limited Licence with Professional Engineers Ontario – will develop Ontario's strategic research agenda and will help grow the province's reputation as a top destination for global research talent. The Chief Scientist will also provide advice informed by science to help government decision-makers tackle global grand challenges. At the Institute for Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME), her lab develops and works with hydrogels that help stem cells survive and integrate into tissues, including nervous tissue damaged by stroke, macular degeneration or other diseases.  

  • Enabling youth with severe physical limitations to communicate independently 
    Through his research at Holland Bloorview and the University of Toronto, Tom Chau, P.Eng., develops innovative assistive technologies to enable children with disabilities to participate more fully in life activities. Chau's technologies allow children and youth with severe physical limitations to communicate independently. He created the award-winning Virtual Music Instrument, which uses a web camera to detect even the slightest movements, triggering sounds on a computer. Chau has also pioneered optical brain-computer interfaces which allow nonverbal individuals to communicate through thought alone. 

  • Improving patient safety during minimally invasive surgery 
    Robert Brooks and Justin Wee, two engineering students from the University of Toronto, have developed surgical tool enhancement called ForceFilm that provides surgeons with real-time force feedback to prevent the exertion of too much force during minimally invasive surgery (MIS). During MIS, surgeons operate long, thin surgical tools inserted through small openings in the patient, making it difficult for medical professionals to “feel” how much pressure is being applied with the tool. The ForceFilm system is retrofitted onto existing MIS surgical tools and uses between two to four strain gauges to capture axial force and torsion, while a Bluetooth transceiver transmits raw strain gauge data to a surgical monitor that warns surgeons if they are exerting too much force.  

  • Engineered hydrogels for targeted drug delivery 
    Chemical engineer Todd Hoare, P. Eng., is an associate professor at McMaster University. Hoare is focused on developing novel materials with "smart" properties that are tuned to the environment and application in which the material is to be used. Working largely with hydrogels, this targeted method of drug delivery could lessen side effects from, for example, cancer treatments, as well as drug tolerance. While most of the target applications of these engineered hydrogels lie within biomedical engineering (drug delivery, biomedical devices, tissue engineeringetc.), they are also applied in food, nutriceutical delivery, and environmental capacities. 

  • Pioneering the investigation of bone-implant interfaces and mineralized tissues 
    Dr. Kathryn Grandfield is an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and School of Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University. Grandfield researches ways to improve implants for hips, knees, dental work, and other parts of the body. The goal is to create longer-lasting implants that better attach to bone and facilitate a more comfortable life, with fewer surgeries, for the end user. Grandfield primarily works with titanium and titanium alloys, which are durable enough to last for 40 years and have a unique oxide layer that’s biocompatible. 

  • J. Paul Santerre, PhD, P.Eng., FBSE, FAIMBE, FAAAS, FCAHS, - Professor and highly successful biotechnology entrepreneur 
    Dr.Paul Santerre, P.Eng., is a professor in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto, and the founder of Interface Biologics – a company that builds on his extensive work on biomedical polymers and their applications for medical devices. The company’s commercial technology prevents blood clotting on medical instruments like catheters, vascular grafts, and dialyzers. Dr.Santerre also mentors up-and-coming biomedical engineers and entrepreneurs. For example, he conceived and helped launch a new professional graduate program that trains young engineers to form start-up companies and bring their ideas to market.

  • Nicholas Stark, P.Eng., CE, LEED AP, ICD.D - A respected authority in revolutionizing healthcare design
    Nicholas Stark, P.Eng., serves as chief engineer at HH Angus (HHA) – one of Canada’s largest private engineering firms. In this role, he leads complicated technical design projects, combining sustainable design and efficient solutions. He is a respected authority in healthcare facility design, and has made significant contributions to the design of healthcare facilities across Ontario and Canada. He worked as project director for the Centre Hospitalier de I'Université de Montréal (CHUM) project— one of the largest P3 projects in North America, with a construction value of over $2 billion. ln addition to providing leadership and guidance, he remains a hands-on engineer who drives right down to the details of complex design alongside the rest of the team.

  • Jan Andrysek, BSc, MASc, PhD, P.Eng. – Founder of renowned R&D program for prosthetic technologies
    Dr. Jan Andrysek, P.Eng., is a scientist at Bloorview Research Institute and an assistant professor at the Institute of Biomaterial and Biomedical Engineering. He has created an internationally renowned R&D program that focuses on lower limb prosthetics for children and youth, improving the lives of hundreds of young amputees living in low resource countries around the world. Over the past year, more than 500 knees have been provided to amputees via LegWorks. His interests lie in the impact that prosthetic technologies such as the All-Terrain Knee can have on the lives of amputees. Dr. Andrysek has provided training and mentoring to over 60 undergraduate and graduate students, including many aspiring engineers.

  • Craig Alexander Simmons, PhD, P.Eng., FCSME – A distinguished professor and world leader in mechanobiology
    Dr. Craig Alexander Simmons, P.Eng., is a pioneer in the field of mechanobiology, investigating how biomechanical forces regulate cell function in heart disease and regeneration. He is a professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at University of Toronto, and is a world leader in heart valve mechanobiology and micro-technologies. Dr. Simmons has led various initiatives to expand the broader research enterprise at the University of Toronto, while currently leading over 100 researchers from the fields of engineering and medicine in his role as the director of the Translational Biology and Engineering Program in the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research.

  • Milica Radisic, P.Eng., Ph.D., Engineering Cardiac Tissues to Fight Heart Disease
    OSPE Board Director Milica Radisic, P.Eng., is making waves in the fields of cardiac tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In her lab at the University of Toronto Engineering, Dr. Radisic and her team transform human stem cells into miniature, beating heart tissues as well as liver tissue that can metabolize certain drugs. Dr. Radisic is the co-founder of a start-up company called TARA Biosystems, which is focused on the use of engineered tissues in drug development and testing. In the future, these functioning tissues could be implanted back into the body to repair organs damaged by disease or injury.
    Learn more about Dr. Radisic’s revolutionary work in the September 2016 issue of The Voice magazine.

  • Pre-eminent advocate for the advancement of women in engineering
    Dr. Monique Frize, P.Eng., was the first woman to graduate from the University of Ottawa with a degree in electrical engineering. A renowned researcher in the field of biomedical engineering, Dr. Frize has more than 250 peer-reviewed publications on subjects like medical imaging, biomedical instrumentation and ethics. Throughout her career, she also worked in developing countries like Bangladesh and Haiti, helping manage their medical devices. Dr. Frize, who wrote a book about the experiences of pioneering women in engineering, has always championed the advancement of women the profession, and in 1993, she was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour.

  • Health technologies for self-care of complex chronic conditions
    Biomedical Engineer Dr. Joseph Cafazzo, P.Eng., Director of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, designs and evaluates self-care technologies for patients with complex chronic conditions. For instance, Dr. Cafazzo and his team have developed a mobile phone self-management system for adolescents with type 1 diabetes called bant. This application uses Bluetooth to automatically translate blood sugar readings to patients' iPhones, identifies trends and uses social media and games to incentivize young patients to take their readings regularly.

  • The first microsurgical staple gun
    Mechanical engineering graduate George Klein, who was inducted into the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame, was a co-inventor of the first microsurgical staple gun. This microsurgical suturing device helped envelope and reconnect severed blood vessels, arteries and veins. Though outdated by today's medical standards, the tool was used in hundreds of experimental surgeries in the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Spearheading pacemaker technology
    John Hopps, P.Eng., is considered the Father of Biomedical Engineering in Canada. Hopps produced an electrode that could stimulate the lining of the heart and shock irregular heart contractions into a normal rhythm, without opening a patient's chest. The early pacemaker was too large for implantation, but in 1958, the pacemaker was implanted into a human for the first time.

  • Samantha Jane Espley, MASc, P.Eng., FCAE- Innovator of new mining technologies, and helped found Women in Science and Engineering Sudbury
    Samantha Espley, P.Eng., has held several senior technical, operational and management positions over a 24-year engineering career at several of Canada’s largest mining companies. As technical director at Vale Base Metals, Espley oversees operations in Sudbury at Vale’s Sheridan Park Research Facility. Her innovations have included new mining methods and designs, as well as the overarching technology roadmap leveraging digitization, Wi-Fi, ventilation, energy management, and more.  In 2010, she co-authored Gaining Insights on Career Satisfaction for Women in Mining – a paper that explored factors that affect career satisfaction for women in the industry. Espley also helped found Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Sudbury, a not-for-profit which encourages young women to consider science and engineering careers.

  • Improved Hydraulic Air Compressor for deep mining
    On June 21, OSPE visited Dynamic Earth in Sudbury to witness the unveiling of a readapted Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC) demonstrator, which is designed to cool the air and improve ventilation in ultra-deep mines. The 100-foot-tall industrial scale system builds on the technology of a hydraulic air compressor plant designed by Canadian engineer Charles Havelock Taylor in 1910 for the Cobalt mining camp in Ontario.  The new technology similarly uses intake pipes at the top of the shaft to plunge air into contained water with such force that it compresses the air, so that it can be piped to mines to provide pneumatic power. The new technology will, however, also attempt to address limitations of this type of system by, for example, exploring how salts can reduce the amount of oxygen that remains dissolved in the water reserves.



  • Roy Slack, P.Eng., and Cementation Canada’s focus on value-added engineering
    OSPE member Roy Slack, P.Eng., President of Cementation Canada Inc., was recently appointed Incoming President Elect of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. Slack has helped shape the development of northern Ontario. Rather than outsourcing engineering projects, Slack established a collaborative contractual model where in-house engineering professionals work closely with a technical team to support the contracting division. Cementation has been responsible for noteworthy projects such as the longest and largest diameter raise ever bored in the Canadian Shield. Under Slack’s leadership, Cementation was also one of three groups chosen by the Chilean government in 2010 to help rescue the 33 miners trapped underground when a San Jose copper-gold mine caved in. Slack has also influenced technical innovations in mechanizing mine shaft sinking, increasing productivity and decreasing construction cost, while making operations safer.

  • SNOLAB in Lively, Ontario
    SNOLAB is an international science facility located two kilometres underground in the Vale Creighton mine near Sudbury, Ontario. The high standard of cleanliness and great depth at which SNOLAB is located, create an environment of ultra-low radioactivity that allow engineers, chemists, physicists, microbiologists and other science and technology professionals to study rare interactions and weak processes. The programme is currently focussed on sub-atomic physics, neutrino and dark matter physics. The facility was equipped with feature advanced IT systems, state-of-the-art electronics labs, clean-rooms, detector cavities, chemistry labs, ladder labs, cyropits and more. For an inside perspective on SNOLAB, check out our interview with OSPE member Mark Hodak, P.Eng., Executive Project Manager, SNOLAB, and Lead Commissioning Engineer of key elements of SNO+ operational processes.
  • The Detour Lake Mine
    The Detour Lake mine, located in northeastern Ontario, is one of the largest gold-producing mines in Canada. Exploration continues on this large-scale open pit mine, which is estimated to contain a reserve of at least 16.4 million ounces of gold. The mine's facilities use state-of-the-art technology and masterfully engineered processes to minimize the environmental impacts of the operation and protect nearby wildlife. For example, the Detour Lake mining operation's conventional gravity, cyanidation and carbon-in-pulp processing facility recycles its cyanide solution to reduce operating costs and consequences.

  • Bringing the industrial Internet of Things to the mining industry
    Edmonton-based company Scanimetrics is bringing the industrial Internet of Things into the mining space by using wireless sensors that can be fitted to anything (a person, a vehicle, a tool) in the harshest of conditions to monitor operations from thousands of miles away. Sensor pods run off a battery that can last up to a year on one charge and transmit to a repeater, data capture unit or Internet gateway. Scanimetrics then analyzes the data and turns it into digestible visualizations.

  • The Role of Engineers in Policy Advocacy
    Manitoba-based Eric Hinton, P.Eng., is a driver of leading-edge #mining solutions and was the 2016 recipient of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum's Mining Engineering Outstanding Achievement Award. Hinton is the co-owner of three important patents concerning the operation of underground autonomous loading equipment, 3D mapping of rock faces, and analyses of rock fragmentation.

  • Improving underwater object detection and communications 
    After the Titanic sank in 1912, Canadian engineer Reginald A. Fessenden wanted to improve underwater object detection and communications. Before echo sounders, sailors dropped weighted hand-held lines to estimate water depth. Fessenden built an electromagnetic device, called the oscillator, which produced underwater sound waves that bounced off nearby objectsBy measuring the echoes produced by the returning waves, users could estimate the position of the object. After the war, the Submarine Signal Company of Boston incorporated Fessenden’s oscillator technology in the fathometer, opening a new era of navigation, subsurface detection and marine mapping. 

  • The first Canadian-built television set
    Scottish engineer John Logie Baird invented television in the mid 1920s when he proved that live moving images could be transmitted via radio waves. In Canada, the technology debuted on October 9, 1931 and Canadian engineer Joseph-Alphonse Ouimet designed and built one of the first television set prototypes in Canada in 1932Ouimet borrowed Baird’s image rendering method, which used a mechanical scanning device to produce a visual image. He later joined the new Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission as chief engineer in 1934 and eventually became president of its successor, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), in 1958. 

  • Innovation in communications satellites  
    Launched in 1976, the experimental Communications Technology Satellite or Hermes was the first communications satellite to operate in the 14/12 GHz frequency band and it paved the way for the development of future direct broadcast satellites. The satellite's earth-station antenna received TV broadcasts, including live events, relayed by the satellite. The antenna was compact and portable, allowing television stations to report live from wherever events unfolded. A joint project between the Canadian government and telecommunications companies, the Communications Research Centre Canada won an Emmy for outstanding engineering achievement in 1987. 

  • Manufacturing Canada's first electric washing machine with an agitator
    In 1874, George and Matthew founded the company "Beatty Brothers" in Fergus, Ontario, manufacturing everything from farm tools to domestic goods. In the 1920s, Beatty Brothers electric washing machines heralded an era of electrical domestic appliances. The Beatty electric washing machine was Canada’s first electric washing machine with an agitator that that beat clothing and enabled larger load capacity than any washers before it. In 1911, the company built a large factory in Fergus where they developed new products and used modern assembly-line techniques. 

  • The world’s first functional walkie-talkie 
    Donald Hings, an engineer and inventor, equipped the Canadian and British military with an early version of the portable two-way wireless radio (walkie-talkie), saving lives during the Second World War. Developed in 1937, Hings called his invention "the packset" because unlike earlier mobile radios – which were mounted in vehicles and relied on Morse code for transmission – his model was portable and could transmit the human voice over long distances. Hings patented his invention and offered it, royalty free, to the Canadian government for use in the war effort. 

  • Revolutionizing agriculture with the first self-propelled combine 
    In 1937, Thomas Carroll, an Australian-born mechanical engineer working in Toronto, pioneered modern harvesting by inventing the first commercially successful, self-propelled combine. Unlike earlier combines, which were pulled by horses or tractors to harvest grains, the No. 20 combine had its own engine and power train. This invention ushered in a new era in farm mechanization, revolutionized the grain harvesting wheels of a row crop unit and set the standard for future self-propelled combine designs. The No. 20 could go up to four miles an hour, wasted less grain than previous combines, only required one person to operate it, was less destructive to fields reduced what was once a full day's worth of labour to mere minutes.  

  • Brining kitchen appliances into the era of the Internet of Things 
    Former Nortel engineer Robert WangPresident and Founder of Double Insight, is bringing basic kitchen appliances into the era of the Internet of ThingsThe Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker is aelectric pressure cooker that boasts a faster cooking time and much safer operation than traditional pressure cookers. A double layer of insulation conserves energy and ten built in mechanisms or sensors inside the pot ensure that heating reduces as the pressure builds, so that the pressure never exceeds the safety limit. The Instant Pot is connected to Bluetooth, so consumers can control the appliance from outside the home.

  • Low-cost technique for detecting early tooth decay 
    Nima TabatabaeiP.Eng., assistant professor at the Lassonde School of Engineering, has developed a solution for detecting cavities before they require fillings. X-rays must be operated by a trained professional and can only detect cavities once they are in an advanced stage, whereas Tabatabaei's low-cost thermophotonic lock-in imaging (TPLI) tool will allow patients to detect, clean and heal troubled spots before they become cavities. The device uses a long-wavelength infrared camera to detect the small amount of thermal infrared radiation emitted from dental caries after stimulation by a light source. Patients can simply connect the device to their smartphones open an app, scan their teeth and within moments, know the health of their teeth as well as viable treatment options. 

  • Software for detecting texting and driving 
    Fakhri KarrayP.Eng., an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Waterloo and his team have developed computer algorithms that can accurately determine when drivers are texting or engaged in other distracting activities. The system uses cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) to detect hand movements that deviate from normal driving behaviour and grades or classifies them in terms of possible safety threats. As advanced self-driving features are increasingly added to conventional cars, signs of serious driver distraction could be employed to alert the driver or trigger protective measures, thereby improving road safety.

  • Improving the amount of electrical energy that rapid-charging devices can hold   
    Michael Pope, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo and his team have used nanotechnology to significantly improve energy-storage devices known as supercapacitors. Their design roughly doubles the amount of electrical energy the rapid-charging devices can hold, helping pave the way for eventual use in everything from smartphones and laptop computers, to electric vehicles and high-powered lasers. To boost capacity, the Waterloo team developed a method to coat atomically thin layers of a conductor called graphene in supercapacitor electrodes with an oily liquid salt that helps maximize energy-storage. 

  • Mapping the largest volume of space ever surveyed   
    The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), which is a collaboration among 50 Canadian scientists and engineers, have built a powerful radio telescope that will facilitate the creation a three-dimensional map of the universe extending deep into space and time. By measuring the composition of dark energy, the telescope's unique "half-pipe" design–consisting of four 100-metre long U-shaped cylinders of metal mesh–and advanced computing capabilities will allow astronomers to better understand the history of the universe, the nature of distant stars and the detection of gravitational waves. 

  • Canada’s first commercially successful site for the underground storage of natural gas 
    Union Gas pioneered Ontario's use of underground storage for natural gas to ensure a reliable source of affordable energy year-round. In 1938, geologist Dr. Charles S. Evans proposed using depleted natural gas reservoirs in the company’s Dawn gas field for underground storage. In 1941, two engineering firms tested this proposal and agreed it would be feasible to inject natural gas into the porous limestone reef formations near Dawn Township and – more importantly – ensure that no gas would be lost when withdrawing it. In 1942, Dawn officially became the first Canadian site for commercially successful underground storage.  

  • Spill-resistant pellets of heavy oil 
    Ian Gates, P.Eng., a professor with the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary and his team discovered a process to degrade heavy oil or bitumen into an even more viscous substance. The team envelopes this oil in self-sealing pellets with a liquid core and a viscous skin, creating balls of bitumen that could become "a pipeline-free way of getting Alberta oil to markets cheaply, sustainably and with less risk of environmental harm." The technology creates the pellets with the same amount of energy it takes to dilute and liquefy the bitumen for shipping using pipelines. The resilient pellets can be shipped by rail or truck, and a gas bubble injected inside each pellet means they are also buoyant. 

  • A "recommendation engine" for smart purchases 
    University of Toronto engineering graduate Rachel Baker and fashion management student Lakshmy Subramanian teamed up to found a company called Tejo, which uses software designed by the duo to determine a user's skin tone from a photo. Using open-source computer vision and a proprietary algorithm that accounts for ambient lighting conditions, the precise skin tone determination is used to recommend makeup brands and shades appropriate for the consumer's complexion. If a user buys a recommended product, Tejo collects a commission. The team is currently working to patent their software and expand their e-commerce platform.  

  • Improving keyhole surgeries 
    Engineering students Zaid Atto, Seray Cicek and Chevis Dilbert from the University of Toronto have developed an improved trocar–a device used to insert cameras and instruments into the body during laparoscopic or keyhole surgery. Xpan's trocar is able to expand to a larger size, meaning surgeons who require larger instruments mid-surgery no longer have to remove and replace the trocar during the procedure. This innovation the potential to prevent additional risk for patients and to make keyhole surgeries more efficient. 

  • Advancements in food engineering and the cultivation of functional foods
    Valérie Orsat is chair and associate professor in the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University.  Orsat is an internationally-recognized expert in the area of functional foods and nutraceuticals in the field of global food security and safety challenges. Her research explores the development of processing methods for enhanced production, extraction, and encapsulation of bioactive compounds for functional foods. Orsat helps companies in the food industry integrate innovation into their products, from reducing microbial growth to improving colour, through new technology and processes. 

  • Breaking the mould in the Canadian plastics industry 
    WITTMANN Groupa Canadian manufacturer and distributor of machinery and equipment used in the plastics industryhas engineered turnkey solutions that improve the efficiency of the rotational moulding process. WITTMANN Group developed an innovative product called the Rotoload Powder Dispensing System that quickly, safely and cleanly weighs and dispenses powdered PE directly into the moulds of rotational moulding machines to reduce product waste and eliminate the time and labour required to manually weigh and transport the powder. Accurate product weights drastically improve the consistency, thickness, dependability and quality of the resulting product. 

  • Siemens Canada – Dual Education Program
    Siemens Canada’s dual Education Program is an innovative work-integrated learning (WIL) program, designed to help close the skills gap between the knowledge students acquire at school and the know-how required in modern workplaces. Modeled on Siemens AG Dual Education System in Germany, the program supplements the skills and knowledge acquired through academic programs, with a parallel curriculum delivered at corporate-sponsored academies. By placing young recruits in real-world work environments, the program enables students to immediately see the relevance of what they learn at academic institutions. Learning methodologies include classroom learning, e-learning, Siemens systems and product training, mentorship rotations across Siemens business units, as well additional hands-on experience in various areas of applications.

  • Bridgit – a construction punch list solution
    Lauren Lake, a structural engineering graduate from the University of Western, is the co-founder and Chief Risk Officer at Bridgit.  Bridgit is a mobile app and web platform for the construction industry that allows real-time communication between the general contractor and subcontractors to decrease the number and cost of delays on-site. By April 2016, the startup had raised $2.2M in seed financing, which was used to hire additional software engineers and expand sales into the United States. Bridgit won season two of the Business News Network’s show “The Disruptors,” and was the only Canadian company selected for Google Demo Day – Women’s Edition, which the company also won. Lauren is an active mentor for young women in the construction and STEM fields.

  • The Royal Canadian Mint – A high-tech world leader
    The Royal Canadian Mint’s headquarters in Ottawa and manufacturing plant in Winnipeg, together, represent one of the world’s most sophisticated minting operations. Not only are the facilities equipped with advanced coin production technologies, the in-house research and development team continuously innovates to identify new applications for procedures and machines. The Royal Canadian Mint’s team of engineers helped produce the first and largest 9999 fine gold bullion coin, and have patented cost-saving plated coin technology, as well as a locking mechanism for high security bi-metallic coinage. They also have patents pending for coloured coin technology, hologram technology, and silver and gold refining processes. The most recent venture is incorporating fluorescence, so coins glow in the dark.

  • Precursor to the modern trackball
    The precursor to today’s computer mouse trackball was invented by Canadian engineers Tom Cranston and Fred Longstaff, along with British electrical engineer Kenyon Taylor, following World War II. The original trackball was created as part of a radar plotting system and was intended to better coordinate target data displayed on the cathode ray tube (CRT) display they were developing. Their trackball device used a five-pin bowling ball held by a socket with sensors that could detect the movement of the ball using X-Y axis orthogonal outputs. Of course, the trackball has since evolved into a much higher precision and more compact device.

  • Luke Anderson, P.Eng., and the StopGap Foundation
    After sustaining a high-level spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed, Luke Anderson, P.Eng., realized he could apply his background in civil engineering to help conquer inaccessibility in our built environment. In 2011, he and a team of volunteers started supplying Toronto businesses with deployable wooden ramps that would allow all patrons equal access to these establishments. Today, with over 800 StopGap across Canada, StopGap uses specialized computer programming and 3D-modelling software to design and build customized ramps for a wide variety of step configurations. Read more about StopGap in this article from OSPE’s The Voice magazine.
    VIDEO: http://stopgap.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/StopGap_video.mp4 

  • Photonic devices for more convenient cloud computing
    Electrical engineering and engineering science graduate Joyce Poon is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. Her research goal is to “invent photonic devices and circuits that are ultra-compact, low-power, and high-speed,” to make cloud computing more convenient. Most local networks and server farms still rely on copper wire for cloud computing, which can slow communications and generates significant heat. Poon and her team are working to develop more practical and affordable devices for short optical communication links that will enhance the speed of these servers and reduce the energy required to cool them. 

  • The 56K Modem
    In 1990, University of Toronto and Sanford University alumnus Dr. Brent Townshend applied his education in engineering physics and electrical engineering to launch a company in Montreal called Townshend Computer Tools, which manufactured computer audio interfaces. To produce high-quality audio recordings, these signal processors required faster download speeds, so during the mid-1990s, Dr. Townshend patented the fastest modem technology for data transfer over telephone lines. His technology represented a 66 per cent improvement over the performance speed of existing modems.

  • The modern-day zipper
    Swedish-born electrical engineer Gideon Sundbäck invented the modern-day zipper in 1913. Sundbäck's "Hookless No. 1" mounted facing teeth on a piece of tape, hooking them together using a slider. A year later, he improved his design by introducing interlocking teeth. Sundbäck then developed the manufacturing process required to make the zipper in St. Catherines, Ontario, where he also opened one of the first zipper factories.

  • The Storable Tubular Extendible Member (STEM) Antenna George Klein, a mechanical engineering graduate from U of T, developed the retractable Storable Tubular Extendible Member (STEM) radio antenna, which was incorporated into more than 100 innovations, including the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecrafts. The antenna, which could be reeled in and unrolled on command, extended up to 45 metres in length, greatly surpassing its 6-metre-long predecessor. Klein later worked on gear design for the first Canadarm.

  • George Klein and the First Electric Wheelchair
    Born in Hamilton, Ontario, George Klein was a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Toronto who worked for the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) for 40 years. Throughout his career, Klein was a key player on multi-disciplinary teams that were responsible for more than 1,000 innovations, including the first electric wheelchair. Klein's electric wheelchair featured a joystick, tighter turning systems and separate wheel drives, which remain key components of modern electric wheelchairs.

  • Universal Standard Time
    Civil engineer Sir Sandford Fleming invented Universal Standard Time in 1885, introducing 24 global time zones, each 15 degrees of longitude in width and one hour of solar time apart. Given the expansion of the railway and rapid pace at which passengers could travel greater distances, Fleming realized the need for a standardized system of timekeeping. No longer would major centres need to set their own clocks based on local astronomical conditions.

  • The Pacific Cable Station
    In the 1870s, Canadian civil engineer Sir Sandford Fleming proposed the creation of a submarine cable that would facilitate direct communication between Britain and Australia via Britain's colonies, including Canada. The engineering firm Clarke, Ford and Taylor was responsible for carrying out the project, including drawing up the plans and specifications of the cable stations.

    Southport Cable Hut side

  • Advancing the movie-going experience
    The IMAX film format and projection system was co-founded by a team of four Canadians, including Ontario's William Shaw, P.Eng. The IMAX system facilitated the recording and display of images of far greater size and resolution than conventional systems, and only required one powerful projector. IMAX technology was innovative in its use of specialized cameras, wide screens, and 70mm film stock—which is ten times the size of that used in a regular theatre.


 

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