Canadian Consulting Engineer


October 1, 2011
By Canadian Consulting Engineer



Technical Excellence and Visual Beauty

By Carolyn M. Hansson, Ph.D., P.Eng.


Technical excellence and visual beauty were hallmarks of this year’s entries in the 43rd annual Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards. We were also pleased to read that most of the entries addressed the need for environmental cognizance and energy efficiency in their choice of materials, construction methods, subsequent operations and, in some cases, their re-use of the materials at the structure’s end of life. For several of the building projects, these environmental concerns were the major emphasis, with LEED certification as a goal.

Considering the current state of infrastructure in Canada, however, the panel discussed the advisability of including “sustainable operation and life cycle costs” as additional criteria in future competitions for new structures and the transportation sector. We also discussed the possibility of a new award category for the operation and maintenance of existing structures.

The 12 volunteers on the judging panel, who were tasked with selecting 12 of the 63 entries for awards, had a variety of technical competences and represented a range of sectors, from municipal authorities and professional engineering organizations, to academia and cultural organizations.

The jurors had a wonderful time reading the entries prior to the meeting and then having the chance for a full and lively discussion as a jury. Each of the projects was a culmination of the designers’ amazing creativity and the engineers’ technical ingenuity.

Overall, we were highly impressed with the quality of all the entries (although the communication skills of some of the writers left something to be desired). Consequently, the numerical scores were, in some cases, very close and detailed debate was required to select the final 12 awardees. These are briefly described below.

The Winners



The project “Rehabilitation of the Gaspé Mines” by GENIVAR for Xstrata Copper Canada was selected for the Schreyer Award, the top technical award. The jury was unanimously impressed by the complexity and ethical awareness demonstrated by this private sector initiative: to develop and implement a health and safety program for the workers; demolish the dust-filled mining buildings; decommission the mine tailings; clean the contaminated soil; and dispose of all contaminants on-site. We hope that this project will set a benchmark for future mine decommissioning projects.

The environmental “Tree for Life” award is given to the new Kitchener, Ontario headquarters of Enermodal Engineering, a member of the MMM Group. Named “A Grander View,” the building was constructed as a showpiece for the company’s capability as a “green building” consulting firm. The goal is to be the first Canadian structure to be awarded triple LEED Platinum certification. Certification was achieved, in August this year, in two of the categories: “New Construction” and “Commercial Interiors,” and it is currently being sought for the “Operation and Maintenance of Existing Buildings.”

The building was applauded by the jury for its comprehensive attention to all aspects of energy and water conservation and its re-use of construction materials and furniture while giving high priority to the employees’ working environment, allowing them individual climate control and natural daylight.

Following are comments on each of the award of excellence winners: by DIALOG. This is a beautiful building incorporating modern architecture with traditional details. The jury was particularly pleased by the very detailed construction and the final, elegant appearance of the white concrete interior.

St. Joseph Seminary, Edmonton,

The Queen Elizabeth Theatre Acoustical Renovation in Vancouver,

by Aercoustics Engineering. The jury admired this project for its high degree of complexity, involving insulating the ventilation noise, and balancing the music loudness, reverberation, spaciousness and warmth – all in time to have the theatre ready for the 2010 Olympics.

Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, Coquitlam, B.C.,

by the AME Group and IMEC Mechanical. The need to reduce the energy expenditures of this large facility with year-round ice and curling rinks was solved by an impressive new heat exchange technology developed by IMEC and shared with the new Aquatic Centre and an adjacent library.

Coast Meridian Overpass Design-Build Project, Port Coquitlam, B.C.,

by SNC-Lavalin Constructors (Pacific). The overpass is a 580-m cable-stayed bridge constructed by an ingenious push-launch system over an operating highway and rail yard, joining two sides of the city. The award was based on the social impact and technical complexity of the construction.

Trafalgar Street Elevated Roundabout, London, Ontario,

by Delcan. This project was selected on the basis of its complexity and benefits to the public in increased safety, reduction in traffic delays and improved rail efficiency.

Dufferin Street Underpass, Toronto,

by Delcan. The underpass was designed to eliminate a three-block diversion of road traffic around a multi-track rail corridor. Again, the judges recognized the complexity of the project and the resulting reduction in travel times and greenhouse gas emissions.

Petite-Nation River Bridge, Lochabar, Quebec,

by CIMA+. The judges selected this “life-line” design aimed at ensuring the safety of users and allowing the road to remain accessible during an earthquake. We appreciated the additional complexity that was necessitated by the terrain, requiring the 425-m span to be constructed 35 metres above the river with piers of different height, wall thickness and ground anchoring systems, to ensure uniform rigidity of the structure.

Oxford Pollution Control Plant Upgrade, London, Ontario,

by Stantec Consulting. This project was selected for an award because of its use of new membrane bioreactor technology that allowed the existing wastewater treatment plant, which had inadequate capacity for current and future needs, to be upgraded and extended within the same limited site.

Chateh Water Treatment Plant, Alberta,

by ISL Engineering and Land Services. The judging panel was impressed with this plant designed and constructed to treat some of the worst source water in Canada in an isolated community in Northern Alberta, being cognizant of the need to transport chemicals from far away, of the operational difficulties and of the overall life-cycle costs.

GO Transit Rail Infrastructure Improvement Program, Greater Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario,

by AGM Program Managers (Hatch Mott MacDonald, IBI Group, MMM Group). This was probably the most complex of the projects the jurors saw. The project aimed at a significant increase in the extent, capacity, safety and security of the GO system in the most highly congested region of the country.


Carolyn M. Hansson, Ph.D., P.Eng.

has been employed in industry, consulting and academia. She is currently a Professor in both the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Departments at the University of Waterloo. Professor Hansson has served as Vice-President of Research at the university and has served on the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, the Ministers National Advisory Council on CanMET, and the U.S. National Materials Advisory Board.


Barry J. Adams
, Ph.D., P.Eng.

is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, where he was Chair of the Department of Environmental Engineering (1991-95) and Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering (1994-2003). He has consulted in Canada and abroad, and has published over 200 papers, books, and technical reports.

John Braam, P. Eng.

is the City Engineer for the City of London, Ontario and Chief Administrative Officer for the Lake Huron and Elgin Area Primary Water Supply systems, a position he has held since 2006. He has worked in consulting, private sector industry, public utilities and various municipalities. He is a Past President of the Ontario Water Works Association. 

John Bremner, P.Eng

. has 40 years of experience in engineering and public works. From 1996 to 2004 he was Executive Director and Registrar of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C., and for 18 years before that he was Director of Parks and Engineering and Deputy Municipal Manager for the District of North Vancouver.

Wieslaw Chojnacki, P.Eng.

is Head of Civil and Geotechnical Design for the Transit Expansion Department with the Toronto Transit Commission. His experience includes facilities design, planning and policy and construction supervision. He has worked on projects in England, North Africa and the Middle East.

Maud Cohen, ing.,

was recently re-elected for a third term as President of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ) the professional engineering association of Quebec with over 60,000 members. A graduate in industrial engineering and holder of an MBA, she is also a director with the CGI Group in Montreal.

Claude Faubert

is Director General of the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa. He is responsible for the operations of the museum and is much involved in developing plans for a new museum of science and technology. Previously he was the museum’s director of education and vice president of exhibitions.

Joel Gauthier

is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT), the Quebec government’s agency for public transportation in the Greater Montreal area. He is also on the board of directors at the Canadian Urban Transit Association and is Canada’s representative on the American Public Transportation Association.

Tim Jervis, P. Eng

. is Manager of Engineering and Construction for Metro Vancouver. A civil engineer, he has overall responsibility for the design and construction of large scale water and wastewater facilities, and the operation of the regional solid waste management system. Before joining Metro Vancouver in 1985, he worked for a consulting engineering company.

Pierre Léger, ing, Ph.D

is Professor of Civil Engineering at École Polytechnique de Montréal. Previously he taught structural engineering from 1986 to 1992 at McGill University. His research focuses on the structural behaviour and safety of concrete dams and hydraulic structures. He is the author of more than 175 journal and conference papers.

Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, P.Eng.

is the Commissioner of Transportation Services for the Regional Municipality of York, north of Toronto. She is responsible for the regional roads, York Region and Viva transit operations, and natural heritage and forestry services. She was previously Director of Engineering for the City of Toronto.

Don Williams, P.Eng.

is Senior Manager of Engineering at the Darlington New Nuclear Project (DNNP) with Ontario Power Generation. A graduate in electrical engineering, Don has engineering design authority for the project, ensuring it meets regulations. He is also responsible for engineering, procurement and construction.




The Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards have been given annually since 1968. They are given to recognize outstanding work on projects completed in the previous three years by consulting engineers. The awards are a joint program held by the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada (ACEC)/l’Association des firmes d’ingénieurs-conseils – Canada (AFIC) and Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine.


The Entries

63 entries this year. Last year 73.

Entries per category (last year’s numbers in parentheses)

Technical Categories: Buildings 19 (11); Transportation 14 (11); Water Resources 8 (13); Environmental Remediation 4 (9); Natural Resources, Mining, Industry and Power 5 (9); Special Projects 6 (10).

Non-Technical Categories: Project Management 5 (4); International 1 (3); Community Outreach & In-House Initiatives 1 (3).

Note: awards are given according to merit; not assigned as one per category.

Province of entering firms (last year’s numbers in parentheses):

Maritimes 1 (5); Quebec 9 (16); Ontario 21 (14); Manitoba 2 (2); Saskatchewan 1 (3); Alberta 14 (18); B.C. 15 (15).



The criteria for evaluation include: (i) originality or innovation in the use of new technology or a new application of existing technology; (ii) complexity, (iii) environmental impact, (iv) social and economic benefits; and (v) fulfilling the owner’s or client’s needs. The emphasis of these criteria differs between the technical categories and the three non-technical categories. For more details, visit



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