• Sara Maltese (Year 3 CivE) has received the 2015 Marie Carter Memorial Undergraduate Engineering Scholarship from the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation. (Courtesy: Sara Maltese) Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation honours CivE student for mentorship of young women

    This story originally appeared on Engineering News. Sara Maltese (Year 3 CivE) was in a high school physics class when she heard a presentation that would change her life. “A group called Women in Science and Engineering gave a presentation about opportunities in engineering,” says Maltese. “After hearing about the different programs, projects and career options, I became really excited about choosing engineering as my career path.” Not only did Maltese enroll at U of … Read More

  • The dining hall in the Faculty Club hosting the Sandford Fleming Forum on May 2 | Future Proofing: How Resilience Planning Supports the Future Functionality and Value of Fixed Assets and Infrastructure Resilient cities need to be financially resilient too: Sandford Fleming Forum

    Exploring the financial aspects of resilience, The Centre for Resilience of Critical Infrastructure hosted its twice-annual Sandford Fleming Forum on May 2. Tania Caceres (Senior Real Estate Expert at RiskNexus), Lisa Prime (Director of Environment and Innovation at Waterfront Toronto) and Michael Kosturik (Regional VP for Intact Insurance) weighed in on the risk, reward and responsibility of building resilient infrastructure. Previous Forums concluded that resilient communities have five key components; community focus, community identity, balanced … Read More

  • Aerial view of an arid, craggy landscape surrounding tailing ponds. Mining’s hardest workers are too small to see

    …and we need to know what they’re doing The image that is conjured up when thinking about mining is a vast underground network of tunnels, big open pits, larger than life machinery or grease-covered workers with headlamps on. But the largest workforce out in any mining operation is the microbes that are working 24/7, constantly influencing the environment. “Bacteria are present in every aspect of mining, but we don’t fully understand the impacts they can … Read More

  • 15 U of T Engineering students were honoured with Gordon Cressy Leadership Awards on April 20, 2016 in recognition of their leadership and commitment to improving the world around them. (Photo: Roberta Baker) Meet CIVMINs 2016 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award Winners

    This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering News. Ernesto Diaz Lozano Patiño (Year 4 CivE + PEY) During his time at U of T Engineering, Ernesto has held a wide variety of leadership roles while proving to be a tireless leader. As the U of T Civil Engineering Club academic representative, Ernesto pioneered the use of focus groups to foster effective communication between students and the Faculty. He joined the Engineering Society (EngSoc) … Read More

  • Civil engineering post-doctoral researcher Sabreena Anowar and Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou (CivE) are studying the risks of air pollution on cyclists and their impact on route choice. (Photo: Tyler Irving) Clean air map from U of T Engineering researchers helps cyclists avoid air pollution

    This story originally appeared on U of T News. Cyclists face a difficult dilemma: on one hand, cycling is good for your health and the environment; on the other, cyclists are more exposed to risks such as accidents and air pollution. New research from U of T Engineering is helping cyclists map cleaner routes to minimize this exposure. “In general, the benefits of cycling certainly outweigh the risks,” says Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou (CivE). “If you … Read More

  • Professor Eric Miller (CivE) addressed a crowd University of Toronto alumni and friends on as part of the U of T in Your Neighbourhood lecture series. (Photo: Paul Terefenko) Eric Miller reports from the trenches of Toronto’s transit wars

    This story originally appeared on Engineering News. Professor Eric Miller of the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering addressed a crowd of more than 80 University of Toronto alumni and friends on March 28 as part of the U of T in Your Neighbourhood lecture series. Few topics are more relevant in Torontonians’ neighbourhoods than transit. Plans have been proposed, promoted, approved, denounced, scrapped, revived and altered in recent years, and Miller’s work on transit modelling may … Read More

  • Alumnus David Cheung (CivE 1T1 + PEY) chats with undergraduate students during an Alumni Mentorship Program event. (Photo: Nick Kachibaia) Meet 2 alumni volunteers who make an impact at U of T Engineering

    This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering Alumni. Mentoring a student startup, joining a departmental advisory board or becoming a global ambassador for U of T Engineering are just a few ways alumni are volunteering their time and expertise to Skule™. “Volunteering is my investment in what I view as one of the most important institutions on the planet,” said Paul Malozewski (ElecE 8T3), vice-chair of the University of Toronto College of Electors. … Read More

  • Generations of Engineering Society presidents reconnected at the Engineering Society Heritage and Awards Celebration. L-R: Bill Hollings (EngSci 8T5), Márta Ecsedi (CivE 7T6), Kevin Sui (EngSci 1T1), Teresa Nguyen (CivE 1T5), Ernesto Díaz Lozano Patiño (Year 4 CivE + PEY), David Cheung (CivE 1T1 + PEY), Milan Maljković (Year 4 CompE + PEY), Scott Jolliffe (ChemE 7T3) and Howard Malone (CivE 6T1). (Photo: Keenan Dixon) Skule™ community honoured at EngSoc Heritage and Awards Celebration [PHOTO GALLERY]

    This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering Alumni. On Thursday, March 24, the Skule™ community honoured the successes of U of T Engineering at the 2016 Engineering Society Heritage and Awards Celebration. Past and present Engineering Society (EngSoc)officers, alumni, staff and students mixed and mingled over dinner at the University of Toronto’s Faculty Club, followed by an awards presentation. It was a chance for U of T engineers to share their stories with one … Read More

  • Alumnus Arun Channan’s (CivE 8T0) background in civil engineering influenced him to become a dedicated volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. (Courtesy: Arun Channan) Arun Channan: hands-on with Habitat for Humanity

    This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering News. Many of our alumni volunteer with U of T Engineering. In celebration of National Engineering Month, we turn the spotlight on those that go the extra mile by volunteering in the greater community. From climbing one of the Seven Summits for charity to surgical education and research in Africa, our alumni are passionate about giving back. This story is the fifth of a five-part series.  It’s been … Read More

  • Professor Giovanni Grasselli, left, with FCMG President Duke Anderson in October 2015. (Courtesy: FCMG) Advanced imaging techniques let U of T Engineers see inside rock
    Before drilling underneath a city of skyscrapers, engineers such as Professor Giovanni Grasselli need sophisticated models of how the rock below the surface might react to physical forces. (Credit: Jonathan Moore via Flickr)
    Before drilling underneath a city of skyscrapers, engineers such as Professor Giovanni Grasselli need sophisticated models of how the rock below the surface might react to physical forces. (Credit: Jonathan Moore via Flickr)
    Professor Giovanni Grasselli, left, with FCMG President Duke Anderson in October 2015. (Courtesy: FCMG)
    Professor Giovanni Grasselli, left, with FCMG President Duke Anderson in October 2015. (Courtesy: FCMG)

    This story appeared originally on U of T Engineering News.

    In cities from Toronto to Tokyo, before you undertake a massive infrastructure project such as building a new subway, engineers have to predict how the ground might react to digging a gigantic hole underneath a city of skyscrapers.

    Professor Giovanni Grasselli, of the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering, is a world leader at modelling complex rock formations and predicting how they might respond to physical force. His work could be applied to predicting how drilling a new downtown relief subway line in Canada’s largest city could affect the stability of the rock underneath Torontonians’ feet.

    “Toronto is sitting on shale rock, so any underground construction or tunnelling that is done in the city could benefit from a deeper understanding of this type of ground,” Grasselli said. “Whenever there is a disturbance to the rock mass, the risk of failures, including local instabilities and induced seismic shaking, increases so a greater understanding of how a region’s geology will behave can better inform our policy makers.”

    Grasselli was recently named the inaugural recipient of the newly established Foundation CMG Research Chair in Fundamental Petroleum Rock Physics and Rock Mechanics, a research chair worth $1.35 million over five years.

    His work is of profound interest to industry, as his imaging and modelling techniques help minimize the environmental impact of natural resource extraction processes.

    “With better research, and fewer unknowns, we can avoid unnecessary environmental damage,” said Grasselli. “This Chair allows us to produce a strong body of research and develop technology for smarter unconventional petroleum production, which ultimately has the potential to contribute billions of dollars to the Canadian economy, all the while reducing the environmental impacts.”

    Using innovative experimentation with X-rays, CT and MicroCT imaging, combined with computer simulations, his research group is generating better understand how spatial geometry and heterogeneity of reservoir rock formations will affect the efficiency of hydrocarbon production.

    “We are excited to add Professor Grasselli and the University of Toronto to the FCMG ‘family,’ ” said Duke Anderson, president of Foundation CMG. “Our strategy is to work collaboratively with leading universities around the world, with the petroleum industry and various levels of government in the advancement of reservoir simulation.”

    Foundation CMG is a not-for-profit organization that supports world-leading research and development to encourage innovation and leading-edge study into oil and gas reservoir modelling.

  • CIV 2016 Top Applicant Dinner Highlights of the 2016 Top Applicant Event
  • Undergraduate students Eric Elmoznino, Liam MacKichan and Ernesto Díaz Lozano Patiño were honoured by alumni for their leadership and commitment to the U of T Engineering community and beyond. (Photo: George Hatiras) Classes of the past celebrate outstanding undergrads of today
    Undergraduate students Eric Elmoznino, Liam MacKichan and Ernesto Díaz Lozano Patiño were honoured by alumni for their leadership and commitment to the U of T Engineering community and beyond. (Photo: George Hatiras)

    Undergraduate students Eric Elmoznino, Liam MacKichan and Ernesto Díaz Lozano Patiño were honoured by alumni for their leadership and commitment to the U of T Engineering community and beyond. (Photo: George Hatiras)

    This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering Alumni

    U of T Engineering alumni have recognized three undergraduate students for their contributions beyond the classroom.

    Eric Elmoznino (Year 2 CompE), Liam MacKichan (Year 3 EngSci) and Ernesto Díaz Lozano Patiño (Year 4 CivE) were celebrated on March 9, 2016 at the Skule™ Lunch & Learn annual Student Awards Lunch, hosted by alumni at the Toronto Plaza Hotel.

    Elmoznino received the Class of 5T6 Award of Merit for demonstrated high achievement in co-curricular activities. MacKichan received the Class of 5T3 Engineering Award for demonstrating qualities of character and leadership both within U of T and the community at large. Díaz Lozano received the Class of 3T5 Second Mile Award for his ongoing leadership in co- and extra-curricular activities throughout his undergraduate education.

    “I am tremendously proud of Eric, Liam and Ernesto for demonstrating remarkable leadership and commitment to the U of T Engineering community and beyond, ” said Dean Cristina Amon. “I am also deeply thankful to our dedicated alumni who support and encourage the outstanding student engagement with these awards.”

    Alumni from the classes of 3T5, 5T3 and 5T6 established Class Giving funds for the student awards as a result of reuniting at various Spring Reunions, and are passionate about promoting their efforts to other graduating classes. All three award recipients acknowledged that they, too, hope to give back in the future.

    Skule™ Lunch & Learn is a monthly lecture series and tradition founded by the Class of 3T5 and carried forward by dedicated alumni volunteers.

    View a photo gallery of the luncheon on Flickr and read more about the award recipients below.

    Ernesto Diaz Lozano Patino

    Ernesto Díaz Lozano Patiño – Class of 3T5 Second Mile Award

    Ernesto Díaz Lozano Patiño is a fourth-year civil engineering student, minoring in sustainable energy. He is passionate about building science and clean energy generation. He believes engineers will be instrumental in defining how humanity will sort out some of the greatest challenges that our modern world faces — such as climate change and social inequality — and is passionate about developing leadership skills that will enable him to be a part of the efforts to address these issues. Díaz Lozano also had the honour to serve as president of the Engineering Society for the 2015–2016 academic year. He is passionate about giving back to the community and enjoys working to make Skule™ a better place, one day at a time.

    Liam MacKichan

    Liam MacKichan – Class of 5T3 Engineering Award

    Liam MacKichan is specializing in infrastructure engineering with a special interest in structural engineering. He started a student chapter of theEarthquake Engineering Research Institutethis year, consisting of graduate and undergraduate students dedicated to promoting the advancement and awareness of earthquake engineering. As a part of this chapter, he is co-leading the University of Toronto Seismic Design Team, which has been invited to compete in the annual Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition in San Francisco. MacKichan is also involved with the University of Toronto Concrete Canoe Team as a structural design lead. He hopes to pursue graduate studies in structural engineering and eventually a career as a structural designer. Outside of the University, he is involved with community service at a church in the city helping to serve hot meals to local members of the community.

    Eric Elmoznino

    Eric Elmoznino – Class of 5T6 Award of Merit

    Since first year, Eric Elmoznino has been a leader on the University of Toronto Aerospace Team where he designs the attitude control system for a student-built satellite slated for launch in late 2017. An active participant in his school community as well, he currently holds the position of finance director in his discipline club and helps to organize social and academic events for his peers. Outside of university, Elmoznino spends much of his time developing mobile applications with friends, and currently has multiple products available on the Apple App Store. In May 2016, he will begin a four-month internship at Orbis Investment Management Ltd. in Vancouver developing software solutions that enhance the interactions between the investment management company and its clients. Although graduation is still far away, he hopes to continue finding new ways to explore his passion for technology both inside and outside the classroom.

    — Jamie Hunter

    About Class Giving at U of T Engineering

    Increasingly, classes are celebrating their milestone reunions by campaigning for a class gift. Class Giving campaigns are a powerful way to collectively give back to U of T Engineering in recognition of a milestone anniversary of your graduation and to create a legacy for your class. Without the generous support of alumni, many of our programs, scholarships and upgrades would not be possible. We would like to thank everyone who has participated in a class campaign and who are continuing to support class initiatives throughout the years. To learn more or to start your own class giving initiative, contact Kristin Philpot, Senior Development Officer, Leadership Giving, by email or directly at

  • Congratulations to our CIV & MIN classes of 1T6 and 1T5+PEY on receiving your iron ring CIVMIN Celebrates the class of 1T6 and 1T5+PEY receiving their Iron Rings

    Congratulations to our CIV & MIN classes of 1T6 and 1T5+PEY on receiving your iron ring

    CIVMINs Iron Ring 2016-0064

    CIVMINs Iron Ring 2016-0065

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    CIVMINs Iron Ring 2016-0067

    All CivMins together celebrating their accomplishments


    MinE 1T6

    CIVMINs Iron Ring 2016-0109

    CIVMINs Iron Ring 2016-0114

    CivE Class of 1T2

    CivE Class of 1T3

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    CIVMINs Iron Ring 2016-0042

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    CIVMINs Iron Ring 2016-0046

    CIVMINs Iron Ring 2016-0047

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    CIVMINs Iron Ring 2016-0050

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    CIVMINs Iron Ring 2016-0112

  • Composite-160x160 Six engineering innovations get a boost from NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants

    This story originally posted on Engineering News.

    New funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) will advance U of T Engineering research in sustainable energy, telecommunications and more.

    On March 1, NSERC announced six Strategic Partnership Grants to help U of T engineers address some of the greatest challenges facing Canada and the world. The projects include new technologies to extract valuable minerals from hazardous mine tailings and systems to enable cities to repurpose stormwater more effectively. In total, the program invested more than $3.2 million in U of T Engineering and more than $5.3 million across the entire University.

    The six funded projects are:

    Elodie PasseportElodie Passeport (ChemE, CivE) — Smarter stormwater management

    Heavy rainstorms like those that hit Toronto in July 2013 do more than damage basements — they also wash street-level pollution into local rivers and lakes. Nature deals with this problem through wetlands, which swell or shrink with the rains and which contain microorganisms that break down harmful substances. Bioretention cells are artificial structures designed to mimic this process in urban areas, yet for unknown reasons, some work better than others. Passeport and her team aim to pin down the hydrological, chemical, and physical processes that determine the performance of bioretention cells in order to optimize their design. Better stormwater management could prevent pollution from reaching the environment.

    Barati-headshotMansoor Barati (MSE) — Reclaiming hazardous waste

    The area around Sudbury, Ont. is surrounded by 50- to 100-million tonnes of liquid tailings left over from mining operations. This waste material poses environmental risks if left untreated. Yet it still contains useful elements such as nickel, iron and sulfur which continue to be in demand in manufacturing and other sectors. Barati and his team are developing a process that recovers these elements from the tailings and generates electricity at the same time. The process would provide a permanent solution for the waste as well as economic benefits to the mine and surrounding community.

    Bazylak-headshotAimy Bazylak (MIE) — Hydrogen for clean, on-demand power

    Environmentally friendly fuel cell vehicles run on hydrogen instead of gasoline, producing no emissions other than water and heat. Unfortunately, most hydrogen currently comes from natural gas, but it can also be extracted from water using electricity produced from renewable energy, such as the wind and sun. Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electolyzers are a technology that essentially operate like reverse fuel cells, extracting hydrogen and oxygen from water. Moreover, they can enable us to efficiently deal with the huge peaks and troughs of intermittent electricity generated from variable renewable sources, such as wind, solar and tidal power. This project aims to use the team’s existing expertise in PEM-based fuel cells to advance PEM electrolyzers for clean hydrogen generation.

    Hum-headshotSean Hum (ECE) — Advanced Electromagnetic Surfaces for Next-Generation Communications Systems

    The number of smartphones and connected tablets in the world is well into the billions and growing fast. Yet the wireless communications systems on which these devices depend use radio signals, and there are only so many frequencies to go around. Hum and his team develop advanced electromagnetic surfaces that can be used to redesign antennas, enabling more sophisticated control over radio signals. Used in satellites, these surfaces could dramatically improve communication capacity while reducing the size and weight of antennas. These surfaces can also be used in buildings, where they could improve reception and eliminate “dead zones.” By enabling more data to be transmitted wirelessly using the same bandwidth, the inventions will usher in the next generation of electronic communication.

    Sargent-headshotTed Sargent (ECE) — Better lasers for transmitting digital information

    Every time you upload a document, photo or video to the cloud your file is sent to a large collection of servers known as a datacentre. Within these datacentres, information is transmitted both electronically and optically. However, the devices that translate data between these two modes are inefficient, generating large amounts of waste heat and making datacentres enormous energy hogs. Using nano-sized particles called quantum dots, Sargent and his team are developing entirely new type of laser that is capable of being deposited directly on a silicon chip. The device will turn electrical impulses into light bursts in a much more efficient way, drastically reducing the amount of energy required to transmit data and the cost of cloud computing.

    Sarris-headshotCostas Sarris (ECE) — Redesigning train signalling for improved safety

    Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) is aimed at replacing conventional rail signalling with train control enabled by wireless communication between the train and a network of access points. In a cellular communication system, a network outage may cause a dropped call, but in a CBTC network it directly compromises the safety of train passengers. Therefore, these safety-critical systems must meet high standards of reliability, beyond those of typical communication networks. Sarris and his team, along withThales Canada, are developing a new paradigm for the design of CBTC systems with enhanced robustness and reliability. These systems can effectively serve the increasing need for rail transportation safety and efficiency shared by a growing number of Canadians, especially urban commuters in large metropolitan areas.

  • Hana Zalzal Hana Zalzal: Professional makeup maven

    This story appeared originally on U of T News. This article is part three of a five-part series on #EngineeringtheUnexpected, in celebration of the firstGlobal Day of the Engineer on February 24, 2016 What do Hollywood stars Courtney Cox, Camryn Manheim, Lindsay Lohan and Debra Messing have in common? They have all designed custom lipstick shades for Cargo Cosmetics, a professional makeup line founded by alumna Hana Zalzal (CivE 8T8). Zalzal worked as an engineer, marketer … Read More

  • Jeffrey Siegel The link between air quality and human health

    This story originally published by U of T Engineering News. When it comes to air quality, most people think car exhaust, industrial emissions and smog pose the biggest dangers. But Professor Jeffrey Siegel (CivE) says it’s the environment inside our homes and offices that should concern us most.“We spend about 90 per cent of our time indoors,” says Siegel. “And in a place like Toronto, the air inside is generally dirtier than outside.”Siegel and his … Read More

  • IMG_9941 Highlights of Graduate Research Day 2016
  • CRC-Announcement1-600x400 Seven U of Tengineers awarded Canada Research Chairs

    This is an excerpt of a story that originally appeared on U of T Engineering News. Seven researchers from across U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, including two Civil Engineers, have received significant federal support for their research with new or renewed Canada Research Chairs. The announcement was made today by Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan. The seven engineering chairholders join 27 others from faculties across the University of Toronto. Duncan, a U of T graduate who has taught … Read More

  • Passing of the torch: Former University of Toronto Engineering Society (EngSoc) president Teresa Nguyen and current EngSoc president Ernesto Diaz Lozano Patiño. (Photos: EngSoc) Engineering Society presidents reflect on Skule™ culture

    This story originally appeared on Engineering Alumni& Friends. Since 1885, the University of Toronto Engineering Society (EngSoc) has brought students together and fostered a unique sense of camaraderie that has become a hallmark of U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. On March 24, all past and present EngSoc officers are invited to attend the EngSoc Heritage Event to reconnect with their peers, share stories and meet the latest generation of U of … Read More

  • Recipe for success: coffee, and advice from Joseph Orozco, entrepreneur and executive director of The Entrepreneurship Hatchery (right). Twenty-three student teams worked to turn ideas into viable business plans at Hatchery Accelerator Weekend, Jan. 22 and 23 at the University of Toronto. (credit: Cherry Fan). Parking app takes home top prize at Hatchery Accelerator competition

    This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering News. There is only one rule at Hatchery Accelerator weekend: there are no rules. Fuelled by coffee, snacks and sage advice, on January 22 and 23, students worked furiously to transform their wildest entrepreneurial ideas into viable business models in just 28 hours. The competition, hosted by The Entrepreneurship Hatchery, was kicked off by a special panel presentation from Silicon Valley seed accelerator Y Combinator, the incubator that has … Read More

  • Running veteran Sasha Gollish is pursuing a PhD aimed at advancing engineering education with lessons from the track. (Photo: Leigh Tynan) Sasha Gollish teaches alumni a lesson in persevering on and off the track

    This story originally appeared on Engineering Alumni & Friends. Middle-distance runner Sasha Gollish (CivE MEng 1T0, EngEd PhD Candidate) made Canada proud last summer when she captured a bronze medal at the Pan Am Games. “It was magical,” Gollish said to a roomful of alumni at a Skule™ Lunch & Learn event on Jan. 13. “But the magic almost didn’t happen.” Roughly 120 metres into her 1,500-metre race, her shoe nearly fell off, a situation … Read More

  • Randy Sinukoff, a Senior Associate at Stantec Consulting Ltd., teaching his graduate level course, CHE1431H Environmental Auditing. (Photo by Tyler Irving) Three industry professionals leading U of T Engineering courses

          This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering News Friends. For Randy Sinukoff, the best part of being a course instructor is watching new understanding take root. “I love it when the light goes on in someone’s head,” he says. “I love it when they discover something they never thought of before, or realize something that they can apply to their own life and work.” Sinukoff (ChemE 8T2, MASc 8T4) is a … Read More

  • Dr. Lesley Warren is the latest professor to join the Faculty as the Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Chair in Mineral Engineering within the Department of Civil Engineering. Q & A with U of T Engineering’s newest professor: Lesley Warren

    This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering News. Professor Lesley Warren joined the Department of Civil Engineering and the Lassonde Institute of Mining on Jan. 1, 2016 as the Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Chair in Mineral Engineering. Warren is an aqueous and microbial geochemist, who has pioneered the development of integrated approaches to address key questions linked to the roles microorganisms play in geochemical cycling, with a significant focus on water quality management in mining contexts. … Read More

  • Introducing Prof. Lesley Warren

    In January 2016, Prof. Lesley Warren will join the Department of Civil Engineering as the new Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Chair in Mineral Engineering. “As an applied scientist who combines geochemistry with molecular and experimental microbiology to identify the processes that affect water quality and waste/reclamation context stability for the minerals and energy sectors, this position seems like the perfect fit for me,” said Warren. Prof. Warren, currently a professor at the School of Geography & Earth Sciences at McMaster University, specializes in sustainable mining … Read More

  • Photo in front of graffiti wall with convocation dome in the background The next issue of the Civilian is headed to your mailbox

    Watch your mailbox for the December 2015 issue of the Civilian. Also available in digital: Read the magazine online. If you don’t receive the magazine and would like to, please send an email with your name, graduation year, and mailing address to

  • Sasha Gollish with Governor General David Johnston. Gollish was named one of the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians earlier this week. (Photo: Sgt Ronald Duchesne, Rideau Hall, OSGG) Sasha Gollish honoured as one of the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians

    This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering News. Sasha Gollish (CivE MEng 1T0, EngEd PhD Candidate) has been named one of the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians by Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). The award was presented by Governor General David Johnston at Rideau Hall on Monday. The Academic All-Canadian list recognizes student-athletes who maintain an academic average of 80 per cent or higher while competing for one or more of their university’s varsity teams. Each … Read More

  • Eric Miller in front of ttc Can this engineering expert solve Toronto’s transit woes?

    This story originally appeared on U of T News. For years, the University of Toronto has been an “under-utilized resource” for the City of Toronto, Professor Eric Miller (CivE) says — but he is at the forefront of changing that. A civil engineering professor and the director of U of T’s Transportation Research Institute, Miller has had a close working relationship with the City of Toronto for many years. But with both President Meric Gertler and Mayor John Tory stressing closer ties, that … Read More

  • Map of the 2015 disaster at Mina, Saudi Arabia Tradition, Transit & Tragedy | Managing the crowd during the hajj pilgrimage can mean life or death

    Beyond the streets of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, lie the Islamic holy sites of Mina, Jamarat, Arafat and Muzdalifa. These sites are the destinations on an annual pilgrimage, called the Hajj, which all able Muslims are called to complete once in their life.

    The sites and surrounding areas remain unused for much of the year, but during the Hajj, as many as two million people visit during the five-day pilgrimage period.

    Tragedy struck on September 24, 2015, when a crowd collapse caused the death of between 700 and 2,000 pilgrims, according to varying reports. The crush happened at an intersection where two streets merged into one. The confluence of people from both streets increased crowd density to five or six people per square metre. People were suffocated and trampled as the crowd swelled in size.

    “Densities of two people per square metre allow people freedom to change direction and speed, but at densities of four or more people per square metre, you lose that freedom,” said Prof. Amer Shalaby, a crowd management expert. “You become a water droplet in a flow of water; you can’t choose your path, stop or change direction—you must keep moving with the crowd.”

    For the people who found themselves at that intersection, they could not escape and were forced onward by the crowd behind them. By that time. there was nothing that could be done to prevent this tragedy.

    Although Saudi officials use various measures to manage the flow of people, including video cameras, on-site crowd control staff, timed schedules and alert systems, they were not sufficient to prevent this tragedy.

    In order to avert a similar calamity at future Hajjes, officials are exploring technological innovations and smartphone apps for more individualized alert systems.

    “Apps that alert visitors to potential problems in their own language could provide visual, actionable cues,” said Shalaby. “For example, when a particular area is busy, the app could use a colour scale to indicate crowd density at a given time, similar to the way mapping apps provide live traffic data.”

    While effective and timely communication with visitors can help to prevent future tragedies, it is not a failsafe solution. Changes to transportation and infrastructure, developed over the past few decades in response to past crowding tragedies, need to continue to accommodate the influx of pilgrims.

    The tent city surrounding the Hajj sites, for example, is now built with fire-resistant tenting material, a change implemented due to fire outbreaks in pilgrim tents.

    The renovations to Jamarat and its three pillars are the most recent improvements to a Hajj site. They were built in response to annual crushes and stampedes at the site. Pilgrims now throw stones at three oblong walls (formerly pillars) to complete one of the Hajj rituals, a symbolic act for stoning the devil. Visitors access these walls from five different levels; access points to the walls vary depending on which direction the visitors are coming from, alleviating congestion and bottle-necking. Since the completion of the Jamarat Bridge as it is called in 2006, there have been no major incidents at the site.

    Not all improvements are permanent fixtures; organizers have been improving mass transportation by using more than 15,000 buses to help manage the flow of visitors. These buses can also contribute to congestion in and around the Hajj sites, and the streets and routes connecting the sites—some as long as 20 kilometres—have not yet undergone improvements in engineering. This year’s crush happened on these roads.

    The issue of congestion and crowd density will only continue; after 2015, officials will no longer enforce annual quotas on the number of pilgrims allowed at the sites during the Hajj. An estimated five million pilgrims will descend on Mecca for the 2016 Hajj and that number is expected to increase to 30 million annually over the next five years.

    The crush on September 24 was not the only fatal incident in Mecca that garnered international attention this year. On September 11, as the city was preparing for the Hajj, a crane collapsed in the Haram Al-Masjid (the Grand Mosque), killing more than 100 people.

    The Grand Mosque is the greater focus of Shalaby’s recent work in the region.

    Unlike the Hajj sites, the Grand Mosque experiences steady use throughout the year, with peak periods during the Hajj and Ramadan. The Grand Mosque is now undergoing an extensive expansion to increase its capacity from 500,000 to 1.6 million visitors.

    The quotas in place for the number of Hajj pilgrims are based on the expansion and its capacity for each year of its construction. The quotas will be lifted when construction is complete.

    Shalaby’s work looks at crowd flows in and out of the mosque, as well as public transportation to and from the centre of Mecca.

  • Marianne Hatzopoulou1 Introducing Prof. Marianne Hatzopoulou

    Prof. Hatzopoulou joined the Department’s transportation research section this fall. Hatzopoulou investigates how emissions are generated by on-road vehicles, how they disperse in urban environments and who is exposed. She tries to understand how traffic patterns, road design and the characteristics of built environments can be modified to improve air quality in urban areas. “U of T is a vibrant, diverse and inspiring place to do research,” said Prof. Hatzopoulou. “I can collaborate with a wide range of researchers in transportation, environment and health. The City of Toronto … Read More

  • Civilian Dec2015 FINAL web_reduced size_Page_10 Rebuilding Engineering at U of T

    How the Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship is changing conceptions of academic buildings

    The Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering (FASE) continues to advance its mission to: encourage students and faculty to spearhead research, enhance teaching and learning methods, and create a diverse, thriving community. The physical spaces that FASE occupies, however, have remained relatively static since 2002, when the Faculty opened the Bahen Centre for Information Technology on St. George Street.

    In need of a space that reflects the changing needs of its research and education, the Faculty will unveil the Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CEIE)—a building designed to foster collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship—in the autumn of 2017.

    Mechanical and Industrial Engineering’s Prof. Ron Venter, chair of the CEIE Project Planning Committee, gives us a glimpse into the CEIE’s genesis. 


    The ideal spot for the new building had to balance cost and convenience with approval from both the University and the City of Toronto. Initial considerations for the location included the Engineering Annex, but as a developed site with a network of underground pipes and utilities, construction would have been too expensive. Site 17, located behind the Mechanical Engineering Building, posed construction access challenges.

    The final choice: Site 10, a surface-level parking lot located just north of the Galbraith Building and west of Simcoe Hall on St. George Street. The location was chosen for ease of construction and its proximity to public transit. 


    The building will combine technology, community, and efficiency for the benefit of the Faculty and the University of Toronto.

    The CEIE will not be a conventional academic building; it will catalyze innovation in engineering, and encourage people to rethink how they learn, work, teach and communicate. The building’s open concept was designed to encourage cross-disciplinary community and research, one of the Faculty’s goals. Programs and institutes will not be isolated from each other. Faculty, staff and students will inhabit the same areas to enhance research and interdisciplinary networking.

    After assessing the space requirements of the Faculty and auditing the use of its existing space, the CEIE Project Planning Committee determined the optimal allocation of teaching, research, and administrative space for the new building. 

    By balancing these needs with resources and funds, the CEIE will maximize space in several ways: 

    1. The CEIE will have a series of dry labs but no wet labs; this reduces the construction costs by about $50 million, since a wet lab building requires additional exhaust and drainage systems.
    2. Other faculties, schools, and departments across the University will be able to use the building’s classroom space; this will allow U of T’s Academic and Campus Events – who manage space on campus- to reconfigure other University spaces for different uses, creating room for new labs and offices.
    3. It will be a place that cultivates excitement about the new approach to space design and use.


    The design conforms to the St. George Campus master plan to balance classroom, meeting, research, office and communal space needs. 

    The floorplan allocates the lower four floors for teaching and student space and the upper floors for innovation activities, including The Entrepreneurship Hatchery. The building’s basement (free space not included in master plan considerations) has a larger footprint than the floors above, maximizing space for utilities without infringing on student clubs and common areas, which will also occupy the basement.

    The CEIE meets the Toronto Green Standard, a two-tier set of performance measures for sustainable site and building design. The goal is to reach Tier 2, a voluntary, higher level of energy efficiency. To meet this standard, the architects chose to forego glass facades, because they are not energy efficient, in favour of intelligent design. The façade panels will have angled siding to allow ample natural light to enter the building and deflect direct sunlight, ensuring more consistent energy needs.

    However, this means that the CEIE will not blend in as well aesthetically with the surrounding Bahen Centre, Galbraith Building, Simcoe Hall and Physical Geography Building, but it does demonstrate the Faculty’s commitment to sustainability. Despite the design elements of its exterior, the cube-shaped, eight-storey building will fit harmoniously into the University’s skyline; it will not dwarf surrounding buildings or obscure views across the campus.


    After two years of planning and gaining approvals from the University and the City of Toronto, construction of the CEIE began on June 24, 2015 with a groundbreaking ceremony. By late August, steady progress was being made and the CEIExSKAM mural (named after the street artist who created it) was unveiled.

    Erection of the building will begin in 2016, and although clearing and foundational work has been smooth, there have been challenges. Pile drivers had to work around a protected tree on Galbraith Road and builders needed to relocate a high-voltage powerline that hindered construction on the site. A series of soil analyses indicated a higher than permitted level of manganese in the groundwater, so the contractors have been working with a manganese-processing facility to decrease levels during construction. The long-term solution will see manganese processing capacity installed inside the building. 

    A protected pedestrian walkway was installed on the south side of Galbraith Road, a busy pedestrian thoroughfare. The University continues to explore ways to increase safety during construction.


    The CEIE’s state-of-the-art features will nurture innovation. The Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) classrooms facilitate hands-on learning and the interactive, 500-seat auditorium is fitted with tables on tiers to promote discussions and group activities. The building lobby will accommodate a diverse range of functions, from product launches to exam prep sessions. 

    Nearly all of the space in the CEIE is designed to be shared. The open-concept design allows for greater interaction between students, staff and faculty, as well as between the departments, institutes and centres housed within the CEIE’s walls.

    The upper floors will also feature raised floors, modular furniture and flexible space that can be changed to fit the needs of the users of the space as time goes on. This kind of flexibility will allow the physical space to match the evolution, growth and changing nature of research priorities.

  • 6T5 reunion Skule Days, 1961-1965

    The Class of 6T5 produced a souvenir album on the occasion of their 50th reunion.

    Construction on the Berlin Wall began in 1961 as the CivE Class of 6T5 prepared for its first day at the University of Toronto. 

    During their four years of study, these students witnessed the height of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy and three Stanley Cup wins by the Toronto Maple Leafs! 

    These experiences bonded the Class of 6T5 and helped to create lifelong friendships. 

    The Class of 6T5 highlighted these special connections in souvenir album, which was distributed to all classmates in celebration of the 6T5 50-year reunion. 

    Sue Joel (CivE 6T5) with Nick (CivE 6T5) and Marg Walker wrote, edited and compiled the album. 

    Sections in the album include:

    • Skule Days, 1961-1965: includes photos, memories and overviews of what happened in their four years of study, including Survey Camp
    • Recaps and reminiscences of past reunions
    • Highlights of the 50th reunion
    • Dedicated individual pages where each class member contributed personal memories, photos and updates about family and career. 

    The nearly 75-page album is clearly a labour of love. Thank you to the Class of 6T5 for sharing your cherished memories with the Department.

    The Cold War, a period of enmity, distrust and sabrerattling between the Soviet Union and the West, was at its height.

    The Berlin Wall was just three weeks old when we began our first year of Civil Engineering.”

  • Civilian Dec2015 FINAL web_reduced size_Page_08 Spirit of service alive in alumni volunteers

    As a Civil Engineering student in the late ‘70s, Arun Channan’s involvement ran the gamut from the Brute Force Committee and the Engineering Society, to the Concrete Canoe Competition, Cannon Guard, and Civil Club. One of his fondest memories is affixing giant Mickey Mouse ears to the SAC dome at three o’clock in the morning as a prank. Now, as an alumnus, Channan (CivE 8T0) has volunteered his time to the Department of Civil Engineering … Read More

  • Aerial view of Front Campus looking North. Changes on campus

    Small and large changes at iconic places on the St. George Campus

    This past summer, a pedestrian-only zone was put in place to increase the accessibility and safety around Convocation Hall.

    Inspired by the circular form of front campus, the playful circles that dot the pavement in signature U of T blue and white, make a fun and functional addition to the campus. Students can use the space to chat with friends after class and check their phones out of the path of motor vehicles.

    The zebra striped-crosswalks create clear paths for students, faculty and visitors, and defines a clear intersection for drivers.

    An expansion and facelift at One Spadina Crescent clears the way for the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, which moves in next year.

    The historic southfacing stone facade received a cleaning and restoration. The addition to the north side will reflect a more modern design.

    The revitalization of the property will greatly expand the teaching and faculty space, and breathe renewed life into the western edge of the St. George campus.


    The University recently annouced a high-profile design competition to revitalize King’s College Circle.

    Four design concepts were showcased to the public at an event on September 28. Ideas included an elevated walkway, vehicle-free circle, skating rink and multi-use plaza.

    Eight principles will guide future development:

    1. improve the pedestrian experience;
    2. enhance green space;
    3. create public spaces that animate the campus;
    4. support events;
    5. remove surface parking from front campus circles;
    6. limit traffic on front campus circles;
    7. wayfinding; and
    8. allow for discreet servicing and access to all infrastructure.
  • 2015-04-15 - PB4K Panoramic Shear brilliance

    U of T Completes Groundbreaking Experiment on Shear Resistance Supervised by Professors Evan Bentz and Michael Collins, master’s student Phil Quach (CivE 1T2, MASc 1T5) headed new groundbreaking experiment in the Structures Lab to discover the effect of extreme member depth on shear resistance. A shear failure is a critical issue that all engineers want to prevent. It is one of the ways a structure can collapse catastrophically with little to no warning, such as  … Read More

  • particle pollution Particle Man

    Prof. Jeff Siegel studies particle pollution in landmark indoor air quality study

    Prof. Jeffrey Siegel likens engineers to “people who practice medicine without licenses,” and his research on particle pollution highlights the intersection between civil engineering and health. Prof. Siegel, a cross-appointed faculty member at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, has been studying particle pollution since the late 1990s. He is currently part of a research study by the University of Toronto, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund and Health Canada examining indoor air quality and energy use in seven Toronto Community Housing (TCH) buildings, which will undergo retrofitting by 2018.

    “Indoor air quality is remarkably understudied,” said Siegel. “Particle pollution is our biggest environmental hazard. We know categorically that when particles in the air increase, people get sick and die. There is no safe threshold.”

    Particle pollution, or particulate matter, is an airborne mixture of miniscule solid particles and liquid droplets that are less than 10 micrometers in diameter. It is composed of various materials, including organic chemicals, acids, and metals created by different mechanical and chemical processes. Particle pollution causes a host of health effects, such as cardiovascular and respiratory problems, cancer and even genetic defects in unborn children.

    The study looks at indoor air quality and energy use together with the aim of optimizing both. Prof. Siegel’s group monitors the air quality in the TCH buildings pre- and post-retrofits, which are slated for completion in 2018. The team focuses on filter forensics. They have installed air filters in a selection of apartments and willcomplete dust analyses of the filters for size distribution of the particles and their chemical constituents.

    “We are looking at the filters in a qualitatively formalized way,” said Siegel. “They’ll tell a story that can lead to greater public knowledge about the localized effects of particle pollution and how retrofits can mitigate these effects.”

  • particle pollution Eight Ways to Limit Your Exposure to Particle Pollution

    It’s all about limiting the effects of combustion and creating ventilation! Avoid burning candles indoors. You may love the smell of your scented candles, but combustion creates particles that compromise your health. Always cook in well-ventilated areas. Buy an overhead vent fan for your oven and keep it on while you’re preparing meals. When walking on the sidewalk, keep close to the building side rather than the roadside to lessen the effects of particles from vehicle exhaust fumes. Limit the amount of cleaning products you use in your home. Even … Read More

  • CivE alumni honoured by industry organizations

    Norbert Morgenstern (CivE 5T6)

    Canadian Academy of Engineering
    Honorary Fellow

    Morgenstern has led a distinguished career in Geotechnical engineering. A distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, he is a member of the Order of Canada and won the Killam Prize in Engineering in 2001. He also received the EAA Engineering Alumni Medal in 1995.

    Michael Butt (CivE 6T3)

    Ontario Professional Engineers Awards
    Management Medal

    Butt has committed over 50 years to the construction engineering industry. He founded Buttcon Limited in 1979. He is a fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and the Canadian Design Build Institute. Butt was inducted into the Engineering Hall of Distinction in 2011.

  • Donna Vakalis competing in the modern pentathlon. Civil Engineering Student Competes in the Modern Pentathlon at PanAm 2015

    A fourth-place finish qualifies her for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro Donna Vakalis, a PhD candidate studying the impact of indoor building environments on public health and productivity, competed in the modern pentathlon for Team Canada. The sport includes competition in fencing, swimming, show jumping, and running and shooting. Vakalis won the running and shooting combined event to place fourth overall; qualifying her for the Olympic Games. “We look forward to cheering on Donna at the 2016 Rio … Read More

  • Gemini_HOUSE BB_SD Turning an 1870’s solid masonry house into a low-energy home

    Using a Nested Thermal Envelope DesignTM

    This project involves the renovation of a historic solid masonry home on the University of Toronto campus using an innovative, low-energy approach known as GEMINI Nested Thermal Envelope Design (GEMINI NTED)™. The intent of this project is to educate and to inspire by demonstrating that this design approach is an effective method of achieving superior energy performance in buildings through the use of an additional thermal envelope surrounding core-designated spaces.

    Traditional approaches to low-energy buildings usually involve the construction of thick, heavily-insulated walls. While this approach can be effective for new construction, it is more difficult to apply to existing buildings. GEMINI NTED™ involves designing and constructing not one, but two thermal envelopes. A ‘Core’ space is enclosed by one thermal envelope and a surrounding ‘Perimeter’ space is enclosed by another. In heating climates, the perimeter space can be used as an efficient heat recovery zone.

    Operational energy savings are attained by reducing the building’s heating loads and recovering passive solar heat gains. In the winter, the Perimeter space will have a lower set point temperature. For example, during the cold winters, the minimum set point temperature for the Perimeter will be 5°C, while the interior Core temperature will be maintained at 20°C. Similarly, during hot climate summers, the building Core can be maintained at 24°C, while the Perimeter temperature could be allowed to rise to 30-35°C. Additional energy savings can be attained by using a heat pump system to gather passive solar gains from the Perimeter. With this operational flexibility, building owners can choose to use and condition different spaces only when required, thereby operating the Perimeter space in the energy-savings mode at other times.

    In the winter, as heat is lost from the Core to the Perimeter, it can be pumped back into the Core. When operating the heat pump, the small heat losses from the Core can be returned at a low cost to the environment.


  • Silver Lake Memories of Gull Lake

    Why learning to survey is an unforgettable experience for University of Toronto engineers.

  • Eight U of T engineers inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering

    Eight members of the U of T Engineering community have been inducted as fellows of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE).

  • Grads to Watch: 16 global engineering leaders

    We’re delighted to celebrate 16 exceptional “Grads to Watch” — just a few of the talented and accomplished U of T engineers who will receive their degrees at Spring Convocation on June 15. Selected by their home departments, each of these remarkable future Skule alumni contributed to enhancing U of T Engineering’s vibrant community. Read the full article at U of T Engineering News.

  • U of T engineers awarded $16.9 million for research excellence and infrastructure

    This week, U of T Engineering received $16.9 million from the Government of Ontario to advance 13 innovative research projects. Awarded through the Ontario Research Fund (ORF), three of the most significant grants build on the Faculty’s established research excellence in sustainable combustion for aircraft, city building and solar energy. Read the full article at U of T Engineering News.

  • Engineering students race concrete canoes across Toronto’s waterfront

    On May 10, more than 250 engineering students from 12 universities across Canada converged in Toronto to make the unfloatable float. They raced canoes made of concrete — boats they designed and built themselves — for the 2015 Canadian National Concrete Canoe Competition(CNCCC). Hosted by U of T Engineering, the competition involved students from a diverse range of engineering disciplines, including civil, mechanical, industrial and materials science. These teams spent the last year constructing their own canoes, with the … Read More

  • This home has 19th-Century bones and 21st-Century guts

    Strange bedfellows, the architect and the engineer. Yet, in our increasingly ecoconscious world, coaxing them to get under the covers has never been more important.

  • Victorian home on UofT campus gets a radical, engineering-heavy makeover

    The not-so-simple scheme: A box within a box.

  • Gemini Project Update: Fan Depressurization Test #3

    Following the foaming of the basement, a third interim fan depressurization test was performed prior to proceeding with the drywall installation in the basement.

  • Gemini Project Update: Fan Depressurization Test #2

    Once the doors, windows, and drywall were installed, a second interim fan depressurization test was conducted.

  • Gemini Project Update: Air Sealing the Windows and Doors

    Over the past month, the windows and doors have been installed at the Gemini House thereby completing the Perimeter and Core envelopes.

  • Gemini Project Update: Core and Perimeter Ceilings and Light Tubes

    Similar to the construction of the Core and the Perimeter walls, the Gemini House incorporates a Core and Perimeter ceiling, one covering Perimeter rooms and one covering the Core areas.

  • Gemini Project Update: Radiant Floor Installation

    The Gemini House incorporates a radiant floor design as its primary space heating system.

  • Gemini Project Update: Fan Depressurization Test #1

    The first fan depressurization test was conducted as an air leakage diagnostics test to evaluate the quality of the spray foam installation in the exterior walls.

  • Gemini Project Update: Application of Spray-foam Insulation

    Construction continues in June with the application of a closed-cell polyurethane spray foam insulation in the Core and Perimeter walls.

  • Gemini Project Update: Venting Historic Brick

    Although the main focus of this project is to turn a historic home into a low-energy one, another important aspect is to reduce the likelihood of damage occurring within the exterior brick walls.

  • Gemini Project Update: Basement Floor Slab

    The construction of the envelope begins with the basement floor slab. To reduce construction costs the design team chose to keep the existing slab, with the exception of the southwest corner that will house the majority of the mechanical systems.

  • Gemini Project Update: Core and Perimeter Space Design

    This post will briefly cover one of the most important aspects of the Gemini design, the space configurations.

  • Gemini Project Update: Demolition

    The majority of the interior demolition has been recently finished. In order to retain the character of the house later on, historical features such as mouldings and plaster work have been saved.