|Alma mater||University of Western Ontario
|Title||City Planner of Toronto|
|Term||September 2012 - present|
Keesmaat graduated from the University of Western Ontario in English and philosophy in 1993. She enrolled in York University in 1997 and then obtained a master's degree in environmental studies (politics and planning) by 1999. For a brief time, she worked as an executive assistant to Councillor Joe Mihevc and former Councillor Jane Pitfield, at the Toronto City Hall, during Mel Lastman's tenure as mayor.
Before becoming the chief planner of Toronto, she had worked on master plans in Toronto, Vancouver, Mississauga, Vaughan, Regina, Saskatoon, Lethbridge, Moncton, London and Halifax. Outside of Canada, she has worked in the United States, Ireland and Greece. Along with Harold Madi and Antonio Gomez-Palacio, Keesmaat is a founder of the planning and design firm Office for Urbanism. She is also a founding partner at DIALOG. She writes articles on planning-related topics, including recent editorials in the Toronto Star on the importance of complete streets and Complete Communities, and in The Globe and Mail on the need to change approaches to land use planning to ensure the liveability and sustainability of Canada's future communities. She has guest lectured at Ryerson University, York University, and the University of Toronto. She has also delivered the TEDx talks Own your City and Walk to School.
She became the chief planner of Toronto in September 2012. She is an advocate of density and walkability and has described mid-rise development, transportation, and waterfront as areas of focus. She has also been a strong proponent of a national urban agenda by calling for an expanded role of the federal government in supporting Canadian cities. Keesmaat took a strong stance on the Gardiner Expressway debate, and "her outspokenness got her into hot water with the mayor’s office."
To discuss her plans, she hosts public roundtables, which are live-tweeted and broadcast on Rogers TV. The Feeling Congested Consultation, one of the first major projects launched by her as chief planner, uses a range of non-traditional online and offline consultation tools to reach the public.
She is married to Tom Freeman, who runs FH Hospitality, a company that sells high-end fixtures and furniture to hotels. Together, Keesmaat and Freeman have two children, Alexandra and Luis.
- Corey Mintz (2013-03-14). "Quizzing Toronto’s top planner Jennifer Keesmaat over dinner". The Star. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- Marcus Gee (2013-03-01). "Toronto's new chief planner is a breath of fresh air in a stuffy bureaucracy". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- Daniel Dale (2012-07-31). "Jennifer Keesmaat, advocate of density and walkability, appointed Toronto’s new chief planner". Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- Elizabeth Church (2012-07-31). "Toronto goes outside city hall in picking chief planner". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- Jennifer Keesmaat (2014-04-27). "By densifying Eglinton, we can fight congestion". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Jennifer Keesmaat (2014-08-16). "In complete communities, pedestrians take precedence". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
- Jennifer Keesmaat (2014-05-12). "Here's how to change Canada from a suburban to an urban nation". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- "Toronto hires new chief planner". CBC. 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- Own Your City: Jennifer Keesmaat at TEDxYorkU
- TEDxRegina -- Jennifer Keesmaat -- Walk to School
- Elizabeth Church (2012-07-31). "New chief planner excited for the challenge". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- Wendy Gillis (2013-01-16). "Growing Up: Toronto planner Jennifer Keesmaat pushes for lots of mid-rise". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
- "Transit, waterfront priorities for Toronto's new chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat". National Post. 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- Jennifer Keesmaat (2014-05-23). "OpEd: City-building as a Canadian export". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
- Brian Anders (2013-03-05). "Chief Planner's roundtable: reimagining how the City builds public spaces". spacing.ca. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- "Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: the people who changed the city in 2014". Toronto Life. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
- "The 50 most important people in Canada". Macleans Magazine. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Troublemaker: why chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat may be exactly what Toronto needs right now". 2015-08-05. Retrieved 2016-08-05.