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Northcrest Developments Appoints Mitchell Marcus to Lead Downsview's Artistic and Cultural Future

News Wire

Published February 24, 2022

Mitchell Marcus headshot

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Luminato and Musical Stage Company veteran to profile area's diversity and heritage

TORONTO, Feb. 24, 2022 /CNW/ - Northcrest Developments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), one of Canada's largest pension investment managers, today announced that Mitchell Marcus—a member of Canada's Top 40 Under 40 and one of Toronto's best recognized arts leaders—will lead the artistic and cultural activation of the reimagined Downsview Airport Lands.

The centrepiece of that effort will be the transformation of the existing 2.1-kilometre airport runway into a pedestrian boulevard alive with retail, recreation and cultural attractions year-round. Mr. Marcus will also help develop ways to creatively activate the runway and surrounding lands not slated for immediate development, before build-up and final construction decades from now.

"I am absolutely ecstatic to join the Northcrest team for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the Downsview site and the city at large," said Mr. Marcus, who will take up his new responsibilities as Northcrest Development's Executive Director, Site Activation & Programming, effective March 28, 2022. 

"The possibilities are endless for how we can create a new type of home for the local community, a regional destination and a new standard for global placemaking. I am honoured to take on this role and to help generations to come make joyful memories together at Downsview."

An unprecedented opportunity

As Luminato's former Associate Producer and the founding Artistic Director and CEO of The Musical Stage Company, Mr. Marcus is recognized as one of Toronto's most accomplished and innovative artistic leaders. His responsibilities will include creating new programming, partnerships, community events, and commercial initiatives. He will draw on Downsview's local artistic and cultural heritage, while building on the momentum generated by the widely-praised and expanding Downsview XOXO initiative.

"The departure of Bombardier Aerospace from Downsview creates an unprecedented opportunity to transform this site into one of Toronto's signature destinations, complete with a sweeping mix of artistic, cultural and commercial activations—and Mitchell is precisely the leader to guide that change," said Christopher Eby, Executive Vice-President of Northcrest Developments.

"We recognize the vital importance of arts and culture in creating vibrant neighbourhoods and signature places. We're fortunate to have a deep pool of talent and unique cultural voices in Downsview. Mitchell will help us draw upon and profile that rich diversity."

Collaborating with Indigenous and local creators

Northcrest is committed to the local community, having recently teamed up with the Rhema Foundation to hand out supplies to families in need, and co-sponsoring the XOXO Downsview art exhibition, as part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021-2022, alongside Canada Lands Company.

A particular priority for the Downsview site will be ongoing efforts to bring Indigenous artists, designers and local creators together to tell Downsview's story. Harnessing the history and creativity of the Downsview community and Toronto-at-large will be among Mr. Marcus' most important objectives.

"I am particularly excited for the opportunity to collaborate with Indigenous rights-holders, local artists, programmers and placemakers at every turn, working together with the most creative minds in the surrounding areas to collectively imagine this site," added Mr. Marcus. "The scale of this site and its rich, diverse history, offers the conditions to create something extraordinary—a place for innovative arts and cultural offerings, interactive playgrounds, unique recreation, and first-class dining."

PSP Investments became the new owners of 370 acres of the Downsview Airport Lands in 2018, and created Northcrest Developments to plan, oversee and guide the redevelopment of these lands. Northcrest Developments is collaborating with neighbouring landowner Canada Lands Company, whose combined holdings total 520 acres. Following months of public engagement, the organizations jointly submitted a proposal to the City of Toronto in late 2021 to leverage Downsview Park, and the abundance of local transit infrastructure, to create a connected series of thriving new neighbourhoods with a mix of jobs, housing, amenities and cultural programming.

About Northcrest Developments
Northcrest Developments is leading the master planning and redevelopment of 370 acres of the Downsview Airport Lands. The project is one of the largest mixed-use developments in North America and will be carried out over the course of 30 years. Northcrest is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board ("PSP Investments"), one of Canada's largest pension fund managers. PSP Investments bought the 370-acre site from Bombardier Aerospace in 2018.

About Mitchell Marcus
A recipient of Canada's Top 40 Under 40, Mr. Marcus is a cultural entrepreneur and creative city builder based in Toronto.

Mr. Marcus was the Founding Artistic Director and CEO of The Musical Stage Company, Canada's leading not-for-profit musical theatre company. Over 18 years, he grew the company from a start-up into an internationally respected arts institution and one of the largest independent not-for-profit theatre companies in the history of Canadian theatre. Under his leadership, the company transformed the Canadian musical theatre landscape, attracted over 30,000 patrons per year, established national and international partnerships, and received 105 Dora Award nominations, 23 Dora Awards and 19 Toronto Theatre Critics' Awards.

Mr. Marcus was also the Associate Producer for the inaugural six years of Luminato Festival Toronto, producing over 100 productions and events for one of the preeminent international arts festivals in North America. He has been the Creative Producer for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize, the producer of the Dora Awards and a principal organizer of four years of the star-studded It's Always Something Variety Show for Gilda's Club Greater Toronto.

Mr. Marcus has held teaching positions in the arts management departments at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. As a volunteer, he has served on committees for the Philip Akin Black Shoulders Legacy Award, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School, Sheridan College, Centennial College, the Canadian Musical Theatre Writers Collective, the Metcalf Foundation, and the Laidlaw Foundation.

Mr. Marcus is the recipient of the Leonard McHardy & John Harvey Award for Outstanding Leadership in Administration, a Harold Award, and was a finalist for the Roy Thomson Hall Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation, recognizing his contribution to Toronto's musical life.

SOURCE Northcrest Developments

For further information: Brittany Morrison - Manager, Communications, Northcrest Developments, (416) 312-0057

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