Executive Director, Site Activation and Programming – Downsview

Date Posted: Nov 23, 2021
Application Deadline: Dec 22, 2021
Start Date: Feb 01, 2022

Salary From: 150K To 200K+
Province: Ontario
Region: Metro Toronto Area
City: Toronto
Employee Benefits: Health, Pension, Other (e.g. flex time, comp tickets, etc.)
Check Additional Info section for more Employee Benefits
Organization's Field/Discipline: Doesn't apply
Job's focus: Creative
Job Type: Full-time
Career Level: Executive/board member

Organization Description

WP Osborne Executive Search Inc.
WP Osborne Executive Search is a privately owned Canadian executive search firm providing full-service recruitment expertise for real property clients; from institutionally owned multi-national corporations to family-owned businesses, as well as crown corporations and government organizations across Canada. Our client profile includes organizations involved in real estate financing, acquisitions, development, construction, property management and asset management across all asset classes. We serve the commercial, industrial, retail, high and low-rise residential, hospitality, seniors residences and mixed use areas of real property on a regular basis.

Job Description

Executive Director, Site Activation and Programming – Downsview
Northcrest Developments 


Northcrest Developments (“Northcrest”) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (“PSP”), responsible for leading the redevelopment of the Downsview airport site in Toronto currently occupied by Bombardier Aerospace.  The Downsview site is a generational opportunity to transform an entire area of the city into a thriving mixed-use urban environment.

PSP owns 365 acres of land next to three subway stations and a GO train station that will be redeveloped once Bombardier leaves the site and the airport is closed.  Working in collaboration with Canada Lands Company who own adjacent lands, master planning is underway on an approximately 520-acre area to reimagine what a 21st century city could be.  The vision is to create a dynamic new place for people that is sustainable, resilient, and future oriented. This is a once in a generation opportunity to become a part of an extraordinary city-building experience.

Many parties and partners will be involved in the implementation, but PSP intends to be a long-term owner of real estate at Downsview and so has a vested interest in ensuring both the initial development, as well as the ongoing operations and maintenance of the lands is executed well.  This long- term perspective creates unique opportunities to operate differently.  Northcrest wants to invest early in creative placemaking to help set the tone for the future of Downsview and be a catalyst for bringing people to a site that has been cut off from the city for generations.


Reporting to the Executive Vice President, Corporate & Public Affairs, the Executive Director will lead the process of establishing Downsview as a destination for entertainment, recreation, arts & culture in Toronto in a manner that is consistent with the vision for Downsview (https://44e0cc70-0fba-43fa-98a1-d99b0274c6c3.filesusr.com/ugd/4ea6e4_83b2b0b8db67436782994a36ab9e5c3a.pdf). This includes creating a program to activate the runway lands once the airport closes and prior to the full site being redeveloped, but also the ongoing programming of the public spaces that are developed over time.  The programming is expected to include short term/one off events through to long term interim uses (e.g. 20+ years) covering community, commercial and cultural activities.

The Executive Director will start by developing a vision and business plan for placemaking & activations on the site, including a timeline, resources (financial and people), and the appropriate governance/organizational structure.  Once the business plan is approved by Northcrest and PSP, the Executive Director will be responsible for implementing the plan and leading the newly created organization.

Additional responsibilities include oversight of the lands prior to development, including maintenance and security, and coordinating with the development team on infrastructure and development phasing.

  • Responsible for setting out a vision, then creating and getting approvals for a business plan for an operational arts & culture programming organization (implementing both before development occurs and after development in the public spaces);
  • Implement the business plan, including establishing the organization, hiring the team, and planning for activities that will launch as early as December 2023;
  • Lead the new organization, in close collaboration with the Northcrest team, including hiring the right people, implementing appropriate governance;
  • Participate in the community engagement process for the broader Downsview site, and ensure community and stakeholder interests and priorities are reflected in the programming on-site; actively engage with community stakeholders and become a trusted community partner;
  • Work closely with the development team to ensure placemaking, programming and arts & culture are integrated into the design of neighbourhoods at Downsview, and ensure interim programming is coordinated with the phasing of infrastructure and development;
  • Leverage partnerships and relationships to find unique and creative ways of animating the spaces at Downsview, build community, and establish Downsview as a hub for arts and culture;
  • Responsible for establishing, getting approval for and staying within annual cost budgets and for meeting revenue targets;
  • Responsible for managing the undeveloped lands including ongoing repairs and maintenance, any interim facilities/infrastructure, installations or event venues.


  • Post-secondary degree in business, the arts, or related field. 
  • Minimum of 15 years of experience in the arts, culture, economic development, placemaking or related fields;
  • Strong entrepreneurial spirit and the demonstrated ability to create something new from scratch;
  • Experienced leader who can foster a culture of collaboration, inclusion and respect;
  • Ability to both be a strategic thinker and pragmatic implementer;
  • Experience leading an organization and reporting to a Board of Directors;
  • Exceptional project and time management abilities, with demonstrated experience undertaking concurrent tasks and managing multiple priorities;
  • Superior oral and written communication skills with a strong team orientation and collaborative approach;
  • Passionate about city-building and the importance of creative placemaking;
  • Experience with fundraising and philanthropy and asset;
  • Friendly and professional demeanor with a positive attitude in a fast-paced environment;
  • Commitment to the company’s goals and values.

How to Apply:

​Qualified candidates can submit their resume to management@wposborne.com noting “#1203 – Executive Director, Site Activation and Programming - Downsviewin the subject line. 

Northcrest is committed to an inclusive, equitable and accessible workplace.  Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.  If you require an accommodation, we will work with you to meet your needs in all stages of the hiring process.

We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.

Please Note: 


Listen to JobBoard Success Stories Podcasts and learn how to navigate work in arts and culture. 

Have a JobBoard success story you'd like to share in a podcast? Contact mona(at)workinculture.ca
Job Post Tips
For tips on how to write or read a job post visit:
Tip 1 on salary ranges
Tip 2 on highlighted sections
Tip 3 on job benefits
Tip 4 on career levels
Tip 5 on job types
Tip 6 on location/work place 
Tip 7 on How to Apply

Looking for work? Consider volunteering. Check out DiscoveryBoard for positions. 
According to StatCan, "volunteers can make key contacts that may help them improve their performance or even lead to other employment opportunities."

JobBoard Policy