Construction is at the heart of the elements of our daily lives that connect us to our families, work, recreation and culture.
In this year's edition of The Leaders we celebrate three projects that provide essential and esoteric connections for Canadian communities, commerce, culture and education. The challenges each of these projects posed to stakeholders proved that Canadian construction can innovate and overcome whatever is put in its way.
Our National Project of the Year, the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway, is a project whose ambition and need helped weave a new thread in Canada's commercial and cultural fabric. This 138-kilometre strip of road was not just any other roadbuilding project.
When two dump trucks dumped gravel into the final stretch of its roadbed in April 2016 it officially linked the north and south portions of the project. With that, Canada was now officially linked to the Arctic Coast through its tapestry of highways — the nation is now connected coast to coast to coast.
Once the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway is complete in 2017, Far North communities once linked by seasonal ice roads will now be connected to the rest of Canada via this permanent road. The construction challenges to building such a road, what this project meant to those who helped build it (almost 70 per cent of the workers on it were local residents) and what it will mean for the future is why we celebrate it.
Our Eastern Project of the Year, the striking Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence at York University with its "cloud" design, is a marvel of math meshing with construction know-how. The building is meant to be the incubation centre of the school's philosophy of "renaissance engineering." Students can be inspired, innovate and collaborate in an "inside-out" layout within a building envelope that has 9,000 non-repeating shapes and sizes. Collaboration and problem solving by project stakeholders to connect the vision of this building to reality resulted in a remarkable achievement. The Western Project of the Year, the National Music Centre (NMC) in Calgary, aims to be a catalyst for innovation, renewal and discovery through music. The centre's complex incorporates the city's historic King Edward Hotel, one of Calgary's first desegregated bars and a blues venue which once attracted B.B. King.
How this historic venue was painstakingly connected to the NMC was a headlining event in and of itself. The entire NMC's design was inspired by the geography of the northern prairie and the form and function of musical instruments.
As in past issues, we have our Leaders Revisited section in which we check back with past firms we have featured. For this year's Leaders Revisited we spoke to Maple Reinders, our national general contractor of the year in 2011. This firm, driven by a strong culture and leadership that believes in connecting with its community beyond its construction projects, has continued its successful growth since last featured.
Once again this year's The Leaders also delivers our national, eastern and western construction industry forecasts powered by CanaData. These forecasts provide the pivotal intelligence industry stakeholders need in order to operate in Canada's evolving construction industry.
In closing, this year's The Leaders celebrates the construction that connects us as Canadians, whether it is the blacktop of a new highway, a space to lose yourself in music or where young, aspiring engineers can prepare for their journeys to becoming leaders. We salute these projects and hope you will enjoy their respective stories being told.