Timmins, ON – A group of southern Ontario architects, engineers, and union leaders participated in a tour of forestry and mill operations in Timmins, Ontario as part of the It Takes a Forest awareness initiative. Co-sponsored by Forests Ontario, EACOM Timber Corporation and Rayonier Advanced Materials, the tour connected individuals across the wood-construction value chain.

Southern and eastern Ontario collectively represent one of North America’s largest construction markets. In 2019, the most popular construction materials are concrete and steel, both of which are significant emitters of carbon dioxide. Building with wood, however, improves the industry’s sustainability and grows the forest sector.

“Ontario’s forests provide locally-sourced and environmentally low-impact options for the construction sector,” said David Moses of Moses Structural Engineers, one of the tour’s proponents. “The mill and bush tour brought key industry decision-makers to northern Ontario to experience sustainable forest practices and wood production firsthand. We expect this trip will foster new relationships to strengthen the economic ties between Ontario’s north and south.”

“We are seeing individuals in the fields of architecture and engineering increasingly recognizing that building sustainably means building with wood,” said Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “As this recognition continues to grow, so does the desire to learn where our most sustainable and only renewable building material – wood – comes from.”

The mill and bush tour was born out of the need to increase awareness around the forest sector, as well as to address the knowledge gap between southern Ontario wood users and northern Ontario wood manufacturers and forest managers.

Professionals from Moses Structural Engineers, EllisDon, Simpson Strong-Tie, Moriyama & Teshima Architects, Carpenters Local 27, studioCANOO Architecture Inc., and Moote Architect took part in the tour. They began the day observing active logging operations and regenerated sites.

“As Ontarians, we should all be proud of our world-class forest management practices. Our long-term commitment to managing out forests provides a sustainable foundation for the wood construction sector, provides vital wildlife habitat, and reduces greenhouse gas in our atmosphere,” added Alan Thorne, Chief Forester, Ontario for Rayonier Advanced Materials.
Participants also had the opportunity to tour the EACOM Timmins mill – the region’s oldest and longest-running sawmill, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Over the past century, the Timmins mill has seen significant advancements in technology – from horse drawn wagons to 3D imagery – to elevate the transformation of wood into the 21st century and optimize every log.

“The trees we harvest today for the Timmins mill are younger than the mill itself,” explained Jennifer Tallman, Chief Forester at EACOM. “It’s a story of sustainability that we hope inspires the next generation of architects, engineers and leaders to drive innovative and responsible construction for Canada’s urban communities.”

At the end of the tour, participants gathered for a reception at the Timmins Public Library, where they discussed the day and fielded questions from media.

The topic of sustainable building is increasingly top-of-mind, especially as the establishment of Ontario’s first cross-laminated timber plant was recently announced. As such, Forests Ontario and its co-sponsors hope that similar tours will continue to be held.

To learn more about the benefits of building with wood, or to join the discussion, follow @ItTakesAForest on Twitter and Facebook, or visit https://ittakesaforest.ca/.

Caption: Forests Ontario gave a tour of forestry and mill operations in Timmins to Ontario building sector representatives.