Tokyo Metropolitan Government  Conducts Fact Finding Research on Canada’s Timber Construction

By: Lance Tao

Export Development Program, Canada Wood Group

In an effort to align with the global trend toward sustainable construction, Bureau of Urban Development officials from the Tokyo Metropolitan Governmentrecently embarked on a fact finding research of Canada’s mass timber construction industry. They explored Vancouver and Toronto in search of insights.

During their visit, they held a series of meetings and engaged in discussions aimed at learning from Canada’s expertise in mass timber construction. To plan their visit, a task force composed of Canada Wood Group, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, WoodWorks Ontario, and the Mass Timber Institute designed a comprehensive itinerary. Special thanks go to those who generously facilitated site tours and meetings: EllisDon, Fast+Epp, FPInnovations, Moriyama Teshima Architect, Hines, George Brown College, PCL Constructors, Moses Structural Engineering, and Whistler Municipality.

Photo: Fast+Epp Office Tour led by Yury Kulikov
Photo: presentation by FPInnovations

The Vancouver leg of their trip  was particularly enlightening. They engaged with scientists from FP Innovations to understand the performance of mass timber construction. Their itinerary also featured a close look at Fast+Epp Office’s innovative earthquake-resistant timber designs, meetings with Whistler Municipality officials, and a tour of the University of British Columbia’s iconic wooden structures.

In Toronto, facilitated by WoodWorks Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and the Mass Timber Institute, the Bureau of Urban Development officials participated indiscussions at the Ontario Investment & Trade Centre.The Tokyo Metropolitan officials took full advantage of the opportunity to talk building codes and municipal approvals processes with representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the City of Toronto. The participants also explored Ontario’s pioneering mass timber constructions such as George Brown College’s Limberlost Place and Hines’ T3 Bayside. The Tokyo Metropolitan officials were also hosted at EllisDon’s Toronto office where they took in presentations about modular mass timber and hybrid mass timber panels prior to being guided by EllisDon, on a tour of the innovative mass timber T3 Sterling office building. The group’s Toronto leg was capped off by a visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario where they viewed the Frank Gehry designed Dundas St. façade with commentary provided by the façade’s structural engineer David Moses of Moses Structural Engineering.

“It’s evident that missions like the one undertaken by The Tokyo Metropolitan officials  are not mere educational training ; they serve as bridges to global opportunities. For the Canadian forestry and building industry, such initiatives provide a valuable opportunity to showcase advanced expertise and innovation in mass timber construction to one of the most important offshore markets for Canadian forest products. As countries worldwide, like Japan, shift towards sustainable construction methods, Canada’s rich timber heritage offers a blueprint for the future. These collaborative efforts not only strengthen international ties but also position Canada as a leader in sustainable mass timber architecture. “ said Bruce St. John, President of Canada Wood Group.

Photo: T3 Bayside Tour led by Michael Gross, Hines
Photo: T3 Sterling Tour led by Mark Gaglione, EllisDon