(L-R) PA Laura Smith, Mayor Chow, Councillor Malik
DesignTO is honoured to welcome Laura Smith, Parliamentary Assistant to the Honourable Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mayor Olivia Chow, and Deputy Mayor Ausma Malik to celebrate the launch of the 2024 DesignTO Festival.

Mayor Olivia Chow aligns the festival with the city’s aspirations, remarking that “DesignTO embodies our city’s vision for a sustainable, equitable, and joyful world.” “The festival brings a unique vibrancy to Toronto, highlighting our city as a creative hub,” adds Deputy Mayor Ausma Malik.

This year, the Launch Party is taking over Harbourfront Centre on Toronto’s waterfront! Attendees will experience a one-night-only immersive multimedia installation by Toronto-based elsewhere Collective. In tandem with the immersive installation, DJs Fly Lady Di and Adeola will set the mood with their distinct musical styles.

While at the event, party goers will be the first to see ‘Future Matters’, a DesignTO-curated group exhibition in Gallery 235 featuring the work of eight local and international artists and designers, and have the chance to explore three new exhibitions across the site showcasing works in lighting, sculpture, glass, textiles, ceramics and more. 

Date: Friday, January 19, 2024
Time: 7-11 PM EST
Location: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W
General Admission (Jan 8-19, 2024):  $30 + HST

Parliamentary Assistant Laura Smith 
Laura Smith, Parliamentary Assistant to the Honourable Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Laura Smith is Parliamentary Assistant to the Honourable Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. 

Laura is a seasoned legal professional who studied at York University and Seneca College before establishing and managing her own litigation support company. She has proudly served the GTA for more than 25 years. 

A passionate advocate for education, youth and early childhood programs, Laura also understands the challenges families face when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. 

As a Director with the Thornhill Thunder Soccer Club and a former Vice President of a local co-operative nursery school, Laura uses her business and volunteer experience to help guide organizations to create positive community-wide change.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow
Mayor Olivia Chow

Olivia Chow has served the people of Toronto for over three decades. Born in Hong Kong in 1957, she immigrated to Toronto with her parents at the age of 13. An apartment in the St. James Town neighbourhood was the launchpad for her remarkable personal journey as a community organizer, activist, school board trustee, Metro Toronto Councillor, Member of Parliament, and now the first person of Asian descent to serve as Mayor of Toronto, and the first woman to serve as Mayor since the six municipalities of Metro Toronto were amalgamated. As our new Mayor she is working hard to build a City that holds the same kind of hope and promise that it did when she first arrived here – a City that is more affordable, caring and where everyone belongs.

Councillor Ausma Malik
Deputy Mayor and Councillor, Spadina-Fort York Ausma Malik, photo by Alexis MacDonald.

The first hijab-wearing Muslim woman elected to public office in Canada, Councillor Malik is known for staring down hate and inspiring hope for racial justice, economic reconstruction, and democratic renewal.

As Toronto City Councillor, Ausma brings her local knowledge and experience to be a champion for affordable housing, vibrant public spaces, improved public transit, and safer streets for everyone.

Ausma has spent her life working to build a better city, more caring communities and inclusive civic spaces. From student organizing to environmental activism, from child care advocacy and education accessibility to policy innovation that improves lives, she has experienced first-hand the power of working together.

From 2014 to 2018, Ausma served our downtown communities as a Trustee elected to the Toronto District School Board, where she was successful in getting Jean Lumb Public School built – the first new downtown public school in over twenty years.

From 2016 to 2022, Ausma was the Director of Advocacy and Organizing at the Atkinson Foundation, where she collaborated with grassroots organizers, policy innovators, and other movement builders to advocate for decent work and a fair economy.

Ausma is proud to serve Ward 10, Spadina–Fort York, and knows we can do more in Toronto to bring people in, not push people out. Ausma’s vision for Toronto is a green, just, and caring city – a Toronto that works for all of us, includes all of us and gives voice to all of us.

The ‘DesignTO Launch Party 2024‘ is just one of over 100 window installations, exhibitions and events at the 2024 DesignTO Festival, January 19-28, 2024. Visit the Festival Schedule to learn more.