Staff + Interns


AnnabelVaughanAnnabel Vaughan trained as an architect and was most recently the Principal of the design firm publicLAB RESEARCH + DESIGN in Vancouver. Her current focus explores the role architecture plays in the cultural production of the city. She has actively designed, built, curated, written, presented, and performed on topics such as the impact of architecture on the public realm, public art, historical practices of cities and on the community’s role in civic engagement.

She has co-written articles for Artspeak, West Coast Line and Vancouver Matters with Rob Brownie, and exhibited at Artspeak Gallery, Presentation House Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and The Other Gallery in Banff. Most recent she presented at Speculative Cities, a Peter Wall International Roundtable held at UBC. In 2012 she co-curated an exhibition at Centre A, during the gallery’s final two months of tenure in the historic BC Electric Railway building.

She has taught as a Sessional Professor at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia, as an Instructor of Architectural Science at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, guest lectured at SFU and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and has been a sought out as a mentor for over twenty Master of Architecture thesis candidates. Contact Annabel.

CLAIRE NELISCHER – Communications and Operations

ClaireNelischerClaire is a writer and walker and planner. She is new to Toronto, having moved here recently after graduating from the Master of City and Regional Planning program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. While at Pratt, Claire focused on the role of community-based cultural activity in supporting neighbourhood sustainability. She was a Fellow at the Pratt Center for Community Development with the Center’s Arts, Culture and Sustainability Project and an intern with Fourth Arts Block in the East Village. Most recently, Claire worked with Jane’s Walk’s Toronto project office as a Designer and Outreach coordinator.

Claire loves to write, especially about cities. She has written for Spacing Magazine and was co-editor of Pratt’s multipliCITY publication. Contact Claire.


RACHEL LISSNER – Coordinator – City Builder Book Club

RachelLissnerRachel Lissner is the project lead for the City Builders Book Club at the Centre for City Ecology. As Toronto’s number one fan, she spends most of her time related to things with Toronto in the name, including working at Cycle Toronto, writing for local publications, and just enjoying all that her favourite city has to offer. She is interested in anything and everything related to urbanism, but is particularly keen on civic engagement and creating a feeling of pride and ownership of neighbourhoods and cities, which is what drives her to run the CCE’s book club as well as a few projects of her own.

After leaving her hometown of Washington, DC, she has lived in Israel, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Melbourne, Amsterdam, and Montreal, and picked up a degree in urban studies and geography from the University of Toronto and a few languages along the way. She is happiest enjoying a sunny day in Toronto on her bike. Contact Rachel.

THEVISHKA KANISHKAN – Coordinator – City Builder Camp

ThevishkaKanishkanBorn and raised in Toronto, Thevishka is a sharp thinker and passionate about urban environmental issues. She graduated with a BScH in Environmental Biology in 2012, and promptly made an exciting career move into Urban Design at the Institute without Boundaries at George Brown College. Thevishka excels in projects where she can apply her unique academic background and diverse set of practical skills to improve the quality of life for people living in cities. She has extensive experience in research, citizen engagement, facilitation, community outreach, communication, and graphic design. Having worked with community organizations, BIAs, business leaders, and City officials, Thevishka is thrilled to bring together and engage these stakeholders in the Mid-Rise City Builder Camp and Exhibit.

Presently, Thevishka has had the pleasure to work with many firms and institutions on community-based projects, including the Institute without Boundaries, George Brown College, the City of Dublin (Ireland), the Town of Richmond Hill, the Canadian Urban Institute, and Mott MacDonald Canada. Contact Thevishka.

MARGOT THOMAIDIS  – Intern – University of Toronto

Margot2Margot is an urban thinker, barista and biker who grew up in east Toronto. She completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree specializing in Urban Studies with high distinction from the University of Toronto in June 2014. She has been interning at the Centre for City Ecology since September 2013 and has had ongoing involvement in the Community Planning Board Pilot Project in the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park area. She is now the project manager of the YIMBY Toronto Festival for 2014.

At school she gained experience as the President of the Urban Studies Students Union and an officer of the Toronto Undergraduate Geography Society, while also learning first-hand about cities through travelling to New York City and Chicago for field courses. Her love of human geography and urban ecology continue to push her to explore many cities and their communities on foot as well as by bike. Contact Margot.


Nishi Kumar, University of Toronto (Urban Studies, Environmental Geography, GIS)
Susan Taylor Simpson
Samantha Strong
Dania Ansari
Bita Mahjoubi
Mary-Anne Cooper
Carolina Streber Fonseca
Tupac Amaru Espinoza
Nicholas Discenza
Steve Socha
Linda Bui
Julia Padvoiskis
Mojan Jianfar, York University (Environmental Studies, Urban Planning)
Doug Mackay, Willowbank (School of Restoration Arts)
Habon Ali, University of Toronto
Inger Jenset, University of Toronto
Nathan Storring
Kim Yip, University of Toronto (Architecture, GIS)
Aslam Shaikh, Ryerson University
Mirej Vasic, McGill University