ReNew Canada bills itself as the country’s “Infrastructure Magazine.”

That’s not braggadocio.  No matter what aspect of infrastructure you’re involved in—finance, research, engineering, policy, construction, whatever—the magazine is a virtual “must-have.”  The January-February issue has just hit the newstand, and it features a special supplement on the 100 biggest infrastructure projects in Canada.

ReNew’s “Top 100” adds up to $114 billion in infrastructure investment, and the projects on the list are ranked from first to last based on size.  Of course, “size” here is defined as “cost.”  With a price tag of some $8.2 billion, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project in Toronto gets first spot.  The dozen or so projects that follow are just as impressive.  Half of the $114 billion on the list is captured in Canada’s 15 biggest projects.

Mira Shenker is ReNew’s editor.  She recently touched base with me and asked if I would scan through the list and come up with my own personal “Top 10.”  A few others around the country are doing the same.  The results will be published in the March-April issue ofReNew.

When ranking the “biggest” infrastructure projects in the country, cost is probably the only way to go.  However, “cost” does not necessarily equal “best” or most “interesting.”  Neither does it equate to most “innovative.”  In other words, ReNew’s“Top 100” may be the “biggest” projects in Canada, but not necessarily the “best.”

I’m interested in innovative projects, and that’s what my “Top 10” will be all about.  I first thought of picking the most innovative and interesting project in each province, but after toying with that for a while I abandoned the effort.  I decided to create 10 of my own categories, and then choose one project in each that demonstrated the most innovation.  Some innovations were financial, while other innovations were technological.  Here’s my “short-list” of the most innovative projects:

Transportation—Roadways and Bridges

  • Autoroute 30 (Quebec)
  • Southeast Stony Trail (Alberta)
  • Port Mann-Highway 1 (British Columbia)

Transportation—Public Transit

  • Evergreen Rapid Transit (British Columbia)
  • Spadina Subway Extension (Ontario)
  • York VIVA Bus Rapidways (Ontario)

Transportation—Sea and Air Ports

  • Maher Melford Terminal (Nova Scotia)
  • Calgary Parallel Runway (Alberta)
  • Calgary International Airport Terminal (Alberta)

Health, Education, and Social Facilities

  • CHUM Redevelopment (Quebec)
  • Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Manitoba)
  • St. Joseph’s Healthcare Facility (Ontario)

Thermal Electric Energy (Coal, Gas, Nuclear)

  • Swan Hills ISCG Power Project (Alberta)
  • North Battleford Power Plant (Saskatchewan)
  • York Energy Centre (Ontario)

Hydro Electric Energy

  • Bipole-III (Manitoba)
  • Niagara Tunnel Project (Ontario)
  • Eastman 1-A Project (Quebec)

Renewable Electric Energy (Wind or Solar)

  • K2 Wind Project (Ontario)
  • Blackspring Ridge-1 (Alberta)
  • Halkirk-1 Project (Alberta)

Water and Wastewater

  • Seymour-Capilano Water Utility (British Columbia)
  • Hanlan Feedermain (Ontario)
  • Southeast Collector Trunk (Ontario)

Environment and Waste Management

  • Durham York Energy Centre (Ontario)
  • Sydney Tar Ponds Project (Nova Scotia)
  • Port Hope Area Initiative (Ontario)

Top Choice Overall:

  • To be Announced

– By Casey Vander Ploeg, Senior Policy Analyst