Institute of Urban Studies
Dr. Earl A. Levin Archive
Repository: The Institute of Urban Studies Library, University of Winnipeg
Creator: Dr. Earl Aaron Levin
Title: Dr. Earl A. Levin Archive
Dates: 1960 – 2007
Quantity: 1.10 m of textual records
Biography of Dr. Earl Aaron Levin
Earl Levin was born in Winnipeg in 1919. He worked in the field of planning for over forty years – about half of that time in the public sector and an equivalent length of time in the private sector. He has served as a planner at the municipal, metropolitan, provincial and federal levels of government as well as in private consulting practice and as an academic. He was on the staff of the first Planning Department established in the City of Vancouver; a planner with Central (now Canada) Mortgage and Housing Corporation in Ottawa; the Director of Planning for the province of Saskatchewan and Secretary of Provincial Planning Appeals Board; Vice-President of Murray V. Jones and Associates, Urban and Regional Planners in Toronto; Director of the Planning Division of the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg; Director of the Winnipeg office of Damas and Smith Ltd., Engineers and Planners and Director of Corporate Development of that firm; and President of his own consulting firm of Earl Levin Consultants Inc., Urban and Regional Planners. He also worked for a brief period for the London County Council in London, England and for the Basildon New Town Corporation in Basildon, Essex, England. Mr. Levin has been a faculty member of the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Levin’s first post-secondary enrollment was in the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Arts and Science. He switched to architecture before completing the final year in that program. After the first year in architecture he enlisted in the Canadian Forces and served overseas in the north-west Europe theatre of war with the rank of captain. After the war he returned to the University of Manitoba and obtained the degree of Bachelor of Architecture. He went to London, England in 1950, to do post-graduate studies at the School of Planning and Research for Regional Development. He completed the course successfully and was awarded the Diploma of the School of Planning (S.P. Diploma – it did not grant degrees). He then returned to Canada in 1952 to take his M.Sc. degree at the School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia. In 1993 he was awarded the degree of Ph.D. by the University of Manitoba. The title of his doctoral thesis was “City History and City Planning: The Local Historical Roots of the City Planning Function in Three Cities of the Canadian Prairies”.
Awards and Distinctions
Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation Graduate Fellowship, 1952-1953;
Transportation and Customs Bureau of Vancouver Board of Trade Prize, 1953;
Social Services and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-1990.
President of the Town Planning Institute of Canada, 1964-1965 (the TPI is now the Canadian Institute of Planners);
Founder and initial chairman of the Association of Professional Planners of Saskatchewan, 1965, and Recognition of Services Award of the Manitoba Association, Canadian Institute of Planners for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Planning, 1990.
Projects and Activities
Because of the variety of his appointments and roles Mr. Levin has been involved in a wide rage of planning projects and activities. Among these are the preparation of official and general development plans, downtown plans, land-use and housing studies, amalgamation studies, annexation studies, studies for residential and industrial development, research park feasibility studies, design for a new town based on potash mining in Saskatchewan, drafting zoning bylaws and land-use regulations and numerous other planning and development projects. Places for which these projects and activities were carried out include cities such as Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary and smaller centers such as Pembroke, Owen Sound, Brandon, Estevan, Weyburn, Melville and remote centers in northern Canada including Churchill, Fort Smith, Great Whale River, and Inuvik. He also prepared studies and reports for Aboriginal communities including the Sabaskong School study for the band at Nestor Falls, a development plan and commercial site study for the band at The Pas, the Neeginan proposal for the Aboriginal community in downtown Winnipeg and the Ta-Mi-No-Sah study of job-creation and social development programs for native people in Manitoba.
Dr. Levin has been involved in strategy and policy planning for municipal, provincial, and federal government departments and agencies. He was a member of the Task Force on City Government to advise the City of Edmonton on reorganizing its system of governance; a member of the Special Cabinet Committee on Reorganization of Local Government in Greater Winnipeg (i.e. amalgamation of the twelve local governments); a member of Manitoba’s Commission on Targets for Economic Development. He prepared a report on residential Conversion in Canada for Central (now Canada) Mortgage and Housing Corporation. He was a member of the Board of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, of the Winnipeg Art Gallery and of the Manitoba Opera Association. He also served for a term on the Board of the Canadian Council on Urban and Regional Research.
Dr. Levin was Professor and Head of the Department of City Planning at the University of Manitoba and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg. He also held a term appointment on the faculty of the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Levin moved to Victoria, B.C. in 1993. During his stay in that city he was, for about nine years a member of the Board of Directors of the Fairfield Community Association. He served for the full allowed term of six years as a member of the City of Victoria’s Advisory Planning Commission. He was also a member of the city’s special Planning Advisory Committee on the redevelopment of the Fairfield Centre/Mount St. Mary Hospital site- a major redevelopment project in that sector of Victoria. In 2006 Dr. Levin’s wife died in Victoria and he moved back to Winnipeg to live in retirement with his son David and his son’s family.
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The collection is divided into 8 file boxes:
- Speeches and papers (3)
- Correspondence (2)
- Project & Institutional files (1)
- Newspaper clippings (1)
- Magazines containing articles authored by the donor (1)
During his long and influential career in city planning, Dr. Levin was the Director of Planning for the Province of Saskatchewan; Director of city planning for Metropolitan Winnipeg; the head of the City Planning program at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba; a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg; and the President of the Town Planning Institute of Canada (now the Canadian Institute of Planners). As both a consultant and a public sector planner Earl Levin was involved in some of Winnipeg’s most important planning processes, including Neeginan and the Core Area Initiative.
Collection contains extensive commentary by the donor concerning planning practice.
Restrictions on Access
The archive was donated by Earl A. Levin to the Institute of Urban Studies in the summer of 2007 and ownership was officially transferred effective January 1st 2008.