Durham College wins big for excellence in food service

Durham College’s (DC) food service provider, Chartwells, is proud to be recognized by Compass Group’s Be-A-Star program for its DCEats experience. Launched in 1997, the Be-A-Star program celebrates and promotes business excellence in school food service.

Since signing a contract with Chartwells in June 2020, DC has committed to offering an array of new features to the campus community, such as a newly opened Starbucks in the South Wing, renovations to the Marketplace and South Village Dining Hall, and a Subway location added to the Whitby campus cafeteria. Chartwells was recognized for demonstrating superiority in five chosen categories: safety, quality, growth, culture and innovation. Guest reviews further commended DC for fostering a lively community and achieving praise-worthy design across its food service locations.

“It’s an honour to receive this recognition for DCEats,” says Barbara MacCheyne, vice president, Administration, and chief financial officer. “For the past two years, the college has worked closely with Chartwells Canada to bring new menus, new concepts and new looks to our food service locations. This win is a testament to the work achieved by our dedicated staff and further demonstration of our institution’s commitment to leading the way in superb food service on campus.”

The Crystal Award for National Account of the Year was presented to the DC Chartwell’s representative on Sunday, October 23 at the Annual Compass Management Action Conference.

Durham College announces two major international projects

Durham College (DC) has recently announced a collaboration with several Canadian colleges and universities on two separate projects, launched with the help of DC’s International Global Partnerships and Projects team.

Empowerment Through Skills Program

In collaboration with Sault College and Centennial College, DC has been selected as the lead of an Empowerment through Skills Program, funded by Global Affairs Canada and administered through Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). Based in Tanzania, this project aims to partner DC with Msaginya Folk Development College and Njombe Folk Development College (community-responsive educational institutes) to develop programs that meet local needs.

Initial planning for the project will begin in Tanzania in November 2022, with project activities taking place over the next four years. The Empowerment through Skills Program is designed to strengthen alternative pathways to education, employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship for women and adolescent girls in Tanzania.

Skills to Access the Green Economy Program (SAGE)

Durham College (DC), in collaboration with lead partner Vancouver Island University and Humber College, has been selected for the Skills to Access the Green Economy Program (SAGE) thematic partnership on educational technology. Funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by (CICan), SAGE works to create a more qualified labour force in key economic sectors.

For this upcoming project, DC’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will work with designated SAGE partners to assess the needs of and improve online teaching and learning instruction in six countries: Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica and St. Lucia.

“Our team is looking forward to working with our Canadian and Caribbean partners to enhance digital literacy,” says Tanya Wakelin, manager, eLearning, CTL. “This is such a unique project. Our partners in the Caribbean are all at varying stages of executing online learning and education technology. Addressing limited internet connectivity and barriers to technology access will be a challenge, but we are very excited to get started and see the results of what happens when we work together to lead the way.”

The initial needs assessment and work plan development will begin in October 2022. Project activities will take place over the next two years.

By working with organizations such as Empowering through Skills Program and SAGE, DC further reinforces our commitment to collaboration, excellence and accessible learning.

You can learn more about DC’s international initiatives online.

Durham College launches new Honours degree program in Community Mental Health

As the federal and provincial governments emphasize the development of mental health support services as a priority to Canadians, Durham College (DC) is pleased to share that it has received consent from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to offer a new degree program available starting September 2023, the Honours Bachelor of Community Mental Health (HBMH).

According to the National Mental Health Institute, one in two Canadians will experience mental illness by the age of forty. With the HBMH, students will be trained with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to support individuals, organizations and institutions across of variety of mental health areas and make a significant contribution to the health and well-being of our communities. As the fifth degree offered at DC, HBMH’s inaugural program intake is September 2023, where students will learn about counselling theory and skills, social psychology, professional practices and interventions and more.

“With one in five Canadians experiencing a mental illness each year, there is an unprecedented need for increased services and experts in the community mental health field,” says Dr. Elaine Popp, executive vice president, Academic. “Graduates of this interdisciplinary degree program will be able to create a meaningful impact on their community by supporting the mental health of diverse populations in Canada, including Indigenous peoples, immigrants, refugees, women and 2SLGBTQIA+ clients.”

HBMH will encompass multiple subjects, including psychology, counselling, health promotion, and social justice. Through a comprehensive mix of theoretical, research and applied courses, students will acquire the skills needed to become leaders in mental health services. There will also be an opportunity to bridge education into real-world experience with a 14-week mandatory field placement, allowing for the practical application of methods and techniques for working collaboratively in the industry.

“As the demand for mental health services grows in Canada, the next generation of graduates is entering a workforce that requires a complex combination of technical knowledge as well as soft skills like cultural sensitivity and social awareness,” says Don Lovisa, president. “Our excellence in blending theoretical education with experiential learning opportunities will give our students a competitive advantage among other new graduates and help them lead the way in the evolving landscape of mental health.”

HBMH graduates may apply to the Master of Counselling Psychology degree program at the University of Western Ontario or pursue graduate education at Carleton University or Sir Wilfred Laurier University, if desired. Career opportunities for HBMH grads are numerous and varied, from social workers to crisis counsellors to housing advocates.

To learn more about this exciting new program, please visit

Media contact:

Elyse Carney
Communications Officer
Communications + Marketing
Durham College

New sustainable urban farm has secured land in Durham Region

The Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture breaks new ground

On Thursday, October 6, Durham College (DC), the Barrett Family Foundation, Invest Durham and Durham Region announced the establishment of The Barrett Centre for Urban Agriculture’s new urban farm project.

The vacant land, located in north Ajax, is owned by Durham Region and has been reserved for future water supply infrastructure requirements, but until such time will serve as this new, temporary urban farm site in order to benefit surrounding communities.

“Durham Region is a destination of choice for investment in urban, indoor and vertical farming. Our innovation community is using forward-thinking to adopt sustainable practices that will help combat critical issues like climate change, food access and food insecurity,” says John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Regional Municipality of Durham. “Durham College is a recognized leader in urban agriculture education and we are thrilled to unveil the development site for this incredible centre of innovation—one that will have a profound positive impact on communities, locally, nationally and globally for generations to come.”

In September 2021, DC launched The Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture (The Barrett Centre) thanks to a $5-million donation from The Barrett Family Foundation. The Barrett Centre’s vision is to become an internationally recognized hub of excellence in urban agriculture practices, research, education and training. It will address some of society’s biggest challenges including food insecurity, access to safe and stable supplies of fresh food, economic stability and regeneration of land for local food production. This dynamic new urban farm is one of the initiatives of The Barrett Centre, and will be a community-based living lab, replicating and scaling the successful farming operations already established at DC’s Whitby campus.

“Durham College is excited to establish this new partnership made possible by the support of the Barrett Family Foundation and the Region of Durham,” said Kelly O’Brien, associate dean, Faculty of Hospitality & Horticulture Science at Durham College. “As we establish the Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Agriculture, together we will lead the way to a more resilient, inclusive, collaborative and diverse food system for Durham Region, Ontario and beyond.”

As a leader in agriculture, the Region of Durham is known for its innovative and sustainable thinking. DC is confident this new urban farm will add to Durham Region’s agricultural strategy in developing a strong locally-sourced food supply for years to come.

For more information about The Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture visit

Durham College and Metrolinx make provincial history with GO station naming partnership; Durham College Oshawa GO

Durham College (DC) is officially on the map after recently acquiring the naming rights to one of GO Transit’s busiest stations.

On Tuesday, October 4, DC launched a 10-year station naming partnership with Metrolinx. What was formally known as the Oshawa GO Station will now be referred to by its brand-new name – Durham College Oshawa GO.

By partnering with Metrolinx, DC is strengthening its relationship with future students, employees and partners in the community, a priority for the college as it continues to fulfill its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. This unique marketing opportunity also helps DC position itself in the community and surrounding areas as a leader in education, collaboration, inclusivity and innovation.

Metrolinx is an essential part of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) that supports many of DC’s students and employees daily as they work, live and learn in the Durham Region and beyond.

“This exciting new partnership with Metrolinx is a prime example of how Durham College is leading the way,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “Having served Durham Region and beyond for over 55 years, we take immense pride in our community engagement and continue to focus on excellence – not only in the innovative and transformative education we provide to our students but as a vital component of Durham Region’s economic landscape for years to come.”

Members of the Durham Region and the GTHA who rely on GO Transit services daily can expect many changes to reflect this new announcement. In addition to the new signage that was unveiled on the Oshawa station building, a rollout of further communications will take place over the coming weeks and months, including; ‘next stop’ passenger announcements, transit signage, digital and web updates, as well as system maps and schedules, to name a few.

Many transit agencies worldwide have already successfully incorporated naming rights into their transit systems, including San Francisco’s Salesforce Transit Center, Philadelphia’s NRG and WAWA Station’s and most recently, NJ Transit’s BetMGM Meadowlands Rail Line.

“This announcement marks an exciting milestone for Metrolinx. We look forward to this new agreement with Durham College and in doing so, we are increasing awareness about transit and GO connections for both students, employees, and visitors to the college and the City of Oshawa,” said Mark Childs, Chief Marketing Officer, Metrolinx.

For Durham College, this new opportunity bears as a sign that the transformative and experiential-based institution is prioritizing its relationship with its students, employees and community, which serves as a preview of what’s to come in the future – further collaboration, excellence and innovative thinking.

Recognizing Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On September 30, Durham College (DC) recognized Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by hosting a number of events on the day of and leading up to September 30 to help foster understanding and a commitment to change. These events included a presentation by Pamela Post on Indigenous representation in media, a book club discussion of Phyllis Webstad’s “Beyond the Orange shirt story,” and a trip to the Heber Downs conservation area, where Traditional Medicine Keeper Joseph Pitawanakwat guided participants through an exploratory walk to learn about edible plant medicines.

The Naanaagide’endamowin Courtyard

Members of the campus community also gathered for a special ceremony in the Naanaagide’endamowin courtyard, which means The Art of Thinking. The courtyard is now home to the Pathway of Pause and Reflection, featuring six QR codes that link to information about Land Acknowledgements, the Indigenous Histories Modules, 13 Moons, Sacred Medicines, the Weeping Willow, and upcoming events at the First Peoples Indigenous Centre (FPIC).

At the ceremony, Dr. Elder Shirley Williams offered an opening prayer and shared the significance of recognizing Orange Shirt Day in educational institutions. Don Lovisa, president of DC, offered remarks on the college’s responsibility to ensure that Indigenous voices are included in ongoing conversations and that space is being held and encouraged, with Indigenous involvement at the forefront of the college.

This ceremony signalled a commitment to increasing awareness and understanding of our shared history by acknowledging our role and responsibility in reconciliation, as well as our commitment to honour Residential School survivors, their families, and communities.

Announcing the special naming stone

In the coming days, a special naming stone will be installed in the courtyard, honouring the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, held on September 30, 2021. This stone will welcome people to the space and encourage introspection as visitors seek knowledge by using the QR codes throughout the garden to learn more about Truth and Reconciliation and the work of the FPIC.

Lighting the campus orange

At sundown, the Oshawa campus’ Centre for Collaborative Education and the Whitby campus’ main building will both be illuminated orange. In doing this, we know it will increase awareness in our communities about Truth and Reconciliation and pay tribute to all the lives lost.

We hope that the DC community will continue to use the Naanaagide’endamowin Courtyard, sheltered under the branches of the weeping willow, for reflection and quiet contemplation on the lives that were forever altered by the Indian Residential School system, remembering those children who never returned to the loving care of their communities. The courtyard also serves as a place where individuals can review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and consider what they can do personally and professionally to ensure these calls to action are fully recognized.

You can learn more about FPIC online.

Durham College collaboration sends life-saving medical kits and resources to Ukrainian frontlines

Leveraging state-of-the-art technology in its Rotary Global Classroom, Durham College (DC) is leading the way internationally through its collaboration with the Global Guardian Project – a local grassroots initiative – delivering life-saving supplies, training and resources to active conflict zones in Ukraine.

In partnership with the Global Guardian Project, DC launched a fundraising campaign with the goal of providing as many medical kits as possible for distribution in Ukraine. On September 21, 220 combat tourniquets and 185 individual first aid kits (IFAK) arrived at DC, packing two skids of medical supplies such as wound dressings, medical shears and gloves that could be used to quickly take life-saving action when needed and improve the odds of victim survival.

In May 2022, DC became the first post-secondary institution in Ontario and only the second in Canada to deliver STOP THE BLEED® training, in partnership with Sunnybrook Hospital’s Trauma Emergency Team. According to the American College of Surgeons, 20 per cent of trauma-related deaths worldwide are due to bleeding or its consequences. Following the on-campus event, members of DC’s Campus Emergency Response team, led by experienced STOP THE BLEED® trainer, Thomas Bezruki, manager, Emergency Management and retired military veteran, recorded two first aid sessions in the Rotary Global Classroom, offering detailed instructions on how to provide life-saving training to those in need.

Led by DC professor Lon Appleby and inspired by Rotary’s international efforts to promote peace, fight disease, support education and combat poverty, the Rotary Global Classroom is a leading-edge facility that connects students and thought leaders from around the world in real-time to discuss issues of importance and to collaborate on solutions by sharing knowledge and skills.

In addition to the medical kits, the Global Guardian Project also received a donation of 18 Chromebook tablets. The tablets will be delivered to Kharkiv Children’s Orphanage, where they will be used to access the Free Reading Program, a free, web-based literacy program led by the Rotary Club of Scarborough. Originally launched to support Syrian refugees learning English, the program is now being offered in many countries where educational resources are limited.

“Durham College has a long history of providing integrated support services for students in need, including those impacted by world events and humanitarian efforts,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “As the war in Ukraine continues, the college recognizes the need to lead the way as global citizens and share our resources with our international community members in need.”

On September 25, members of the Global Guardian team departed Canada to deliver the medical kits and tablets. Once delivered, DC plans to offer continued support, training and resources through recorded training sessions and literacy classes hosted in the Rotary Global Classroom.

“The environment for innovation Durham College has forged is only getting stronger,” said Lon Appleby, professor and founder of The Global Class. “We are building the first live, interactive multimedia classroom and the Global Guardian initiative is just the beginning of a long-term goal to deliver access to high-quality education around the world.”

To learn more about the Rotary Global Classroom, visit

Durham College welcomes fall with Harvest Dinner

On Thursday, September 22, 105 guests gathered at Durham College’s (DC) W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (Weston Centre) for a signature dining experience under the stars. The crisp fall weather was no match for the warm and celebratory sentiments of those in attendance, as the college proudly hosted the event for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Upon arrival, guests enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and guided tours of the Weston Centre’s Urban Farm gardens before gathering under the strings of lights for a seasonally-inspired, multi-course meal at a family-style harvest table that spanned the length of the garden path.

Guests began with an assortment of shareables, including a selection of Ontario cheeses and charcuterie, DC-grown Harvest Bistro Salad and freshly baked sourdough focaccia. The entrée course boasted hearty dishes like Ontario roasted whole chicken with farm-herb infused gravy, smoked Ontario beef ribs with Bistro ’67 chimichurri sauce and roasted Atlantic salmon on a bed of DC-grown tomatoes and onions. To top it off, maple syrup butter tarts, apple strudel, raspberry and white chocolate panna cotta and lemon and DC-grown papaya meringue tarts were served.

Led by Bistro ‘67’s executive chef, Raul Sojo, the event was the result of countless hours of preparation in the Weston Centre’s fields, labs and classrooms, and truly exemplified the work of DC’s students and faculty. Leading up to the event, the college’s Horticulture – Food and Farming and Horticulture Technician students tended to and harvested the fields, working side-by-side with students from the Culinary Management and Culinary Skills to prepare the meal, while students from the Special Events Management, Hospitality – Hotel and Restaurant Operations and Hospitality Skills programs played a role in successfully executing the evening’s event.

“The Harvest Dinner is one of Bistro ‘67’s most anticipated events and it was incredible to welcome our community members back to the beautiful Weston Centre grounds after two long years,” said Kelly O’Brien, associate dean, Faculty of Hospitality and Horticultural Science, Bistro ’67 and Farm Operations, DC. “The amount of creativity, passion and talent demonstrated by the Weston Centre’s culinary team, faculty members and students continue to be an inspiration for exciting opportunities ahead.”

Those who missed the Harvest Dinner are invited to enjoy the Weston Centre’s fruits and vegetables, as well as other local ingredients at Bistro ’67, the college’s full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant that was recently named one of Canada’s top 100 most scenic restaurants. Student-prepared goods are also available at Pantry, the retail store located within the Weston Centre. For more information, visit

Durham College welcomes the 2022-2023 academic year

Durham College (DC) is pleased to welcome 12,500+ full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students who have chosen to embark on their academic journey this fall. This includes 6,300 first-year students and more than 2,500 international students who represent 74 countries from around the world. Another 4,000 students have registered to develop new skills and knowledge through Professional and Part-time Learning.

This year, the majority of DC’s programs will be delivered in person, allowing students to benefit from the college’s exceptional labs and academic spaces for the best hands-on, experiential learning – a vital component of the innovative and transformation education DC offers.

In June 2022, the college announced the realignment of its academic faculties to streamline and better integrate similar programs to reflect the modern world of work. By grouping programs that share comparable fields and disciplines, DC is able to maximize collaboration with industry and community partners, while continuing to offer an exceptional student experience.

“The start of a new academic year is always an exciting time and we are thrilled to welcome our students to our on-campus and virtual learning spaces,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, executive vice president, Academic. “Durham College has a long history of evolving alongside the industries and communities we serve and as a leader in post-secondary education, the changes to our academic portfolio will ensure we continue to offer quality learning opportunities that benefit all stakeholders.”

Over the last several years, DC has developed a number of leading-edge programs to support and strengthen our local and global economy and ensure our graduates consistently meet the needs of employers to make positive impacts within the workplace. Newly added programs this year include the Honours Bachelor of Construction Management degree, two innovative tech-focused programs – the Internet of Things graduate certificate and Web Development diploma – and the Supply Chain Management – Global graduate certificate.

“It is incredible to be a part of our students’ academic journeys, as they learn to face challenges as opportunities to grow, develop confidence and prepare for the doors that will open,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “As Durham College continues to lead the way as a post-secondary institution, offering the best possible learning experiences, we look forward to celebrating our students’ successes as they embark on the year ahead.”

Durham College celebrates the new academic year in style with Fall Orientation

To kick off the 2022-2023 academic year, Durham College (DC) welcomed first-year domestic and international students to campus with an exciting roster of in-person events for Orientation week.

The transition into college life can be intimidating, but DC’s Orientation week helps students put their best foot forward by introducing them to student services, offering study tips, and providing ample opportunity to mix and mingle with the rest of their cohort while learning to navigate the Oshawa and Whitby campuses.

To start the festivities, DC faculty helped lead the way to a successful academic year by sharing insights and setting course expectations at Program Orientation. After that, everyone switched gears to attend DC’s first-ever Block Party and, later that night, the coveted Campus Cup, where students got to embrace their sense of school pride and cheer on the DC Lords in the annual varsity soccer game against Ontario Tech University.

The excitement didn’t stop there! Fall Orientation featured a long list of social mixers, such as an outdoor movie night under the stars, a fabulous drag brunch hosted by the DC Student Association (DCSA) and DC Pride Coalition, and a jaw-dropping performance from the Great Canadian Lumberjacks, who wowed the crowd with axe throwing, chainsaw carving, wood chopping, and more. Students were also encouraged to visit the open house at the First Peoples Indigenous Centre, take a campus tour, meet members of the DCSA, and attend an in-person Ask a Student, or parent and family session.

On the last day of Orientation week, DC students closed out the celebrations by making their way to the Rogers Centre for University & College Night, where they watched the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-3.

This year’s Orientation week saw a promising demonstration of enthusiasm and excitement for learning – DC can’t wait to see what this new semester has in store.