CreateTO Brand Strategy & Naming


In May 2017, Toronto City Council approved a new citywide real estate service delivery model that will centralize real estate and facilities-management activities across the City. Replacing the two current City-owned real estate corporations and the real estate functions of 24 different city departments, the new Agency’s mandate focuses on city-building, taking a “whole of government” approach and applying a citywide lens to ensure the effective use of real estate assets. Working closely with the Mayor’s office and key private sector partners, we were tasked with developing a brand strategy, name and narrative that reflected this new Agency’s expanded mission.


Given the amount of change that this endeavour would create, as well as its high profile nature, a broad and inclusive engagement process was required. We conducted over 12 one-on-one interviews, including the City Manager and leading real estate CEOs, as well as three highly interactive workshops with the internal Agency teams, City departments and agencies, and external partners. This research and engagement gave us the direct input of over 60 key constituents, which we used to inform, develop and validate a brand framework, name and creative platform – one that would truly resonate across a wide range of audiences.


The new name, CreateTO, and its brand promise, “We are a catalyst for city building in Toronto”, were developed under a very short and aggressive timeline, in order to be approved by City Council before the 2018 municipal campaigns got under way. The new visual identity program is scheduled for a full launch in June 2018; however, Mayor John Tory is already referring to CreateTO as a cornerstone of his vision to addressing the affordable housing issue in Toronto.


Brand Articulation, Brand Auditing