“(It’s) been a 50-year journey from when the Canada Centre for Inland Waters started in 1966,” Dr. Lynda McCarthy said in a recent interview. “Having an academic institution that could do the same thing (as CCIW) was a natural fit.”
Dr. McCarthy had much to say about the multi-disciplinary research centre that saw its official inception in 2013; as she said, the journey to the creation of Ryerson Urban Water (RUW) started 18 years ago when she was hired by Ryerson and saw an opportunity to improve Toronto’s urban water cycle.
“Ryerson was uniquely positioned to have this water centre because there was a surprising number of water experts in all disciplines here and we’re on a Great Lake.” McCarthy went on to add that Toronto is now the largest polluting urban environment on any of the Great Lakes - which shows the importance of RUW’s mandate.
After the Canada Centre for Inland Waters – an Environment Canada and Department of Fisheries and Oceans research institute created to help protect the Great Lakes – started to decline under federal leadership, McCarthy realized there was a need for another major institute, removed from direct government intervention, to support conservation of the Great Lakes.
In 2013, the organization had 25 members - that number has since grown to 44 with all faculties in the University still involved. “The expertise was already here,” stated Dr. McCarthy. “They just needed to come together under one umbrella."