Born in Tokyo, Japan |
Tsugumi left Japan in 2000 to study architecture and urban design in the Netherlands at the Berlage Institute of Rotterdam. Although she found the country to be beautiful, she struggled with the language, always feeling out of place, “like a Japanese foreigner.” After four years at school, she decided to move to Toronto to pursue her career. Soon after arriving, she got a job as urban/landscape designer. Over the past nine years Tsugumi has been involved with major projects in the city, including transit corridor improvements, street and square designs, bike lane improvements and waterfront developments. In Japan, explains Tsugumi, the working culture is unsupportive of women with children, making it difficult for women to pursue careers while raising a family. Aside from having a successful career in Toronto, Tsugumi has a family here made of a Canadian husband, two beautiful daughters (Akari and Yuki), and two pet cats. Tsugumi feels like she belongs in Toronto, and “blends in with the people of this city”.
Toronto as Home
Tsugumi is standing at a streetcar stop along St Clair Avenue West. The St Clair West Transit Improvement Project was the first project she was involved with when she arrived in Toronto. Since then, she has worked on projects to improve transit across the city – this streetcar stop is an important part of her history here in Toronto.
Connection with the Past
Tsugumi is holding a kimono, a traditional piece of Japanese clothing, that she bought for her daughter Akari. Even though her daughters were born in Canada, she hopes that they remain in touch with their Japanese heritage, and this kimono is symbolic of this wish.