Canadian Institue Of Planners

Shaping our Communities
Sustaining Canada's Future.

Dennis B. Friesen FCIP (D)


I was born and raised on a large homestead farm in the frontier district of Barnes Crossing, Saskatchewan.  I earned grades one to nine in the local one-room Beaverdale School. Then I left home to seek higher education. This brought me first to Meadow Lake, then Saskatoon, and next to Vancouver.
My earned radiography skills comfortably carried me through a period of higher education. By 1965 my family was sufficiently settled to enable my BA (English & Fine Arts) studies at UBC. After my BA, with the friendly blessing of the UBC dean, I launched my Community Regional Planning (MURP) 2-year study. It was a rewarding success and firmly established me in urban & regional planning. That summer Prince Edward Island needed a competent, land use planner - I applied and was hired.
I entered the PEI planning arena during the first stage of its forward-looking 15-year, Federal/Provincial three-stage Development Plan. The Province was generously funded to enable land use and development planning on a scale bringing it in line with planning & development efforts across Canada. I had already spent 35 years of my life in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. My family easily settled in the PEI Capital. I was immediately engaged for planning services in the Province and its communities. This appointment took me from 1971 until my retirement in 1997.
Early in the Development Plan years PEI relied on off-Island consultants for local and regional planning. Only a few small draft plans were prepared and none had been finalized. There were no local or regional plans. Development control and land use planning decisions were made by a small Provincial Board working under Municipal Affairs and the provisions of an elementary Planning Act. High on the list of concerns were land subdivision, road safety, environmental protection and land use compatiblity. During my years of planning in PEI, local and regional land use legislation improved. With the encouragement of the Province, by 1990 in municipal and regional planning areas approximately 50 official plans had been approved and were functional. Cities, towns and villages matured and prospered. I am happy to have been an active participant in this growth process.