Canadian Institue Of Planners

Shaping our Communities
Sustaining Canada's Future.

Michael J. (Max) Bacon FCIP

Michael John (Max) Bacon was born in the village of Dachet, near Windsor, England in 1928.  He graduated from the University of Liverpool with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1953 and earned a Master of Civic Design from the same university in 1954.  In response to Canadian needs for planning expertise to guide rapid development, Max came to Canada.  He started with Central Mortgage and Housing, which funded additional studies in urban design at MIT, then moved to work with the City of Toronto.  In 1956, he was named the Director of Planning for the Township of Toronto (now, Mississauga).  He joined the firm Proctor and Redfern in 1961, with which he had several positions including Director of Planning.  He retired from the firm in 1993. 
Max’s contributions to planning in Canada are extensive.  As a consulting practitioner, Max introduced professional planning to an astonishingly number of municipalities, both large and small.  In rural Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Alberta and Newfoundland, his work spanned the full extent of planning activities from the preparation of regional studies, official plans, district plans, development schemes, and zoning bylaws to urban revitalization plans, solid waste disposal, municipal boundary adjustments and amalgamations.  The range of his expertise was only exceeded by the geographic span of his practice.  If nothing else, Max has demonstrated by his career that there is a place for a generalist with an inclination for diversity.  His reputation was as a very reputable planning consultant, often confirmed when he provided expert testimony before various tribunals—he stood his ground, proffering his best advice, working as hard for small as large clients.
He was enthusiastic, passionate and pursued good urban design principles.  He was described as having an inquiring mind, high energy levels, open to new concepts, keen to debate, dispute and shake out new ideas, and to question traditional wisdom.  His work was interdisciplinary, environmentally aware, appropriate to locality and site, and sensitive to client requirements. 
Max was an Adjunct Professor of Planning at the University of Waterloo and was a guest lecturer at the University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, Queens University, York University, Humber College, Scarborough College, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, and Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.  He helped and encouraged young planners, ensuring planning students were taken on and given meaningful summer work. 
He became a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1954, the Royal Town Planning Institute (1955), the Town Planning Institute of Canada (1955) and the American Institute of Certified Planners (1978).  He was a TPIC national councilor in the early 1960s and also held leadership positions with the planners in Ontario from 1965-1970, when he staunchly promoted the profession and supported implementation of Ontario’s Planning Act.
Max Bacon was elected to CIP’s College of Fellows in 1997.  He was noted for his boundless enthusiasm, unceasingly positive outlook and commitment to professional planning.  He also did volunteer work in the areas of conservation, housing, and alternate dispute resolution.
Among planners, one of Max’s most talked about legacies is the annual Max Bacon run that is held annually at each National CIP conference.  The run captures Max’s essential characteristics—a willingness to accept a challenge, determination, enthusiasm, and a commitment to see a task through to the end.  Max said he founded the run to literally and symbolically ‘get those planners off their duffs.’