We are excited to announce the recipients of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects 2023 Honours and Awards. Each of these exceptional individuals has contributed significantly to OALA and emulated the fundamental principles of our mission, vision and core values. The awards were presented on June 8th at OALA Honours.
Congratulations to all those honoured with the 2023 Honours and Awards!
OALA Pinnacle Award for Landscape Architectural Excellence
This award acknowledges excellence by an OALA member and their exemplary overall body of professional work and accomplishments. The award promotes awareness of landscape architectural works and achievements among landscape architects, allied professionals, clients and the public.
Donna Hinde, OALA, FCSLA
Throughout her distinguished 40-year career, Donna Hinde’s contributions to the field of landscape architecture have truly been remarkable.
Soon after graduating from the landscape architecture program at the University of Guelph, Donna took a position as the only landscape architect in the large engineering firm – MMM Dillon. Within two years, she was a division head hiring many landscape architects and environmental planners.
During this time, Donna gained a provincial reputation in community redevelopment by helping countless Ontario communities realize their potential. She was a trailblazer in facilitating successful community meetings – from large GTA area landfill proposals to small-town revitalization plans. Her skills gave the public an effective voice without compromising design and environmental integrity.
In the early 90s, she co-founded what became The Planning Partnership where she remains an active partner. The firm reflects Donna’s multidisciplinary approach to design. Her work in the firm has garnered numerous awards and the office has been the launch pad for countless young landscape architects.
Donna served as president of OALA from 1998-2000 and increased the visibility and importance of landscape architecture in the province. As president, she worked with a team of allied professionals to successfully lobby for the removal of the eastern section of the Gardner Expressway and to ensure modifications to the Oak Ridges Moraine plan. This was a significant step as the OALA ramped up its public voice to advocate for important environmental and social issues – an initiative that remains strong today.
We are pleased to honour Donna’s exemplary professional work and academic contributions to the profession of landscape architecture.
OALA Honourary Member Award
Honourary members are those who have contributed significantly to advancing the course of landscape architecture in Ontario.
This year’s Honourary Member recipient is former Executive Director of Landscape Ontario, Tony DiGiovanni.
Throughout his 33-year tenure at Landscape Ontario, Tony has demonstrated a strong commitment to collaboration, and his leadership has been instrumental in bringing together diverse groups of individuals and organizations for the greater good. He has helped to advance many of the priorities of Landscape Ontario members, and his work has had a significant impact on the profession as a whole.
Tony continues to inspire and support students pursuing post-secondary education in the horticulture field. In 2003, the Tony DiGiovanni Scholarship Fund was launched and has since received generous contributions from more than 300 community members.
Tony's contributions extend far beyond Landscape Ontario. His work on the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute and his involvement with sitting on the Boards of Canadian Trees for Life and the Toronto Botanical Gardens are further examples of his dedication to the profession.
OALA Research & Innovation Award
This award recognizes scholarly activities and/or the development of innovative practices and the publication and dissemination of this knowledge for the betterment of the profession and the greater good. This may include: academic papers, research, publications, books, e-applications or public presentations, which contribute to the knowledge base that furthers the advancement of the art, science and practice of landscape architecture.
Brendan Stewart, OALA, CSLA
Brendan Stewart has been a full-time professor at the University of Guelph since 2017.
Brendan’s teaching and research as a professor in the landscape architecture programs, both in the undergraduate program and the master’s level program, focuses on cultural landscapes and community design.
Brendan is a leader of the plazaPOPS program, a community-led, high impact, and low cost, process that transforms parking lots into free and accessible gathering places. The program seeks to support and enhance the vibrant communities and businesses that already characterize Toronto's inner suburbs. In addition, Brendan has received several SSHRC grants to fund this program and was awarded $1 million by the Federal government in June 2021.
Brendan brings his research passion into the classroom where he teaches courses on community design and incorporates plazaPOPs design into the studio and community engagement.
Fadi Masoud’s innovative research as a professor in the Master of Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Toronto has addressed critical issues at all scales, including the global climate crisis and social equity and justice concerns. His applied research work and creative practice have resulted in numerous publications, exhibitions, and collaborative research design projects with government agencies and international research institutes.
Fadi has built a new interdisciplinary research network with several faculties and research centres within the University of Toronto and other academic institutions at home and abroad. His work has secured over $500,000 in grants in funding to advance landscape research, and he has trained over 30 MLA students as research assistants.
Fadi’s founding of the Platform for Resilient Urbanism (PRU) lab at the Daniels Faculty in 2018, which focused on climate adaptation and resilient cities, is a testament to his commitment to advancing the role of landscape architects in addressing the global climate crisis. His collaborations with government agencies and research institutes such as the University of Pennsylvania's Ian McHarg Center, MIT Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism, and the University of Toronto Centre for Climate Science and Engineering have further solidified his position as a thought leader in the field of landscape architecture.
His many publications, policy reports, and presentations at universities and scholarly conferences worldwide have inspired others to join in the effort to address critical issues facing our cities. Fadi’s work has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on the field of landscape architecture and will continue to do so for generations to come.
OALA Award for Community Service to the Environment
This public outreach award recognizes and encourages special or unusual contributions for culturally sensitive and inclusive, sustainable design solutions leading to the improvement of environmental health, community livability and human interaction in the environment. The award may also recognize work that contributes to addressing climate change and supports nature-based solutions.
Plenty Canada is an Indigenous not-for-profit organization committed to reconciliation through the cross-cultural protection of nature. Their mission is to facilitate access to and share resources with Indigenous peoples and other community groups around the world in support of their environmental protection and sustainable development goals. Plenty Canada is dedicated to Indigenous cultural revitalization, and the building of cultural capacity within communities.
Recent environmental stewardship projects in the areas of Ecological Forestry, Indigenous Knowledge include: Greenbelt Plant Survey, New role as the management organization for the UNESCO Biosphere Designation of the Niagara Escarpment and the Reconciliation and Climate Change Planting partnership.
The Carl Borgstrom Award for Service to the Environment
The award recognizes an OALA member who practices in an environmentally, socially, culturally and economically sensitive and sustainable manner. Ecologically sound and sustainable design does not preclude aesthetically beautiful work, nor vice versa, and this award is intended to recognize such efforts.
Sibylle von Knobloch, OALA, CSLA
With over forty years of experience in landscape architecture, urban design, community planning, and project management, Sibylle von Knobloch has made significant contributions to the profession and left her mark on the urban landscape of Toronto.
As a Principal of NAK Design Group Inc., Sibylle has led the design of numerous urban landscapes, public parks, and large multi-use developments that promote sustainable design strategies and stewardship.
Two specific projects demonstrate Sibylle’s intent to include environmentally sensitive and sustainable strategies in the design. Both Clover Hill Park and Gibson Park, demonstrate her intent to maintain the site's natural assets while providing a lush reprieve for the community. The incorporation of Low-Impact Development (LID) techniques in Gibson Park is a significant design feature that provides stormwater management and improved natural habitat.
Sibylle has received numerous awards and citations for her work throughout the GTA, most notably from BILD, CSLA, and various Urban Design Awards from municipalities. She has been a member of the Toronto Urban Design Review Committee and the Mississauga Urban Design Advisory Panel.
Sibylle's work embodies a high standard of integrity for the profession, continually promoting ecological and well-being within the public sphere.
The Jack Copeland Award for OALA Associate Leadership and Contribution
This award recognizes the outstanding leadership, and contribution of an associate member for going above and beyond to assist fellow associates.
Khatereh Baharikhoob has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and commitment to the profession through her volunteerism within OALA. As a current member of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Task Force, Khatereh has played a pivotal role in advancing the CSLA + OALA/MALA associations' JEDI Initiative. Her commitment to this project has been unwavering, from assisting in reviewing/drafting the RFP for a JEDI-focused consultancy to participating in meaningful conversations with fellow Task Force members.
Khatereh is an active mentor, guest speaker, and review critic at the University of Guelph's BLA Program. She provides ongoing mentorship to multiple students and new MLA graduates, encouraging them to attend OALA webinars and conferences and expand their networks with professional landscape architects in the organization.
Khatereh also offers her time to meet with new graduates to discuss opportunities to succeed in the landscape architecture profession and the value of giving back to the community through advocacy and voluntarism.
The David Erb Memorial Award
This prestigious award is named for an outstanding volunteer of the OALA, David Erb. His volunteer services to the Association furthered the goals of the OALA and set a truly high standard for his exemplary work. This award is the best way to acknowledge an outstanding OALA member whose volunteer contributions over several years have made a real difference to the association and its members.
This award recognizes a Full Member of the OALA who has shown outstanding volunteerism over the years and contributed to furthering the goals and strategic plan of the OALA while making a real difference to the association and its members.
Eric Conway, OALA, CSLA
For several years, Eric Conway has been an active member of OALA and the Southwest Chapter. He was a valuable team player assisting in the organization and programming of both the 2020 conference, which was canceled due to COVID restrictions, and the joint conference with OPPI held in London in September 2022.
As a key contributor to the Southwest Chapter, Eric is always looking for ways to ensure that the chapter is engaging with the London community, as well as across the region.
Eric’s volunteerism extends beyond OALA. He is also an active member of the CSLA Committee on Climate Adaptation Municipal Roundtable. As part of this committee, Eric organized the 2022 session in London featuring London’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.
Behind Eric’s calm and respectful demeanor is a passionate practitioner who is always eager to learn, focused on achieving the highest quality results and, works diligently to ensure all voices are heard and credited.
Ryan James, OALA, CSLA
Ryan James is an influential leader, both within OALA and the Landscape Architecture Ottawa (LAO) chapter. Ryan volunteers his time to benefit not just OALA and its members, but also the National Capital Region and various community groups. His involvement and accomplishments are extensive and far-reaching.
Ryan has been an active member of the Social Committee since 2018 and is responsible for brainstorming ideas for events and organizing key annual events such as the skating event at Rideau Hall, the summer social, and the holiday social.
As Chair of the LAO, Ryan has gone above and beyond by being the first point of contact for local agencies and municipalities when they need to communicate with local landscape architects and the Association.
Ryan is a strong champion of the Practice Act and supports OALA's pursuit by attending local events where government leaders of all levels are present to spread awareness and garner support for the Act. He has attended several events, including the 2022 AMO Conference and the Canadian Club of Ottawa's event All Hands On Deck: Building an Ontario that Works for Everyone with keynote speaker Hon. Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.
Ryan’s extensive involvement in OALA and LAO is a clear indication of his commitment to the landscape architecture profession.
OALA Public Practice Award
This award acknowledges the outstanding leadership of a member of the profession in public service who promotes and enhances landscape architecture by working for improved understanding and appreciation of the work of landscape architects in both public and private practice. The award may be given to an individual in recognition of a specific project, or for a body of work or for exemplary leadership or advocacy.
Stephen O'Bright, OALA, CSLA
Stephen O’Bright is a highly accomplished landscape architect and a certified engineering technologist. He has been involved with OALA for many years, serving in various roles including liaison representative with the Ontario Parks Association, elected Executive Councillor - Secretary, Chairman of the Examination Board, Examination Board member, and on both the Communications and Tutorial committees. He is also the 2002 David Erb Award recipient.
Stephen’s impressive portfolio of work is extensive and includes projects like the Colonel Samuel Smith Park Skating Trail, Bobbie Rosenfeld Park, Massey Harris Park, The Franklin Children's Garden, Toronto Island Park - Centre Island Water Play, Garrison Crossing, Parkway Forest Community Centre, June Callwood Park, Roy Halladay Field, Courthouse Square and most recently implementing the Bathurst Quay Waterfront Park and Plaza, just to name a few.
The delivery of the Village of Yorkville Park is shining example of Stephen's ability to work with a range of stakeholders, landscape architects and contractors to deliver a complex, high-quality award winning park and cornerstone of Toronto's downtown public realm.
Stephen’s understanding and appreciation of Toronto’s cultural, architectural, archeological and natural heritage has created opportunities to deliver vibrant active amenities that balance functional design with operational requirements. This is an instrumental part of a complex design process - helping to make the "impossible"- "possible" while navigating the intricacies of working within a municipal environment and ultimately elevating the public understanding of how landscape architecture shapes our cities.
Robert Duguid, OALA, CSLA
Robert Duguid is a highly skilled landscape architect who has shaped Toronto's public realm for over 30 years.
Robert is known for his attention to detail and excellence in project delivery, which he has demonstrated in a diverse range of projects, including environmental sustainability, master planning, urban design, cultural landscapes, and waterfront revitalization.
His extensive portfolio includes projects such as Riverdale Farm, Allan Gardens, Corktown Common & park system, Woodbine Park, Canoe Landing Park, HTO Park, Roundhouse Park, Vermont Square, Lisgar Square, Bellevue Square, Wychwood Park & Barns, Liberty Village Park, Don Valley Brickworks, Sugar Beach and the revitalized Berczy Park. However, one of his most notable projects is the award-winning Toronto Music Garden on the Central Waterfront.
Robert’s expertise, professionalism and understated project management approach has influenced and touched many colleagues and professionals alike. His portfolio showcases the integrity of his project delivery and his attention to detail speaks volumes for itself.
OALA President's Award
This award is given in recognition of the contributions of an OALA Full member who supports and advances initiatives and actions of the Association and promotes the profession of landscape architecture in the province of Ontario.
Jane Welsh, OALA, FCSLA
With over 30 years of experience, Jane Welsh has made significant contributions in planning and analysis, research, communication, and design throughout her career.
As President of the OALA for 3 years, Jane has given countless hours to promote and advance the profession of landscape architecture in Ontario. She has conducted in-person meetings with leaders at all levels of government, providing position papers and advocating for the profession during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jane's style of working with others to understand different points of view and collaborate has contributed to successful policy and project outcomes.
Jane's exemplary contribution is illustrated by her work and leadership on various projects, including the newly amalgamated City of Toronto's first ravine bylaw, the Green Roof bylaw, a world-class municipal green building standard, and the City of Toronto's first Environmental Plan. Her current leadership role in the 2022 Municipal Comprehensive Review of environmental policies in the Official Plan is another example of her commitment to environmental sustainability.
As chair of the CSLA Committee on Climate Adaptation, Jane is leading discussions on promoting opportunities to mitigate deterioration in local and global climates and advancing instruments and tools that will assist in preparatory and adaptive planning for environmental change. Her article on climate change was featured in Municipal World Magazine, positioning her as an authority on the landscape architect's role in combating climate change through resilience, adaptation, and mitigation efforts.
Jane is a true champion for our profession, advocating for inclusivity and diversity in the public realm. She is an effective and active voice for the profession, and her multidisciplinary approach to design reflects her commitment to sustainability and environmental protection.