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The Ring - CCxA

President’s Message

Celebrating 50 years of landscape architecture in Ontario

A legacy can be defined as something handed down from the past, as from a predecessor; something that exists as a result of what has happened at an earlier time.

Over the past 50 years, the profession of landscape architecture and the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) have grown. After starting with 43 founding members, we now represent 1,800 professionals. We are proud to be continuing the legacy of many dedicated professionals who are designers, master planners, policy makers, teachers, researchers, and thought leaders. Ron Williams’ compilation of some of the most significant and influential landscape designs in the past half-century gives a small indication of the incredible impact landscape architects have had in shaping Ontario’s environment.

The OALA has also matured in the past 50 years. In 1984, we successfully achieved the enactment of Bill Pr37–An Act respecting the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects. This Act, introduced in April of 1984 by Margaret Scrivener, MPP for the downtown Toronto riding of St. David, who, fittingly, was a prominent figure in the struggle to preserve Toronto’s ravines from development, was given Royal Assent on May 29, 1984. This Title Act strengthened and clearly defined our role as professionals. I graduated just a few years after this Act was passed, and I saw how recognition of the “landscape architecture” name drew attention to the importance of our work and our level of professionalism.

In recognition of the important role MPP Scrivener played in advancing the profession of landscape architecture, she was awarded the OALA Honorary Member designation in 1989, the inaugural year of this award. Her son Paul Scrivener was our guest for the OALA’s 50th-anniversary conference and celebrations this past April.

Our association has matured to the point where another milestone is in sight. We are working towards becoming a self-regulated profession through a Practice Act. We are looking to work with all members of the new legislature and allied professionals to achieve this distinction.

As to the future, landscape architects may just be the heroes of the 21st century. As Craig Applegath, an architect and OALA Honorary Member, stated at the 2016 Grey to Green conference, “Landscape architects have the training, knowledge, tools, and wisdom to meet our century’s greatest challenge: adaptation to climate change and environmental regeneration.”

There has perhaps never been a time in which the profession of landscape architecture is more urgently needed. The public’s renewed awareness of the power of natural forces underlies the imperative of planning and redesigning our communities to address the future impacts of climate change.

People are counting on landscape architects to create place-based designs that integrate the dynamics of ecological forces as integral components of the landscape.

My hope for the future of landscape architecture is that these skills and abilities are recognized and utilized to make positive, lasting, and dynamic differences in a resilient and beautiful future world.

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