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Notes: A miscellany of news and events


The Laneway Project recently launched the new Toronto Laneway Map, a unique tool to enable laneway lovers around Toronto and beyond to get to know this layer of the urban fabric. Along with including foundational information needed to successfully analyze a laneway and plan its revitalization, the map has an interactive layer that people can populate with their own completed or in-progress revitalization projects. To view the map, visit www.thelanewayproject.ca/torontolanewaymap/.

Toronto Laneway Map. IMAGE/ Courtesy of The Laneway Project

A number of recently published books have come to the attention of Ground and may be of interest to landscape architects. The Humane Gardener (Princeton Architectural Press), by Nancy Lawson, describes how to welcome wildlife to our landscapes and applies broad lessons of ecology to our designed outdoor spaces. Urban Gardening as Politics (Routledge), edited by Chiara Tornaghi and Chiara Certomà, investigates and reflects on the complex and sometimes contradictory nature of community gardens and urban agriculture initiatives, and questions the degree to which these projects address social inequality and injustice. Integrating Food into Urban Planning, edited by Yves Cabannes and Cecilia Marocchino, was recently published by UCL Press and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) as an open access book that can be downloaded for free from: http://bit.ly/2TyaqYFGardening with Emma(Storey Publishing) is written by 13-year-old Torontonian Emma Biggs (with her father, also a garden writer, Steven Biggs) and is a kid-friendly guide to growing healthy food and unusual plants. Trees of Power: Ten Essential Arboreal Allies (Chelsea Green Publishing), written by tree farmer Akiva Silver, is an in-depth guide to planting, propagation, culture, and ecology of some of our most important tree species. A Trail Called Home: Tree Stories from the Golden Horseshoe (to be published in May 2019 by Dundurn Press), written by landscape designer and native plant expert Paul O’Hara, is an eloquent mix of botany, history, and memoir, grounded in the landscape of southern Ontario and the magnificent trees of the Golden Horseshoe. The award-winning book Big Lonely Doug (House of Anansi Press), by Harley Rustad, weaves the ecology of old-growth forests, politics, and culture with the story of a logger who saved one of Canada’s last great trees. And finally, Escape to Reality (Nimbus Publishing), co-written by father and son team Mark Cullen and Ben Cullen, explores how the world is changing gardening, and how gardening is changing the world.

Paul O’Hara’s forthcoming book, A Trail Called Home, explores the natural history of the Greater Toronto Area and tells many stories about the trees of the region. IMAGE/ Courtesy of Dundurn Press
public space

A newly formed organization called Ontario Place for All is working to keep Ontario Place publicly accessible, based on the principles that any changes to the site must acknowledge the waterfront’s Indigenous heritage; maintain Ontario Place as part of Toronto’s waterfront park system; be integrated with the revitalization of Exhibition Place; and celebrate Ontario. Find the group on Instagram at @ontarioplace4all.


A recently released report, The Toronto Ravines Study: 1977-2017, summarizes a three-year citizen-science effort to survey biodiversity in the Toronto ravines. The report notes that, in the past 40 years, the biodiversity and ecological health of Toronto’s ravines has declined to a critical level and is now likely on the edge of ecological collapse. The report is available at torontoravines.org.


Grow Op, an annual exhibition on urbanism, landscape, and contemporary art, will be held at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto from April 18-21, 2019. Celebrating its seventh year, the theme for this year’s exhibition is “Energy.” For more information, visit www.gladstonehotel.com.

new members

The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects is proud to recognize and welcome the following new members to the Association:

  • James Collins
  • Stephanie Pavan
  • Jordan Vander Klok
  • Sonja Vangjeli*

Asterisk (*) denotes Full Members without the use of professional seal.

in memoriam

Harold Van Stiphout
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Harold Van Stiphout, OALA, at age 66, after a tough and courageous battle with Multiple System Atrophy, a rare form of Parkinsons.

Harold was a highly regarded Senior Associate of NAK Design Strategies for 30 years until his retirement in August 2017. He joined NAK at its inception, previously working as a landscape architect with JSW + Associates in Toronto and Edmonton (HJSW). Harold’s leadership and extensive breadth of knowledge contributed greatly to the growth of NAK throughout his career there, where he was well known within the industry for his professionalism, technical expertise, and insistence on quality.

Harold specialized in detailed design, contract law, contract administration, and construction best practices, and his dedication was fundamental to the success of a vast array of projects, large and small, which have won numerous awards over his extensive career. His landscape architectural and urban design work included municipal parks and squares, open space systems, environmental design, residential communities, zoos, and commercial centres. A few of his most notable projects are Mount Pleasant Village Community & Civic Square, Bramalea City Centre, Gage Park, Berczy Village, Lakelands Community, and Mel Lastman Square. Harold worked passionately to build communities where thousands of families now live, work, learn, and play. The award-winning public open spaces he designed across the province leave a legacy that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Throughout his career, Harold has served as a mentor for countless staff at NAK who have gone on to rewarding careers in the industry and regard Harold as instrumental in providing them with the foundation for success.

His knowledge, dedication, generosity, humility, and humour will be greatly missed.

Harold Van Stiphout. IMAGE/ Courtesy of Karen Van Stiphout

Park People’s upcoming conference, Heart of the City, will be held in Montreal from June 12-14, 2019. The theme is “Balance,” and the event will be an opportunity to learn from park volunteers, community groups, professionals, designers, and municipal staff about how our shared public spaces are often at the centre of important struggles. One of the keynote speakers is Rena Soutar, the first Reconciliation Planner at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. For more information, visit www.parkpeople.ca.

Park People’s 2017 Heart of the City conference was held in Calgary; the 2019 conference will be in Montreal, in June. IMAGE/ Courtesy of Park People