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Harbourfront Centre at York Quay - Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

Notes: A miscellany of news and events

black lives matter
“As landscape architects, we have the power to design places that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Insensitive design without those values can do harm to Black, Indigenous, and other racialized people in Canada.

Recent events have made it clear to us that ignoring voices, including those of Black communities, creates pain and frustration that may ultimately impact the social aspect of the places and spaces that we create. It reminds us that, as an Association and as an industry, we haven’t always got it right, and have a long way to go. We can and will do better.

We are committed to ensuring this conversation continues past the current news cycle and results in meaningful proactive action. But we will work on it together with the support and engagement of our members. The work of the OALA depends on the energy of its volunteers and we need your help to take this on.”

Be on the lookout for a new book by OALA member Walter Kehm. Toronto’s Accidental Wilderness: The Origin and Ecology of Tommy Thompson Park will explore how this beloved park and sanctuary went from a pile of rubble stretching out into Lake Ontario into a globally recognized landscape. The book will explore issues greenspace design and urban ecology from the perspective of the parks master plan and design principles. You can pre-order the book at Amazon.ca.

Accidental Wilderness cover. IMAGE/ Robert Burley

open streets
An exciting development during the pandemic is that local governments across Ontario have been creating new spaces to safely walk, cycle, and exercise.

The need to be able to social distance on public streets, as well as the need for alternative modes of transport to public transportation, has led to municipalities getting creative about implementing active transportation programs.

In Toronto, under the ActiveTO banner, huge sections of the Lakeshore and Bayview Avenue have been closed to car traffic on certain days. The result has been tens of thousands of cyclists and pedestrians making use of the newly-minted (albeit temporary) public spaces.

open beaches
Torontonians looking to beat the heat can now access many of the city’s waterfront refuges. On June 22, beaches like Bluffer’s, Cherry/Clarke, Kew-Balmy, Marie Curtis Park East, Sunnyside, and Woodbine all opened to the public.

On June 27, ferry service opened to non-Toronto Island residents, and July 1st saw the Centre Island, Gibralter Point, Hanlan’s Point, and Ward Island beaches once again ready for visitors.

There have been concerns about overcrowding, and the two-meter physical distancing bylaw is still in place in public parks or squares for people who do not belong to the same household. There have also been complaints of crowds leaving large amounts of garbage behind. Please be proactive in taking care of these spaces, and choose your visits wisely, and avoid a possible $1,000 fine.

Elsewhere, in Kingston, Breakwater Beach, Gord Downie Pier, Grass Creek Park, and Richardson Beach all opened in time for Canada Day.

csla news
The OALA congratulates 2020-2021 CSLA President-Elect Carolyn Woodland, OALA, FCSLA! Carolyn started her term as President Elect at the June CSLA AGM. For more information including Carolyn’s statement, please visit: csla-aapc.ca/society/president-elect-statement-2020-election/.

Carolyn Woodland, OALA, FCSLA. IMAGE/ Courtesy of the CSLA

ppe printing
The printing service Ground relies on, Flash Reproductions, has been open for business throughout the pandemic. Without them, these pages would not be in readers’ hands. But, far more importantly, Flash has also gone to work using its resources to produce plastic face shields for healthcare workers. As Flash said in an email, “if we’re an essential business then we better make ourselves essential.” The effort is called Operation Canadian Shield, and you can donate to the cause by searching that name on GoFundMe.com.

Protective masks. IMAGES/ Courtesy of Flash Reproductions
Protective masks. IMAGES/ Courtesy of Flash Reproductions

main streets
The Bring Back Main Street initiative has launched a Main Street Design Challenge. The initiative is a national research and advocacy coalition, spearheaded by the Canadian Urban Institute. CUI, in conjunction with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada is calling on all Canadian resident place-makers to submit to the challenge their ideas for “innovative, responsible, sustainable, and resilient design solutions for Canadian Main Streets that can be implemented during the recovery and post-pandemic.”

Submissions opened June 22nd, and there are multiple deadlines between July 17th and September 18th. Successful submissions with be included in a playbook, to be published on World Architecture Day, October 5, 2020.

You can find out about the design challenge at bringbackmainstreet.ca.

Rue Ste-Catherine, Montreal, Quebec. IMAGE/ Courtesy of the Canadian Urban Institute
Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario/ IMAGE/ Courtesy of the Canadian Urban Institute

ecological cities
The International Landscape Collaborative and Ryerson University are partnering for a two-day symposium and field trip for professionals, academics, and organizations to share experiences devising nature-based solutions to issues like climate change and urban growth. The event is planned for May 2021, and you can look to register here: landscape-collaborative.org/summit.html. Also, fill out the ILC’s Design Climate Survey at surveygizmo.com/s3/5215944/Design-Climate-Survey.

Landscape Collaborative symposium. IMAGE/ Courtesy of the International Landscape Collaborative

new members
The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects is proud to recognize and welcome the following new members to the Association:
Jasmeen Kaur Bains
Alasandro Bartolo
Alexander Cassini
Constantina Douvris
Rebecca Egger
Rachael Fitkowski
Cory Gray
Debra Guenther
Mark Hillmer*
Gregg Kahan
Katherine Kaari Kitawi*
Mansoor Ma*
Karen May
Yogeshwar Navagrah
Laura Orlando
Kyoung Bae Park
Heather Anne Schibli
Zachary Wolochatiuk
Grace Yang
Yingyi Zhao*

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

farewell sarah
After nearly five years of serving members, the OALA is saying goodbye to Coordinator Sarah Manteuffel who will be starting her Masters of City Planning at the University of Manitoba this fall. Sarah has been essential to the organization, as well as to Ground Magazine, and we’ll miss her. We’re truly grateful for the contributions she’s made to advance the association and are excited for her new endeavours!