Welcome to the new OALA website! Please click here to read the FAQ
Bloor-Annex BIA Parkettes - DTAH, Toronto, ON

Notes: A miscellany of news and events

art trail
Experience nature, storytelling, and public art while you explore Prince Edward County’s Millennium Trail, in Conescon, Ontario, with Walking With Thunder.

DeRAIL Platform for Art + Architecture (co-founded and co-curated by landscape architect and frequent Ground contributor Victoria Taylor) and artistic company The Department of Illumination (artistic director Krista Dalby) have teamed-up to activate the “dynamic, linear landscape of the PEC Millennium Trail,” from now until May 2021.

Hear storytelling from writer/creator Conrad Beaubien (with his 12-year-old donkey, Thunder, along for the walk); take in live music and site-specific art, and celebrate the coming of spring with a celebratory bike parade where people will be provided with materials to turn their rides into “fantastical creatures.” All socially-distanced and COVID-safe.

There’s an associated GoFundMe effort to “financially assist artists, artisans, field naturalists, and others established in their practices to creatively invent opportunities for small, safe, and welcoming gatherings in studios, work settings, and the out-of-doors.”

For more information, check out derailart.com.

Walking With Thunder Chapter 2: Upon a Bridge, 11 November 2020, Walking With Thunder by Conrad Beaubien. IMAGE/Natalie Stone, for \\DeRAIL 2020
Prince Edward County Millennium Trail, site research, Consecon Lake, August 2020. IMAGE/Bailey Austin-Macmillan, for \\DeRAIL
Walking With Thunder Chapter 2: Upon a Bridge, 11 November 2020, Walking With Thunder by Conrad Beaubien. IMAGE/ Natalie Stone, for ====\\DeRAIL 2020

public realm
In 2019, the parking lot of the Wexford Heights strip mall in Toronto’s Scarborough borough was transformed into an activated public space, for six summer weeks. The project was called WexPOPS, a pilot intended to realize the philosophy of plazaPOPS.

Ground readers will recall a feature about plazaPOPS in our Spring 2020 “Access” issue, all about the goal of turning private parking into temporary public spaces. A year after the WexPOPS pilot, the minds behind the project have released a beautiful video about it, as well as a summary report. The report shares the discoveries that came from the project, including its role as a social, economic, and environmental driver for the host community.

This summer, in response to the pandemic, we’ve all been forced to reimagine how we allocate space—especially public space—and plazaPOPS and the ideas behind it are an excellent model for addressing the immediate needs of COVID-19, and establishing healthy public space, indefinitely.

You can view the plazaPOPS video and read the summary report at plazapops.ca.

The crowd at WexPOPS. IMAGE/ Kat Rizza
Aerial photo of WexPOPS. IMAGE/ Triple Pointe Media
Summary Report Cover. IMAGE/Courtesy of Brendan Stewart

The 2021 CSLA-OALA Congress is going virtual for the first time in the history of the event. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this spring, you’ll be able to attend the congress from the comfort of your own home.

The accessible online program will offer education, engagement, and networking opportunities with landscape architects from across the country.

This year’s theme will be Nature-Based Solutions: The Green Recovery that Ensures a Great Recovery, with keynote speakers Martha Schwartz and Maude Barlow.

It all takes place May 27-29, 2021. For more information, go to www.csla-aapc.ca/events/2021congress.

equity resources
In the hopes of promoting diversity, equity, and understanding, Ground will be sharing resources for supporting, encouraging, and celebrating racial justice in the landscape architecture field. Here are a few selections:

Black, Disabled and at Risk: The Overlooked Problem of Police Violence Against Americans with Disabilities, by Abigail Abrams, Time Magazinetime.com/5857438/police-violence-black-disabled/.

“Intersectionality was first coined to emphasize the importance of including voices of Black women in feminism, and emphasizing how Black women are repressed on a different scale under this lens. In a time where we are reckoning for the lives lost due to violence against Black people at the hands of the police, it’s important to view the other aspects at play. People with disabilities are a high percentage of Black lives lost to police violence. This article helps to articulate the challenges faced to this intersection, and suggestions for how these tragedies can be avoided in the future. As designers of public spaces, we must design these spaces through the eyes of people of colour and people with disabilities. We must create spaces and communities that are safe for Black and disabled citizens to exist independently and without harm.” —   Sarah Manteuffel, former OALA Coordinator and Ground Editorial Board Member

National Association of Minority Landscape Architects: www.nationalamla.org
“In order to design more diverse and inclusive public spaces, it is imperative that we confront existing and longstanding barriers that have disproportionately kept Black, Indigenous, and people of colour from studying and practicing landscape architecture. The National Association of Minority Landscape Architects (NAMLA) is an American based organization that works towards ‘…increasing minority representation at all levels of landscape architecture practice and academia.’ They do this by providing academic and career advice, amplifying the voices of existing minority landscape architects, and confronting systemic and structural racism and its impacts on landscape architecture and the designed environment. In December 2020, NAMLA launched a quarterly mini scholarship series open to all landscape architecture students.” — Saira Abdulrehman

If you’d like to go deeper, the CSLA is providing a Diversity & Equality Resources page on their website: www.csla-aapc.ca/mission-areas/diversity-equality-resources.

The Ontario Provincial Government, with Bill 229, is making changes to the Conservation Authorities Act. These changes will allow the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to overrule local conservation authorities, through what’s known as a Minister’s Zoning Order. It’s a move that has caused concern, not only with the conservation authorities themselves, but with many activists, professionals, and organizations that take the stewardship of Ontario’s natural habitats as a primary concern. This includes the OALA, and the Association has written to the Ontario Government to reconsider the move in a December 8th letter: “Landscape architects work closely with conservation authorities in the restoration of forests and wetlands, in planning for human access that is mindful of fragile ecosystems, and in the sensitive design of the land to prevent and mitigate extreme weather hazards. As a profession, we depend on the science-based expertise and legal authority of the conservation authority to issue permits for filling, changing grade, or building within a regulated area based upon the most advanced engineering modeling and geotechnical assessment.

The proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act introduced in Bill 229 would allow the Minister to overturn a science-based conservation authority decision. The proposed changes to the Planning Act would remove the ability of a conservation authority to have party status at an LPAT hearing where a proposed development could result in flooding or erosion or impact the conservation of natural areas.”

The bill in question passed third reading, but the OALA continues to object to Ministerial override of conservation authorities, as well as the removal of those bodies as parties at the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal.

new members
The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects is proud to recognize and welcome the following new members to the Association:
Nick Assad Daniel Beauchesne *
Katie Black *
Lee Ann Bobrowski
Wm Jeffrey Cock Katey Crawford *
Rebecca Embrett
Misha Franta
Isabelle Giasson
Mark Hillmer
Catherine Jay
Kaila Johnson *
Simon Latam *
Lindsey McCain
Aaron Mills
Edward Moynihan
Shahrzad Nezafati *Elnaz Sanati
Karen Shlemkevich
Lucie St-Pierre
Marie-France Turgeon
Matthew Williams

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