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A miscellany of news and events

living cities
Green Communities Canada (whose members contributed the “Depave Paradise” article in this issue), have developed a resource that should be valuable for many OALA members and placemakers. “The Pathways to Living Cities Framework” is a collection of strategies, best practices, and case studies aimed to help people interested in building climate-resistant, sustainable, and livable green infrastructure in communities across Canada. You can find the framework on their website at greencommunitiescanada.org.

The Pathways to Living Cities Framework artwork. IMAGE/ Courtesy of Green Communities Canada


There have been multiple protests over both changes to the Greenbelt Plan and Bill 23 across the province, including one in Prince Edward County in front of the office of Progressive Conservative MPP and Minister of Energy Todd Smith. The protest was organized by the education/advocacy group Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, and saw municipal representatives, activists, and OALA member and frequent Ground contributor Victoria Taylor. In an Instagram post about the protest, Taylor writes, “Destroying wetlands and allowing development in Ontario’s Greenbelt is not the way to address the affordable housing issue.”

Bill 23 protest in Prince Edward County. IMAGE/ Victoria Taylor

Bill 23 protest in Prince Edward County. IMAGE/ Victoria Taylor

Bill 23 protest in Prince Edward County. IMAGE/ Victoria Taylor

Bill 23 protest in Prince Edward County. IMAGE/ Victoria Taylor


In December, OALA joined the growing number of people and organizations who are concerned about the fate of Ontario’s Greenbelt Plan, in the wake of recent provincial legislation. Doug Ford’s provincial government intends to give over land designated as part of the Greenbelt to housing development—farmland and natural habitats in Southern Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe that have, for years, been protected by legislation as a way to preserve agriculture and important ecosystems and watersheds, and combat climate change and suburban sprawl. OALA’s chief concerns and questions about this plan include:
– the scientific criteria and rationale for the land removal identified
– impacts on natural functions and sustainability
– impacts on finite resources and sprawl

While OALA stated in a December 2 letter the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing that it appreciates efforts to tackle the ongoing housing affordability crisis in Ontario, it warns “the Association believes, in the absence of knowing the science behind the Province’s proposed changes to the Greenbelt Plan, that removal of areas from the policy area could have significant long term environmental consequences. Without this information and while other housing and development options exist, including urban infill options, we cannot support the proposed changes and loss of land in the protected Greenbelt area.”

OALA hopes to be provided with the necessary missing information it outlined, and to have a continuing, healthy and productive dialogue with the provincial government.


In related news, OALA has also provided advocacy concerning provincial legislation called the “More Homes Built Faster Act,” or Bill 23, a housing bill which aims to amend the “Municipal Act,” the “City of Toronto Act,” the “Conservation Authorities Act,” “The Planning Act,” and many more, in the name of fast-tracking new housing developments.

The first area of concern identified in a November 15 OALA letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is the removal site plan control from any building with fewer than 10 units. The concern being this amendment weakens design excellence and contributes to a reduction in quality of life, health and safety, and environmental sustainability.

Also of concern to the Association is the bill’s stripping of municipalities’ responsibility for parkland dedication, the timing and location of these green spaces, and leaving it in developers’ hands. Reducing Conservation Authorities’ role in preserving natural habitats and important watersheds is also something OALA worries will limit our ability to foster resilience in the face of climate change and the associated devastating climate events like flooding.

The letter adds, “our members remain concerned Bill 23, as currently proposed, will have consequences which threaten the important matters of health, safety, and well-being of our communities, our environment, and our future.”

equity resources

In the hopes of promoting diversity, equity, and understanding, Ground is sharing resources for supporting, encouraging, and celebrating racial justice in the landscape architecture field. Here is one selection.

“How To: do no harm,” Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2022 Residency
“‘How To: do no harm’ is an online publication produced as a final synthesis of ideas explored during the Canadian Centre for Architecture annual “How To” residency in summer 2022. The residency took place over an intensive three-week period, both remote and in Montreal, and brought together an international group of participants working and studying in fields related to architecture, landscape architecture, and design. The publication takes the form of a fictional diary, tracing a possible (and relatable) career trajectory of an architect (or landscape architect) from student to late-career professional. The diary explores the ‘world of hurt’ in the architecture profession—touching on issues, both overt and insidious, related to working conditions, environmental impacts, racism, sexism, classism, and so on. The weaving together of these complex relationships through a first person account allows for these topics, which can be often overwhelming, to be easily digested in a relatable and accessible way. The publication asks important, difficult questions, and provokes honest self-reflection for anyone working in the fields of architecture and landscape architecture, while also offering possibilities for agency and repair.”
— Sarah MacLean, OALA, landscape architect  and Ground Magazine Editorial Board member.

If you’d like to go deeper, the CSLA is providing a Diversity & Equity Resources Page on their website.


Innate Terrain, edited by Alissa North, OALA, is a new book published December 2022 by the University of Toronto Press. The book “addresses the varied perceptions of Canada’s natural terrain, framing the discussion in the context of landscapes designed by Canadian landscape architects. This edited collection draws on contemporary works to theorize a distinct approach practiced by Canadian landscape architects from across the country.”

A host of landscape architect practitioners and scholars, including Indigenous people or those working within Indigenous communities, contribute a series of essays about how the distinct terrain found across the country is inextricably linked to landscape architecture and related practices in Canada. You can find a copy at utorontopress.com.

Innate Terrain. IMAGE/ Alissa North, OALA, Courtesy of the University of Toronto Press

snow day

On Friday February 3, 2023, from 8:00 a.m. To 5:00 p.m, the annual OALA ski day fundraiser returns!

It’s not just skiing, which is why we are calling it Family Snow Day at the Alpine Ski Club in Collingwood. Bring your family, friends, and fellow landscape architects for a choice of winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding (including lessons), ice skating, guided or self-guided snowshoeing, a ski race, and support the Universities of Guelph and Toronto.

You don’t even have to drive: ride with your colleagues and friends on the UNILOCK School Bus! Check oala.ca/events for registration details.

Family Snow & Ski Day. IMAGE/ Courtesy of the OALA


We are excited for OALA Executive Director Aina Budrevics, who went on maternity leave as of December 9. Congratulations! We will miss you while you’re on leave, but we know you’ll be spending valuable time with your new arrival. Aina plans to return in January 2024.

We are also saying hello to Richard Stamper, who will be fulfilling the role of OALA Administrator (part-time) in Aina’s absence. Richard has contributed to small businesses in financial, marketing, and senior management roles for over thirty years across several industries, including sports licensing and merchandising, apparel, and member-based associations. In his most recent role as Executive Director of Technology Accreditation Canada, Richard lead the organization’s growth from eight accredited programs to one hundred seventy-five in his five-plus years. Richard values family time, an active lifestyle, and the many cultural festivals Toronto offers.

If you would like to reach out to Richard you can reach him at the following e-mail: [email protected].

Richard Stamper (left) and Aina Budrevics (Right). IMAGE/ Courtesy of the OALA


The work and effort OALA volunteers bring to the association is immeasurable. In this day and age, time is a rare commodity and your contribution is greatly appreciated.

In recognition of the 2022 OALA volunteer efforts, the Association has made a $2,000 donation to a group that originated as a cohort of Master of Landscape Architecture students at the University of Guelph. The group formed One Bench One Tree—where a single native tree is planted, physically distanced two metres from the bench, as a token of appreciation to the front-line workers during COVID-19.

Additionally, we thought what better way to formally recognize OALA volunteers’ efforts than on National Volunteer Day, April 20, 2023? With that in mind, stay tuned for Volunteer Appreciation Day in April, knowing that One Bench One Tree is recognized because you are paying it forward, and acknowledgment of your contribution is on its way.

new members

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

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