The legacy of COVID-19 will be how we managed to cope through quiet times, learned about our relationship with the natural world, and stayed alive—physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.
I became OALA President two years ago, in the middle of the pandemic, when being outdoors became vital. In this final message as President, I think on how lucky we are to live in Ontario, where nature is all around.
I’m proud to be among professionals who spearhead the creation and design of spaces that provide wellbeing for millions. And to share several of our accomplishments, including the development of the 2022 - 2026 Strategic Plan, built around five strategic intentions considered vital to achieving OALA’s five-year mission. In challenging times, membership has remained constant, which has solidified the financial position of the organization. And we have made important progress towards securing a Landscape Architect Practice Act.
Raising the profile
Since June of 2022, OALA has reached over 19 million Canadians with news and insights into our profession. On a provincial level, landscape architecture was featured in an opinion article, authored by council member Shawn Watters, in the Toronto Star and the Waterloo Region Record. Recently, associate member Gail Shillingford was interviewed on CTV News. We have also been featured in Canadian Architect Magazine, Municipal Word, Y Magazine, Building Magazine, and the Windsor Star.
Advocacy efforts continue to voice our position on issues including Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, proposed changes to the Greenbelt Plan, and the Ontario Place redevelopment.
We have met with key MPPs, creating momentum in our pursuit of a practice act. By the time you read this, we will have hosted a breakfast at Queen’s Park, creating an opportunity for members to meet MPPs and communicate the value landscape architects deliver to Ontario.
As I transition to the role of Past President, I will remain engaged as we review our bylaws to comply with legislation for non-profit organizations. I look forward working with our new president and a smooth transition of leadership. I am proud to have served as President, and believe together we have elevated the profile of the profession, and hopefully inspired fellow members and others.
STEVE BARNHART, OALA, CSLA