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The Ring - CCxA

Owen Scott (President 1971 - 1973)

In 1971, I was a relatively new faculty member in the School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph, four years out of graduate school, and the OALA was barely three years old. Although the CSLA had been established some 37 years earlier, the OALA didn’t exist as an entity until 1968. We were 77 members by 1971, an increase from the 43 members who founded the Association. The group consisted of some Canadians and a number of American and European landscape architects who had come to Ontario for the opportunities presented by this then fledgling profession, and stayed. The future lay in the 21 Associate Members, almost all recent University of Guelph and University of Toronto graduates, many of whom were to lead the Association and the profession in years to come. The Association had awarded honourary membership to 11 people, including my father Norman Scott, a horticulturist, who had been instrumental in assisting in the establishment of Canada’s first landscape architectural program at the University of Guelph and lobbying for a Landscape Architects Act in the 1970s. The OALA had two Vice-Presidents to recognize the major geographic areas of practice, Toronto and Ottawa. Steve Moorhead was Toronto VP and Dieter Gruenwoldt was Ottawa VP.

1971 marked a major shift in the way that landscape architects were represented in Canada by their professional associations. The CSLA became the umbrella organization and the provincial associations became components of the CSLA. To facilitate the change, we rewrote the by-laws and those became the basic by-laws that continue to govern our organization today.

The November 30, 1972 Council meeting minutes recorded that I had met with Ontario Solicitor-General Dalton Bales to present a draft Landscape Architect Act and that his staff would be reviewing it in the near future. It wouldn’t be until 12 years later, in 1984, that Bill Pr37 was passed. To some of us, the recent efforts toward achieving a landscape architect practice act seem like a déjà vu of the work undertaken by the Association during those years.

1972 marked the first annual CSLA Congress, held in Vancouver. In 1973, the second annual Congress, sponsored by the OALA, was held in Kitchener with the late Bill Coates, OALA and me as co-chairs of the Congress Organizing Committee.

The future of our Association appears to be in good hands with solid leadership and a dedicated membership. From a small cadre of 43 professionals in 1968, we have grown, diversified, prospered, and become recognized for the good work we do. While the Association has never had a motto to my knowledge, the words of Jack Wright, longtime friend of the profession, “be humble and hustle” might be appropriate. Through diplomacy and persistence we have come a long way from the struggles to become recognized in the early 1970s.

Owen R. Scott, OALA, FCSLA, CAHP