April 15, 2013
Landscape Ontario’s Contractors Lecture and Dinner event on Feb. 27 had a full house with more than 140 contractors and suppliers in attendance.

The event was hosted by LO’s Landscape Contractors Sector Group at the Latvian Cultural Centre in Toronto. Weather reports were for flurries, freezing-rain and icy roads for 48 hours proceeding the event. This resulted in many cancelling to fulfil snow and ice removal contracts. Despite the rumoured dreadful forecast, the roads were driveable and many came out to network with peers, have a great dinner and learn from the lecture.

The Latvian-style buffet dinner, at the subsidized price of only $5.00 per person, was made possible through the generous event sponsors Beaver Valley Stone, Dufferin Aggregates, Eloquip, Gro-Bark (Ontario), Sheridan Nurseries and Unilock. We extend our sincere thank you to each of them. Each of the event sponsors had exhibits showcasing their products. It gave everyone an opportunity to see the products up close and talk to the suppliers throughout the evening.

Peter Guinane, chair of LO’s Contractor Sector Group, was MC for the evening that provided two very different perspectives on landscape design and architecture as it relates to the landscape contractor. The first lecture was from Daria Nardone OALA, a Toronto-based landscape architect with a broad range of experience from town planning to garden design, both locally and internationally.

Nardone focused on a collective consciousness and how it relates to landscape art, with an emphasis on her life experience, past projects and history of her design work.

Scott Wentworth OALA, the second presenter, highlighted the purpose and passion for landscape design. He challenged attendees to “Come Alive Outside!” and enjoy outdoor living, and question the why, not the what. Wentworth is a contractor and landscape architect based in Picton and Kingston, and has been building unique residential gardens for 23 years.  In his 36 years of experience, he has created thousands of residential gardens, commercial landscapes and municipal parks.

Both presenters answered questions about their projects, and shared some of their best life experience tips for the trade. The room was bustling following the event and many commented how inspired they were by their peers and enjoyed the opportunity to glimpse inside Nardone’s and Wentworth’s worlds.

The end of the sessions was marked with refreshments for all at the Pipers Pub, courtesy of Illumicare Group.

“This event has become a great networking event for landscape contractors, designers, architects and like-minded professionals in Ontario. Attendees were engaged and left the event with new information, and unique perspective from two seasoned professionals,” said Guinane. He also remarked, “This event is made possible through the hard work of our committee members and we thank each one of them for volunteering their time.”

The committee is already looking forward to announcing plans for the 2014 event. The committee appreciates everyone’s support, and ask for ideas, comments or suggestions to kristen@landscapeontario.com  to help make next year’s event even better.