January 3, 2024
Ed Hansen becomes Landscape Ontario's new president
Ed Hansen, president of Hansen Lawn & Gardens in Ottawa, Ont., is the 32nd member to serve as president of Landscape Ontario as the association embarks on its 51st year.

A Nova Scotian whose family relocated to Ottawa when his dad left the navy, Hansen got his start in the profession at a very young age. “There’s a picture of me cutting my grandfather’s lawn on an old ride-on Case tractor,” Hansen recalls. Not only did he love the experience, but he also loved that when he was done, his grandparents would inspect it and would tell him where he could improve.

”At a young age, I had that entrepreneurial brain and I always wanted to do things around the neighbourhood,” he says.

In high school, Hansen started working for a friend's older brother who owned a landscape business. “I loved the hard work, I loved the physicality of it. I loved the fact you were an artist creating things and working in a team, but at the time, that wasn’t considered a real world job.” So, Hansen continued to work summers while going through university.

In 1988, he started Hansen Lawn & Gardens, feeding his passion for helping others and working outdoors. He cites the ability to be creative and work with other people to enhance their lives as one of the best parts of his career.

As a young, confident entrepreneur, Hansen originally felt he didn’t need anyone or any organization like Landscape Ontario to help him realize his business success. He dismissed nursery owner Joan Johnston’s constant advice to join the association. Hansen now gives Johnston, a past president of LO, full credit for planting the seed that would soon come to fruition. Eventually, he decided, “instead of fighting, why don’t I join?” and became a member of LO in 2003.

“I got pulled into the Ottawa Chapter by Bruce Morton. He was my absolute mentor at the Ottawa Chapter and actually, I was lucky enough to follow him to the provincial board and have him be my mentor the whole way through,” he says of his nearly 10-year involvement as a volunteer.

Over that time, he has been involved in many chapter initiatives, including work at Ronald McDonald House, numerous fundraising efforts for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), the annual Ottawa Day of Tribute and more. Prior to these, he founded a memorial golf tournament in memory of his father Herman Hansen, who passed away from colon cancer in 2003.

Of the countless chapter projects he’s been involved with, Ottawa’s Cancer Survivor’s Park, built in 2008, is by far his most memorable. Hansen has been chair of the park for about 16 years and is especially proud of how the private and public sectors, industry volunteers and educators continue to come together on the project.

More recently, Hansen became chair of Landscape Ontario’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee at the request of Dave Wright, who was association president at the time. Hansen says the goal of the committee is to be forward thinking and create an environment where everyone has a voice and can be open about where they come from and what their vision is.

In his downtime, Hansen spends time at the cottage to recharge his brain. “That, for me, is a way to be in nature without any modern stuff around. I spend a lot of time there just being outdoors.”

In his new role at Landscape Ontario, Hansen says he would “like us to talk about the sticky things that bring us together, not always the things that tear us apart.” Over the past few years, members have come together to tackle issues like COVID-19 and skyrocketing snow insurance rates, but Hansen wants to strengthen chapters and sector groups to collaborate and share the things they have in common.

“The growers don’t have the same issues as the people in the snow removal industry,” Hansen explains, but notes they do share things like hiring, paying taxes and maintaining equipment. “To really go far, you really need to do it together.”