April 3, 2020
Jacki HartBy the time this column reaches you, it’s my hope that the COVID-19 virus, and all of the related impacts on your business, your team, our communities and the corporate events around us are but a fading memory. I most certainly hope there’s toilet paper back on the retail shelves! As I write this on March 13, 2020, Canada Blooms and the Toronto Home Show are now cancelled — just as the finishing touches were being added by dedicated, passionate teams to all of the many displays and feature gardens. Sigh.

Things have become crazy in a matter of just five days. Disneyland and Disney World are closed on the cusp of North American spring break holidays. All professional sports in North America (NBA, NHL, etc.) are postponed or cancelled. The Juno Awards and most concerts were cancelled. Ontario shut down all public schools until April 5. Public buildings, including libraries and community centres closed. Parliament announced closure until April 20. Our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, voluntarily quarantined himself in his home after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. Canadians were asked to avoid all non-essential travel, including March Break travellers. Lots of disappointed families were left scrambling for something else to do. I cancelled my holiday to B.C. for late March… disappointed along with thousands of others who cancelled plans for travel.

At the same time, Landscape Ontario members focused on positive things. Those involved as garden builders at Canada Blooms were looking for ways to turn the situation into an opportunity. As of today, there were meetings being held trying to create private tours for premium clients of the garden builders. Drones and photographers were being arranged to create a virtual showcase of the festival. At the same time, LO members were reaching out for information on what protocols and policies to put in place for the protection and peace-of-mind of staff throughout this period of recommended social distancing, which is pretty hard to do with three people in a truck, or in a busy office or store.

What impressed me the most on the LO Peer to Peer Network Facebook page is how quickly our members connected with each other to share resources and ideas on how to navigate this uncharted territory together. This instant sharing of fears, ideas and resources is the founding sentiment Tim Kearney and I had when we created the peer network six years ago: You are not alone!

(To participate in the group, email signup.peer2peer@landscapeontario.com).

LO’s peer network has held four full-day interactive workshops this year (three of which were sold out), and the glue that continues to bind this wonderful group of collaborative, community-for-mutual-improvement-minded professionals throughout the year is our private Facebook page. Questions asked there include managing people and attitudes, contracts, charge-out rates, overhead recovery, risk, pricing, marketing, social media, fleets, customer issues, and so much more. It’s a place to find relevant advice from others.

Our next event, the annual two-day summit in Muskoka, is scheduled for Sept. 24-25. It will include two great speakers: Mark Bradley and Frank Bourque, among others. Tickets are already selling and seating is limited. In the meantime, connect with your peers throughout the busiest time of the season to solve challenges and share resources. If you’re not already part of our online Facebook discussions, join now. It’s an LO member benefit — and it’s free to business owners and their managers.

Owners and managers of Landscape Ontario members can join the Peer to Peer Network for free. Email signup.peer2peer@landscapeontario.com.
Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager