January 15, 2009
By Stephanie Smith

Dr. David Suzuki joined Landscape Ontario’s Toronto Chapter for Environmental Awareness Day on November 30th. This was a brave undertaking, as not all LO members are fans of David Suzuki. Actually, there are a lot of people who told me they weren’t fans at all. The Chapter understood the challenge and went ahead in an attempt to help the public understand the benefits of planting for the environment and providing a sustainable future of our children.

The day was a public fundraiser, with the proceeds going to the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) and Sick Kids Foundation. Part one was a luncheon featuring a tour of the TBG and a wonderful lunch catered by Absolutely Fine Foods, followed by a brief commentary from  Suzuki. The event wrapped up with a tree planting that featured Suzuki and the children from the TBG kids’ club. The students were very excited about the visit and they created beautiful books for the guest of honour. He was so touched, he has sent the kids gifts in return.

This is the beautiful thing about the work our members do, creating an impact that inspires children and promotes healthy living. The people in this industry consistently create beautiful things year in and year out.

Emotional moment  

The second event took place at the John Bassett Theatre, with 400 attending a lecture from David Suzuki. To begin the evening, LO member Beth Edney presented her beautiful butterfly garden design that was built by Landscape Ontario members for Rachel through the Make a Wish Foundation.

All who have come in contact with Rachel have been genuinely touched by this little girl. She has such a zest for life, and is curious and intelligent above her years. She is an inspiration and a billboard for living life to the fullest. She is a reminder of how precious life is and how lucky we all are to be alive. She is brave too, so brave that she stood on stage throughout the presentation and then thanked everyone before introducing David Suzuki.

This will always be a beautiful memory for me personally, the day David Suzuki came to Landscape Ontario and the work of our members made him shed some tears.  

It was a great moment in LO history when we changed Suzuki’s perception of the industry and showed him how our contribution to Rachel made such a profound influence on her every day life.

It is not just Rachel who has benefited from the work that the members do, we have thousands of goodwill stories to share. It is important that we continue to strive to give back to our communities. I know from working closely with all the Chapters that there will be more goodwill shown in the future to the various charities in our communities.

One thing I do know is that David Suzuki is an interesting man and is very dedicated to his beliefs; his drive and passion remind me of our members. Most of us realize we need to make environmental improvements. We need to understand this in everything we are trying to do today in business and in life. Renewable energy is not going to hurt anyone, and instead will create jobs and help to promote cleaner air. This is our only chance, and we should use fewer resources and find a way to do more with the resources we have.
Thanks to everyone involved in this event for your tireless efforts and for taking a risk. We couldn’t have done it without you!