September 8, 2021
Bill TremblayWhen I joined the Landscape Ontario team in July, I like to think I arrived with an above-average knowledge-base of the industries included in the association’s membership.

Although I’ve probably killed more plants than blight, my partner and I take a keen interest in our gardens, and we look forward to Saturday morning visits to garden centres more than a Friday night out.

As well, through my previous role as editor at a construction equipment publication, I was able to learn about hardscape and the machines used to complete the task. I’ve even been to Congress twice.

What I didn’t know about Ontario’s landscape industry is the enthusiastic and dedicated sense of community.

One of my first assignments for LO magazine was the Participation House garden makeover article on Page 16 of this issue. This was an awe-inspiring first impression of the association’s members.

This chapter of the Garden Makeover program ballooned from a $5,000 grant to a more than $50,000 project. The majority of the added value for the project came from the addition of an accessible concrete patio at the home for people with physical and developmental disabilities. Without a doubt, this patio has changed the lives of Participation House residents — many of whom use wheelchairs — for the better.  

The new wheelchair-friendly surface allows the residents to get outside, without having to leave the grounds of the home. They’re now able to perhaps have lunch outdoors, or simply enjoy the new view planted by LO Toronto Chapter volunteers. And, really, the gift of the outdoors cannot be overstated.

“Just the smiles on their faces was incredible. It just makes you feel good,”  David Milne, project lead and president of the Toronto Chapter, explained. “For me personally, giving back feels so good. And the best things in life happen when you give.”

Throughout my 17-year-career in journalism, I’ve written countless articles on charitable causes. Each of those articles were about people that made the world a better place, but few stand out in mind as having the level of dedication, let alone the physical contribution, on display at Participation House. And this was just one of 10 projects included in the Garden Makeover program.

On that note, I’m definitely motivated to continue to tell the stories of Landscape Ontario’s membership. I believe a high-quality magazine relies upon two-way communication with its audience, so please feel free to reach out to me with your success stories, industry concerns or even criticisms via or 416-848-7550.
Bill Tremblay