April 1, 2017
Ontario Update - April 2017
London Chapter took part in planting at the forks of the Thames River, for the HMCS Provost. This is a tribute to the ships and men of The Royal Canadian Navy; honouring those who made the supreme sacrifice and whose final resting place cannot be marked by graves.
Landscape Trades devotes space in each issue to provincial association news. This issue features an update from Landscape Ontario.

Volunteer commitment and leadership is the heart of Landscape Ontario’s success. Members are proud to look back on a year’s worth of activity that promotes their sectors, and drives demand for their products.

President Paul Brydges selected “Drawn Together” as his term’s theme. He consistently — and patiently — reminds members to ditch the term “landscape industry,” and use “landscape profession” instead. Paul is the first LO president to hold landscape architecture credentials, and he has been instrumental in fostering cooperation between landscape designers and landscape architects. That partnership is working towards establishing a provincial Name Act for landscape designers, as well as a Practice Act for landscape architects.

On top of that effort, LO’s Designer sector group recently held a successful conference. The Contractor and Grounds Management groups joined forces to stage a symposium and lecture. Sector-specific events were also held by the Irrigation, Grower, Lighting, Garden Centre and Lawn Care groups. Ten sector groups operate under the LO umbrella, and in all cases, members benefit from advocacy, education and networking.

While the sector groups address specialties, LO’s nine local chapters bring regional communities together. Chapters organize full schedules of meetings, fun social events, and three chapters even produce trade shows. In addition, chapter volunteers come up with unique and ambitious community projects. To mention just a few, the London Chapter built a memorial to Navy soldiers lost in the Battle of the Atlantic; the Ottawa Chapter grooms the National Military Cemetery each Remembrance Day; the Toronto Chapter built an accessible outdoor learning space for challenged students; the Georgian Lakelands Chapter filled a landscape trailer for a food bank drive; the Waterloo Chapter greened a school yard; the Windsor Chapter improved landscapes at a hospice and a children’s village ... space does not allow full mention of even one year’s worth of Chapter projects.

LO’s Congress trade show brings landscape professionals together from across the continent. Optimism pervaded the January 2017 show, which hosted over 600 exhibitors and 13,000 attendees. Congress Committee chair Michael LaPorte and his team exemplified volunteer leadership at its best.
The Congress Conference program attracts enthusiastic attendees to its high-quality education sessions; many held this January drew standing-room-only audiences.

Congress makes significant efforts to show respect for students, treating them as future talent. The show helps coordinate student delegations from Ontario’s horticulture programs. It also donates floor space for student gardens, where students strive for the best in craftsmanship and design.

LO’s Awards of Excellence ceremony is a Congress highlight. Entries are rated on a point system, and only those above a threshold denoting excellence receive awards. Special recognition went to Landmark Group, Pro-Land Landscape Construction and Wentworth Landscapes.

The Ontario Horticultural Trades Foundation supports horticulture’s future by funding research and scholarships. It awarded $47,000 in scholarships to 41 recipients this year, who were recognized at the Awards ceremony.

Other event highlights included honorary life membership for Mark Cullen, and special distinction awards for Scott Wentworth, Jean Huard, John Moons, John Larsen, Janet Mott, Christine Moffit and Sherri Hornsey. NVK Holdings received LO’s Legacy Award.

One reason cited for Mark Cullen’s special recognition was his leadership in the Highway of Heroes project. Its aim is to plant 117,000 trees along Hwy. 401 between Trenton and Toronto, one tree for every fallen Canadian soldier. Landscape Ontario members are proud of their extensive participation in this project.

Volunteer leadership helps drive the province’s professional development efforts, as well. The Peer-to-Peer Network, born out of LO’s Prosperity Partnership, helps business owners improve their operations through interaction with peer participants. LO’s extensive winter seminar program educates both owners and front-line staffers on business management and practical topics. Over 110 seminars were offered during the 2016/2017 season.

Another top Ontario priority is apprenticeship. Recent concerted effort has placed 78 new apprentices into training — a 30 per cent increase, and a big win for both apprentices and employers. LO’s Human Resources Development Committee is also active in supporting Skills Canada, certification, career promotion and horticultural education.

When Landscape Ontario partnered with the Garden Club of Toronto to found Canada Blooms, members could not have envisioned its effectiveness in promoting horticulture. Today, Canada Blooms is co-located with the National Home Show, and treats 200,000 guests to the sights and smells of spring each March. Landscape Ontario uses Canada Blooms to showcase its members and horticulture, and LO members benefit from the profile that comes from building display gardens.

Finally, LO’s Provincial Board issued an ambitious challenge: to increase membership by 10 per cent in 2016. The Membership Committee is proud to have  achieved that goal in November of 2016, bringing LO’s membership total to 2,722.

For more details on Landscape Ontario’s wide-ranging activities, visit www.horttrades.com/annualreport.