March 15, 2024
Evan DicksonOn Jan. 10, 2024, a new Landscape Ontario chapter was born. Association members gathered at Landscape Ontario’s Annual General Meeting and approved the creation of Muskoka North, which encompasses the Muskoka region and Northern Ontario — areas that were previously part of the expansive Georgian Lakelands Chapter. The Muskoka North Chapter currently has 181 Landscape Ontario members and Georgian Lakelands has 318 members.

The idea to create this new chapter came from a group of passionate members in the Muskoka region, led by Emily Keown of Five Points Landscaping. Keown highlighted the challenges posed by extreme distances to members who wish to engage with their local chapter. For example, there are 556 km between Severn and Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

This is a vast distance to maintain close connections to members. Keown, who is the chapter’s first president, also pointed to the need for training that acknowledges the differences in Northern Ontario’s climate and plant zones. Despite these barriers, LO’s northern members have always brought a tremendous amount of energy to the association and their communities.

The members in Muskoka North want to engage with Landscape Ontario and there is a great appetite for professional development in the region. For example, 24 members participated alongside Landscape Ontario’s Apprenticeship Program in last year’s Muskoka Landscape Horticulture Career Fair in Bracebridge, Ont. Northern members are also eager to network with their peers, as did the 45 members who attended LO’s Peer to Peer Network Fall Summit in Huntsville, Ont., last fall. The new chapter board is poised to build on those successes.

Muskoka North held its inaugural meeting on Feb. 6, 2024. More than 50 members packed Bracebridge Barrelhouse to talk business with peers and elect the new chapter’s board members. They are: Emily Keown, chapter president, Jen Davies, provincial board rep, Brooklyn Welsh, treasurer and Sherri Hornsey, secretary. Congratulations to all on becoming the first volunteers to take on these important responsibilities in the fledgling chapter. Their commitment to improving the landscape and horticulture trades will serve their new constituents well as Muskoka North establishes itself as a chapter.

Picture that full house in Bracebridge: landscapers and suppliers, coworkers and competitors, all meeting to discuss their common needs, shared goals and how to strengthen the industry. This is one of the primary reasons Landscape Ontario was formed: To provide a means for passionate individuals who recognize they are stronger together. There are challenges and opportunities facing the landscape and horticulture trades that can only be met through collective action. The members and staff of Landscape Ontario stand behind this new chapter in full support. We can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.

If you are a Landscape Ontario member in Northern Ontario and you would like to learn more about how to get involved in your new chapter, contact Jaleesa Rhoden, LO Membership Event Specialist at

Evan Dickson
LO Director of Membership Services