Ground 32 – Winter 2015 – Creatures

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Landscape Architect Quarterly

Features The Cutest Nuisances

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Public Creatures

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Round Table Critters and Conflict

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Barcoding Life

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Publication # 40026106

Sodding Raccoons!

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Winter 2015 Issue 32


Section

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A NEW DIMENSION IN URBAN PAVERS Transpavé provides landscape architects with a full array of urban grade paving solutions for heavy and light traffic as well as pedestrian applications. Transpavé large dimensional pavers incorporate peripheral grooves to maximize the interlocking effect for long-term stability. Upgrade to urban grade and you’ll see the difference. To schedule a product presentation, contact Devin Stuebing, CET at (647) 938-1656.

Find out more by viewing New Dimensions in Urban Landscaping at transpave.com/video.

FPO

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Contents

Up Front Information on the Ground

Creatures:

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The Cutest Nuisances

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Text and Compilation by Emily Waugh

Public Creatures Calm cows in the downtown core Text by Claire Nelischer 12/

Round Table Critters and conflict Co-moderated by Netami Stuart, OALA, Shannon Baker, OALA, 14/

Barcoding Life Advances in eDNA Text by Ian King and Steven Hill

Sodding Raccoons! The battle gets personal

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Text by Eric Gordon, OALA

Letter From...Iran Inside/outside: Persian gardens

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Text by Jill Cherry

Notes A miscellany of news and events

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Artifact Going to the dogs

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Editorial Board Message

President’s Message

Editorial Board Message

This past year has seen many advances in OALA programs and services to the benefit of the membership. Many active members have contributed fresh perspectives and unique approaches. As we move forward in this new year, we will continue to realize the benefits of this participation.

Humans have a complex yet close relationship with the non-humans of the earth, from the unseen and microscopic to the furry and huggable.

The OALA’s 48th Annual General Meeting & Conference will take place on April 1, 2016, in beautiful Niagara Falls. The suitably themed Landscape Architecture and Tourism is sure to inspire. The AGM Planning Task Force, led by Sandra Neal and comprised of the Continuing Education Committee, supported by OALA staff, is developing an excellent program for the event. Plan to attend for speakers, networking, the AGM, awards ceremony, and more. We look forward to seeing you there!

Co-moderated by Netami Stuart, Shannon Baker, and Ruthanne Henry, the Creatures Round Table explores our relationship with wilder animals in urban settings, with an emphasis on understanding unintended habitats and mixed ecologies. Also in this issue, Emily Waugh provides an atlas of global urban wildlife; Claire Nelischer asks us to look again at Joe Fafard’s sculpture The Pasture to ponder its message about our own habitat; Ian King and Steven Hill review emerging genetic-based approaches to species identification; and, Eric Gordon echoes many of our travails with raccoons when we are gardening in an urban environment.

and Ruthanne Henry, OALA

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President’s Message

TEXT by Shannon Baker, OALA

Winter 2015 Issue 32

The OALA is pleased to announce a new addition to our office team. Sarah Manteuffel, the new Coordinator for Communications & Marketing, officially started in December, 2015. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Manitoba and has an employment background in graphic design, media, and marketing. She has considerable experience in the non-profit sector gained through ongoing volunteer involvement in the arts and athletics communities. As Coordinator for Communications & Marketing, Sarah works closely with senior association staff to deliver member programs and services aligned with the strategic plan and in accordance with the organizational chart. Welcome Sarah! A new contract position has been created to support Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly. Since 2008, the association’s celebrated and award-winning print publication has provided a voice for our profession across the province—and beyond. The OALA Web Content Editor will oversee the online posting of written and visual material from the print edition and create a social media promotions strategy. The Ontario landscape architectural perspective will benefit from increased exposure to a wider audience, including affiliated professionals and the public at large. Thank you to the many volunteers who have generously contributed their time and expertise this past year. I also wish to acknowledge Aina Budrevics, OALA Administrator, for her exceptional commitment to the OALA and continued work to the benefit of the membership. Together, as volunteers working with dedicated staff, you have made a positive impact on our profession and helped to make 2015 a success! Sarah Culp, OALA oala President

In our semi-regular column Letter From..., Jill Cherry showcases Persian gardens in Iran and expands our vocabulary of garden design. The Editorial Board wishes you a wonderful winter season and all the very best in 2016. Todd Smith, OALA Chair, Editorial Board


Masthead

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Editor Lorraine Johnson

2016 OALA Governing Council

Photo Editor Todd Smith

President Sarah Culp

OALA Editorial Board Shannon Baker Doris Chee Michael Cook Eric Gordon Ruthanne Henry Jocelyn Hirtes Vincent Javet Han Liu Graham MacInnes Kate Nelischer Denise Pinto Tamar Pister Phil Pothen Maili Sedore Todd Smith (chair) Netami Stuart Dalia Todary-Michael

Vice President Doris Chee

Art Direction/Design www.typotherapy.com Advertising Inquiries advertising@oala.ca 416.231.4181 Cover Salamander eggs attached to red-osier dogwood. Photograph by Steve Hill. See page 22. Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly is published four times a year by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects. Ontario Association of Landscape Architects 3 Church Street, Suite 506 Toronto, Ontario M5E 1M2 416.231.4181 www.oala.ca oala@oala.ca Copyright © 2016 by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects All rights reserved ISSN: 0847-3080 Canada Post Sales Product Agreement No. 40026106

Treasurer Jane Welsh Secretary Chris Hart Past President Joanne Moran Councillors David Duhan Sarah Marsh Sandra Neal Associate Councillor—Senior Katherine Peck Associate Councillor—Junior Maren Walker Lay Councillor Linda Thorne Appointed Educator University of Toronto Peter North Appointed Educator University of Guelph Sean Kelly University of Toronto Student Representative Jordan Duke University of Guelph Student Representative Chen Zixiang OALA Staff Registrar Linda MacLeod Administrator Aina Budrevics Coordinator Sarah Manteuffel

OALA

OALA

­­About

About the OALA

Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly is published by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects and provides an open forum for the exchange of ideas and information related to the profession of landscape architecture. Letters to the editor, article proposals, and feedback are encouraged. For submission guidelines, contact Ground at magazine@oala.ca. Ground reserves the right to edit all submissions. The views expressed in the magazine are those of the writers and not necessarily the views of the OALA and its Governing Council.

The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects works to promote and advance the profession of landscape architecture and maintain standards of professional practice consistent with the public interest. The OALA promotes public understanding of the profession and the advancement of the practice of landscape architecture. In support of the improvement and/or conservation of the natural, cultural, social and built environments, the OALA undertakes activities including promotion to governments, professionals and developers of the standards and benefits of landscape architecture.

Upcoming Issues of Ground Ground 33 (Spring) Scale Deadline for advertising space reservations: February 1, 2016

Ground 34 (Summer) Question Deadline for editorial proposals: March 7, 2016 Deadline for advertising space reservations: April 18, 2016 Ground 35 (Fall) Edges Deadline for editorial proposals: June 6, 2016 Deadline for advertising space reservations: July 13, 2016 Ground 36 (Winter) Data Deadline for editorial proposals: September 12, 2016 Deadline for advertising space reservations: October 10, 2016

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Advisory Panel

Andrew B. Anderson, BLA, MSc. World Heritage Management Landscape & Heritage Expert, Oman Botanic Garden John Danahy, OALA, Associate Professor, University of Toronto George Dark, OALA, FCSLA, ASLA, Principal, Urban Strategies Inc., Toronto Real Eguchi, OALA, Eguchi Associates Landscape Architects, Toronto Donna Hinde, OALA, Partner, The Planning Partnership, Toronto Ryan James, OALA, Senior Landscape Architect, Novatech, Ottawa Alissa North, OALA, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Principal of North Design Office, Toronto Peter North, OALA, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Principal of North Design Office, Toronto Nathan Perkins, MLA, PhD, ASLA, Associate Professor, University of Guelph Jim Vafiades, OALA, Senior Landscape Architect, Stantec, London

’s environmental savings with Cascades paper Ground is printed on paper manufactured in Canada by Cascades with 100% post-consumer waste using biogas energy (methane from a landfill site) and is EcoLogo, Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) certified, as well as FSC® certified. Compared to products in the industry made with 100% virgin fiber, Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly ’s savings are: 15 trees 55,306 L of water 158 days of water consumption 838 kg of waste 17 waste containers 2,178 kg CO2 14,566 km driven 25 GJ 113,860 60W light bulbs for one hour 6 kg NOX emissions of one truck during 20 days www.cascades.com/papers


Up Front

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The result is a whimsical statement, specific to the site and to the client’s interests—and unique in Ontario. “No one else has done one like this in recent history,” says Carley, clearly proud of surmounting this unusual design challenge. “I couldn’t for the life of me have figured it out on my own,” she notes, but with help from experts in an arcane art, the sundial is up and keeping track of time’s passage.

01 Sundials

time and design Victoria Lister Carley, OALA, a landscape architect who often designs large country estates, recently had an unusual request from a client: “We have a wall, so how about a sundial?” Carley thought the idea was “grand,” but there was a problem: the wall faces northwest. Sundials placed flat on the ground are relatively easy to install in a way that makes them tell time with some measure of accuracy, but wall-mounted units, particularly those with limited solar access, are a different story. As Carley notes: “Why include a sundial if it doesn’t tell time? That would be silly.” Most of the reference books she consulted focused on ground units, but Carley had seen wall-mounted sundials in Britain, so knew it was possible. While researching the options, she came across the experts she needed—the North American Sundial Society. “These fellows are amazing,” says Carley. She connected with a sundial designer in Victoria, British Columbia— Roger Bailey, Walking Shadow Designs—and they worked together to produce a fixture that was both decorative and functional.

Up Front: Information on the Ground

Text by Lorraine Johnson, the Editor of Ground.

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First, Carley had to get exact scientific coordinates for the location, accurate to within 1 degree. Bailey then calculated the positioning that would work. On site they made a gnomon (a stylus, in effect—and “a good Scrabble word,” notes Carley) from a nail hammered into a piece of wood, and used it to measure where the shadow would fall on a particular day and time. Using that information to confirm his original calculations, Bailey then fine-tuned the configuration. “The mathematics of it just blew my mind,” says Carley. The aesthetics, of course, were more imaginative than scientific. The owner of the estate, near Creemore, Ontario, is a Beatrix Potter fan, and Carley, herself an animal lover, drew her inspiration from this popular British children’s author, famous for her Peter Rabbit books and others. The design represents bunny rabbits in the grass set within a frame based on the doorway to Ms. Potter’s house, Hilltop. Although cute in conception, the design is quite stylized and the mechanics of it were solid: “It weighs a lot and we had to make sure the wall could support it.”

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Victoria Lister Carley, OALA, recently designed a sundial for a large country property near Creemore, Ontario.

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Victoria Lister Carley

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The design incorporates a Beatrix Potter motif.

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Victoria Lister Carley Wood mock-up Victoria Lister Carley The wall-mounted sundial in situ Victoria Lister Carley


Up Front

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06 Community Spaces

a peace garden Local residents of Roncesvalles Village, in Toronto’s west end, might wonder why city planners seem to have overlooked the triangular intersection of Roncesvalles Avenue and Dundas Street West when they carried out the 2011 Roncesvalles Avenue streetscape improvements. Mary Tremain, a partner at PLANT Architect, was curious enough to make some inquiries with the city’s planning department—inquiries that led to the design and installation of a small parkette at the intersection. A red brick building built in 1911 for the Merchants Bank of Canada sits squarely on the triangular site and presides over the small open space in columned, corbelled dignity. To pedestrians, cyclists, and streetcar passengers, the position of the building in the centre of the “Y” intersection gives the building and the space in front of it a strong visual prominence. The intersection represents the threshold between two neighbourhoods: Roncesvalles Village to the south and High Park to the northwest. Hence, when Tremain received a positive response to her inquiries, she and PLANT’s Andrea Mantin saw an opportunity to create a gateway to Roncesvalles Village and a community space that connected people to the streetscape. The result is the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden.

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An exploration of the site’s constraints (“there were many, many constraints,” according to Tremain), presented challenges, primary among them the whopping number of utilities. Overhead TTC wires and underground Toronto Hydro and Bell utilities meant that all new construction needed to occur above ground. This imposed limitations on the size and scope of the project to design a small garden for the site. In Tremain and Mantin’s initial concepts, a planted bed wrapped around the building, but at the request of Starbucks, the former bank building’s sole occupant, they scaled back the soft surface and created a separate sidewalk immediately in front of the store. The final footprint, approximately 100m2, left little room for three trees that the community had requested during the public consultation process. The initial budget of $80,000 increased somewhat to accommodate the changing footprint. (According to Tremain, the fees for small projects like this one are “not always commensurate with the costs.”)

When the project is finished in the spring of 2016, a centrally located red oak tree will stand sentinel to the Roncesvalles neighbourhood and will punctuate the gritty, exposed streetscape with cooling shade. The redesigned intersection will also feature a circular open area surrounded by raised planting beds and high-end curved wood seating. Salt-tolerant grasses and perennials will block some of the traffic and create a respite from the heat. This circular area mimics in built form a motif that Tremain envisioned when exploring the concept of a threshold. When the paving in this area is complete, two rings of contrasting engraved pavers will overlap, visually representing the joining of the two neighbourhoods. Beyond the circular open area, bands of granite and luminescent pavers will create more dynamic paving in the walkway in front

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The Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden’s design is based on the idea of a threshold.

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PLANT Architect Inc.

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Curved “Rough & Ready Bench Tops” installed in the Netherlands

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Schematic drawing of the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden

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Courtesy of CM Streetlife

PLANT Architect Inc. Rendering of an earlier phase in design development PLANT Architect Inc.


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Roncesvalles Avenue and Dundas Street intersection during construction

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Corinne Meadows

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Seat wall under construction

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Corinne Meadows Some pavers were engraved by a First Nations artist and some by local children. Corinne Meadows The curved bench, under construction, will raise the standard of street furniture in the neighbourhood. Corinne Meadows

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of the Starbucks. Some of these pavers have been engraved by school children, others by an artist from the First Nations community. Two straight benches, carefully sited to take advantage of view corridors of the neighbouring streets, Bousted Street and Dundas Avenue, will provide seating while still ensuring a sense of prospect and refuge. 12

The community has been behind the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden since the beginning. And when local residents or visitors pause in the garden, either to sip a coffee while sitting on a bench or to meet a friend under the limbs of a stately tree, they’ll do so in a community space that has become much more than a desolate and overlooked intersection.

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Text by Corinne Meadows, BLA, who received her certificate in professional communication from the University of Toronto, and recently launched her writing business (www.thewordbistro.com).

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“We’re looking for artists to activate public spaces,” says CAFKA Executive Director Gordon Hatt. “We think carefully about the degree to which proposals integrate the concept of public space.” Through its growth, CAFKA has become a fixture in the local community. The 2014 exhibition drew 91 volunteers who lent 3,500 hours of work. Local residents are encouraged to participate as artists, spectators, critics, and guides. “It involves people who don’t necessarily go to art galleries,” says Hatt. “It engages the entire community in debates on contemporary art and its role in our lives.”

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thriving kitchener scene The plan is to construct a pedestal in the middle of an open, unused building. When two or more people link hands and touch the pedestal, an electric field will be created and interpreted through lights and sound bouncing off the building walls. It’s interactivity at its best, relying on the willingness of strangers to touch, and changing based on the unique quality of personal electric fields.

This installation, by French collective Scenocosme, is just one of the works planned for CAFKA, the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area. CAFKA is an artist-run organization that presents a biennial exhibition of contemporary art throughout Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge. CAFKA was founded in 2001 by a group of Kitchener-based artists. The first project was at the Kitchener City Hall plaza, and subsequent years saw the exhibition expand to other public spaces, and to privately owned, publicly accessible spaces.

Earlier this year, the organization distributed an open call for applications for the June, 2016, exhibition. Submissions were reviewed by the Board of Directors, and, to date, ten works have been selected, with more anticipated. Each year the pieces vary widely, including sculptural, social practice, relational, digital, performance, and land art. Local, national, and international artists are included.

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Samuel Roy Bois, The Brittle Edges of Coherence, 2014 Robert McNair Lucy Howe, Wilt II, 2011 Gordon Hatt


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Having exhibited more than 189 projects by 175 artists over its 14 years of operation, CAFKA undoubtedly operates at an international level. However, it remains committed to its founding principles of strengthening the local arts scene and engaging residents. When asked about the core mission of the organization, Hatt replies simply: “Our ambition is to be a thriving part of this community.”

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CAFKA’s upcoming exhibition takes place in June, 2016. Text by Kate Nelischer, a Senior Public Consultation Coordinator at the City of Toronto, and a member of the Ground Editorial Board.

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Landscape architect Michelle Purchase, OALA, joined the CAFKA Board earlier this year. “I haven’t had that much fun in a long time,” she says of the submission review process. Purchase is the first landscape architect to sit on the Board, and she sees great potential for the profession to be represented within the organization and through the exhibitions: “They’re landscape projects as much as they are art projects.” Since its founding, CAFKA has garnered substantial support. The City of Kitchener and the City of Waterloo are key funders, Christie Digital serves as a lead corporate sponsor, and the Ontario Arts Foundation and other granting programs offer support.

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Swintak, The Gallows, 2014 Robert McNair Broken City Lab, Reflect On Here, 2011 JK Beford

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Walter van Broekhuisen, The Green Room, 2011

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Image by photographer Jimmy Limit, who will be exhibiting at CAFKA16.

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JK Bedford

Jimmy Limit


The Cutest Nuisances

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Text and compilation by Emily Waugh

Nuisance urban wildlife species highlight the conflict between human interests and the natural world. Many of these opportunistic species are attracted to cities by plentiful resources. Some (for example, London’s red foxes) have migrated to cities as their natural habitats are threatened by human populations, some are introduced (Hong Kong’s macaques), and, for some, the city has gradually expanded into the animal’s natural habitats (Mumbai’s leopards). All have adapted to life in the city, and we have adapted to life with them. They are often cute and fun to watch. In some cases, they are the beloved iconic animals of their regions—until they start to damage our property, threaten the safety of our children and pets, and otherwise inconvenience our urban lifestyles. Then, they become nuisances and must be controlled with extreme and/or controversial methods, such as “contraceptive” pigeon lofts in Paris, snipers to kill foxes in London, and massive culls of kangaroos in Canberra, Australia. These so-called “nuisance” species cause severe damage to our designed landscapes, require expensive physical interventions, and force us to question what our threshold for ecological diversity within the city is. When does a creature become a nuisance and what do we do about it?

Toronto, Canada Raccoon (Procyon lotor) Estimated Pop. 100,000-200,000

Ottawa, Canada Beaver (Castor canadensis) Estimated Pop. 2,500-5,000

Problems Caused These masked creatures have become the unofficial symbol of Toronto—the raccoon capital of the world. Despite their cultural status as mascot and symbol, raccoons have irked city residents with nightly domestic disruptions: upsetting garbage bins, nesting in attics, chewing through screen doors, fighting, and digging up gardens. Their roundworm larvae-laden feces can be harmful to children and pets. As these highly adaptable animals become more entitled (I have had more than one raccoon let herself into my home), 52 percent of Toronto residents surveyed support a raccoon cull.

Problems Caused The beaver is the national emblem of Canada. It is featured on our currency, on our first stamp in 1851, and is an official symbol of sovereignty (via Royal assent in 1975). But these semi-aquatic rodents can be destructive. Although beaver dams are responsible for creating and maintaining much of Ottawa’s 500-sq-kms of biodiverse wetlands, they also interfere with municipal infrastructure—blocking culverts, drains, stormwater management ponds, and even flooding land and roads. And, of course, cutting down city-planted trees.

Extreme Measures Control methods include: limiting access to food waste, custom locking mechanisms on compost bins, and live trapping by private companies. One frustrated resident attacked a family of raccoons with a shovel and has since been charged with cruelty to animals, issued a fine, and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. In the midst of whispers about culls, Toronto’s mayor, John Tory—who jokingly equates feeding raccoons with high treason—has launched a war on “raccoon nation,” including the introduction of a $31,000,000 “raccoon resistant” compost bin program.

Extreme Measures City-hired trappers kill approximately 150 beavers annually. The practice is widely protested by advocacy groups, residents, and local farmers. There is a plan to implement more “beaver deceivers” (engineered pond-levellers, diversion dams, and constructed fences around bridges and road culverts), but many feel that the management plan is timid and cannot handle the growing population of urban beavers.


The Cutest Nuisances

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London, England Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) Estimated Pop. 10,000

Paris, France Pigeon (Columba livia) Estimated Pop. 80,000

Moscow, Russia Wild Dogs Estimated Pop. 30,000-35,000

Problems Caused After London’s postwar suburbs crept further into their rural surroundings, London’s newly minted urban foxes adapted well to city life. They share sidewalks with pedestrians, ride escalators, and even allow themselves to be petted. Their offences range from minor—digging up gardens, scattering garbage, screeching at night—to more problematic—attacking pets and chewing through brake lines on cars. Recently, they have also snuck their way into a few rare, but media-friendly situations that heighten the illusion of their threat: one fox was found napping on a filing cabinet in the Houses of Parliament, another broke into the grounds of Buckingham Palace and reportedly killed some of the Queen’s pink flamingos. In 2010, 9-month-old twin girls were mauled in their cribs, and a 4-month-old boy had his finger bitten off in his home in 2013. Urban foxes are also to blame for an increase in mange, a skin disease that affects pet dogs.

Problems Caused Known to many in Paris as “flying rats,” pigeons—and, more specifically, pigeon poop—have become a major civic nuisance in the City of Light. Pigeon feces causes minor irritations like unsittable park benches, but also major heritage concerns as many of the cities’ historic limestone buildings and monuments have been severely damaged by the acid content in pigeon poop.

Problems Caused Moscow’s stray dog population has been alive as long as the city itself. At a density of about 32 per square kilometre, these dogs are everywhere—in the streets, institutions, apartment courtyards, and even riding the metro (some getting on and off at their regular stops). The stray dogs are (mostly) beloved by most Muscovites, but official numbers from 2008 report 20,000 attacks on humans.

Extreme Measures Feeding pigeons in Paris is forbidden by law and could cost “nourrisseurs” up to �450. The city has also introduced �20,000 contraceptive pigeon lofts in its parks and gardens. These 5m-high structures encourage pigeons to nest, but discretely shake their eggs to prevent them from hatching.

Extreme Measures In the Soviet era, stray dogs were routinely captured and killed. Today, animal control methods are more humane, but most of the money the government allegedly spends on shelter and sterilization programs remains unaccounted for. Some joggers carry sausage and pepper spray to ward off attacks, while Internet-based vigilante “dog hunters” have taken it on themselves to “clean the city of the fanged pests” by setting traps of poisoned meat in city parks. This controversial method is dangerous to the city’s pet population and a survey shows that only 9 percent of Russians support dog hunting.

Extreme Measures While some feel that the media and the fox-hunting lobby are trying to “reinvent the fox as a pest,” others find the nuisance very real and have hired private snipers to shoot foxes. Other means of control include eliminating food sources and den opportunities.


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Chicago, USA Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) Estimated Pop. unknown

Mumbai, India Leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) Estimated Pop. 21-35

Problems Caused These storybook fluffballs are a nuisance to local gardeners and city planners alike as they gnaw their way through the city’s flowers, shrubs, and trees. A large population (some call it an infestation) of rabbits in Grant Park has cost the Park District tens of thousands of dollars replacing and protecting vegetation. Soon after the opening of Millennium Park, rabbits caused more than $100,000 worth of damage to the park’s vegetation.

Problems Caused Mumbai’s exploding human population has pushed the city’s western suburbs into one of the largest protected urban forests in the world. The 250,000 Mumbaikars who live within the boundaries of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (and the more than one million people who live around its borders) understand that they share the territory with its original residents—251 species of birds, 50,000 species of insects, and 40 species of mammals. Leopards are routinely found in slums, residential complexes, and schools, and although these big cats can usually co-exist with human residents, there are increasing reports of attacks, with six fatalities reported since 2011. A 2015 study showed that pet dogs make up nearly 25 percent of leopards’ diets in the area.

Extreme Measures In major parks, bunnies are trapped and released into nearby woods, and trees are shielded. Cold winters knock out about 70 percent of the population each year, though the rabbit’s oft-referenced reproductive rate tends to balance this out. Diseases such as tularemia and a population of 2,000 coyotes assist in rabbit management, as well.

Extreme Measures Most measures are about learning to live with these big cats, avoiding contact, and remembering that mere sightings don’t equal danger. Other recommendations include: playing loud music from mobile phones when walking at night, avoiding afterdark outdoor bathroom visits, accompanying children, especially at night, keeping garbage under control, and kenneling barking dogs (who attract leopards from up to 400m) far away from homes.


The Cutest Nuisances Hong Kong, China Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) and Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) Estimated Pop. 2,000 Problems Caused After years of being fed a diet of junk food by humans (whom they now pursue aggressively to get food), Hong Kong’s macaques have become obese, lazy, and aggressive. Even renowned primatologist Jane Goodall was reportedly ambushed by these little monkeys while picnicking in a local park. Extreme Measures A feeding ban has been in place since 1997, which carries with it a maximum 10,000 HKD ($1,685 CND) fine for anyone caught feeding macaques. After failure to properly enforce the ban, the government has turned to birth control—trapping female monkeys to perform sterilization surgeries.

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Tokyo, Japan Jungle Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos) Estimated Pop. 36,400

Canberra, Australia Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) Estimated Pop. 30,000

Problems Caused Japan’s increasing waste production combined with a 2012 law requiring clear garbage bags has led to a huge growth in Tokyo’s population of crows. These large (they can be up to almost 60cm long and have a wing span of more than 1 metre) and intelligent birds routinely attack people, cause electricity blackouts by nesting in utility poles, and disrupt broadband service by stealing fibre optic cable to build nests.

Problems Caused Kangaroos are national icons of Australia. Though, as Sam Vincent of The Monthly writes, “We like the kangaroo on our coat of arms, but aren’t so pleased with it on our roads.” With more than 5,000 annual traffic accidents involving kangaroos, 17 percent of Canberra’s drivers report having collided with a kangaroo at some point. The (over) abundant population of grey kangaroos is also blamed for threatening small grass and woodland species, and for degrading the kangaroo’s own grassland habitats.

Extreme Measures Trapping in 3- by 6-metre structures in city parks and then gassing to death; using yellow plastic garbage bags, which crows cannot see through; placing wire mesh over curbside garbage bags to keep beaks out; deterring with falcons; and working with crows’ eating habits by collecting restaurant garbage at night rather than in the morning, when crows typically venture out to feast. The experimental Ginza Honeybee Project repels crows using 300,000 honeybees who are known to aggressively attack shiny black objects.

Extreme Measures The main method for dealing with the kangaroo population is highly controversial “conservation culling.” In 2015, cull contractors were licensed to kill more than 2,400 kangaroos in the Australian Capital Territory. Though some of these contractors report receiving death threats from local animal rights activists, a government survey shows that 86 percent of residents agreed that culling was appropriate under certain circumstances.

BIO/ Emily Waugh is the founder of Survey Studio and is a lecturer in landscape architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


Public Creatures

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Calm cows in the downtown core 01 Text by Claire Nelischer

A sculpture at Toronto’s TD Centre Plaza titled The Pasture but affectionately referred to, simply, as “the cows,” is familiar to many Torontonians: seven life-sized cows, cast in bronze, lounge on an open grassy lawn at the heart of Mies van der Rohe’s towering TD Centre. The Pasture demonstrates how the presence of “creatures,” whether live or artistically interpreted, can have profound effects on our experience and understanding of the city around us. Commissioned in 1985 and created by Canadian sculptor Joe Fafard, The Pasture was originally installed in front of what is now the TD Waterhouse Tower at 79 Wellington Street before moving to its current location. For Fafard, The Pasture represented a major turning point in his career: a shift from ceramic to bronze as his primary medium and an unprecedented increase in his public profile and commercial success.

Fafard’s work is heavily influenced by the rural environment of his youth; the cows harken back to his childhood in the prairies of Saskatchewan, and farm animals are a central focus of his artwork. For The Pasture, Fafard dotted a blank lawn with seven lifesized bronze cows, each cleverly positioned to conceal that all seven sculptures are, in fact, identical castings. Seated in restful positions, the cows bring a sense of bucolic calm to the bustling urban plaza, and situate Toronto’s financial district in the context both of the region’s agricultural history and the country’s present day rural/urban relationship. At the time of its unveiling, The Pasture was a resounding success. Art and architecture critics praised the piece as a humorous, human-scale intervention in the beautifully proportioned, yet somewhat severe, landscape of the TD tower complex. Viewers marvelled at the ability of the cows to so quickly connect with their audience, inviting office workers out of their cubicles to enjoy lunch on the lawn in all seasons.

Thirty years later, the cows still elicit similarly positive responses from designers and the public. “I like them; I like public art that allows you to interact with it,” says Jake Tobin Garrett of the Toronto non-profit organization Park People. “The cows are really interesting because if you go and watch them for a while at lunch, people flood into that space from the tower and sit on the grass. It’s kind of neat to have public art that allows people to go up and touch and interact with it.” As the Manager of Policy at Park People and the writer behind the City Within a Park Project, in which he has committed to visit one park in each of the city’s wards over the course of one year, Garrett has seen his fair share of Toronto’s parks. But he still finds something special about the TD Centre Plaza and The Pasture.


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Artist Joe Fafard’s The Pasture graces TD Centre Plaza in Toronto. Maurice Nelischer

“The art becomes a social connector because people connect over experiences they have in common and the particularities of the space that they like. These places stimulate social interaction; these are the spaces where people can slow down and get to know each other, identify with each other, and start to create a community.” The cows seem to have an innate ability to create this collective experience and memory for visitors. Viewers are able to form an instant connection with the cows, with the plaza, and, ultimately, with each other. “It’s this relaxing pasture in the middle of a cement jungle. And it’s always nice to hang out there and to have that be a place to spend an hour,” says Lia Boritz, an articling student at a law firm located in the TD Centre. Like many of those who work in the area, Boritz and her colleagues enjoy lunch with the cows almost every day during the summer. 02

the plaza and The Pasture still represent important contributions to Toronto’s privately owned, publicly accessible park and public art networks. “On Wellington Street, there are not many other spaces that are so open. This one is very peculiar because it’s sort of an open plan kind of space…it is a big area covered in grass, which you don’t usually see in the downtown, and it is also elevated and isolated from the street,” says Chan. 03

“It’s a super urban park—one of the most urban parks in Toronto, by virtue of it being surrounded by the TD Centre towers,” says Garrett. “The public art that is there is of a scale that you don’t find in other parts of the city...the whole space is a piece of public art, which is kind of unusual.” According to Ran Chen, an urban designer with the City of Toronto’s Planning Division,

In addition to the unique openness of the space, the art adds character to the plaza and contributes to a sense of place, which Chan believes is a critical component of any successful urban park. “When you add character to a public space by adding public art, a specific paving treatment, or a built form that is consistent in the space, it all adds to an experience that will become a memory—hopefully a good memory—so you will go back,” says Chan.

“The general feeling is that people really like [the plaza] and we like working right next to it,” says Boritz. “One of my co-workers is from outside of Toronto, and she said the cows remind her of being home, and being in the country, outside of Toronto, and she really likes that.” The presence of flora and fauna in the urban environment reminds us that the city and nature are not so clearly delineated. While the cows depicted in The Pasture would not naturally graze in the middle of the downtown core, surrounded by sky-high towers, stark granite plazas, and shuffling pedestrian and auto traffic, the creatures somehow seem perfectly at home in the TD Centre Plaza. This sense of everydayness, of calm, and of comfort exuded by the cows helps to make urban dwellers feel at home in their natural habitat, too. BIO/ Claire Nelischer lives in Toronto, where she coordinates projects and outreach for the Ryerson City Building Institute.


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Our panel discusses the interactions between humans and wildlife in the urban environment, and explores the ways in which accidental habitats, in particular, can surprise and enrich our understanding of nature Co-moderated by Netami Stuart, OALA, Shannon Baker, OALA, and Ruthanne Henry, OALA

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Daily access to nature is important for children in order to form an emotional attachment and connection to nature and develop a sense of empathy for the natural world. Mike Derblich Green bee Sheila Colla


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Shannon Baker, OALA, is the national manager for landscape architecture and urban design at MMM. She is also on the Editorial Board of Ground magazine. Heidi Campbell is the Senior Designer for Evergreen Learning Grounds. She has a Master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. She started with Evergreen in 2001 as their School Ground Design Consultant at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Evergreen’s first partnership agreement with a board of education. A qualified teacher with a focus on place-based learning, she has worked in a variety of outdoor contexts with artists, educators, and volunteers to envision and co-create natural play and learning environments for children and youth in cities. She currently directs and manages the planning and design consultancy aspect of Evergreen’s Children’s Program. Victoria Lister Carley, OALA, received the Carl Borgstrom Award for Service to the Environment in 2013 and is a former member of the Editorial Board of Ground. Specializing in city gardens and country properties allows her ample opportunity for microinterventions to support a diversity of species. She has also done a great deal of volunteer citizen science, and has been on the steering committee of Friends of the Spit for many years. Sheila Colla, Ph.D, is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University and a Liber Ero Fellow. She is a conservation biologist who has researched the ecology and threats to native bees in Canada for more than a decade. Recently, she co-authored The Bumble Bees of North America: An identification guide (Princeton University Press, 2014). Sheila is a member of the Committee on the status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO). Lori Cook is a planning ecologist at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Eric Davies is a Ph.D student at the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto, where he studies urban forestry, in particular looking at how forest structure affects forest function. Jenny Foster, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. She is the coordinator of York’s Planning Program and the Urban Ecologies program. Jenny’s research investigates the habitat creation and cultural politics of urban ecological systems, particularly in post-industrial sites. Recent projects include Land|Slide: Possible Futures, Rubble to Refuge, and the Jane Finch Environmental Justice Project. Ruthanne Henry, OALA, is a member of the Editorial Board of Ground magazine, and is a landscape architect with the city of toronto working on new or improved park amenities and trails, with a focus on urban forestry strategy and ravine protection. Charles Kinsley is an independent contractor performing ecological and botanical consulting. He received his B.Sc. in applied mathematics from the University of Western Ontario. After a few years of working in computerized quality control systems, he began specializing in botanical inventory projects and small landscape restoration. In 1994, he founded a nursery with partners to provide high-quality native plant material for restoration— Ontario Native Plants (ONP)—as well as restoration services and landscape design, installation, and maintenance. In 2007, he started working strictly on consulting projects. After a three-year stint with the City of Toronto in Urban Forestry Planning, he now has returned to independent consulting in a primarily regulatory field with some sub-contracting in landscape design. Karen McDonald manages Tommy Thompson Park (also known as the Leslie Street Spit), Toronto’s man-made urban wilderness. She is the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s staff lead on colonial waterbird management, including cormorants. She is also involved with other human/wildlife conflict issues, as well as species at risk habitat restoration projects. Linda McDougall, MES, OALA, CSLA, RPP, MCIP, is an ecologist with the City of London in the Environmental and Parks Planning section. In her free time, Linda volunteers as the Board Chair and President with the Thames Talbot Land Trust to protect natural heritage in Southwestern Ontario. Fraser Smith is the Forester for the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority responsible for management of the 11,000-acre Ganaraska Forest. Fraser is an avid sustainable forestry practitioner, outdoorsman, and hunter who has worked previously with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH). Netami Stuart, OALA, is a landscape architect at the City of Toronto’s Parks and Recreation department, where she facilitates the creation of parks in Toronto.

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Ruthanne Henry (RH): How do we integrate space for other faunal species into the built or anthropogenic environment around us, and how do we limit our impact on wildlife habitat? Seventy percent or more of Ontarians live in cities. In an increasingly urban environment, how do we meet the challenging task of integrating spaces for other species and sustaining biodiversity? What are the points of tension? Netami Stuart (NS): The question—and this Round Table discussion—is really about living together with animals, including insects. RH: How do you design environments in a way that facilitates interactions between people and animals, so that these interactions are not problematic? Karen McDonald (KM): The Leslie Street Spit was never intended to be what it is today. We have species conflict that happens on a regular, ongoing basis at this park. For example, probably the biggest area of contention involves the double-crested cormorant colony, and that’s because they kill the trees they nest in, which is a source of conflict for people because we put a lot of value on trees. Whenever we see something that hurts a tree, we tend to think of that species as an enemy. So whether it’s emerald ash borer, which is an invasive pest, or a native bird, such as the cormorant, they’re viewed similarly. We’ve been managing this conflict fairly well, since about 2008, and that’s through a management strategy that involves bringing together groups from across the spectrum to understand the issue, to offer their thoughts, advice, and experience with the issue. Now we’re at the point where we’ve got the largest double-crested colony in the world, and we don’t get complaints about it as much as we used to. People have a better understanding, appreciation, and awareness of this bird, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is taking an active role in managing them but not eliminating them. Other conflicts in the city: Canada geese, and how they like to occupy the same type of habitats as we occupy, and urban coyotes. There’s still a perception that cities aren’t a place for coyotes to live in, but, in fact, cities are a great place. It’s just that people tend to think of coyotes as wild animals and there’s no room for wild animals in the city.

16 Regarding Tommy Thompson Park, we’ve been successful because we have a really solid master plan, which dictates how the park is developed and managed. In concert with this, we’ve got a really great trails plan that leaves the depth of the park as a wilderness area for wildlife. NS: What about rural interactions with bigger species, such as coyotes, because if they don’t belong in the city, then maybe they belong in the country? I guess that living together is a bigger deal when the animals are bigger—the conflict is more perceptible when we are in danger. Victoria Lister Carley (VLC): You have both touched on something that’s key to this: we’re speciesist. People don’t like cormorants because they’re ugly and their colonies are smelly. People don’t like coyotes because they are carnivores. People don’t like snakes, but there’s no good reason. People don’t like spiders, again there’s no good reason. The speciesist aspect goes back to folklore, to children’s stories; it isn’t based on what our real interaction with cormorants is. If you look at cormorants, they’re pretty handsome, but they’re seen as threatening because they are dark and big. Whereas people are fond of butterflies… Fraser Smith (FS): I think you hit the nail on the head about speciesism. But it’s also that we’ve lost some knowledge that we previously had in terms of the natural world. There’s a problem of perceiving conflict where in fact there really isn’t any. For example, in Canada there are, on average, 2.4 bites or scratches to humans from coyotes per year. Yet there are 460,000 incidents of bites from dogs. Two hundred people per year in Canada are hit by lightning. A lot of the issues associated with conflicts between humans and wildlife, especially when it comes to coyotes, have come from people forgetting the basic rules: not leaving garbage out, cleaning up barbecues, laying out trails away from critical habitat. In order to minimize these conflicts or the perception of them, we need to have a realistic approach and also a realistic expectation that if you’re going into a natural environment then you’re going to experience a natural environment and the species and conflicts that come along with it.


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Karen McDonald (KM): People want to live next to natural areas, but often they don’t want to have the wildlife that’s living in those natural areas. I had a call a couple of weeks ago from a fellow who owns a ravine property on the Humber River, in Toronto, and he was complaining because a beaver was accessing his backyard to eat his apples. I was like, that’s wonderful, you get to see a beaver eating your apples, that’s great! And he was like, well no, that’s not great, the beaver is going to cause damage, and maybe hurt the river and dam it up. And I said, well, you’re living on a ravine property, on a river, of course you’re going to get beaver there. FS: And that’s our national animal! NS: It’s an interesting question for landscape architects, because we’re often working on subdivisions. We’ll often be the people who are designing the park beside the subdivision, or collaborating with ecologists to design waterways, etc. There are lots of regulatory guidelines for these things. But if you had one thing to say to somebody who was building a new subdivision right beside a place where a beaver might live, or a coyote or a bear, what would you tell them about how to design the park or design the interface in order to reduce conflict?

Linda McDougall (LM): In the city of London, we recently reviewed those very situations. We looked at subdivisions built next to environmentally significant areas and the effectiveness of buffers, and the effectiveness of fences, and how to reduce conflicts with nature. We found that, in fact, fences without gates limit encroachment. Where we provided a buffer of ten metres, people tended to encroach into that buffer and not beyond it. We also provide folks with natural areas brochures to make them more aware of the sensitivity and the wonderful nature they’re living next to, and how to enjoy it and so forth. It tends to reduce the conflict somewhat when you have that education along with that physical barrier between nature and the backyard garden. Sheila Colla (SC): A good example of a successful educational effort relates to bees in the city. Southern Ontario has some of the most diverse areas for bees in Canada. What people don’t know is that all bees are not honeybees, right? (Honeybees live in hives, with tens of thousands of individuals, they sting, and they make honey.) The majority of native bees are solitary bees, they don’t sting, and they live in the ground, not in hives. The city of Toronto frequently gets calls from parents who see all these bees in the sand— sand is one of the best habitats for a large portion of our native bees—and people are

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Cormorant nests, Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Coyote warning sign at Killaly ESA in London, Ontario Linda McDougall Nesting birds sign, London, Ontario City of London


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landscapes. Even though coyotes are not nearly as responsible for damage to humans as dogs are, coyotes are much more responsible for damage to livestock and other things. Those are historical memories that people bring with them, culturally, to an urban environment. FS: One thing that’s often struck me when looking at the design and development of subdivisions is the design and development of the farms that were there before. There’s a very specific reason why the house and the barn are generally not right up against the woodlot. There’s a reason why the back forty is the back forty. Separations of open spaces are a clear and effective means of design to minimize these hostile conflicts, but if you look at the development of quite a few subdivision areas, you have fingers of built environment stretching out and trying to keep as much of that woodlot around it as possible. So you’re sending out little areas into that wild area in which you have coyotes, deer, black bears, etc., which is the exact opposite of what the going wisdom was even a generation ago. I think that a lot can be learned from looking to the past in this context.

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Eric Davies (ED): Which mammals would we want in the city? We’d want them all, but if you start going down the list—wolf, bear, coyote, cougar, skunk, porcupine—it gets really difficult to visualize or even conceptualize how you could have peaceful interaction with these animals without a lot of conflict.

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The Leslie Street Spit, Toronto, 1975 City of Toronto Archives The Leslie Street Spit, Toronto, 1982 City of Toronto Archives

worried. In the past, the city probably would have just called in a pesticide applicator and gotten rid of the bees so the kids could play. But, now, people are more educated about bees, and they know that there’s nothing to fear, you just need to leave them alone and they’re going to do their own thing. Charles Kinsley (CK): Essentially, as soon as humans started living in settled environments we required landscapes to provide resources, mainly food and other things. It seems to me that all of these conflicts really stem from a natural competition for available resources in

Part of it is asking what species we do want, instead of having a kind of reactive management where you get cormorants and no one does anything until they start killing all the trees, and then people really start demanding a reaction. CK: Do you design an area to allow space for unintended consequences? Or do you strive as much as possible to restrict those? Because they’re going to happen anyway, probably. Jenny Foster (JF): I feel that we do have to leave space for what we don’t yet know, because ecological relationships are always evolving, especially in urban settings. For example, nocturnal species are becoming active in the daytime. We’re also seeing


Round Table the co-mingling of species that otherwise wouldn’t even find each other. In an urban setting, diets change, reproductive cycles change, in ways we don’t even understand or know yet. So we have to allow for emergent relationships and emerging ways of interacting with the landscape. NS: I am interested in the question of expanding our toolkit for managing species and managing habitat. For example, we have a really limited number of things we can do to control invasive species. Maybe we need to broaden our understanding of what ecosystems should and could be in the city instead of replicating some unrealistic notion of a pristine environment for Southern Ontario. LM: In London, we’re battling buckthorn, phragmites, dog-strangling vine, Japanese knotweed, goutweed, and on and on in our environmentally significant areas. It is an uphill battle and we do what we can. We spend a huge portion of our budget every year to protect our environmentally significant areas by having the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, who are licensed pesticide applicators, battle these species for us. If we’re going to have resiliency to climate change, it’s crucial that we have these invaders in check and under control as much as possible. One of the most threatening invasives at the moment is probably phragmites, and the vectors are ditches and roadways from which they then invade our wetlands. Once they get into a wetland it’s almost impossible to eradicate because there is no chemical licensed for use in water. Pesticides are some of the only effective tools we have, at a city-wide scale, to control these invaders that are running rampant and degrading our natural spaces and that make them less enjoyable to be in. When you’re walking through a buckthorn monoculture you’re not enjoying nature, you’re looking at a wall of buckthorn. There’s no life, there are no birds, it’s not a beautiful experience. FS: The primary driver of management within the Ganaraska Forest, which is an actively managed forest, has been to plan for general health, resilience, and for a more healthy environment, which includes critters

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and wildlife, etc. In the face of climate change, though, it goes back to some really core principles of good forest management practices. The threat to biodiversity is a homogeneous landscape. When I say that I’m using a pesticide as part of forest management, the image that’s invoked is that I’m just spraying and killing everything that’s alive. So it’s important to bring people to an understanding of what we’re trying to work towards, and what we need to do to get there. KM: I don’t know that eradication is a realistic goal. I think we need to be managing for ecological function. If a site that has an invasive species is functioning well, we might need to learn to love it. European buckthorn is a good example of that. We’ve taken the stand at TRCA that if we have buckthorn that is impeding natural regeneration, we’ll manage it. But if buckthorn is just part of the matrix of the plants that are around, we’re not going to bother because we don’t have a realistic expectation of managing it when we know that it’s spread by birds, and we’re not going to get rid of all berry-eating birds… CK: Ecology is not a snapshot of a place at a certain time, it’s something that changes over time, maybe hundreds of thousands of years. It’s not something that’s generally within the lifespan of a human being. And so we’re restricted, in a sense, in terms of what we deem to be good ecological function. ED: People are increasingly striving to have healthy landscapes. And the definition of that, ecologically, is landscapes that are producing functions. And one thing would be resilience to invasiveness. If you look at our ecosystems now, as Aldo Leopold famously said, the first law of good land management is to not lose any of the parts you have. We’ve lost so many parts, and ecosystems right now are in flux and experiencing poor performance. And we don’t even have the metrics to measure them. VLC: The general public does not necessarily understand how much of an impact we have on ecosystems. A simple example is the destruction of so much of High Park due to people letting their dogs off-leash in on-leash areas. Because dogs are small mammals, some people see it as being perfectly okay to let them destroy the woodland.

Lori Cook (LC): The city of Toronto is very excited about increasing public use and capacity of the Don Valley lands. We have dog walkers and mountain bikers who are degrading and creating multiple trails through sensitive interior forest areas. So we are concerned about messaging, and again it just comes back to education. Signage doesn’t work, fencing doesn’t work. Heidi Campbell (HC): I can say a little bit about education. I’ve worked with school boards for many years, and they are huge land owners, so they represent a lot of landscape. We’ve been working with them on their green standards so there’s a little bit more thought put into how they develop their outdoor environments. They’re now seeing them as outdoor learning environments for children, and there’s a lot more emphasis on bringing children outdoors at a very early age. We’re finding that boards are looking at standards for helping trees not only survive but thrive on school grounds (children love trees, but sometimes they can love them to death). There are various ways of protecting trees—from a very rigid cage to artistic interventions that are about weaving. Also, we’re now seeing that nature study areas are being developed. These are nomow areas that are left uncultivated. Signage helps people understand that these areas are managed. Because people are quick to say: why aren’t you mowing, I see ragweed, invasive species, all kinds of things growing in the schoolyard, can you please mow that? So there’s lots of outreach and education around these nature study areas. If we can improve the ecological literacy of children and help them to have a daily connection with nature, we’re going to see an increase in empathy for critters that are maybe not so attractive, such as spiders and snakes. LC: At many of the conservation areas managed by TRCA, our main goal is to focus the fun. That is, focus the fun in this area, and distract people from another area. We might have a small boardwalk into a sensitive area, so people can have a little peek, but that’s the extent of the interaction we want to encourage with a sensitive area. It all depends on what the goal is and what the overall management scheme is. But with our pristine areas, basically it’s a no-go. In most of our valley areas, we try to focus the fun, the experience, on particular trails.


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CK: It seems to me that the main question is: do we keep humans out of areas or do we put them in areas? In an urban environment, the more people you bring in to educate them and to give them the experience of the natural area, the more damage you’re going to get. It’s almost impossible to imagine otherwise.

KM: I’d like to return to the idea of empathy. If people could understand the interconnectedness of everything, then they might not demand that a meadow be mowed, because they could then understand that by removing the meadow, by mowing that space, you are interrupting all the florafauna associations that are there.

FS: I think we should be focused on the older idea, which is good stewardship. This is more of an ethic of including individuals, humans, as a fundamental component of systems, and you are going to interact with other species. But it’s important to interact with those systems in a responsible and stable manner. In the forest I manage, fifty percent of it is a red pine plantation, with trees in rows. We’re thinning it out slowly, trying to bring back more hardwood. I want people going into those areas. I want them to interact with it, and I want them to learn what we’re doing. I want to put up signs that instead of trying to hide what we’re doing in terms of management, I want to showcase it. And integral to that is the concept of good stewardship of the land.

HC: When we design for children’s environments, I’m always asking landscape architects to get down to the level of a fiveyear-old or a three-year-old, and walk the site on hands and knees and just get that perspective of a child. If you go into a dense urban environment and do that, it’s frightening. When you go into a children’s garden or an area where there’s soft landscape and trees and things, it’s a whole different experience. The perspective of a worm is an interesting way to look at things!

JF: To go back to our discussion of invasive species: I’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea of an invasive species. What’s most pertinent in terms of ecological health and resiliency is landscape invadability. It’s not the species, it’s the base conditions of the landscape that we should be most concerned about. Not necessarily keeping certain species in and out, but asking: what are the conditions we’re creating in the first place that allow certain landscapes to be invaded? Whether it’s the disturbance of soil structure and soil ecology, or the placement of dumpsters with french fries that attract gulls to certain areas, those are all elements of landscape invadability that create the conditions for invasion. We can’t just keep micromanaging certain species. We need to take a far more holistic approach, which would necessitate a conceptual shift. Otherwise, we’re just spinning our wheels.

JF: May I posit a suggestion that will be difficult for landscape architects to imagine? Maybe you could think about what species to plant as number three on a priority list. Rather than thinking about what seeds you’re going to plant there, you think more about the two or three other things that were there before you even think about planting. It’s easy to get volunteers to plant in the valley—they’re digging in the plants, and then they leave some mulch around it, and then they leave and you cross your fingers and hope that in ten years there’s some trees there. Whether or not there’s a forest or a wetland there in ten years has less to do with how many trees were planted and what species were planted, and more about what the soil was like before you planted. Or, whether you tilled it before you planted. Or whether anybody came back and weeded right around those plants at a certain point. So maybe the focus has to be less on the planting.

RH: This conceptual shift or more holistic approach is discussed in the recent book by Tao Orion, Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration.

ED: I like this idea of empathy, and appreciating nature not only for itself but for what it does for us, because it really does a lot of things. Good management and stewardship are shifting from structure to function.

RH: It’s similar to the concept of not just thinking about habitat or a specific area, but the need for ecological function in all of our landscapes, in our urban streetscapes, in our parks, and all places.

20 VLC: Of course, we often have this vision that the forest is what we want. Going back to when the Friends of the Spit group started, before the first meetings about the master plan, we said, just let it be. We wanted to see how it did by itself, and it’s done a remarkable job by itself. Look at waste spaces. We have lots of mockingbirds in Toronto. Not a single one of them is going to hang out in a forest. Where are they? They’re on the edges of the railway lines. We are in fact providing ample habitats. It’s just a matter of whether or not they’re attracting the species we like. Mockingbirds—they’re pretty, so that’s easy. We may not be as keen on some other species, but that’s our choice. We provided them with habitat whether or not we meant to, and that diversity of habitat is greater in the city than it is in farmland. LM: In terms of accidental habitat, in London we have two former landfills. Both of them are habitat for bobolinks and meadowlarks, and it’s exciting, but it’s also a challenge. We recently developed something called the planning and design standards for trails and ESAs, and this helped us with managing the trails through those landfill sites. We closed the trails through the centre of the landfill that’s ground-nesting bird habitat, and we permit trails around the perimeter. So we’re managing these landfills that we really weren’t expecting to have species at risk in, and it turns out that that’s their favourite place. HC: Evergreen Brick Works is an interesting adaptive reuse example and an accidental habitat. We weren’t able to dig down at this site, so all the habitat that’s been added is above ground. Everything is raised beds, etc. And now we have a very vibrant ecology for the red-tailed hawk. SC: The reality is that our city is full of hundreds and hundreds of species of animals, and all we need to do is to get people out there looking at them. And if that means we have to sell them something about an ecosystem service and what this thing is giving to us, then fine. But I think it would be nice to have more of a natural history tradition where people are just out there observing what they see, counting the different types of things they see, trying to identify what those things are. Once they’re out there looking, they start appreciating them more, and they see more value not only in their own gardens but also in what’s happening outside of


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and moving it a little bit further along towards an understanding of ecological function. KM: We can’t forget that buildings, especially in urban areas, have been really important for species at risk. The peregrine falcon is an excellent example of that, where no one thought that by making tall buildings in downtown Toronto we would be creating habitat for an endangered species. There is an opportunity to use buildings in the city for additional habitat for other species at risk, such as night hawks and barn swallows, that are being affected by habitat loss.

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their properties. Getting people to take pride in biodiversity means first recognizing that biodiversity is there. And you won’t do it by counting mammals. FS: Much of what we talk of as natural habitat is indeed managed. It’s very important to realize that, whether it’s direct management of going in with shovels or not, we’ve removed fire from the landscape, we’ve controlled wildlife, we create nature in the image of ourselves and what we want to see. Really, the core question, both in terms of creatures and natural environments, is not so much whether it’s being done intentionally or accidentally, but whether it’s being done responsibly and sustainably. We need to ask ourselves that question very frequently. JF: The places that are going to be interesting habitat in twenty years are places that we probably don’t even notice right now—the sort of in-between places that we tend to see in our everyday environment but not notice as opportunities for the future. The verges and plots of land that appear to be abandoned or disused are actually the rich ecological opportunities in terms of wildlife. That’s difficult because it’s an aesthetic shift: we have to accept that ecologically vibrant spaces may be ugly and unappealing. As a general rule of thumb, the more impermeable a site is for humans, the more ecologically vibrant it is. Or the uglier it is, the more ecologically interesting it is. We’ve seen a lot of changes in what’s considered beautiful and desirable in cities in the last twenty years, so I’m very hopeful about where we’re going.

CK: When my partners and I started our first nursery, it was at the disused Downsview airport space, and we were doing everything in containers on top of the old tarmac. We didn’t really expect anything, we didn’t think about habitat, we just worked and sold plants and that was it. Then we noticed after a couple of years that the toads really liked us. They liked burying themselves in things; and there were a lot of insects coming to our plants, so the toads had a lot to eat. Then we had coyotes coming in; we had snakes, we had birds coming down to get the snakes. It was amazing how many things came to us. And we were just on top of tarmac—nothing fancy at all. I think there are a lot of opportunities in an urban environment, but the problem is that we’ve already decided what picture we want to see. And we can’t do that. We have to actually study directly what the ecosystem is like now. ED: The idea of accidental habitats is humbling: nature without any help can do pretty well. But by combining expertise, hopefully we can make non-accidental habitats even better than the accidental ones by focusing on ecological function. RH: In my career as a landscape architect, I’ve seen big shifts in aesthetics over the last couple of decades. People have very different expectations now, and I think our profession can help open up the lens to looking at the landscape at different scales so that we do see the habitat that’s in open spaces. That would be a really exciting way of changing the discussion about aesthetics

LC: If we’re talking about human/animal/ nature conflicts, we should mention road ecology. How can we reduce conflicts by means of letting organisms carry on with their journey? The TRCA has put out a really interesting piece on road ecology, so look for that on our website. Ten years ago, TRCA was working with the Coyote Collaring Project down at the Leslie Street Spit, and one coyote collared at the Spit was shot accidentally by a hunter in Honey Harbour, Muskoka. That coyote might not have had too many human conflicts because he found his way up to Honey Harbour, where he needed to be. Let’s try to pressure the development community and cities to think about sub-service road passages for animals to be able to cross highways and roads. They’re very expensive, but if there’s public desire, maybe it’ll happen. VLC: We should take advantage of every opportunity for education. If I’m talking to somebody who doesn’t necessarily think that such and such an animal or accidental habitat is a positive thing, I immediately describe it as positive. If you happen to open your barbecue and there’s a snake in there, some people don’t take that as a positive! Okay, so nobody likes raccoons digging up their lawn, but it’s a positive in that they’re getting the grubs. We can at least try to see that each of our interactions with these animals can have a positive aspect. And skunks are cute!

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Cormorant colony at the Leslie Street Spit, Toronto Toronto and Region Conservation Authority


Barcoding Life

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Advances in eDNA 01

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isolating whole organisms or their tissue fragments from an environmental sample. For example, eDNA analysis can provide a list of benthic species present in a kick-net sample taken from a stream reach or other aquatic system. Similarly, eDNA analysis of soil samples can be used to identify species based on DNA that is present from plants, invertebrates, bacteria, fungi, and other soils organisms.

02 Text by Ian King and Steven Hill

Professional consultants who conduct site inventories and generate species lists for environmental impact assessments, natural heritage planning, and ecological restoration traditionally use methods that rely on trapping, visual sightings, and auditory identification. However, recent advances in genomic and genetic-based approaches for species identification are poised to create a renaissance in ecological inventory. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule that provides the instructions for life and is shared by all living organisms. Similar to morphological characteristics, DNA can be used to identify species. Generally identifying species using DNA relies on having reference DNA sequences that are unique to

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Although spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) is not often seen, it can be common in high-quality forested areas that also have breeding ponds in the spring. Karl Konze Salamander eggs attached to red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) Steve Hill Spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) are conspicuous in early spring when their breeding calls can be heard, but later in the season are hard to find. Water samples collected later in the season allow ecologist to determine if eggs and larvae are present using identification of environmental DNA. Zack Harris Eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens) Karl Konze

each species; once the reference DNA is available and has been vetted for accuracy, a DNA sample that is taken from a known or unknown source can be compared to the reference library to determine the species it belongs to. This approach, termed DNA barcoding, has been recognized by scientists for more than two decades as a method for identifying species. Recent advances in the technology used for DNA barcoding have progressed to the point that DNA that is present in the environment (i.e., that is shed by organisms in soil, water, and air) can be sequenced and compared to reference libraries for identification. Identifying species using this approach has been termed environmental DNA (eDNA), as it is not sampled directly from an organism, but is DNA that has been shed from an organism’s skin cells, bodily fluids, and/or feces. eDNA has the potential to be used to complement and improve on the results from traditional inventory methods used for detection and identification of species. eDNA introduces a new source of biodiversity information that has a range of applications, including but not limited to identifying cryptic species (species that, based on morphology, are effectively indistinguishable), hyperdiverse groups of species (for example, invertebrates), and microorganisms (invertebrates, fungi, bacteria, etc.); and detecting species after they have been present. eDNA also eliminates the need for sorting and

From a practical standpoint, the use of eDNA has a number of advantages that makes it very suitable as an inventory tool for biodiversity assessment and biomonitoring. Chief among these is the fact that eDNA inventory is a non-invasive method. As well, it can be used to extend the sampling times and improve the chance of detection for species that typically have a short sampling window when one is using traditions approaches such as trapping or aural surveys. Recognizing the potential of eDNA to help make their work more efficient and cost-

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effective, some Canadian environmental consulting companies have started to include eDNA methods in services they offer to clients. For example, Dougan & Associates, located in Guelph, has been collaborating on an eDNA project with researchers from the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) at the University of Guelph. This project is exploring eDNA methods to monitor Jefferson salamander, an endangered species on Ontario’s Species at Risk list. “The eDNA is generally in low concentrations in the water, so it’s important to find the best method for getting it out of the samples,” says Rachel Smith, a former undergrad and now lab technician at BIO who has been experimenting with different techniques for extracting DNA from water samples. Matrix Solutions, a Calgary-based environmental consultancy, has also been using eDNA technologies developed through their in-house lab testing to monitor northern leopard frogs in Alberta. In addition, they provide eDNA services to their clients for monitoring fish, including Arctic grayling, bull trout, and other species of concern in Alberta waterways.

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Green frog (Rana clamitans) tadpoles emerging from an egg mass Dylan White

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A northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) found in late season heading back to its overwintering habitat

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A single collection of water from this forest pond confirmed the presence of Jefferson salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum), an endangered species in Ontario.

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In addition to incorporating eDNA extraction and sequencing as a tool for basic species inventory, there are also many applications for ecological restoration and monitoring. From validating the accuracy of plant species found in seed mixes to screening plants and soils for pathogens, incorporating an eDNA approach into the restoration ecology toolbox will allow a much more robust understanding of the biological network of organisms that support individual plants and plant communities; this is true for both natural and designed landscapes. Finally, ecological monitoring, the often overlooked yet critical stage of the design process, can benefit from an eDNA approach on multiple fronts. It is a costeffective alternative to traditional inventory

approaches; with a little bit of training, anyone can collect environmental samples. Therefore, ecological monitoring will not be restricted to professional or amateur experts. As well, when environmental samples are taken, they’re typically standardized, which allows data across many samples to be consolidated and analysed for important biological trends. Recent advances in technology and reductions in cost will make this approach accessible to governments, professionals, and the public. Start-ups such as Life Scanner (www.lifescanner.net/) are already providing services that allow anyone to purchase a kit that can be used to collect and identify species using DNA barcoding methods. Looking to the future, we expect to see eDNA identification methods being incorporated into the standard set of inventory approaches used by ecologists, landscape architects, ecological restoration professionals, and other land managers. We also anticipate that when regulatory agencies adopt inventory standards that

include an eDNA approach, the results will include, but not be limited to, improved accountability, information-rich biodiversity data sets, and new evidence-based methods for ecological restoration. BIOs/ Steven Hill, Ph.D., is a director and ecologist with Dougan & Associates. Ian King is a researcher at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario.

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Salamander eggs attached to red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)

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A traditional approach to DNA analysis would have required removing a small piece of tail tip from these blue-spotted salamanders (Ambystoma laterale), something that could be avoided through an eDNA approach.

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Steve Hill

Dylan White


Sodding Raccoons!

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The battle gets personal

01 text by Eric Gordon, OALA

It all started when we removed a massive hedge of rose bushes in an effort to gain space for a small lawn, a play area for our one-year-old son. The space the bushes left behind was just the excuse I was looking for to renovate the backyard. The plan involved built-in bench seating, a sandbox, a raised planter for veggies, a stepping-stone slab pathway, a shed, and a bunch of new plantings. The final touch, of course, would be a smooth green carpet of grass—at 6 feet by 12 feet, not much, but enough for our needs.

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With visions of blissful outdoor play and the desire to create some joyous family memories, I started the renovation. The sod went down quickly, and marked the end of the season’s efforts. It was mid-September.

Filled with some misguided hope, I thought I’d wait and see if after their first exploration, the raccoons lost interest in exploiting the lawn for whatever grubs or insects they could find. No luck.

The view out the kitchen window the next morning was a treat. The lawn was looking resplendent and I was thrilled. The following morning, however, the view was somewhat less resplendent. The smooth green carpet was now a hummocky mess. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was excited by the new green patch. The raccoons clearly had a great time turning over almost every roll of sod in what I can only assume was a group effort. Buggers!

Every morning I would wake up and survey the damage and then repair the sod. After about a week, I decided to start experimenting with some of the commonly recommended raccoon deterrents.

I don’t know why I was so surprised. Every residential client of mine who has wanted new sod has had struggles with these masked menaces, these nocturnal nuisances. Why should my experience be any different?

I bought some bird netting and laid it over top of the entire lawn, pegging it into the soil in about 20 different places. The raccoons may very well have been annoyed by our netting, but that didn’t stop them from pulling up the sod along with the netting, spikes and all. I had just finished working with a client who had tried motion sprinklers, cayenne pepper, coyote pee, and even high-pitched noise emitters, all to no avail. Indeed, the only success story I did hear from my previous clients was the use of highpowered halogen flood lamps to light the area throughout the night.


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So, I set up two bright flood lamps and pointed them into the yard. Suffice it to say, the raccoons were just as happy to go about their business in the bright lights. During all of this, I kept the bird netting in place with the hope that it might serve as a deterrent in the long run, alongside one of the other approaches. My final effort was to set up a bit of an obstacle course using precariously balanced timbers left over from the renovation. I was hoping that the raccoons would attempt to walk along one of the balanced planks whereupon the plank would fall, making a good noise and spooking the raccoons away. Because it was such a small patch of lawn, I was able to almost entirely surround the perimeter with an array of scrap wood.

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This seemed to be somewhat effective. There were regular collapses, accompanied by fewer incidents of damage. I kept this up until winter, when the snow fell, and the sod was given a rest for a few months. Come spring, I continued with the obstacle course, but realized I was going to have a problem with the netting. Because the netting had prevented me from mowing the sod at the end of the season, there was a mat of tall grass that had grown up through the mesh. I spent hours on my hands and knees coaxing the netting out of the grass. It was like pulling a fine comb through dreadlocked hair. The result was a lawn with areas of bare soil.

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Tell-tale raccoon prints in the mud Eric Gordon Raccoons are the bane of urban gardeners.

Beyond the aesthetic disappointment, I was most upset with how all of the raccoons’ digging and shifting had resulted in an extremely bumpy lawn. When I consider all the trouble that went into it, I do feel a bit silly.

Eric Gordon The yard now Eric Gordon The author’s Halloween raccoon Eric Gordon

Recently, I was chatting with the founder of a large pest control company who treated me to his own raccoon story. When he installed a new lawn at his house, he tried all the usual deterrents (unsuccessfully), and then he had his crew set up humane traps. The traps worked, snatching two or three raccoons every evening. In the morning, his crew would return and relocate the raccoons to the Bridal Path neighbourhood, where they would tear into the lawns of $20-million homes. This went on night after

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night, until he had caught all of the raccoons in his neighbourhood. Total relocation count: thirteen! Of course, there are ethical questions raised by trapping and relocations, such as the orphaning of young raccoons. And at any rate, relocation is considered a short-term fix only. New raccoons, possums, skunks, or what have you will happily take up the territory the raccoon once held. Suffice it to say, raccoons are just too crafty and too plentiful. Inevitably, there will be conflicts within our shared urban landscapes. If I have one piece of advice to share from my experience, it is that the best way to avoid issues with raccoons is to resist removing that massive thorny hedge of roses that might be keeping them away in the first place! BIO/ Eric Gordon, OALA, is owner and designer at Optimicity, and a member of the Ground Editorial Board.


Letter From… Iran

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text by Jill Cherry

My recent trips to Iran have been voyages of discovery in a misunderstood country. Iran is an exciting place in which to travel, full of mysteries and contradictions and some of the world’s great art and architecture. Persian gardens lie at the heart of Iranian culture and, for the Western visitor, can frame access to a rich heritage. One of the pleasures for me in leading groups of North Americans to Iran is watching the preconceived notions melt away. As they walk in gardens created centuries ago for the pleasure of kings and court, visitors experience the kindness and innate hospitality of present-day Iranians eager to engage in conversation and shared photo-ops. Given the vitriolic exchanges of politicians on both sides, it is a wondrous thing to find that our delight in being there is reciprocated whole-heartedly by the everyday folk we meet.

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Any study of Persian gardens begins with the idea of the mythological “paradise” which, although ancient, gained symbolic potency after the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD. The “idea” of a garden as retreat from the world, filled with fragrance and birdsong, is woven into the poems of Hafez, Sa’di, and Ferdawsi, medieval poets still widely read today. But gardens are secular endeavours too, evolved from the geometry and constraints of agricultural production in a challenging climate and terrain. Iran is a desert country, hot and dry. Since all rivers are seasonal, there are longdeveloped strategies for managing water. Gardens and orchards are walled so that only the plants within are irrigated. In built-up areas, street trees are located in jubes, channels that direct water to their roots. Since ancient times, a system of underground canals, known as qanats, have

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About a three-hour drive south of Tehran, in the dusty town of Kashan, is the 16th-century Fin Garden created by Shah Abbas I. It was here that I realized with lightning clarity that water in a Persian garden transcends its practical applications, essential as they are. Water defines this garden, flowing through an axial network of channels and pools lined with turquoise faience, shaded by Cypress allées. Within the domed pavilions, pools reflect frescoed ceilings and cool the air. You are surrounded by the sound of water and highcontrast chiaroscuro of light and shade. You

transported water from its source at the base of mountains to villages and towns, farms and gardens. You see lines of what look like giant molehills trailing across the landscape that allow settlements to exist, and most of the major historic gardens are fed by qanat water. Given the critical need for water, on a practical level it is inevitable that water features are the central element of Persian gardens, potent symbols of life; water may be still or rippled, falling between terraces, rising in fountains, or mirrors—reflecting light and trees in the surfaces.

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are also enveloped in a shared experience of excitement because this is a popular venue for Tehranis who flock to the area for the annual rose harvest and rosewater festival. The former royal watercourses are a source of fascination for iPhone photographers and paddling children and, surrounded by families having a fun day out, another Western misperception falls away. Iranians, even in the present day Islamic Republic with all its challenges, appreciate gardens and flowers and demonstrate a joie de vivre that is truly surprising. Building and garden are conceived as one entity in Persian gardens. The hierarchy of built structures to garden reverses the Western model, so that instead of the garden complementing the more dominant building, here pavilions and residences are garden features. There is a fluidity of “inside” and “outside,” boundaries are blurred, buildings are open and perforated, and transitions are seamless. Flower motifs decorate interior walls and are woven into carpets. Every 04

Fin Garden, in the town of Kashan, was created in the 16th century by Shah Abbas I. Jill Cherry


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Pasargadae, near Shiraz, includes remnants of the earliest “paradise” garden (6th century BC) anywhere in the world. Courtesy of Sunrise Visual Innovations The ruins of Pasargadae palace

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surface of the talar or columned open porch of the Nerangestan townhouse in Shiraz, for example, is mirrored in intricate patterns. The garden of palms and orange trees, pools and channels, is reflected into the building so that garden and building are experienced as the same space.

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Courtesy of Sunrise Visual Innovations

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One of the most exciting gardens in Iran is barely visible today. In the 6th century BC, Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid period and the first Persian Empire, founded his capital at Pasargadae, near Shiraz. He received his subjects sitting on a throne in the centre of the talar of his palace after they had approached along a central axis passing through extensive gardens. Archaeologist David Stronach has established that the layout was a chahar bagh or four-part garden. This cruciform shape, with quadrants framed by intersecting water channels radiating from a central pool, would become characteristic of Islamic gardens. This ancient

The entire city of Isfahan, a “Garden City,” is based on a chahar bagh layout, with the palace gardens in the quadrants.

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Jill Cherry

Jill Cherry The garden of the Nerangestan townhouse in Shiraz demonstrates the way in which pavilions and residences are garden features in Persian gardens, and there is a fluidity of “inside” and “outside.” Jill Cherry


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Persian garden profoundly influenced Greece, Rome, and the development of formal gardens in Europe and beyond. Two thousand and seven hundred years later I walked amongst the wildflowers and ruins of Pasargadae, with its remnant water channels and pools, evidence of the earliest “paradise” garden anywhere. Two cities epitomize the central place that gardens occupy in Iran. Shiraz has long been known as “City of Gardens,” attracting Karim Khan Zand to establish it as his capital in the

mid-18th century. He encouraged tree planting along the avenues and created gardens and parks for himself and citizens. A poetic aura emanates from this home of the poets Hafez and Sa’di, and their tomb gardens are pilgrimage sites. For a Western tourist, the sight of Iranians visibly moved at the tomb of a 14th-century poet doesn’t quite fit with CNN news reports. Isfahan, though, has to be the most significant of all the sites on a garden tourist’s itinerary because the plan of the entire city is based on a chahar bagh layout. Literally

a “Garden City,” Isfahan was laid out by the great 17th-century ruler, Shah Abbas I, with the Chahar Bagh Avenue forming the central axis and palace gardens in the quadrants. A few remain including Chehel Sotun with 20 towering columns. These, when reflected in the pool, create the Forty Column Palace. For landscape architects, the gardens of Iran present a conceptual wealth of ideas and a window on a fascinating culture. BIO/

Jill Cherry is a UK-based landscape architect and former director of the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK. She also directed the City of Toronto parks department and VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver. She now leads garden tours of Iran for Vancouver firm Bestway Tours and Safaris (bestway.com).


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Notes: A Miscellany of News and Events

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Rendering of Project: Under Gardiner in summer PUBLIC WORK Rendering of Project: Under Gardiner in winter PUBLIC WORK Rendering of Project: Under Gardiner at night PUBLIC WORK

public space Project: Under Gardiner is a new initiative, announced in November, 2015, that will transform more than four hectares (10 acres) of land beneath the elevated portion of Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway, just west of Strachan Avenue to Spadina Avenue, into a series of public spaces. With the philanthropic support of Judy and Wil Matthews, the City of Toronto has been able to engage Waterfront Toronto to oversee the implementation of the project, which includes a 1.75-kilometre

multi-use trail and 500-metre connection to Exhibition GO Station. By reclaiming this forgotten space, Project: Under Gardiner will create a series of rooms formed by the space between columns, reimagining the area beneath the expressway as a place for people. Project: Under Gardiner is based on a transformative framework design by urban designer Ken Greenberg, and Marc Ryan and Adam Nicklin, OALA, of landscape architecture firm PUBLIC WORK. The vision for the project includes the continuous multi-use trail, a bridge over Fort York Boulevard for pedestrians and cyclists, a grand staircase at Strachan that will double as seating for an urban theatre, and a series of flexible, year-round performance and programming spaces that can be used by the community. A first phase of construction is scheduled to be complete in late 2017.

trees The ISA Ontario Educational Conference and Tradeshow is being held in Ottawa from February 17-19, 2016, at the Ottawa Conference & Event Centre. The theme is “Strength in Diversity: The Science of Arboriculture.” For more information, visit www.isaontario.com.


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urban agriculture An international conference, “Growing in Cities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Urban Gardening,” will be held in Basel, Switzerland, from September 9-10, 2016. The conference aims to explore the dynamics of existing and emerging forms of urban gardening in Europe and beyond. To submit an abstract or proposal (deadline January 31, 2016), visit www. urbanallotments.eu/final-conference. html.

conservation 04

The Young Conservation Professionals Leadership Program is accepting applications (deadline February 5, 2016) for its program, which is based in Ontario and accepts a maximum of 20 participants per year. For more info, visit http://ycpleadership.ca/apply/.

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courses Fruit tree care is the subject of an online training course being offered by Orchard People. Featuring eight hours of video tutorials, topics covered include winter and summer pruning, preventing pests and disease, and soil and nutrition management. After the completion of the course and an online assessment, successful graduates will receive an Orchard People Certificate in Fruit Tree Care. For more information, visit http://orchardpeople. com/workshops/.

organics The Canadian Organic Growers is offering the Organic Master Gardener course in Toronto on Tuesday evenings from January 26 to April 26, 2016. Topics include botany, soil ecosystems, soil testing, and permaculture design. For more information, visit www.cog.ca.

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books A new publication by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) addresses the design, construction, and maintenance of permeable pavements, including porous asphalt, pervious concrete, permeable interlocking concrete pavement, and grid pavements. Permeable Pavements, the first comprehensive handbook on this subject, explores how permeable pavements enable reduced stormwater runoff, increased groundwater recharge, and improved water quality. Synthesizing today’s knowledge of the technology, drawing from academia, industry, and the engineering and science communities, the book presents an overview of typical permeable pavement systems and reviews the design considerations. For more information, visit http://ascelibrary.org/doi/ book/10.1061/9780784413784.

The Carolinian Canada Coalition is hosting the second Go Wild Grow Wild Expo on April 2, 2016, at the Western Fair District in London. The event, celebrating Canada’s deep south, will gather more than 100 green businesses, experts, and organizations to share information about the Carolinian region. For more information, visit www.gowildgrowwild.ca.

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An online course developed by Orchard People covers all aspects of fruit tree care. Courtesy of Orchard People Consulting and Education Pruning is essential to fruit tree care. Jacklyn Atlas, OrchardPeople.com A new book addresses the design, construction, and maintenance of permeable pavements. Courtesy of American Society of Civil Engineers


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beautiful & environmentally friendly

permeable pavers

Imagine no more puddles, no more sloping pavements towards drains, no more drains and no more burden placed on existing over-taxed stormwater systems. Oaks permeable pavers are uniquely designed to reduce the potential for flooding by allowing storm water to pass through the pavement surface into a special open-graded aggregate base to recharge ground water. With many beautiful colour options, modern finishes and unique textures available, Oaks permeable pavers offer landscape solutions that are flexible, beautiful and environmentally friendly.

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Ergonomic hand-holds provide a safe climbing experience.

Ultra-durable rope is available in red, green, and black. Hammocks provide a cozy, shaded spot to take a break from the action.

Non-marking fl ex treads create dynamic movement. Impact-resistant panels available in laminated bamboo (pictured), semi-transparent polycarbonate, or plastic.

Play + Sculpture = PlayForm 7 PlayForm 7 merges great play with public art, resulting in a sculpted play form that inspires imaginative, open-ended play. Our newest play sculpture gets people thinking, talking, sharing ideas and engaging in outdoor spaces in new, meaningful ways. www.PlayworldSystems.com/PlayForm7 ads15SS3135 © 2015 Playworld Systems®, Inc.

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April 1, 2016 Landscape Architecture and Tourism Scotiabank Convention Centre Niagara Falls, Ontario Visit www.oala.ca for full details


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PLANT A BIG IDEA. WATCH IT CHANGE A CITY. We don’t just want more urban trees – We want them to last.

The Silva Cell’s open, modular design protects soil under paving, providing maximum rooting area for the tree and allowing

water to permeate the entire soil column.

This means healthier, longer-lived trees and a truly sustainable urban landscape. www.deeproot.com

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Avoid this Problem Évitez ce problème

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text by Shannon Baker, OALA

Although our relationship with man’s best friend may have begun more than 30,000 years ago, as we have moved in ever greater numbers to the city, things have changed. Along with the intensification of our citified habitat, a growing population of urban dogs has been unleashed. 01/

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Conceptual elevation of the revitalized Berczy Park, with its central fountain and plaza, in Toronto Claude Cormier + Associés Rendering of the proposed fountain at Berczy Park, Toronto Claude Cormier + Associés

The effects of the rise of the urban dog can be seen, heard, and sometimes smelled in cities throughout North America. In Toronto, Claude Cormier + Associés have chosen to embrace the urban dog in their redesign of Berczy Park, a small triangular park in the heart of the city.

At the centre of the redesign is a whimsical fountain, its form a nod to the park’s more formal past, and its playful sculptures of dogs spouting water from their mouths while gazing at the golden bone atop the fountain an acknowledgement of modernday life. Although these sculptural dogs are seemingly oblivious to the lone cat amongst them, city dwellers are surely aware of the canine creatures that share our sidewalks and parks; it’s about time we started having some fun with it. BIO/ Shannon Baker, OALA, is a member of the Ground Editorial Board and a practising landscape architect in Toronto.


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