Ground 33 – Spring 2016 – Scale

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Landscape Architect Quarterly

Features One Small Hill of Sand

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Scaling Up

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Dialogue and Symphony

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Watersheds

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Round Table Size Matters

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Recollections Spring 2016 Issue 33


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Contents

Up Front Information on the Ground

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Scale:

One Small Hill of Sand A meditation on scale Text by Josh Thorpe 08/

Scaling Up Big things in Ontario

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COMPILED by GRAHAM MaCINNES

Dialogue and Symphony The language of plants interview BY LORRAINE JOHNSON AND VICTORIA TAYLOR, OALA 12/

Watersheds

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TEXT AND COMPILATION BY

STUDIO INSTRUCTOR SEAN BURKHOLDER PROJECT TEAM JORDAN DUKE, NICHOLAS GOSSELIN, CLAIRE KURTIN, JORDAN LYPKIE, EMMA MENDEL, TAMAR PISTER, DAYNE ROY-CALDWELL, JACLYN RYBACK, NATE WILNER, SHAN YANG

Round Table Size matters

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Recollections Life and times at Ontario’s Site Planning Unit Text by JOHN HICKS, oala, WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF GARRETT PITTENGER

Book Corner The amazing world of bees

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REVIEW BY JULES TORTI

Technical Corner Sense and soakability: Filtering water on site

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Editorial Board Message

President’s Message

Editorial Board Message

The 48th OALA AGM & Conference, held in beautiful Niagara Falls, was a success! A special thank you to the Conference Organizing Committee, co-chaired by Doris Chee and Sandra Neal, and OALA staff for planning and organizing this event.

We see scale everywhere: on a streetscape, in a forest, from an airplane, on the subway. Scale can be mathematical or random or experiential or all of these at the same time. The way landscape architects approach scale influences how the space will feel and evolve over time. In this issue, we offer a wide range of perspectives on scale and ponder whether or not we are getting it right.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with a dedicated and dynamic Council. Thank you, in particular, to members of the Executive Committee for their commitment, guidance, and expertise: Joanne Moran, Doris Chee, Jane Welsh, and Chris Hart. I have also had the pleasure of working with many Association committees and task forces, supported by staff members Aina Budrevics and Sarah Manteuffel who are each dedicated to delivering core-business services. The OALA remains committed to providing meaningful member programs, resources, and advocacy services. The OALA Fees & Services Guide Task Force was established in 2013 to create a set of guide booklets that will assist members in communicating to potential clients what landscape architects do, the range of services offered, how to retain the services of a landscape architect, and how to create reasonable budgets for fees and expenses. This series of information guides, with the following working titles, will be rolled out in 2016: “Part 1: OALA Guide to Landscape Architecture Services”; “Part 2: Fee Guide for Landscape Architecture Services”; “Part 3: OALA Guide to Standard Written Contracts”; and “Part 4: OALA Guide to Design Competitions.”

Co-moderated by JOCELYN HIRTES AND TODD SMITH, OALA

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President’s Message

Text by STEPHANIE SNOW, OALA

Notes A miscellany of news and events 38/

Artifact Nelischer’s nozzles TEXT by CATE COCHRAN 46/

Spring 2016 Issue 33

The existing Ontario Association of Landscape Architects Act (1984) protects the title of “Landscape Architect”; however, it does not serve to prevent an unqualified person from practising landscape architecture in Ontario. In 2011, the OALA convened the Practice Legislation Committee (PLC) to contemplate practice legislation that would protect the public interest by limiting the practice of landscape architecture to those persons having specific landscape architecture education, experience, examination, and other regulatory requirements, as defined by the proposed Act. The Association is poised to initiate the next phase of the plan over the course of the next year. The OALA is pleased to announce a new office staff member. Ingrid Little, the new Registrar, holds a degree in Political Science from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration from York University, Schulich School of Business. Welcome, Ingrid!

The Round Table convenes design professionals working at different scales and looks at how scales affect their practice, and how professionals are designing within or despite the constraints that scale brings. More broadly, from the Greenbelt to the rain garden, are planning policies in place to encourage good scale? Do they inspire that feeling of comfortable or exciting proportion? In other features: artist and writer Josh Thorpe looks at a small hill and appreciates how topography produces scale; Graham MacInnes compiles a gallery of upscaled objects from Ontario’s landscapes; Ruthanne Henry, OALA, recounts her visit to a site-specific project called WINTER STATIONS; John Hicks, OALA, remembers his time at the Maple, Ontario, Site Planning Unit; and Stephanie Snow, OALA, offers a helpful primer (or reminder) on bioretention design. By the time you are reading this, Ground has gone online! The OALA has hired a new Ground web content editor, Jennifer Foden, who has been collaborating with our print edition editor, Lorraine Johnson, and the Editorial Board to produce the inaugural online issue of your favourite quarterly. More interactive, searchable, and content-rich than the PDFs of Ground back issues currently online, future online versions of Ground will share content with the print edition but with additional audio and video clips, and more photos, available with the digital issue. We are pretty excited to bring you this next level of content expression and membership engagement. Ground digital will expand the work and efforts of the OALA to new demographics, new allied professionals, and new business relationships. Head to www.groundmag.ca and enjoy!

This past year has seen many advances in OALA programs and services to the benefit of the membership. The activation of the new OALA South West Chapter (LASW) is testament to the high level of engagement of members.

Looking ahead, our Summer issue Round Table, on the theme of QUESTION, will be a public event, held on the evening of April 25, 6pm, at Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. The panel, along with Guelph and Toronto landscape architecture students, will discuss the burning questions of the profession; what questions we need to be asking; and how these questions have changed over time.

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as OALA President, and I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity.

As the landscape awakens to a new spring, the Editorial Board wishes you a wonderful and successful season.

Sarah Culp, OALA oala President

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 Robert Patterson Denise Pinto Tamar Pister Phil Pothen Todd Smith (chair) Dalia Todary-Michael Kathy Zhu

Vice President Doris Chee

Web Editor Jennifer Foden Art Direction/Design www.typotherapy.com Advertising Inquiries advertising@oala.ca 416.231.4181 Cover From Watersheds, a studio project by MLA students at the University of Toronto. See page 16. 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 *Accurate as of March 31, 2016 OALA Staff Acting Executive Director Aina Budrevics Registrar Ingrid Little 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 34 (Summer) Question

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, FCSLA, 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, FCSLA, Senior Landscape Architect, Stantec, Toronto

’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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01 Invasive Species

monitoring through GIS Scale is relational, and, by any measure, The Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga does well by the numbers. A 60-hectare natural area owned by the Credit Valley Conservation Authority and managed by the City of Mississauga, the site has an active stewardship program supported by more than 1,000 volunteers. In 2015, Riverwood’s Native Plant Propagation Program grew—in the home gardens of program participants—1,250 seedlings from 36 different native species. When the seedlings were mature, the volunteers returned them to Riverwood for planting out in the site’s oldgrowth forests, wetlands, oak savannas, and meadows.

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Up Front: Information on the Ground

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As in all natural areas of southern Ontario, one of the biggest challenges at Riverwood is encroachment from invasive species. “We’ve got them all,” says Stewardship Coordinator Kirushanth Gnanachandran: “Garlic mustard, dog-strangling vine, buckthorn, Japanese knotweed, phragmites...” But what they also have is a relatively large number of volunteer stewards, and thus Riverwood has the good fortune of being able to tackle the problem using an enviable arsenal of people power. For the past few years, Gnanachandran and his volunteer team have not only been pulling out garlic mustard (in 2015, they uprooted more than 6,000 pounds), but also monitoring the results of their efforts through an innovative use of GIS mapping technology. The infestations on the property are catalogued and marked on GPS units, and then, following invasive species removal efforts, the site is again checked, catalogued, and recorded on ArcMap. This produces a map that allows for visual representation of the geographic data. “The layers of the map, year by year, allow us to track the results,” says Gnanachandran. “Basically, it provides us with a roadmap—a quick picture of where we’re at.” Before and after photographs augment the data and give volunteers a sense of accomplishment: “It helps them to visualize the changes that are the result of their work.”

Documentation is an important component of any restoration project, but it’s often something that gets relegated to the back burner on the list of priorities. At Riverwood, on the other hand, the ease and efficiency of the mapping technology ensure that the historical record is accurate. “What it’s allowed us to do is effectively track invasive plants,” says Gnanachandran, “and create an on-line chronological record of where we were, where we are, and where we can go.” While other organizations are doing similar mapping of invasives, the large number of volunteers at Riverwood in relation to the size of the site allows for a manageable-scale effort. Gnanachandran encourages others who are involved with stewardship to consider similar GIS-type mapping. In terms of what the team has been able to accomplish, he says, “This technology has been a life-saver.” Text by Lorraine Johnson, the Editor of Ground.

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The Riverwood Conservancy is a 60-hectare natural area on the Credit River in Mississauga.

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Greg Hart

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Natural features at Riverwood include woodlands, meadows, wetlands, and floodplains.

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Volunteers are involved in plant propagation and invasive species removal, among other activities.

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Kirushanth Gnanachandran

Kirushanth Gnanachandran


Up Front

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WINTERS STATIONS takes its lead from the successful WARMING HUTS competition in Winnipeg. WARMING HUTS started in 2009 and is still going strong on the frozen ice of The Forks of the Red River, with similarly intriguing temporary art/architecture interventions each year.

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toronto’s winter stations For a few weeks in February and March, a series of art installations along Toronto’s Eastern Beaches provided vibrancy, comfort, and a free, family-friendly design destination. WINTER STATIONS, initiated by RAW Design, Ferris + Associates, Curio, and Ward 32 Councillor Mary Margaret McMahon, started in 2014 with a fall design competition, and the result was a great variety of international teams who created outdoor experiences that temporarily buffered the harsh winter of 2015. Designing art for wind and extreme cold is a novelty, and people came out in droves, according to Councillor McMahon. The 2016 theme for WINTER STATIONS was Freeze/Thaw. Highlights included basking in a semi-transparent sauna with reflecting sun, creating a “halo” effect, by FFLO (Claire Furnley and James Fox). A participatory piece titled FLOW by Team Secret (Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh) let you play with strangers of all ages by throwing wooden “ice crystals” into a

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constantly changing mound. (One drawback of this piece was observed when two small children were hit with falling “crystals.”) All senses were engaged by the installations and incorporated into the experiences. “I smell summer camp,” said Beatrice Saraga Taylor, OALA, upon entering Floating Ropes by MUDO (Elodie Doukhan and Nicolas Mussche). In the same installation of hanging sisal ropes, my 14-year-old daughter Asha told me that it smelled like her sailing classes on Georgian Bay. Not surprisingly, the most popular WINTER STATIONS featured fire, like the sauna and the fire pit of this year. Long line-ups of visitors weathered the cold to experience the Belly of The Bear, by Caitland R.C. Brown, Wayne Garrett, and Lane Shordee of Calgary. This STATION featured charred curved wood on the exterior and animal hides in the interior to insulate the structure. The beautiful contrast of the black sphere against the barren winter beach was striking, particularly in the oranges and pinks at sunset.

The 2016 Toronto WINTER STATIONS competition had a modest budget of $15,000 per station to cover material, travel, and accommodation, with a modest honorarium of $3,500 for each team chosen. Following the November submission deadline, an accomplished jury, including Jane Hutton, Lisa Rochon, Lily Jeon, Diana Koncan, Catherine Osborne, and Alex Josephson, selected the winners. As part of the selection process, the jury conducted a detailed technical review of each proposal’s construction 05/

FLOW, by Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh

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Ruthanne Henry

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FLOW, by Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh

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Ben Rahn/A-Frame Studio

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Lithoform, by Ryerson University

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Khristel Stecher Lithoform, by Ryerson University

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Ruthanne Henry

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Fire Pit, by Douglas Cardinal

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drawings; with the high winds blowing off the lake, construction integrity is important. Winners were announced in January, with an immediate request going to winners to begin off-site construction. After four days of on-site construction in February, the temporary installations opened on Family Day (February 15th) and remained open for almost five weeks before removal.

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In the Belly of the Bear, by Caitlind Brown, Wayne Garrett, and Lane Shordee

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Khristel Stecher

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In the Belly of the Bear, by Caitlind Brown, Wayne Garrett, and Lane Shordee

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Ben Rahn/A-Frame Studio Steam Canoe, by OCAD University

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Aurora Borealis, by Laurentian University

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Floating Ropes, by MUDO (Elodie Doukhan and Nicolas Mussche)

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The OALA was a winter stations sponsor. Text by Ruthanne Henry, OALA, a project coordinator for park enhancement projects at the City of Toronto, a Ward 32 resident, and a member of the Ground Editorial Board.

Ben Rahn/A-Frame Studio

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Councillor McMahon notes that several other municipalities are inquiring about the project, so perhaps we’ll see these warming stations in other locations across the province next winter.

Sauna, by FFLO James Fox

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Up Front

Gardening

communities that bloom Whisked through downtown streets in a vintage fire truck; swept across the sea to the tunes of shanty songs; driven through fields of azure flax and golden canola; and touring outdoor galleries of mural-splashed walls— these are some of the ways judges for the Communities in Bloom (CiB) program get to know the many ways that towns are greening and beautifying their communities. As a first-time judge with a background in gardening, on last summer’s tour of seven communities from Newfoundland to Alberta, I expected to see bountiful community gardens, hanging baskets billowing with colourful annuals, and lovely neighbourhood gardens. And I did. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the broad scope of a program that for more than 20 years has been challenging towns across Canada to tidy their streetscapes; develop and enhance their greenspaces; respect the environment that sustains them; seek ways to preserve their natural heritage; and implement good stewardship practices towards their urban tree canopies. Phew! It’s a comprehensive program that encompasses not only a municipality’s own actions, but those of its businesses and institutions, its residents, and its community service clubs and volunteers. Depending on how well it fares in these endeavours, each community is awarded a rating from one to five “Blooms,” which many display prominently on welcome signs posted at the entrance to town.

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As part of a team of 28 fellow judges, assessing these elements during a threeweek, whirlwind tour of communities with populations between 4,501 and 9,000 involved every one of my wits—and then some. Thankful for the CiB policy requiring two judges to visit the towns in each of the six population categories, I was paired with another newbie who nonetheless knew the ins and outs of the program from first-hand experience as chair of his own town’s CiB program. During our tour, what I discovered were the myriad ways that towns across the country are using this greening program to enrich their communities. Many of these towns have taken advantage of the natural landscapes that surround them. Extensive walking trails follow dramatic shorelines, wind through pretty residential areas, and skirt ponds and lakes. In partnership with local wildlife and environmental agencies, some towns have developed information panels identifying birds and wildflowers along the way. Other communities offer walking tours that encompass local history and traditions—this is especially prevalent in Newfoundland where music and storytelling enrich the experience, which often culminates in a taste of local food.

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Wildlife and wildflowers thrive along the shores of the Tay River in Perth, Ontario.

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A beautifully planted and maintained private garden in Perth, Ontario.

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Lorraine Flanigan

Lorraine Flanigan


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In some communities, the life of a once-vital downtown has been threatened by large, national retail chains that sprawl along bypass highways, diverting residents and visitors from the often historic town centres. But Business Improvement Associations are working hard to marshal resources to attract visitors by beautifying downtown sidewalks with containers and baskets, for example. As judges, we assessed maintenance practices (volunteer “dead-headers” and watering crews were often out early in the morning, before businesses opened), the condition and age of planters, and the creativity and appropriateness of plant material. But it wasn’t all about pretty posies. Points were lost for weeds found growing in the cracks of sidewalks, inconsistency in the design of benches and other public landscape furnishings, the lack of adequate garbage and recycling bins, and instances of tagging that defaced buildings, fences, bridges, and other visible surfaces.

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Along with their beautification efforts, under the CiB program towns must deal with very 22 19/

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Root cellars like this one in Carbonear, Newfoundland, are part of the province’s heritage. Lorraine Flanigan The Shoreline Walk in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland, is one of many trails that wind through the natural landscape. Lorraine Flanigan

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Community gardens, like this one in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, are popular places for residents to grow their own food. Lorraine Flanigan Communities in Bloom judge Lorraine Flanigan Brad Beatty A team of town gardeners spruces up the flowerbeds at Elk’s Park in Vegreville, Alberta. Lorraine Flanigan

practical and unglamorous issues such as waste disposal. How effectively they manage sewage and garbage has a direct impact on the environment, which is often, ironically, both fragile and a source of tourism. Waterways and shorelines attract campers, cottagers, and day-trippers—and their candy wrappers, coffee cups, and soft drink cans. The savvy communities we visited serviced recycling bins and garbage cans frequently, and where budgets were tight, they relied on volunteers during clean-up days and encouraged neighbourhood adopt-a-park groups to provide ongoing maintenance. As judges, we also inspected landfill sites and recycling depots, resale shops, and sewage lagoons to determine how effectively each town reduced their potentially harmful footprint on the environment. In every single one of the towns we visited, I came to realize that success springs from the fierce pride of the residents, the commitment of town councillors, the involvement of business owners, and the vitality of service groups, all of which contribute to creating a dedicated core of volunteers who strive to make it all happen. The biggest lesson I learned from visiting these towns is that it’s people who make communities bloom. Text by Lorraine Flanigan, an award-winning journalist and the editor of Trellis, a magazine published by the Toronto Botanical Garden, who blogs at citygardeningonline.ca.


One Small Hill of Sand

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A meditation on scale

I am an artist and writer, and I teach architecture students at the University of Toronto how to approach their written work. In student meetings we spend a lot of time looking at things that seem very simple, but which, given attention, quickly become complex. On certain days, after enough hours of this kind of looking, the mundane city I’m used to suddenly seems very strange. And it is. A few months ago, I took a walk through Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park, a big park in the west end. It has three baseball diamonds, six tennis courts, an outdoor hockey rink, a toboggan hill, a community centre, a playground, several vast greens, many treed and naturalized areas, and an off-leash area for dogs.

Text by Josh Thorpe

I was walking through the park, as I had many times before, and I became aware of something I’d pretty much ignored for years: a little hill of sand. It’s about 20 feet wide and six feet high (though sometimes much higher), and it sits in a little wooded area just north of the playground on the west side of the park.


One Small Hill of Sand

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It’s almost nothing. I mean, it’s just a lump of dirt, a nearly pure example of basic landscape typology: the convex landform. But even this simple hill is many things—a point of high ground, a landmark, a focal point, a lookout, a screen, a windbreak, a maker of microclimate, a kinetic sculpture that moves very, very slowly. I love how a simple form like this can shelter you from wind at grade, and moments later, when you climb to the crest, expose you, brutally, to the elements.

I called up the City and talked to the park supervisor, Peter White. He says this hill is a really important part of the park. And it’s almost effortless. It began as a tiny play area and just kind of grew over the years to the hill it is today, as leftover sand from other sites in Toronto was made available. Now that it has reached a certain mass, the most maintenance usually required is a little hilling-up once or twice a year with a BobCat. When they’re done reshaping, it can reach ten feet in height.

From a public realm perspective, this little hill is kind of huge. Children and their parents spend hours here. In fact, in good weather, if the hill is empty, which is rare, and a single kid shows up, many more immediately follow. They play tag and roly-poly, and they do cartwheels down the slopes. They build castles and dig moats, and fill the moats with water. And they stand on top and yell their hearts out and chuck sand in each other’s direction. I like to think of the thousands of grains of stowaway sand that are redistributed across the city inadvertently by these kids at the end of any summer’s day.

It’s unusual, this hill: it’s an incredibly simple landform; it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to produce and maintain; it’s relatively local and sustainable; and yet it produces such wonderfully complex effects.

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This small hill of sand, in a Toronto park, has a big impact on public space. Josh Thorpe

I talked to some local parents, and it isn’t just the kids who like this hill. The parents stand around with their coffees and chat, and you can feel it’s a calmer, softer space than the playground nearby. Often, they, too, get involved in the digging and sculpting. They bury each other in sand, and they make big forts out of sand and sticks. One family brings their pet turtle to the hill—no doubt in the hope that it will feel more at home. There’s even a cross-country running team that likes to train on the hill because when they compete every year, it’s on sand. (Let’s hope the runners and the turtle never meet.)

So, first, an appreciation: What a lovely hill. Second, an argument: Let’s have more little hills like this—in fact, more topography all around. We’ve filled in a lot of ravines, buried a lot of creeks, and flattened a lot of hills. How can we bring topography back into the vernacular of our cities? And in rural Ontario, as developers race to build townhouses on former farmsteads, is anyone thinking about the value of the cultural landscape and how topography plays a role? Third, optimism: In a city growing so big and moving so fast, it’s a great relief to stumble on something as beautifully simple, and as deceptively complex, as this little hill of sand. I can’t wait to figure out what else I’ve been overlooking for years. BIO/ Josh Thorpe has two jobs: freelance writer working with architects; visual artist working in the public realm.


Scaling Up

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The Big Apple, Colborne

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Compiled by Graham MacInnes

What compels us to adorn our communities with gigantic icons? These oversized objects assert identity, offer a bit of humour, and say, loudly, “there’s nothing stuffy about this place!” The following round-up of “big things” is just a taste of some strangely scaled relics to be found in Ontario’s landscapes.

The Big Nickel, Sudbury Peter Vanderheyden

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Brian Smith

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Wawa Goose Monument, Wawa

Anthony Easton Purple Coneflower, by Ferruccio Sardella, at Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto Dennis Jarvis Red Canoe, Canoe Landing Park—Toronto Noah Cole


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Pileated Woodpecker, by Fastwürms, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto Dennis Jarvis Maman, by Louise Bourgeoise, Ottawa Jamie McCaffrey

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Monument to Previous Wiarton Willies, Wiarton Robert Taylor

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Spirit Catcher, by Ron Baird, Barrie

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Kelly Verdeck

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The Wall, Port Carling

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Fishing Bear, Ottawa

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Rod Brazier, Brazier Creative

Hubert Figuiere Muddy the Mudcat, Dunnville

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Doug Kerr

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The Loonie, Echo Bay

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Salmon Statue, Sault Ste. Marie Mark Goebel

Adam Kahtava

A great website for finding “big things” in ontario is www.roadsideattractions.ca/ontario.htm. BIO/ graham macinnes is a member of the ground editorial board.


Dialogue and Symphony

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01 interview by Lorraine Johnson AND Victoria Taylor, OALA

The Language of Plants

In a project originally conceived for the Grow Op 2015 exhibition, artists and landscape designers Yi Zhou and Jasmeen Bains of the Studio for Landscape Culture created The Language of Plants, an installation in which the (normally inaudible) sounds emitted by plants are combined to create a bio-acoustic symphony. Ground editor Lorraine Johnson and frequent contributor Victoria Taylor, OALA, who curated Grow Op 2015, recently spoke with Zhou and Bains about their project during a walk through the black oak savanna of High Park in Toronto. Lorraine Johnson (LJ): Could you talk about the genesis of your project The Language of Plants? Yi Zhou (YZ): The impetus was the call for proposals for the Grow Op 2015 exhibition. We really connected with the theme of landscape and culture and how the two intersect. We started out with a brainstorming session to think about what culture is, what we can draw from culture. We kept coming back to the idea of language as a foundation of culture, as an indicator of culture, as a producer

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and a product: what are the characteristics of language, how do we use it as humans, and also how do we use it as landscape designers? We were looking at different aspects of urban design, horticulture, botany, all of these different aspects that come together to inform how we design spaces. Jasmeen Bains (JB): In this project, as artists, we wanted to think of plants as a system and encourage people to look at them as a system rather than as individual specimens. Yi was researching articles and came across the fact that plants make sounds and communicate with each other.


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The Language of Plants on exhibit at the Toronto Botanical Garden

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The installation on exhibit at Grow Op 2015

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Studio for Landscape Culture

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YZ: It started out as a conceptual question: what if there are voices in the plants that we could listen to? I didn’t imagine that there would be a scientific basis behind that. So we dug into it more. Can we learn from plants in a different way by listening to them? Can we discover harmonies, can we make music, can we learn more about the characters of the plants? There’s an entire, growing field of bio-acoustics.

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In collaboration with our audio consultant, Simon Nuk, we created a synthesizer through sound programming software. We looked at what scientists had found in terms of plant sounds (they had looked at different species of trees, different species of perennials, grasses) and we took all this information and condensed it into a framework for understanding the plants as a series of sounds. We looked at how the sounds change over the course of a day in six-hour intervals. We looked at how they differ from species to species, and also how similar types of plants may have common sound qualities. The sounds

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At the Toronto Botanical Garden Studio for Landscape Culture The acoustic element was based on sounds emitted by plants of the black oak savanna. Eric Gordon

are primarily produced from the everyday process of transpiration, as water is pulled up from the roots, through the xylem, into the leaves. They differ based on anatomy and where in the plant you are listening. Trees make very different sounds from grasses, for example. In the black oak, water travels up a really long, woody columnar section in the trunk of the tree, so it has a different quality of sound. LJ: So you’ve synthesized the sound for each plant in the installation? JB: It was like reverse engineering of the sound. We took spectrograms from scientific literature and considered what physiological aspects related to the species we were studying, and then reverse engineered those spectrograms for our species based on comparable qualities in the other spectrograms. YZ: In these studies, the plants are hooked up with sensors that detect both high frequency sound vibrations (ultrasonic acoustic emissions) and super quiet sounds (audible acoustic emissions). The spectrograms are visualizations of these sounds, generated by a computer as it is receiving inputs from the plant. We looked at that and came up with twenty to thirty parameters that would control a different portion or quality of the sound in which each part is responsible for a different quality of that sound: how loud it is, how quickly it gets loud, how quickly it softens, the period between each loud beep, how long that lags, how long before the next one, and how that changes over the course of six-hour periods for all of the plants. Those were some of the parameters. I feel that we’ve just been a facilitator for the dialogue, a translator for the natural occurrences of this ecological system. JB: We just unveiled something that was there but nobody realized it or understood it because it was out of their hearing range. We just made it so that people could access it in an easy way.


Dialogue and Symphony

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LJ: You added the wonderful feature of the viewer being able to adjust the sound, so the participant is making the symphony. YZ: A key part of what we like to do with our projects is to make them participatory and engaging. JB: We also wanted to identify that you could listen to each plant as an individual, but then you could also create your own mix, your own ecology. LJ: Did you get to the point where you thought the plants had personalities? JB: Yes! There were ones that we liked and ones that we didn’t like. I didn’t really like the sound of the black oak, it was so... YZ: …buzzy and static-y. JB: Blue-eyed grass was my absolute favourite. The sound was soft, and it reminded me of the way it looks. YZ: I really liked the wild columbine. It didn’t sound like any of the others. JB: It was interesting that the little flowering ones were the softest and gentlest.

Victoria Taylor (VT): The Language of Plants was the first project for your Studio of Landscape Culture. How is your practice in the studio separate from or similar to what you do in your day jobs? YZ: We have another member of our studio, Tyler Bradt, and we all wanted an outlet for the kinds of projects that take chances, are different, and aren’t always limited or constrained by real world concerns. JB: Sometimes the working world doesn’t allow you to explore those things, or explore them to the depth you want to. It might sound cheesy, but we want to make a difference in the world, and sometimes the constraints of a professional practice don’t allow you to do that to the degree you want to. YZ: Or to do the kind of research that allows different types of design approaches. VT: It was great for the public to see your work at Grow Op; for the visitors to experience your installation and the power of how using other creative and research processes can inspire so many new conversations about landscape and the world around us. YZ: It’s funny because in school we’re always taught about a multi-disciplinary approach. When you get into professional practice,

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Diagrammatic panels from The Language of Plants exhibition

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Yi Zhou (left) and Jasmeen Bains during an interview in High Park

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Lorraine Johnson The Language of Plants, on exhibit at the Toronto Botanical Garden Studio for Landscape Culture


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everything is very structured and there’s not really the room—or sometimes even imagination—that is required to make the approach truly multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary. LJ: What are some of the ways you want to change the world with the work you do? JB: I think that we have to change our relationship with nature and ecology and plants. The mentality of us versus them, our space and their space, hasn’t worked so far. Ecological function is seen as an extra. If you’re working on a streetscape, and you suggest making it a pollinator pathway, we need to change the mentality and say sure, it might look different, but let’s accept it as having value.

YZ: We need to change the focus from what our landscapes look like to how they work. In all of our projects, there’s a very deeply embedded ecological foundation. It might not be the thing that hits you over the head, but it’s always there. LJ: What is the Studio for Landscape Culture working on now? JB: We have been looking at [Toronto] school closures and trying to create an interim use for the grounds and the buildings themselves, something multi-disciplinary. YZ: The closures are in the lowest income areas, where the schools are most important and the community relies on them. JB: There are after-school programs, daytime programs, adult learning programs—these are really important in those areas, and we need to keep those facilities alive regardless of what the daytime use is. That’s an ongoing project still in the research phase. We’re also looking to do more installation work. We’d love to make The Language of Plants into a walking tour. We could create it in such a way that you could be listening to

and experiencing the plants one on one. If it were a tour through High Park, for example, it could be choreographed so you could listen to the sounds of different plants as you were walking through them. YZ: It would be another way to experience the landscape, by incorporating the audio with the sensory, visual, and tactile. We love working with installations and experiences where you can bring everything together at a small scale so it’s accessible and digestible. BIO/

Lorraine Johnson is the editor of Ground, and was a member of the Grow Op 2015 jury. Victoria Taylor, OALA, engages with landscape as an artistic and a cultural practice through public and private design commissions, curatorial projects, teaching, writing, and temporary art installations. She was the founder and curator of The Gladstone Hotel’s Grow Op exhibitions from 2012-2015.


Watersheds

Text and compilation by Studio Instructor Sean Burkholder Project Team Jordan Duke, Nicholas Gosselin, Claire Kurtin, Jordan Lypkie, Emma Mendel, Tamar Pister, Dayne Roy-Caldwell, Jaclyn Ryback, Nate Wilner, Shan Yang

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As part of a design studio investigating the future of the Great Lakes watersheds, Master of Landscape Architecture students at the University of Toronto comprehensively mapped every watershed in Ontario draining into the Great Lakes. By dividing the province through a landscape-based categorization, compelling new perspectives on spatial and temporal connections across a variety of scales were able to be drawn. Surficial geologic conditions dating back to processes sometimes hundreds of millions of years old relate to the topographic formations caused by still active rivers, segmenting the territorial land mass into constituent parts related to their whole. Historical and contemporary land uses from agriculture to urban development align with meandering watercourses and lake shores shifting with the effects of climate change. This analysis of scales in space and time led students to exploratory design interventions that sought implications for the Great Lakes as a large system through minimal design interventions detailed within local landscapes. By starting big, students were led to conceive small projects, but with scalable effects.

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1 PIGEON Population 73 671 Area 1852 km2 Shoreline 89 km

10 AGAWA Population 790 Area 5,775 km2 Shoreline 127 km

19 MAGNETAWAN Population 22,700 Area 6,039 km2 Shoreline 946 km

28 AUSAUBLE Population 1,220,093 Area 3,118 km2 Shoreline 91 km

37 GANARASKA Population 271,210 Area 1,606 km2 Shoreline 153 km

2 DOG Population 88,360 Area 8,993 km2 Shoreline 13 km

11 GOULAIS Population 34,730 Area 5,091 km2 Shoreline 253 km

20 MUSKOKA Population 1, 035,437 Area 5,623 km2 Shoreline 161 km

29 CEDAR Population 299,590 Area 1,776 km2 Shoreline 176 km

38 TRENT - CROWE Population 66,340 Area 3,621 km2 Shoreline 12 km

3 BLACK STURGEON Population 6,140 Area 5,475 km2

12 GARDEN Population 36,070 Area 3,499 km2 Shoreline 379 km

21 BLACK RIVER LAKE SIMCOE Population 494,080 Area 6,187 km2 Shoreline 100 km

30 LOWER THAMES Population 254,870 Area 2,797 km2 Shoreline 40 km

39 MOIRA Population 65,540 Area 2,849 km2 Shoreline 28 km

22 NOTTAWASAGA Population 221,890 Area 4,455 km2 Shoreline 177 km

31 RONDEAU Population 16,800 Area 766 km2 Shoreline 140 km

40 PRINCE EDWARD BAY Population 12,050 Area 1,087 km2 Shoreline 436 km

23 SOUTHWEST GEORGIAN BAY Population 221,890 Area 1,879 km2 Shoreline 127 km

32 BIG Population 214,210 Area 4,008 km2 Shoreline 316 km

41 NAPANEE Population 102,370 Area 3,041 km2 Shoreline 277 km

33 LOWER GRAND Population 285,640 Area 2,032 km2 Shoreline 9 km

42 CATARAQUI Population 2,719,867 Area 2,135 km2 Shoreline 58 km

Shoreline 351 km 4 NIPIGON Population 5,530 Area 25,408 km2 Shoreline 2 km

13 LOWER MISSISSAGI Population 44,780 Area 3,579 km2 Shoreline 85 km

5 JACKPINE Population 2,015 Area 2,243 km2 Shoreline 73 km

14 SERPENT Population 14,670 Area 2,735 km2 Shoreline 85 km

6 LITTLE PIC Population 3,120 Area 5,143 km2 Shoreline 163 km

15 SPANISH Population 16,910 Area 9,501 km2 Shoreline 73 km

7 PIC Population 3,880 Area 6,742 km2 Shoreline 29 km

16 MANITOULIN ISLAND Population 8,620 Area 3,322 km2 Shoreline 705 km

8 WHITE Population 6,140 Area 5,475 km2 Shoreline 351 km 9 MICHIPICOTEN MAGPIE Population 177,545 Area 9 337 km2 Shoreline 110 km

17 KILLARNEY Population 9,200 Area 2,360 km2 Shoreline 190 km 18 FRENCH Population 62,460 Area 8,852 km2 Shoreline 81 km

24 BRUCE PENINSULA Population 13,490 Area 2,115 km2 Shoreline 513 km 25 SAUGEEN Population 68,320 Area 4,025 km2 Shoreline 14 km 26 PENETANGORE Population 17,120 Area 1,237 km2 Shoreline 160 km 27 MAITLAND Population 55,190 Area 2,646 km2 Shoreline 21 km

34 NIAGARA Population 490,140 Area 2,384 km2 Shoreline 78 km 35 CREDIT - 16 MILE Population 1,417,000 Area 2,302 km2 Shoreline 70 km 36 HUMBER - DON Population 4,174,220 Area 2,645 km2 Shoreline 89 km

43 UPPER ST. LAWRENCE THOUSAND ISLANDS Population 33,630 Area 652 km2 Shoreline 75 km


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The variations in geology from Northern to Southern Ontario create an incredibly diverse bedrock mosaic, impacting how water has historically flowed, and continues to flow, across the province. This visual representation maps different subcategories of bedrock geology found in the watersheds of the Great Lakes, in order to communicate this regional categorization.

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Round Table

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Our panel explores the complexities of scale

Co-moderated by Jocelyn Hirtes and Todd Smith, OALA

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Round Table

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Pamela Blais is an urban planner and Principal of Metropole Consultants Ltd. Her professional focus is in creating better cities by integrating planning and economic and environmental thinking in analyzing urban issues and developing innovative policy. In her career of more than two decades as an urban planning consultant, her work has included reurbanization strategies and research; regional growth planning; municipal economic development strategies; innovative land-use policies for industrial areas; urban regeneration strategies; sustainable urban form, community design, and infrastructure; and research on the impact of technology on urban form. She is the author of Perverse Cities: Hidden Subsidies, Wonky Policy and Urban Sprawl, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Donner Book Prize. Pamela has a Masters in Planning from the University of Toronto and a PhD in urban economic geography from the London School of Economics. Nancy Chater, OALA, is a Toronto-based landscape architect who has worked on public- and privatesector projects at a wide range of scales over the past 12 years. Ken Greenberg is an urban designer, teacher, writer, former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto, and Principal of Greenberg Consultants. Involved in many grassroots and community initiatives, he is a Board Member of Park People, a non-profit dedicated to the improvement of Toronto’s parks. He currently teaches at the University of Toronto where he is an Adjunct Professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. He is also a co-founder and a Visiting Scholar at the new City Building Institute at Ryerson University in Toronto. A frequent writer for periodicals, he is the author of Walking Home: the Life and Lessons of a City Builder, published by Random House. His current major project is as urban design lead and client representative for Project: Under Gardiner in Toronto.

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Todd Smith (TS): With the increasing dialogue on landscape urbanism, landscape architects are increasingly focused on finerscale urban interventions, with less emphasis on the role of form, pattern, and process. Are we getting it right, regarding scale, in cities and regions and gardens and at the lot level, wherever we’re practising? How does scale affect your practice?

cally a sense of things being perpetually unfinished—like the city—and evolving. The sensibility that comes from a world of growing things applies to a city. (Architects, on the other hand, which I was trained as, have to overcome their object fixation in their approach to the city. There’s a tendency to gravitate to the thing, and to be more focused on it than on the context that supports and is affected by it.)

Ken Greenberg (KG): My beat is the city, which involves interrelated scales: from the region, the district, the neighbourhood, the city block, down to the lot, buildings, and individual dwellings. A key concept that Jane Jacobs introduced is organized complexity of interactive, ecologically related systems,

Landscape architecture’s approach to time is one of the reasons why some of the most interesting assignments in urbanism, worldwide, are now being led by landscape architects. Frankly, I think landscape architects in Canada are still very often hired to

Jocelyn Hirtes is a member of the Ground Editorial Board. A landscape designer and arborist, she works at Mark Hartley Landscape Architects (currently on maternity leave). Neno Kovacevic, OALA, is Associate director at IBI Group. In more than 20 years of consulting, he has worked on projects in North America and internationally. Since joining IBI Group in 2003, Neno has been involved in numerous assignments across Canada and internationally including master planning, hospitality, transportation, healthcare, institutional, and landscape architecture projects. He has been extensively dedicated to business development at IBI Group, pursuing hospitality, healthcare, transportation, and regional/spatial planning projects in Europe, Central America, and the Middle East. He continues to divide his time between Europe and North America and is currently managing the IBI Montenegro office. Todd Smith, OALA, chair of the Ground Editorial Board, is a landscape architect and arborist, with a focus on transit landscapes, watercourse regeneration, plant palettes for aesthetics and function, welcoming public space, valuation of trees, and cultural landscapes— the long view. Neil Turnbull, OALA, is the founder and principal of Neil Turnbull Ltd. His history, education, and experience are unusual, and this has been important in forming his approach to landscape architecture: commercial art at Cedarbrae Collegiate, part-time work at LL Solty ltd, followed by two years of horticulture and beekeeping at the West of Scotland Agricultural College. Neil then studied environmental studies at Trent University. His formal education was complemented with practical work, including stints as a commercial artist; landscape supervisor for LL Solty Ltd and Victor Bohus Ltd; and three summers as an interpretive naturalist with Parks Canada. At the City of Toronto Planning Department, he did environmental research and graphic design. He was a founding partner of Acme Environmentals Ltd until, in 1978, he established Neil Turnbull Limited, where he has continued to practise as a design/build Landscape Architect. Since 1978, the firm has designed, built, and maintained hundreds of private gardens in southern Ontario and farther afield. Some notable institutional gardens include The Arthur Meighen Garden at the Stratford Festival Theatre, The Max Tanenbaum Garden on the Princess Margaret Hospital’s 16th-floor rooftop, and The Spiro Family Garden at Toronto’s Baycrest Centre. The firm recently completed The Vertical Crevice Garden at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto.

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a concept that she took from the biological sciences. With that in mind, I’ve worked with architects, landscape architects, all types of engineers and economists, and I’ve found that landscape architects have two inherent advantages when it comes to thinking about the city. One of them is that if you approach it with an ecological sensibility, scale is boundless. Interactive systems, whether you’re talking about geology, hydrology, or vegetation, are not about political boundaries. These interactive systems in nature operate at many scales. And good landscape architects understand that and tend to think that way. The second advantage is the concept of time. Because landscape architects are dealing with things that grow, there is automati-

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A 20-foot-tall dog sculpture by William Lishman adds huge scale to the site at Hedgerow Farm. Neil Turnbull Changing the scale of street elements recalibrates perspective and equalizes the sharing of streets for all users, as this concept (after and before) for Queen Street, Ottawa, shows. The Planning Partnership


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embellish architectural projects, and haven’t yet got the temerity to challenge the boxes in which they’re put. But globally, you’re seeing landscape architects bring this very big set of sensibilities about time and space to urban projects, which is a game changer in a very positive way. Nancy Chater (NC): One thing that’s changing, in terms of place-making and the accumulation of places into city building, is the recognition of the importance of the public realm. The sense of scale within the public realm is also changing—such as redoing streetscapes to make roads thinner and sidewalks wider. There’s also the scale of the human body, the experiential scale of the person, people in space together. That’s a scale we can see, we can apprehend

visually, and it’s very much affected by the sense of the boundaries to that scale. Then there are all the scales we don’t see, such as global economic forces. You can even go smaller into the micro scale of soil organisms and ecological systems, which then zoom back up into that larger ecological network. One exciting change is the new focus on walkability: bringing the city scale out of the automobile and onto the sidewalk, or into the park. Slowing things down to a walking pace affects what you’re able to see and changes your experience in a space and your sense of scale. We’re at a fascinating point where cities are being rethought at a different scale—a walkable scale.

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The addition of an outdoor market to Union Station in Toronto during the Pan Am Games changed the perceived scale of this civic space.

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Pamela Blais (PB): In terms of the different kinds of scale, there is the scale of territory, which is basically geographic scale. This requires looking at certain things in terms of patterns of land use, density, mix of uses, etc. And then there’s the object, which includes the physical building blocks that actually make up cities. Those have a scale component to them which is really important in terms of the urban environment, but it’s a different kind of scale. And then there’s time scale. A lot of the work I do is very long range. Typically you’d look at twenty, thirty, even fifty years. There’s a project I’m submitting a proposal on which is a fifty-year outlook. The idea of nested scale is really important because, at least in terms of the work I do, we’re trying, at a regional scale, to create the conditions for things to happen at the local level. We can try to plan a region that is going to be supportive for transit, with density in the right places and the right mix of uses, and we can be successful at that at the regional level. But if you don’t then design those small local areas very carefully in terms of transit accessibility, you’re still not going to get people to use the transit. So much of it has to do with where the entrance is to the transit station: can people see it, does it integrate with the building around it? So we can do those big things at the regional scale that create the preconditions for something to happen at the local level. But it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen unless the design at the micro level is also in play. Those things are not only nested, they’re interdependent. They have to work together. And I don’t think we’re getting the regional conditions right yet. Even though we have the Growth Plan, it hasn’t really been achieving a lot of the objectives. And most of the objectives that have been achieved—the densification, for example—most of that’s in downtown Toronto, which has very little to do with the Growth Plan.

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Neil Turnbull Project: Under Gardiner will unify several scales of density, infrastructure, and land uses. Greenberg Consultants Inc.

KG: Planners and physical designers have often thought that you could go from the region to the city to the neighbourhood and predetermine everything. But that clearly doesn’t work in a dynamic, evolving society. I think the key is to understand interrelation-


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pyramid. In a web, everything is informing everything else and there is a back and forth between elements. TS: What are some of the scale issues in terms of the projects you work on?

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ships through the lens of ecology. A good analogy is an ecotone, where habitats merge and there are things that happen as one species influences another, and you have changes, and you can’t exactly say how things are going to evolve. Cities work in a continuum of interrelationships, and that runs against all these preplanned, enormous projects we’re seeing in China and the Gulf States where, through a severe case of hubris, people imagine that they can take vast areas and understand exactly how people are going to live over decades and what the physical environment will look like. Neno Kovacevic (NK): Time scale has dynamics, has a process, and has patterns. And we’re still in the early days of understanding those dynamics, especially in light of climate change and how to predict the patterns, and how to predict the change. Neil Turnbull (NT): Picking up on the idea of ecotones—these are extremely important areas in any community. Sidewalks are ecotones between the street and buildings. The edge of a woodlot or bank of a pond, lake or river, or dunes between the sea and meadow or even the area of spilled sand around a sand box are all uniquely rich environments. Ecotones can also be carried between properties…but to design these dynamic edges into gardens and the landscape at large is a fundamental challenge/ opportunity for the landscape architect. JH: Maybe instead of a continuum, which implies starting at one place and getting to another, we should think of it as a back and forth, like an ecological web rather than a

NT: The surroundings are incredibly important. The “borrowed landscape” is something you’re trying to bring in to create perspective and drama; it increases the whole scale of the feeling that you experience. Forcedperspectives features work very well in small gardens, but when you have complete open areas with massive, endless views, punctuation with trees or ornament can comfort the eye and enhance the scale and view. NC: Connectivity has such an impact on scale. You can have a small space, but when it’s connected, it grows through its adjacencies and connectivity. That’s what makes the public realm improve exponentially. One of the new approaches is flexible spaces. Parks are no longer single-use: for example, here’s your ball diamond, here’s your soccer pitch. Because of density, public spaces need to be more flexible to accommodate different programs at different times. That creates an interesting design challenge if you’re doing, let’s say, a public square. With the Planning Partnership I worked on the Sorauren Park Town Square, in the west end of Toronto. The space has to accommodate a big crowd of people for the farmers’ market and performances, but on a weekday morning, it’ll be relatively unpopulated, and you don’t want it to feel empty or vacant. How do you design something that’s going to feel comfortable and inviting when it’s virtually empty and then can accept a large crowd?

When David Crombie did the Royal Commission for the Toronto Waterfront, he got us starting to talk about the bioregion, which was really important. People hadn’t been used to thinking of us as collectively inhabiting this region. It helped us get out of a paradigm of separations and into a paradigm of connectedness. PB: In my work, I don’t really think of scale as a constraint. It’s just a given. But those things that drive urban growth and regional growth (immigration, globalization, etc.), as planners we can’t control them. So we’re just dealing with those as they come, and trying our best to take patterns of growth and shape them into a workable region. It’s not really a constraint, it’s just reality. There’s not really any optimal size in my view. You can have a highly functional region of nine million people if you design it right. NK: But at the same time we always think of different scales, whether we’re doing a small space or something at a regional scale, and we always go back and forth and relate those to our experiences of places.

TS: How are you designing with these constraints? How are you being strategic? KG: Negotiation. You have to think of ways of weaving together different kinds of understanding. When you’re dealing with projects in the city, where all the property is already spoken for, and other people have plans, and you have different city departments and agencies that have control over things, you have to make connections in these webs. In other words, what we used to call the ground becomes the figure. You’re reversing the whole figure/ground relationship.

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Round Table

PB: There’s no prescriptive approach to any particular scale, it’s just constantly being informed by the way things are changing at a global, regional, local, and individual level. KG: Standardization prevents us from exploring intimate scales and sometimes grander scales. In Toronto, we have a standardization of all the road standards and rights of way, which happened with amalgamation and are all based on suburban practices. So laneways had to be bigger, streets had to be bigger; and, as a result, we’re sacrificing a lot of opportunities to do a greater range of scales. In fact, most of the pre-war city of Toronto would be illegal according to our new standards. I think we have to be a little more adventurous in challenging the standards and what’s driving them. For example, gigantic fire trucks that need a gigantic turning radius…and garbage trucks. If you look at other cities in the world, they have those things in a range of sizes because they have to. We need to become human-centric again and think about what makes us comfortable as human beings on the ground and not get totally taken up with these abstract templates that ignore the social control aspect. NC: There’s an interesting trend to reurbanize suburban forms, scales, sizes— things like suburban plazas. What people really want is to be together—people draw people—so there’s a re-urbanization of these suburban places and it’s affecting scale. And another thing is that public art is playing an increasingly important role in place-making within cities and in the reurbanization of suburban places. Public art creates a narrative of place, an experience of place, and a set of memories that actually impacts our sense of scale. It can bring a very large canvas down to a human scale.

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public standards don’t allow for them. On many projects, people want rights-of-way that are smaller, pedestrian-oriented laneways, curbless streets, and the city won’t take those as dedicated spaces because they don’t meet city standards. This is leading to an erosion of public networks, and to an increase in POPS—privately owned public spaces. They’re publicly accessible, but I think there’s a risk if we keep going in that direction. We might end up having all these private worlds that, at the end of the day, no matter how benevolent the private owners may be, are not exactly the same thing as true public space. PB: Ken’s talking about public infrastructure, but as private buildings are growing bigger, there’s a real tension between that scale and the human scale of a walkable, cycleable environment. This is intertwined with globalization and technological change—as markets get bigger, firms look for economies of scale, which make buildings bigger. Whereas the average supermarket used to be 30,000 square feet, a Walmart is now 150,000 square feet. That draws on a much bigger market area, which means people are going to be driving there. It also happens in urban, downtown areas where the land is so expensive and the process of getting things approved is so expensive, the scale of the building has to go up, too.

PB: I wonder if creating a sense of place and returning to the human-centric is how we would describe good scale these days? We are moving more in the direction of having the individual inform design even at larger scales.

KG: There’s a counter-tendency which is interesting, too. For example, Walmart is developing a line of stores that are 20,000 square feet and that go in as shops under dwellings, because they want to reach the urban market. In other words, there’s an argument around ideas of efficiencies and economies of scale, especially at the level of organizational scale. Art Eggleton’s study of Toronto Community Housing—a megaorganization—recommended breaking it up because it was too big. Mike Harris’ government’s theory of amalgamation is being challenged. People are understanding that there aren’t necessarily economies with that scale and there are a lot of unintended negative byproducts.

KG: Yes, absolutely. But one of the challenges we’re having is that a lot of interesting projects are happening privately because

As designers, we can’t just limit ourselves to the physical things we’re working on; we also have to address how they’re run, how they’re

managed. There’s a very, very important correlation between how things are conceived, run, funded, and managed, and getting to scale in terms of the physical outcomes. TS: What are some Ontario examples of good scale and bad scale? NC: That placelessness—when you drive somewhere and it could be anywhere— that’s an example of scale not working… NK: The U.K. has stopped issuing shopping mall licenses because they did not bring the benefits to the community that everyone was expecting. They learned the lesson and said no more. There’s a scale to urban downtowns and there’s a scale to big-box stores, and there should be some kind of correlation between the two. JH: So it’s an opportunity to change policy? PB: It’s s a matter of how you can have a strategic approach to the things we need, such as distribution centres and the like. It’s a complex question. We’re not doing a good job of understanding the tools we have. We try to create a planning framework, but it’s often overly rigid, particularly when it gets down to the local level, where it’s typically completely reactive. We’re not getting growth in the places we want it, and we’re not using all the tools in our toolbox. We’re not using investment strategically in public infrastructure, not only in roads but also in facilities like hospitals and universities. There’s a big debate going on now about a new hospital in Windsor, which is going in a greenfield site. That’s just such a huge missed opportunity, for Windsor especially, which is so decimated. Why not put it downtown? As my book, Perverse Cities, argues, we have a set of financial incentives and disincentives that exactly undermines the goals we set out in our plans. Planners don’t realize that a financial tool is something in their toolbox. NT: In some ways we need more legislation and in other ways less. We keep redoing the same things that Europe learned not to do ten years ago. We’re still supporting single use; we’re still separating institutional, com-


Round Table

mercial, and residential. Many of Toronto’s new condo towers are dead areas at street level. These areas could be offices and commercial, not just foyers for the residents. KG: I think the Internet will have a huge impact on all these issues. Through GIS, through all kinds of geo-spacial systems that correlate economic data, demographic data, physical data, and urban systems, the Internet is making it possible to have a realtime understanding of interactions and data that we never had access to before. And if we learn how to use that to create lines of communication among people who are working on different things in different ways, this becomes really, really powerful. PB: I agree completely, but the problem is that there’s nobody doing that right now. The government should be doing that because they’re the ones that can mandate it at the regional level, but there’s no mechanism, even though we have a Growth Plan. As far as I know, the only people doing it are the Neptis Foundation. They’ve recently relaunched something they call the Geoweb, which is an online mapping tool. Anybody can access it and it has all these different layers: natural layers, municipal boundaries, all this employment data will be up there, and you can use that as a resource for looking at what’s actually going on in the region. KG: The Isle de France, which is the region around Paris, and Metro Portland in Oregon have been doing this for a long time. NC: I feel that the Internet is affecting the speed of everything, the speed of design— as if, with Google Earth, there’s no need to leave your desk; just click on Street View, look at the tree… The speed is frenetic, but there’s also a sense of simultaneity of these scales. The transmission of information across time and space boundaries is somehow affecting my sense of scale. You can know instantaneously what’s happening in other places. NT: The adage: junk in, junk out, still prevails. There’s always a danger, with computers, that designers won’t spend enough time on the properties they’re designing. You cannot solve real design problems on your drafting table or on your computer. You solve them by being in the space and testing ideas in situ.

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The Internet is an incredibly powerful tookkit and it is possible to learn a great deal about a site through the lens of Google and other sites. This adds great efficiency to a design project, but it is still imperative to test ideas in real space and time. KG: Rather than just being fatalistic about technology, I think what’s important are the conscious decisions we make about how we use technology. Take driverless cars as an example. If there were fleets of collectively owned vehicles, it could do wonders in the last mile of transit systems and assist with active transportation and so on. On the other hand, if they are all individually owned, it could be the greatest enabler of sprawl we have ever seen. PB: My interest in technology is in how it affects urban form and how cities grow and change; obviously, it’s having a big impact on things. Online shopping is behind those massive distribution centres we see; on the other hand, certain kinds of things are dematerialized. For example, we don’t really need banks anymore; you just do it on your phone. Uber and automated vehicles are potentially radically transformative of urban form. You wouldn’t need parking anymore, because vehicles would just keep going around. So the idea of investing in parking structures seems already outdated to me. I think what it really gets down to is how can we create flexibility in our frameworks that allow us to deal with the unknowns, including potentially extremely disruptive climate events. KG: We shouldn’t be doing any parking now which isn’t capable of being transformed into something else, because all of those underground garages with low ceiling heights, all the ramped floors—in fifteen or twenty years, we’re going to be saddled with corroding buildings. NC: Other ways the Internet could enrich our sense of public space are things like self-guided walks, such as a public art tour. You could put an app on your phone and tap into the cultural heritage of a site. I worked on a management plan for Guild Park and Gardens in Scarborough, which is an amaz-

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ing natural heritage and cultural heritage site with an incredible story. To engage people in that site, you could have signage and more traditional sorts of storytelling through the park, or you could create a self-guided walk through an app on your phone. PB: Walkability is a huge public health issue, of course. With people in automobiles, we have an epidemic emergence of obesity, diabetes, asthma among children, social isolation, and mental health issues. The public health aspect of scale and design is important. KG: A simple quote from David Crombie: “Everything is connected to everything else.” When we pulled on this string of scale, it’s so interesting to see how many aspects came into play.

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Designing for human scale, as shown here at La Rambla, Barcelona, accommodates mobility, aging populations, accessibility, and fosters activity and better health.

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Four acres of peonies at Hedgerow Farm, a large-scale field tapestry

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Todd Smith

William Lishman


Section Recollections

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Life and Times at Ontario’s Site Planning Unit

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03 text by John Hicks, oala, with the assistance of Garrett Pittenger

Watching a TVO documentary featuring the work of the Group of Seven artists, I was reminded of the work we accomplished as landscape architects within the same Ontario northern landscapes. The staff of Ontario’s Site Planning Unit, centred in Maple, Ontario, were responsible for designing much of the fabric of Ontario’s provincial parks that we see today. The initiative to complete master plans, site plans, and design guidelines to improve and standardize Ontario’s provincial parklands was innovative within the Ministry of Natural Resources Park Branch. 02

The Ontario Provincial Parks Landscape Design Principles and Guidelines book was created when the Site Planning Unit was regionalized so that landscape architects in their respective new regions had guidelines to follow. Courtesy of John Hicks Often, an updated survey by the summer survey crew required the alteration of existing field data. Here, John Hicks is draped with a site plan requiring amendments, which usually meant doing it over again. Courtesy of Maria Lehoczky

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Ismet Olcay, with his wife, Nahide Olcay, in his senior years in British Columbia is shown here receiving an award for his work in founding The Turkish Association in British Columbia.

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Some of the Site Planning Unit staff on a morning coffee break. From left to right: Ismet T. Olcay, supervisor; Askin Gokhan, graphic designer; Ender Aykuz, assistant landscape architect; Sandy Kirby, receptionist; Bela Barabas, landscape architect; Maria Lehoczky, senior draftsman; and Gary Lea-Wilson, draftsman.

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Courtesy of Garrett Pittenger


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The Site Planning Unit operated as a satellite office of the ministry, sending its landscape architects out into the field to survey and collect preliminary data that was taken back to the design office in Maple, Ontario. Our operating expenses, including salaries, were supported mainly by the ministry’s capital budget from 1971 to 1978. The budget was a healthy one, allowing flights to field locations in the northern sectors and sometimes lengthy stay-overs. The “home office” in Maple created an atmosphere of group critique and interaction—free from the managerial and political interference existing in the district or parliamentary offices. This setup provided the ideal atmosphere to develop park facility standards and design guidelines for the provincial parks of Ontario. It was a magnificent arena for interaction, and I loved working with associates who revelled in their work. We all enjoyed the natural parkland setting of the Maple Research Station, with its mature forest, its central trout steam (a tributary of the Don River which flowed right past our office), and our makeshift volleyball court. It soon became the “park planning school” for landscape architects in Ontario and a treasure trove for those of us fortunate enough to work there. Where else could one fish for trout, walk the trails of a mature forest, or play volleyball with one’s associates at lunch or on coffee breaks? 05/

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The long boardwalk that Trevor Franker and John Hicks designed for Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. Design challenges included requirements to skirt dunes and to avoid sensitive dune vegetation and beach erosion areas. Courtesy of John Hicks

Ismet Olcay, our mentor and boss, was appointed in 1971 by Tom Lee of the Ministry Parks Branch to set up the new site planning unit at a field research station and district office twenty miles north of Toronto. Ismet ultimately created the perfect design studio that flourished free from the entanglement and administrative clutches of the Queen’s Park office, satisfying Tom Lee’s directive to establish a separate facility for site planning. Garrett Pittenger and Maria Lehoczky were next appointed to form the core group shortly after the unit was formed, with Garrettt eventually coordinating the design functions carried out by the staff of twenty landscape architects, landscape technologists, graphic artists, engineers, and draftspersons that accumulated by 1978. Support staff included an office manager, secretary, supply clerk, and students contracted every summer to carry out survey activities. It was a complete, self-directed design unit, benefiting from the new methodology founded by Angus Hills’ Ecological Site Planning System and to a lesser extent the work of the Ontario Land Inventory (OLI) that used the elements of soil classification, moisture regime, and microclimate to determine site unit characteristics. These new tools helped us to establish a scientific approach to site planning and, particularly, park master planning within the scope of our unit. These were exciting times for landscape architects. I was very familiar with the ecological land use planning process, having taken Angus Hills’ ecological planning course at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Forestry.

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My first project in the Site Planning Unit was to finish the beach development at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, along with Trevor Franker, my assistant. Many glorious days were spent at Wasaga with Trevor, surveying and locating the extensive parking areas, road system, trails, comfort stations, and the long boardwalk which formed a new linear provincial park. Going to work under Ismet never felt like work to me, so satisfying was the outdoor life, the relaxed pace in the office, and the freedom of design expression we had there. On Friday afternoons, after 3pm, Ismet would often convene us for a private, informal wine and cheese party (we supplied the wine). It was also an opportunity to mingle and convey our concerns relating to design ideas on our separate projects. Ismet was both a mentor and a “grandfather” to us—strict yet forgiving, he was truly respected by all of us. We never fully appreciated the difficulty he might have had supervising us, many employees fresh out of a college environment. Nor did we appreciate his battle against the park superintendents determined to have the design process done “their way” in carrying out their own “ad hoc” planning. We were, however, constantly reminded of the many attempts by superintendents to have it their way whenever Ismet proclaimed loudly on the telephone in his office his signature phrase, “We do the plans.”


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At the site of Tom Thomson’s famous Jack Pine painting at Achray Provincial Park on Grand Lake, Algonquin, is an interpretive area at the east end of the lake, planned as part of the Achray Campground Concept Plan that John Hicks completed in the 1980s.

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Schoonertown Park Picnic and Sitting area in Forum Beach, Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, was designed by John Hicks and Trevor Franker.

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Courtesy of John Hicks

Courtesy of John Hicks John Hicks, overlooking a northern lake site in Haliburton County Courtesy of John Hicks

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Landscape architects designed many trail layouts in Ontario’s provincial parks. Shown here is Hardwood Lookout Trail in Algonquin Park looking over Smoke Lake.

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Courtesy of John Hicks

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With the unit’s graphic designers’ assistance, landscape architects in the Site Planning Unit designed many park entrance signs. Shown here is a signboard in Samuel De Champlain Provincial Park.

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Courtesy of John Hicks

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The graphics used in the 1970s were largely magic marker and drafting pen layouts, all hand-rendered. Shown here is a concept for Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene done by John Hicks in the late 1970s.

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Courtesy of John Hicks

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When it all came to an end with decentralization in 1978, and the landscape architects were commissioned to work and reside within the newly formed administrative regions of Ontario, I was depressed. Sitting on the floor of the empty office in its last hours, I thought of all the good times and the fabulous days I had spent there. For more than a month I tried commuting to my new post in the north, unwilling to transfer from my self-built home on Lake Simcoe, but in the end, I quit the permanent employ of the Ministry of Natural Resources to begin the long uphill climb of establishing my own practice. I approached the park managers I had worked for in Central Region with an offer to be a private contractor with a maximum purchase order amount annually. It worked for me, and I enjoyed 18 more years of site planning, mainly in that great park, Algonquin. Following decentralization in 1978, Ismet also left the employ of the Parks Branch, and joined with his old friend Tom Lee, then the Director of Planning in British Columbia Parks, where he spent the rest of his career in park planning. I never found so many colleagues or friends around me again as I had enjoyed during my days at the Site Planning Unit, nor another place where such a multitude of design skills were allowed to flourish. Text by John Hicks, OALA, author of The Pond Book, published in 2013 by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

The following list includes most of the staff over the seven years of operation of the Site Planning Unit, Ministry of Natural Resources Parks Branch: Ismet T. Olcay, supervisor Audrey Rowlands, office manager Ida Mahler, office manager Sandra Kirby, secretary and receptionist Jae Eberschlag, secretary and receptionist Garrett H. Pittenger, senior landscape architect Peter Alexander, landscape architect Bela Barabas, landscape architect Jan Willem Calicher, landscape architect John Hicks, landscape architect John Hillier, landscape architect John Huang, landscape architect Ed Leonard, landscape architect Helen Li, landscape architect M. Vincent van Mechelen, landscape architect Robert Moos, landscape architect Scott Parks, landscape architect David Powell, landscape architect John Sakala, landscape architect Fred Shipman, landscape architect Laura Starr, landscape architect Leslie Thompson, landscape architect Eduardo Villafranca, landscape architect Ender Aykuz, assistant landscape architect Robert Brewer, landscape technologist Trevor Franker, landscape technologist James Peets, landscape technologist Colleen Schenk, landscape technologist David Wells, landscape technologist Steef Zoetmulder, landscape technologist Maria Lehoczky, senior draftsman Gary Lea-Wilson, draftsman Ovak Seranian, draftsman William Stephen, draftsman Arslan Arslan, engineer Darsan Basran, engineer Askin Gokhan, graphic designer


Book Corner

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Book title: More Than Honey: The Survival of Bees and the Future of Our World Authors: Markus Imhoof and Claus-Peter Lieckfeld Publisher: Greystone Books, 2014

Review by Jules Torti

More Than Honey, by Markus Imhoof (a German filmmaker) and Claus-Peter Lieckfeld (cofounder of the German ecological magazine Natur), reads like a Stephen King novel. It’s a thriller B movie, literally. The book is based on the award-winning documentary (of the same name), and is a necessary resource for garden gurus, bee ambassadors, aspiring beekeepers, and armchair honey eaters. There’s so much to digest in More Than Honey. Did you know that bees never defecate in the hive? From the waggle dance (something bees do to communicate with each other) to apitherapy (bee products for medicinal use) to the skinny behind royal jelly, it’s all here in detail. Wild bees can visit more than 8,800 blossoms a day. Many honeybees are migrant workers—freighted by trucks from winter depots in Idaho to California for duty in February. Some bees are flown from Florida to the west coast almond blossoms, then to Washington for apple and cherry blooms, back to Florida for citrus, and then onward to New England for blueberries.

Migratory beekeeping is not a new development—it can be traced back to the pioneering efforts of Nephi Ephraim Miller in 1895. He bought a train ticket for his bees from Blackfoot, Idaho, with the notion of extending the honey-gathering season. The bees responded dutifully. Now, “pollination guys” pimp out their colonies for $150 each. Crunch the numbers and the 15,000 colonies necessary for the month-long pollination of almonds clocks in at US $2.25 million. This migration comes with a long list of logistics and variables, including agreements with long-haul truck drivers with precious bee cargo agreeing to keep personal fluid intake to a minimum. Adding any additional time to the bees’ commute can have fatal results. More Than Honey stitches together colourful apiary history and biology while putting a magnifying glass to the current Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) crisis. Cue up the X Files soundtrack here. The bees are simply gone. In 2007, from Taiwan to New Brunswick (where 60 percent of the province’s honeybees vanished), fingers are being pointed—but in so many directions. Cellphone towers are altering bee behaviour (bees will actually buzz louder and fly away


Book Corner

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from their hives in these areas). The neonicotinoids that successfully protect sugar beets, chard, potato, corn, and onion crops can’t distinguish between pests and beneficial insects such as bees. The pesticide brings the chemical transmission of signals in the bee’s brain to a standstill. Maybe Varroa mites are to blame for CCD. Flies attach eggs to the bees, robbing them of their sense of direction. Dubbed the “bee AIDS,” deformed wings and a total immune system breakdown might be the final blow from a mite invasion. Imhoof and Lieckfeld believe CCD is the sum of these various causes: “The bees die as a result of the success of civilization; they die because of us.” 03 01-03/

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The book More Than Honey, based on the award-winning documentary of the same name, stitches together honeybee history and biology and Colony Collapse Disorder. Courtesy of Greystone Books

But More Than Honey does not read like a 150-page obituary. Peppered with glossy images of bees in all kinds of action, the book is essential for anyone who is curious about the life cycle of bees, including killer bees. In 1956, zoologist and bee researcher Warwick Estevam Kerr and his team attempted to crossbreed African bees. Hoping to combine the gentleness of the European bee with the heat-loving of the

African species, the plan was to design a perfect bespoke bee for the South American climate. There were escapees from the test colony and 36 queens formed their own colonies. Drones mated with the locals and the crossbreeding began, untethered. The offspring didn’t mind the heat, but they did not go gently into the night as predicted. Mild instead became wild. The killer bee goof-up hinted at bigger design 1flaws of the future. Attempts to breed out the aggression of bees is also diminishing their disease resistance. However, bees are finding help from human pollinators in China. Using feather bundles attached to sticks, humans are attempting to replicate the work of bees when apples blossom. Slow down with a glass of Diamond Estates 20 Bees Baco Noir or Whistler Brewing Company’s Bear Paw Honey Lager. With a cruising speed of 25km/hour and 280 wingbeats per second, it will be hard to keep up to our duty-bound drones. BIO/

Jules Torti writes book reviews for the Vancouver Sun and has been known to fly back from Uganda with multiple jars of Kampala’s Not Tonight Honey.


Technical Corner

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Filtering water on site

Text by Stephanie Snow, OALA

I’m always up for a good argument but recently, standing at the edge of a suburban California soccer field, my debating skills were pushed to the limit. My friend and I were looking at a recently deforested hillside, crisscrossed with concrete drainage channels. He was explaining to me why California needs to pave more to “protect us from the water.” This (colourful) conversation reminded me of what an important role landscape architects have to play in reducing infrastructure costs, helping to protect our water, and educating people about the most effective way (i.e., not paving!) to achieve water infiltration goals.
 Rain gardens, bioswales, infiltration ditches, vegetated swales….call them what you like, they’re all planting beds intended to collect rainwater and reduce runoff. Incorporating them in landscapes wherever possible will filter water on site and return it directly to the water table, where it belongs. If done right, they can also lead to real financial rewards for developers, municipalities, and homeowners.

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Technical Corner

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Permeable paving in the Kleinburg Public School parking lot Stephanie Snow Bioswales can be installed in relatively small areas. Stephanie Snow This single large island with an infiltration area solved many issues in this parking lot.

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Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

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Grass swale beside a roadway

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Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

The value of rain gardens can be demonstrated in a recent project I worked on in which I was tasked with expanding an existing parking lot that had some real problems. The initial site visit identified an advantageous low point in the parking lot, a massive puddle doing a decent impression of a small lake. The majority of the trees were struggling in individual, undersized islands while the adjacent building sat well below the level of the asphalt, making it susceptible to flooding. After careful consideration, we adjusted the layout of the parking lot, improved traffic flow, and increased the total number of parking spaces. We reduced the amount of

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impervious surface by including a single large island with an infiltration area. This biofilter was planted with a combination of grasses, sedges, willow, and other attractive native plants. We were also able to replace some of the asphalt and underlying heavy fill material with permeable pavers and subsurface overflow drains connected to the existing storm system. Making use of what was already on site reduced the overall development costs and limited the negative impact on the surrounding ecosystem. Today, the trees are thriving and the bioswales (we included a second one to cut off the flow of water towards the building) do double duty as attractive landscape features.


Technical Corner

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A suburban bioswale Stephanie Snow

The most important factors, for infiltration features, are location and site preparation. I always start by reviewing the site itself, as the existing topography often includes natural infiltration areas. A review of the subsoil conditions across the site will tell you if you have areas with naturally occurring high permeability. 
 Once the preferred locations have been established, it is critical that the areas be protected against sediment and erosion. If the subsoil is contaminated with silt and clay during construction, the rain garden planting will fail at its intended task. 
 Generally speaking, the smaller the site, the fewer options you have for the location of your infiltration areas. In many instances it is preferable to have several smaller infiltration areas as opposed to a single large stormwater management pond. 
 The appearance of your bioswales is up to you. A naturalized (i.e., not regularly mown) turf-lined swale works well in an out-of-theway area, but a more visible location can be quite decorative with a host of perennials and woody vegetation.

I have found that when specifying or purchasing live plant material for infiltration areas, 1-gallon pots are the smallest you should go. Seed tends to wash away, and smaller plants are more susceptible to damage during inundation. Plugs or large flats of plants may appear cost effective but tend to either wash away or get buried in mulch during storm events. The best bet is to plant substantial plant material (in 1-gallon pots or larger) that can hold up to the weather during the establishment period. 
 The other important lesson I’ve learned is that you need to visit the site plenty of times during the installation and make sure everyone understands what you’re trying to achieve. On one project a couple of years ago, I had the contractor rip out the rain garden and rebuild it three times. In our initial meeting, we had reviewed the grading and layout with the project manager. He then passed the information on to his site supervisor, who had his crew install it. The problem was that the person actually doing the installation knew that planting beds should be higher in the middle, not lower. His reasoning made sense—just not for a rain garden!


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Parking lot bioswale Stephanie Snow

The key elements of an infiltration area are the pooling zone, the detention/filtration zone, and the retention or recharge zone. The profile of the individual feature depends largely on the existing soil permeability. Sandy soil is ideal for the introduction of an infiltration area as it has excellent permeability, allowing water to dissipate quickly. Clay soil will need to be amended, and a retention or storage area should be included in the bottom of the pit where water can collect and infiltrate more slowly. Other ways to help a less-than-perfect situation include sub-surface drains and overflow structures. 
 The filtration zone should include rich organic material; this will allow water to percolate through the soil more efficiently. The pooling zone can be planted and mulched. Mulch may include stone or shredded hardwood as both resist floating and being washed away. A sod or stone mulch strip around the perimeter of the feature helps keep larger debris out and acts as a pre-treatment or filter strip.

Regardless of the size or location of your infiltration area, remember to plan for some degree of maintenance. Over time, sediment can build up and reduce the infiltration rate, leading to standing water. Facilities should be monitored and care should be taken to ensure nearby activities keep your bioswales in optimal health. Blocked openings into the swale or garden can cause damage and reduce the effectiveness of the system. Inorganic debris can also accumulate if left unchecked. This is particularly relevant in municipal park settings and adjacent parking lots where garbage may get washed into the bioswale. If you would like to learn more or teach your clients about the benefits of including rain gardens, bioswales, and other infiltration systems in your designs, it is worth following up with your local Conservation Authority. Many have an abundance of resources specifically packaged for a variety of audiences. Good resources include www.sustainabletechnologies.ca/ and https://thelivingcitycampus.com/. BIO/ Stephanie Snow, OALA, is the founder and a principal of Snow Larc Landscape Architecture Ltd. in Toronto.


Notes

Notes: A Miscellany of News and Events events From May 28-29, 2016, the West Toronto Railpath (Dundas Street W. and Sterling Road, south entry point) will be home to ====\\ DeRAIL, a platform for sitespecific contemporary art, architecture, and performance. Curated by landscape architect Victoria Taylor, OALA, and designer Gelareh Saadatpajouh, and presented in collaboration with the City of Toronto, ====\\DeRAIL offers a publicly accessible program of ephemeral performance and temporary installations that aim to animate, inspire, and bring a sense of place to neglected and curious nodes and niches in this 2.4-km active mobility corridor. The project encourages us to reflect on a broader consideration of the value of our limited green spaces and how considered urban design is vital to the successful architecture of experience and community. For more information, visit www.derailart.com.

green roofs CitiesAlive: 14th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference is being held in Washington, D.C., on November 1-4, 2016. This conference is about stormwater management— policies, technologies, design, and best management practices. Topics include how to maximize stormwater retention; case studies of green roofs and walls; design and testing methods and measurement goals; and more. Visit www.citiesalive.org for more information.

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awards Andrey Chernykh and Kamila Grigo’s Toolkit of Cycling Infrastructure Retrofits: Strategic Solutions for GTHA Cities recently received an honourable mention in the Cities of Tomorrow competition. As a finalist in the Infrastructure category, Chernykh and Grigo’s submission proposes a toolkit of cycling retrofit designs adaptable to existing rail and transportation infrastructure (bridges, corridors, crossings) in strategic locations. Cities of Tomorrow is a competition that provides an opportunity for Ontario students to enter the policy-making process with proposals for improving Ontario’s urban centres. For more information, visit www.citiesoftomorrow.ca.

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art The fourth annual Grow Op exhibition returns to Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel from April 21-24, 2016. Curators Christine Leu, Graham Teeple, and Alan Webb shed new light on issues of landscape and culture with more than 30 works that examine how humans and other species live within, without, and despite natural systems of growth and abundance, scarcity and decay. This year’s exhibit includes evening events as well as both on- and off-site participatory events. For more information, visit www.gladstonehotel.com.

transportation An exhibition at the Market Gallery of the City of Toronto Archives, Tunnel Vision: The Story of Toronto’s Subway, features photographs, maps, plans, and artifacts showcasing the great scale of the daily operations of the subway. The exhibit is on display until June 11, 2016. Visit www1.toronto.ca for more information.

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booklets Two new booklets have recently been published in the City of Toronto’s Biodiversity Series of informative guides to the natural world of the city: Mushrooms of Toronto and Bees of Toronto. Both guides are full of colour photographs, species profiles, and information regarding threats to biodiversity. The booklets are available free at Toronto libraries or via download from the City of Toronto’s website. Visit www1.toronto.ca for more information.


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grants The Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation (LACF) recently announced the recipients of its 2016 grants in support of research, communication, and scholarship that reflects the expanding role that landscapes and landscape architects play in providing social, cultural, ecological, and economic benefits to society. Project descriptions for each of the 2016 grants are available at www.lacf.ca/grants-portfolio.

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soil

The Craft Ontario Gallery in Toronto is exhibiting Lisa Creskey’s work until April 30, 2016. Using clay as a sculptural medium, When Horses Walked on Water investigates how collective identity evolves with our sense of belonging to a landscape, and how we manufacture that belonging by transforming nature. For more information, visit www.craftontario.com.

Ontario has joined seven other provinces in officially designating a provincial soil: the historically significant Guelph soil series, which comprises a wide range of glacial till-derived loams, sandy loams, and silt loams, and covers more than 70,000 acres of highly productive farmland. Announced to coincide with the end of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s International Year of Soil, the province’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs made the announcement in Guelph.

pollinators The Ontario government is currently working on a Pollinator Health Action Plan. Consultation on the draft document was held from January to March, 2016, with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs planning to report back to the public with a final Action Plan in spring/summer 2016. For more information, visit www.omafra.gov.on.ca/ english/pollinator/meeting-reg.htm. The City of Toronto, with more than 300 species of bees, is also promoting pollinator awareness. At its March 31, 2016, meeting, City Council approved Toronto’s participation in the Bee City Canada program, the first Canadian affiliate of the U.S. Bee City initiative. 01/

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From Andrey Chernykh and Kamila Grigo’s Toolkit of Cycling Infrastructure Retrofits: Strategic Solutions for GTHA Cities Courtesy of Andrey Chernykh and Kamila Grigo Two new free booklets have been published in the City of Toronto’s Biodiversity Series. Courtesy of the City of Toronto From the exhibition When Horses Walked on Water, by Lisa Creskey, at the Craft Ontario Gallery in Toronto Lisa Creskey

conferences Grey to Green, a conference that explores the role of green infrastructure, is being held in Toronto, June 1-4, 2016. This year, the focus will be on the positive impacts of green infrastructure on climate change. During the conference, the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition will be holding discussions on the public policy needed to significantly increase the development and maintenance of green infrastructure. “Our urban forest is essential infrastructure—it provides millions of dollars in ecological services each year and must play a more central role in any urban climate change resiliency strategy. Yet we fail to protect and maintain it effectively,” says Janet McKay, Chair, Green Infrastructure Ontario (GIO) Coalition. For more information, visit greytogreenconference.org.

On April 30, 2016, the rock garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington will re-open, following an extensive, threeyear renovation. Respecting the heritage, look, and feel of the garden’s history while celebrating a new era of design, the David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden can be accessed, between April 30 and May 18, by registering for a guided walking tour or by purchasing a ticket to one of the two grand opening celebrations. For details, visit www.rbg.ca.

new members The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects is proud to recognize and welcome the following new full members to the Association: Kelly Hunter * David Fredenburgh * Victoria Cox * Mattson Meere Wei Pang Jan Jurgensen

Asterisk (*) denotes Full Members without the use of professional seal. Defaulted and

Souhaila Sarkis

Resigned Full

Garry Watchorn

Members for 2015

Bertram Wiker

Defaulted:

Resigned:

Socorro Alatorre

Gary Burger

Beverley Ambler

Ray Chong

Peter Le Blanc

Gary Short

Joseph McLeod

Barry Wilson

Raymond Myers Catherine Rioux



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GREY TO GREEN Addressing Climate Change with Green Infrastructure

Keynote Speakers

Steven Peck, GRP, HASLA Founder & President, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Toronto Designing Climate Resilient Communities

Barbara Deutsch, FASLA Executive Director, Lanscape Architecture Foundation, Washington DC Beyond Form and Function: Integrating Performancebased Design into Beautiful Practice

Toronto | June 1-4, 2016 | greytogreenconference.org A Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Event

Glen R. Murray, MPP Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (Invited) Addressing Climate Change in Ontario

Featured Speakers

Dr. Victoria Kramkowski, Stormwater Charge Program Coordinator, City of Mississauga

Craig Applegath, Architect, OAA, AIA, FRAIC, LEED AP BD+C Principal, DIALOG

Sheila Boudrea, Urban Designer, City Planning City of Toronto

Financial Tools to Support Adaptation: Mississauga’s New Stormwater Charges and Fees

Coming Full Circule: The Future of Living Architecture Design

Toronto’s New Green Streets: Building a Resilient City through Green Infrastructure

Expert Speakers | Trade Show | Training | Tours

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Artifact

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01 text by Cate Cochran

Maurice Nelischer’s idiosyncratic gardenware collection got its start at a garage sale. When his daughter Kate was young, he used to spend Saturday mornings with her rummaging through other people’s cast-offs as an exercise in father-daughter bonding. In 1997 they made their first find and bought three garden hose nozzles for a nickel. With that, they had begun building a collection that Nelischer believes to be the largest of its kind. To this day Nelischer, OALA, Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture and Director for Sustainability at the University of Guelph, still searches them out by scavenging junk stores and the Internet. His most recent find, acquired in Baysville, Ontario, is from the 1930s. Nelischer, who has a keen sense of design, arranges them all on a specially designated shelf in his living room. The nozzles, all examples of pragmatic industrial design, are made of heavy brass, and some date back to the 1870s. They have been banged around over the years, but these icons of domestic life and weekend waterings were intended to withstand unforgiving use. Viewed together they demonstrate how, as form follows function, minor design tweaks modified the object for a range of uses. Short spouts with a fan of brass up the back became sprinklers. Others have an

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elongated elegance and adjust for handheld watering. One, a favourite of his, was designed for Craftsman/Sears and has a twistable control knob on the side of the spigot to control water flow.

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For Nelischer, who grew up in a military family that moved around frequently, part of the nozzles’ charm is that they represent the unpretentious beauty of objects designed for daily life. Each of his family’s new homes had a garden, and the nozzles harken back to the establishment of stability and predictability. His response to the garden hose nozzles is visceral, and connects him to a past of regular lives well served by objects designed to last for generations. BIO/ Cate Cochran is a producer at CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition.

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Maurice Nelischer’s unique collection of garden hose nozzles reveals the sculptural beauty of utilitarian objects. Jake Sherman


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