CSLA Announces the Recipients of the 2023 Awards of Excellence

Today, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) announced the recipients of the 2023 Awards of Excellence. This year, 15 projects received a national award. The Ring by CCxA is Awarded the Jury’s Award of Excellence, which is given to one project annually which best demonstrates the CSLA’s vision – of advancing the art, science, and practice of landscape architecture.

These award-winning projects are preeminent examples of Canadian landscape architecture. They illustrate the range of what landscape architects do and how landscape architects are helping to reshape our communities by defining the places where we live, work, and play.

Winners were selected by a national jury of landscape architects. They were Tiina Mack (Jury Chair), Glenn O’Connor, Claude Potvin, Natalie Goulet-Sorenson, and Ken Greenberg (External Juror). A total of 53 submissions were received. Criteria applied by the jurors included:

  • demonstration of a deep understanding of the craft of landscape architecture and attention to composition and detail,
  • demonstration of excellence in leadership, project management, breadth of work, new directions, or new technology,
  • innovation in concept, process, materials, or implementation,
  • promotion of the discipline amongst related professions, clients, and the general public,
  • demonstration  of exemplary environmental and/or social awareness.

National Awards are for work that demonstrate excellence against all judging criteria. These projects are nominated for the Jury’s Award of Excellence, which is given to the project that best demonstrates the CSLA’s vision (advancing the art, science, and practice of landscape architecture).

The Awards of Excellence Ceremony will take place during the 2023 CSLA-SALA Congress in Saskatoon this June.

The recipient of the 2023 Jury’s Award of Excellence and a National Award is:

The Ring (Montréal, QC)

CCxA (formerly Claude Cormier et Associés)

Claude Cormier, AAPQ, FCSLA, and Sophie Beaudoin, AAPQ, FCSLA
Category: Small-Scale Public Landscapes Designed by a Landscape Architect

The Ring is a customized installation and one-of-a-kind reflection of the symbolic importance of Place-Ville-Marie (PVM), the birthplace of Montreal’s architectural modernity. The 30m diameter suspended metal ring is a site-specific installation that conveys monumentality and humility. Framing the iconic view along McGill College Avenue, towards the gates of McGill University, Mount Royal, and its signature summit cross, The Ring reinforces the architectural composition and timelessness of PVM. Taking landscape architecture out of its comfort zone, it incorporates the touchstones of our profession – connectivity, placemaking and social triangulation, while also embracing new challenges that integrate bold engineering, rigorous coordination and risk assessment, unexpected considerations for public safety and structural integration with existing architecture.

The project team engaged now 83-year-old Franz Knoll, the same structural world-renowned engineer who worked on the original PVM design, to bring his knowledge of the site and sense of structural nuance regarding the existing buildings to the project. The project commemorates the 60th anniversary of Montreal’s modernist transformation, and symbolizes the strong connection between the city, its citizens and its visitors. As a metropolitan denominator, The Ring elevates a sense of belonging where everyone is made to feel “Montrealais.”

The 2023 National Award Recipients are:

Royal St. John’s Regatta Winners Circle (St. John’s, NL)

Tract Consulting Inc.

Category: Small-Scale Public Landscapes Designed by a Landscape Architect

The Royal St. John’s Regatta Winners Circle is a landscape revitalization project at Quidi Vidi Lake. The project re-imagines a public park plaza and event space to enhance year-round enjoyment of the lake, improve functionality and celebrate the history of North America’s longest running sporting event – the Royal St. John’s Regatta, an annual rowing race and festival. The redesigned space significantly improves aesthetics, versatility and accessibility for Regatta competitors, organizers, residents and visitors. The reimagined space features a new winners circle with a Hall of Fame wall and granite inlays to commemorate annual winners. The plaza deck reflects the shape of a rowing boat at the water’s edge. Dynamic patterns representing oar strokes and waves ripple throughout the plaza. The fully accessible plaza space with extensive built-in seating is enjoyed year-round.

xʷəyeyət – Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant and Regional Park Projects (Richmond, BC)

space2place design inc.

Jeff Cutler, BCSLA, FCSLA, Sarah Primeau, BCSLA, CSLA
Category: Planning and Analysis

The Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant (IIWWTP) occupies a complex site of intersecting human and ecological systems. Since the early 1900s, infrastructure in the Fraser River Estuary has disrupted natural estuary processes, directly impacting juvenile salmon and other species. The IIWWTP Projects will upgrade the existing treatment plant with a complementary range of ecological restoration projects. These projects will reconnect the river and sea, create off-channel habitats, regenerate and expand freshwater wetlands, and restore upland terrestrial habitats. Ecosystem-based, flood-protection strategies will also be implemented to increase Iona Island’s resilience to sea-level rise. The Conceptual Design for the IIIWWTP Project was developed through a multidisciplinary integrated design process and with input from Musqueam Indian Band (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm/Musqueam), neighbours and stakeholders. This project is a transformative opportunity to integrate urban infrastructure with ecological restoration, climate change adaptation and Indigenous reconciliation to create a significant and ongoing legacy for the region.

Co-creating the St. George Rainway (Vancouver, BC)

City of Vancouver

Cherie Zhi Xiao, BCSLA, CSLA
Category: Communications

“Co-creating the St. George Rainway” was a two-year public engagement process to envision how a buried stream in Vancouver could be re-imagined on the surface of a four-block neighbourhood street using green infrastructure. City staff worked with the community and stakeholders to develop a Rainway design focused on four values: community, mobility, learning and nature.  Several innovative and creative approaches were used to help meet the city’s goals of engaging collaboratively with consideration towards equity, reconciliation, diversity and reciprocity. Co-creation workshops, youth engagement packages, a pop-up Rainway demonstration, citizen science biodiversity monitoring, honourariums and native seed giveaways are a few examples.  The end result is a co-created design concept that innovates how a street space can be shared for rainwater management, community use and urban nature.

Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation – CitySkate, Skateboard Amenities Strategy (Vancouver, BC)

van der Zalm + Associates (VDZ+A)

Mark van der Zalm, BCSLA, CSLA, Travis Martin, BCSLA, CSLA, David Jerke, BCSLA, CSLA, Nathan Ross, BCSLA Intern, Selina Zheng, BCSLA Intern, Natasha DeVries, BCSLA Intern
Category: Planning and Analysis

There is a growing understanding of the widespread health benefits associated with small-wheeled sports such as skateboarding, BMX and scootering. VDZ+A set out to meet the needs of this vibrant and growing community in Vancouver and define a 20-year plan. Over a year of community engagements, inter-departmental workshops and strategic planning lead to Vancouver CitySkate.

We responded to the resounding public desire for the inclusion of skate amenities beyond parks.  Vancouver CitySkate offers a new paradigm to parks and recreation planning, creating opportunities for small-wheeled sports to be integrated into active transportation networks, streets and plazas, resulting in an equitable and interconnected city-wide network. The strategy challenges planners, private developers and landscape architects to embrace animating public spaces by supporting this “tactical recreation” group who interpret the city through movement. The implementation of Vancouver Cityskate will incentivize active living, engage youth and inspire creativity in our shared urban landscape.

sθәqәlxenәm ts’exwts’áxwi7 (Rainbow Park) (Vancouver, BC)


Category, Small-scale public landscapes designed by a landscape architect

sθәqәlxenәm ts’exwts’áxwi7 is a place of gathering and enchanting encounters in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. It is a benchmark for Canadian landscape architecture that brings action to reconciliation by reintroducing language to the land and redefining perceptions of urban park planning and design. The park’s name – meaning rainbow – was gifted by the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, describing a place remembered for its abundant water where sun and mist danced around marshlands to form rainbows. Today, water from the splash pad catches sun rays before being recirculated to lush plants carefully selected for their cultural significance to Host Nations and their relation to local habitats. “Rainbow Park” serves 30,000 neighbours through complex terracing, elevated walkways and an integrated café pavilion that makes space for a vibrant and diverse community to come together. The result is a deeply connected, multi-dimensional experience that bridges nature and culture, past and future.

Peitree Yaoliang Eco Resort (Yaoliang Village, Houzhou Prefectural City, Anji County, Zhejiang Province, China)

PFS Studio

Greg Smallenberg, CM, BCSLA, OALA, FCSLA, FASLA
Category: Residential Landscapes Designed by a Landscape Architect

Peitree Resort is a well-executed example of the meaningful shift in interest emerging within the hospitality industry in China. This eco-resort clearly moves away from the more ubiquitous, large-scale and highly embellished Chinese tourism experiences and welcomes guests into a setting with a more Zen-like relationship between landscape and built form, between people and nature, and between history and modernity. Working with DDB Architects and BEING Studio, PFS Studio and its China-based affiliate Conglian have created a small-scale utopian retreat, offering visitors respite from the hustle and bustle of urban China by reconnecting them to serene, natural surroundings and local culture. The project blends a seamless indoor/outdoor experience while dramatically improving several degraded, on-site water courses, reviving abandoned agricultural fields, and delivering a compelling and modern interpretation of the history of this place, drawing upon the best the Anji region has to offer.

St. Andrew’s Playground Park (Toronto, ON)


James Roche, OALA, FCSLA
Category: Medium-Scale Public Landscapes Designed by a Landscape Architect

Nestled into Toronto’s dense and lively Fashion District is the re-imagined St. Andrew’s Playground Park – a newly renovated playful landscape that infuses much-needed green space that serves the fast-evolving social and recreational needs of the adjacent community. The first designated public playground in Toronto (1908), St. Andrew’s Playground Park has been transformed into a well-loved, thriving urban destination. A reorganized ground plan introduces new seating, accessible paths, a central plaza, a playground and an upgraded dog off-leash area with catenary lighting above, creating a safe and welcoming outdoor hub. Whimsical bright yellow accents unify the space – from the colourful surface treatment of the playground, to the generously scaled lounge chairs and site furniture. The mature trees are maintained and protected, supplemented with a robust urban forest succession planting plan. The canopy becomes a major park feature, providing shade and dappled light for comfort and beauty in the revitalized park.

Brampton Riverwalk Open Space and Urban Design Master Plan (Brampton, ON)


James Roche, OALA, FCSLA
Category: Planning and Analysis

A catalyst for social & ecological success, Brampton’s Riverwalk Open Space and Urban Design Master Plan re-imagines the city’s relationship with a once-dynamic waterway by re-introducing Etobicoke Creek into the identity of the downtown. The plan creates a vibrant place for people to enjoy and a unifying resource that weaves through the city’s core. It highlights opportunities for an integrated landscape and provides a strong framework for the city to imagine new possibilities for its future growth. The result: A renewed physical and social relationship to the Etobicoke Creek through the creation of a series of new trails, look-outs and connections with increased physical and visual access to the water’s edge. The plan promotes connectivity to (and between) adjacent neighbourhoods and downtown Brampton, resulting in a renewed physical and social relationship to the Etobicoke Creek by way of a series of connected public spaces and landscapes.

Copps Pier (Hamilton, ON)


Scott Torrance, OALA, CSLA
Category: Medium-Scale Public Landscapes Designed by a Landscape Architect

Copps Pier celebrates industrial Hamilton’s past, present and future. This revitalization of a disused pier adopts forms from “Hammer Town’s” iconic industrial harbour and transforms them into scaffolding for public space in three unique ways. Along the Boatworks Promenade, giant steel boat hulls create parkettes along the north shore. In Hammer Harbour, a monumental Gantry Pavilion frames the skyline and forms a venue for diverse city-scale events. At the Landing, the prow of a ship looms up to create additional public art and performance space with views to Hamilton Harbour and the Niagara Escarpment. Punctuated with native trees, wetland vegetation and public art, Copps Pier adds over 1.4 hectares of new park space with full public access to the water’s edge and connections to the existing waterfront trails. Steel, concrete and timber combine industrial iconography with people-friendly elements to celebrate Hamilton’s proud “Steeltown” heritage.

Harbourfront Centre at York Quay (Toronto, ON)

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

Gullivar Shepard, OALA, CSLA
Category: Medium-Scale Public Landscapes Designed by a Landscape Architect

Harbourfront Centre is a project that successfully finds a balance between intense urban use and robust, hyper-natural planting, in a city heavily governed by streetscape and urban forestry guidelines. The LA-led team conceptualized how Ontario Square and Canada Square would become the new face of a cultural destination, setting the stage for an essential Toronto contemporary arts institution to grow. The new space is structured by two landscaped squares and a series of locations designated for the development of small cultural and retail buildings, which will continue to support and showcase Toronto’s diversity in the arts. Ontario Square offers visitors a generous pedestrian space to host a broad range of cultural events and comfortably accommodates caregivers and arts-camp-goers during drop-off and pick-up. A unique oculus connects the underground experience of arriving by car to the life of the plaza and welcomes visitors with the “Light Cascade.” At the water’s edge, Canada Square is a more contemplative space where visitors enjoy panoramic views of the lake.

Edmonton’s Ribbon of Green (Edmonton, AB)

02 Planning & Design 

Matt Williams, AALA, CSLA
Category: Landscape Management

Edmonton’s Ribbon of Green provides a far-reaching vision for the sustainable use and preservation of the North Saskatchewan River Valley and Ravine System. The project draws on robust ecological analysis, extensive cultural assessment, comprehensive stakeholder engagement and state-of-the-art, location-based visitation mapping. This irreplaceable landscape provides essential natural habitat and wildlife connectivity for Edmonton’s biodiversity, while providing residents with a renowned recreational resource in which to play and gather. The project provides programming and ecological guidance for the system, as well as research-specific visioning to guide subsequent finer-scale management and design decisions. The contributions each area makes to the city and its residents are described through the lenses of ecology, celebration and wellness. Land management classifications identify preservation, conservation and active use areas, each with their own unique policies and guidelines to ensure the responsible use and development of the Ribbon of Green in years to come.

The 2020-2030 Conservation, Design and Development Management Plan for Parc Jean-Drapeau (Montréal, QC)


Michel Langevin, AAPQ, CSLA, Pauline Gayaud, AAPQ, CSLA, Marianne Lafontaine-Chicha, AAPQ, CSLA
Category: Planning and Analysis

The 2020-2030 Conservation, Design and Development Management Plan for Parc Jean-Drapeau is a 680-page reference work resulting from a vast multidisciplinary effort, combining a citizen-based approach with the creation of a design vision. Its scope is consistent with the enormous potential of this large urban park, and reflects the commitment of the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau to make a sustained effort to showcase the park’s natural, cultural and built heritage. By innovating to stand out, implementing an organizational shift, listening to residents and offering distinctive experiences to local and visiting users, the plan targets the challenges of the coming years in order to position the park as the jewel of Montreal’s parks. The plan proposes new promenade experiences, direct dialogue with the waterways, a variety of landscapes, universally accessible spaces, improved mobility, resilient amenities, rehabilitated heritage elements and distinctive visual signatures. The plan is an indispensable tool for making the vision a reality, by serving simultaneously as a repository of data related to the park, a guide to planning and design actions, and an implementation document.

Place des Fleurs-de-Macadam (Montréal, QC)


Mélanie Mignault, AAPQ, CSLA, Catherine Blain, AAPQ, CSLA (NIPPAYSAGE), Sébastien Pinard, AAPQ, CSLA (EXP)
Category: Small-Scale Public Landscapes Designed by a Landscape Architect

The creation of a new public square in the heart of the borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal converted the site of a former service station into a greenspace. The project represents a new way to design public space, leveraging its potential for the in-situ management and treatment of runoff in an urban area, making it one of the city’s first water squares. In addition to being a space with built-in resiliency to flooding linked to climate change, the space brings to life and pays tribute to the song “Les fleurs de macadam” (“pavement flowers”) by Jean-Pierre Ferland, whose father operated the service station on the site in the 1950s. It is the result of a four-year participatory process led by the Castor et Pollux firm, including a series of temporary designs that informed the design process for the peaceful yet lively site. An immersive programmable rain fountain that alternates between real and metaphorical rain depending on the weather, a ribbon of strategically varied benches arranged to encourage quiet contemplation, along with suspended luminous art all change with the seasons, making this an irresistible space.

Parliament Hill Escarpment (Ottawa, ON)

Vlan paysages

Micheline Clouard, AAPQ, CSLA, and Julie St-Arnault, AAPQ, CSLA
Category: Large-Scale Public Landscapes Designed by a Landscape Architect

The Parliament Hill Escarpment Reforestation and Stabilization Project in Ottawa, a National Historic Site of Canada and Federal Landscape Heritage, is part of a classified landscape in the Parliamentary Precinct. A national treasure and tourist destination, the Parliamentary Precinct, attracting over 1.5 million visitors annually, must continue to be a safe, welcoming and meaningful place for Canadians and visitors alike. The escarpment along the Ottawa River is one of the most visible and significant heritage assets in Canada. This multidisciplinary project was developed and piloted by Vlan, with the collaboration of WSP, Nadeau Urban Forestry and Biodiversity Consulting. The vision of reforestation and slope stabilization was defined by the understanding and conservation of the heritage value of the picturesque landscape, imagined by Calvert Vaux in the late 1870’s, and the ecological value of the terrestrial community, representative of the river corridor vegetation. The intervention on the steep slope behind Parliament Hill, which was once a healthy mixed forest, is based on a three-pronged approach to maintain and optimize existing conditions, enhance them, and create wildlife habitat.