OALA honours 11 community leaders for influence on landscape architecture in Ontario

The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) has recognized 11 award winners for their outstanding contributions to the community.

Smalls Creek Team

The awardees were recognized at the Awards evening on September 21 as part of the joint 2Gether Conference, hosted by the Association and the Ontario Professional Planners Institute.

“I have seldom seen a more qualified group of awardees in my many years in the profession,” said OALA President Steve Barnhart, who is also the Senior Director of the Niagara Parks Commission. “Many of our winners bring unique understanding of how the modification of physical form when done well can connect people to nature while maintaining balance with the surrounding environment.”

The award categories include:

President’s Award: OALA Councillor Shawn Watters is being recognized for his significant volunteer time and knowledge in assisting on the Council, and dramatically helping to advance the OALA government outreach efforts. Mr. Watters has over 25 years of experience designing high rises, streetscapes, and public spaces in both the private and public sector. His work reflects the imperative role landscape architects play within cities, along with a deep understanding of relationship building at the municipal level. Shawn is a five-time elected councillor in Wellington county, and is currently running for mayor this fall in Centre Wellington.

Volunteering: The three winners of the David Erb Memorial Award for outstanding volunteerism are Paul Brydges from Guelph, Stefan Fediuk from Windsor, and Anne-Claude Schellenberg from Ottawa. Each has played leadership roles in the profession and Association for many years.

Research: The two winners of the Research and Innovation Award are Dr. Robert Corry from Guelph, and Mary Jane Lovering from Toronto. She has focused her design work on therapeutic outdoor environments for long term care, acute care and mental health.

Associate: The Jack Copeland Award for Associate Leadership and Contribution goes to Chen Zixiang from Toronto. Chen currently works as an intern for Studio TLA in Toronto.

Environment: The Award for Community Service to Environment goes to the Friends of Small’s Creek Ravine. Founded in 2020, this volunteer grassroots organization works to educate the community on the importance of Toronto’s ravine ecosystem.

Community: The OALA Honorary Awards go to photographer Robert Burley and Nina-Marie Lister, who is a professor at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Excellence: In recognition of 45 years of landscape architectural leadership across Canada and around the globe, John Hillier has both designed and led the way for future generations to interact with landscape design. Hillier is a principal at DTAH, an architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design firm based in Toronto.