OALA Awards

OALA Award for Service to the Environment

This award is given to a non-landscape architectural individual, group, organization, or agency in the Province of Ontario to recognize and encourage a special or unusual contribution to the sensitive, sustainable design for human use of the environment. The contribution must emulate the fundamental principles of OALA and the OALA Mission Statement and go beyond the normal levels of community action in preserving, protecting or improving the environment.

1. The Beaver River Watershed Initiative

The Beaver River Watershed Initiative is a grassroots, volunteer driven committee formed by a local group of conscientious individuals who are dedicated to the restoration and rehabilitation of the Beaver River Watershed located in Grey County, Ontario. What began as a chance meeting in an iconic donut shop in Thornbury in early 2012 has rapidly developed into a legal entity called The Beaver River Watershed Initiative.

The Beaver River Watershed Initiative has unselfish dedication to enhance the watershed environment and the benefits that their efforts will deliver in the future conservation of the natural river. Both as a group and as individuals, they refused to be swayed by the enormity of the task ahead. By starting with small rehabilitation projects, and keeping their overall goal in mind, the core group evolved into a legal entity, operating within the auspices of Grey Sauble Conservation Authority. Incredibly, this occurred within a time frame of 10 months. The group has involved the community at large, government agencies, individual stakeholders, service clubs, member municipalities, landowners and sports clubs in their efforts. Through careful and thoughtful planning, the group has ensured a healthy future for the watershed and provided a road map for other groups to follow.

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2. Citizens for Safe Cycling Ottawa

What better way to be engaged in our urban landscape and natural environment than from the seat of a bicycle? Whether it is a trip to school, to work or for leisure, few other vehicles enables one to experience a place with all you senses. Feeling comfortable, safe and free on your bike is a singular great pleasure. In Ottawa, there are no greater champions for this than Citizens for Safe Cycling and their president, Hans Moor.

Hans Moor has been a strong leader and champion of the cycling movement in Ottawa – inspiring new cyclists and building consensus amongst cycling advocacy groups. Since arriving from his native Netherlands in 1999, Hans has become a prominent advocate and proponent for cycling in Ottawa – now serving in his second term as president of the Citizens for Safe Cycling. His cycling expertise combined with his laid-back and engaging demeanour has made him a popular spokesperson in lectures, seminars and consultations – including the Canadian Automobile Association and Members of Parliament.

In addition, Hans has been a reliable and invaluable resource for input on many City of Ottawa policies and projects that involve cycling issues. Hans Moor has made a substantial impact on the community. He continues to support existing cyclists and engaging other residents of the Ottawa region to discover the benefits of recreation and commuting cycling.


OALA Carl Borgstrom Award for Service to the Environment

This award is given to individual landscape architects or a landscape architectural group to recognize and encourage special or unusual contribution to the sensitive, sustainable design for human use of the environment. This award is named in honour of Carl Borgstrom who of all OALA’s founders, was the most actively in tune with the natural landscape.

1. Victoria Lister Carley, OALA, CSLA

Victoria Lister Carley is a landscape architect who has demonstrated through her work and personal commitments, a special contribution to the sensitive, sustainable design for human use of the environment. Victoria weaves her skills as a visual artist with her passionate interest in the environment to create landscapes that contain ‘the evocative and emotional qualities of a painting with a sensitivity for the environment’.

Victoria describes herself as an ‘active environmentalist’ and not only her design work but her and environmental advocacy exemplify her passion for the natural environment. She is a long time (over 25 years) member of the Steering Committee Friends of the Leslie Street Spit, a group which was instrumental in preserving the Leslie Street spit as a natural area when it had been ear marked for development as a marina/manicured park. In recognition of her environmental commitments, she was appointed to the Board of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Board from 1992 to 1998, and was a Member Ontario Field Ornithologists Board 5 years. She is also an active and knowledgeable birder, and participant in citizen science projects including the City of Toronto’s Biodiversity series of booklets. Victoria was also a founding member of the Ground Editorial Board, often initiating environmental content suggestions.

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2. Glenn Gilbert, OALA, CSLA

A Regional Manager working in Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has significant challenges to ensure that environmental issues and related policy issues are respected. Progressive moves and Glenn’s interest in working with First Nations and the environment brought him to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Ontario Region and the management of the capital construction program. This was followed by his appointment as the Regional Manager, Environment Unit in the mid- 1990’s with a more direct responsibility for environmental issues.

Glenn Gilbert has contributed significantly to sensitive, sustainable design for human use of the environment by way of his years of professional practice and his private ‘volunteer’ pursuits. This nomination proposes to celebrate the achievements of a landscape architect who has worked with many diverse groups, often at odds, to bring environmental principles to the forefront of the management of a multi-million dollar capital program affecting 127 First Nation communities.

At Humber Bay Park East, Glenn was the catalyst, bringing together City of Toronto municipal senior staff in the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department and third year University of Guelph Landscape Architecture students to develop a sustainable plan that addresses not only the environmental protection of the species that had emerged in the park, but the recreational uses that had developed there. This process has now been sanctioned as an annual occurrence and other sites will be assisted in this manner in the years to come.


Public Practice Award

This award recognizes the outstanding leadership of a member of the profession in public practice who promotes and enhances landscape architecture by working for improved understanding and appreciation of the work of landscape architects in both public and private practice.

Jeff Silverthorn, OALA, CSLA

Jeff started his career in the public sector, at the City of Kanata, where he worked for 13 years. After one meeting with the Mayor of Kanata he had all the funding necessary to create the 5 foot high stainless steel Kanata letters that motorists see along the westbound 417 Queensway. This was a “first” for this section of the provincial Ministry of Transportation and he and his team had to co‐create the application and approval process since it had yet to be done in the Ottawa area.

In 2001 the City of Kanata became amalgamated with several other cities to become part of the new City of Ottawa. At that time Jeff was successful in becoming the Program Manager for all Park and Open Space design and construction within the newly expanded City of Ottawa. Working with a dedicated team of professional Landscape Architects he and his team now develop an average of 18 new parks per season and complete an additional 25 related park projects per year. Jeff has currently been appointed to the position of Manager of Design and Construction (Buildings and Parks) and now not only oversees all of the municipal park projects but also all of the many municipal architectural projects.

Jeff has been fortunate in his career to be supported and encouraged by not only his co‐workers but also his peers as he undertook some more creative works. After travelling to Stonehenge in England he came back and decided that instead of burying some rather large pieces of stone he would create his own 8 foot tall symbolic “stonehenge” in Vickers Park.

This award to Jeff proposes to celebrate the works of a person whose natural capabilities and fundamental beliefs in Landscape Architecture have won him years of consecutive successes on public lands as well as the most senior landscape architecture position at the City of Ottawa.


David Erb Memorial Award

The award is named after David Erb who was an outstanding volunteer in furthering the goals of OALA and his example set a truly high standard. The award is the best way to acknowledge the one outstanding OALA member each year whose volunteer contributions over a number of years have made a real difference.

1. Marianne Mokrycke, OALA, CSLA

Marianne has given tireless dedication to the OALA contributing to many successful events, including several annual general meetings, continuing education seminars, workshops, industry tours and as Co-Chair to the OALA Continuing Education Committee. Her tireless enthusiasm and strong determination, perseverance and motivation in putting together programs for the Continuing Education Committee have been quite simply, refreshing and exceptional. Her sense of humour and frankness have also had a positive impact on the entire CEC committee, and members alike. It is my strong opinion that the OALA Continuing Education Program and Annual Conferences and AGMs would not have been as successful as they have been over the last number of years without Marianne’s ongoing contributions.

Marianne’s voluntary efforts over the last ten years of service to the OALA is extensive.  Other contributions include:

  • Professional Advisor to young professionals during their Professional Development Period
  • Member of the Continuing Education Committee continuously since 2004
  • Co-Chair Continuing Education Committee since 2007
  • Taking part on several OALA Conference and AGM Organizing Committees
  • Participating on the Mandatory Continuing Education Transition Committee
  • Volunteer work with CLARB for the OALA
  • and more recently a member on the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System, Administration Committee.

Marianne’s accomplishments have advanced our professional association and her efforts are deserving of the 2013 David Erb Memorial Award.

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2. Diane Emmerson, OALA, CSLA

For the last 5 years, Diane has taken a leading role in guiding the activities of Landscape Architecture Ottawa. As Chair of this group, Diane has worked tirelessly to organize and chair monthly meetings, professional events and social gatherings. Her involvement has re-invigorated an essentially dormant chapter of more than 75 professionals.

The Ottawa membership will attest to the value of Diane’s commitment to ensuring large member turnout, securing event sponsorship, and planning and facilitating enjoyable evenings of networking and camaraderie at spring socials and annual holiday parties. These events not only provide the opportunity for members to catch up with each other on a regular basis, but also serve to welcome new members to the group, helping them to feel more established in Ottawa.

Diane has served as the communications conduit through which Ottawa-area members are able to exchange information, stay informed on Continuing Education sessions, and form positions on local issues, such as the re-development of Lansdowne Park and Ottawa Street Tree Planting policies.


OALA Research and Innovation Award

This award recognizes the outstanding leadership, research and/or academic achievements of a member(s), or non-member(s), who, through scholarly activities, including academic papers, research, publications, books, e-applications or public presentations, contributes to the knowledge base that furthers the advancement of the art, the science and the practice of landscape architecture.

Professor Robert D. Brown

Dr. Bob Brown has a distinguished record of academic scholarship. He is among the leading landscape architectural scholars in North America, ranking in the top 10% for research productivity! In Canada his record is even more striking: he is the most-published scholar in the country (59 academic journal papers). The global reach of Dr. Brown’s research is notable. He has lectured and presented his research in seven countries. Yet most of his work is based in Ontario, especially in his role as advisor to undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Brown is deserving of  recognition for his scholarly influence on 75 advisees over 27 years of teaching.

Academic writing is not the only venue for Dr. Brown’s scholarly output. Along with four other widely-available books, he recently completed Design with Microclimate (Island Press) – an accessible and critical guide for landscape architects.

Bob Brown is a prolific landscape architecture scholar in Canada and an ambassador for evidence-based landscape design throughout the world.


OALA Emeritus Member

Emeritus members are full members of OALA who have ceased full time practice and who are nominated by another full member in recognition of their years of service to the profession.

Alex Topps, OALA, CSLA

After graduating with a business degree in 1970, and a brief career in the world of finance, Alexander discovered that Landscape Architecture offered the prospect of a career that would allow him to combine his concern for the environment with a deep-seated affection for design and craftsmanship. Returning to the University of Toronto, he graduated with a BLA in 1974 and immediately joined the emerging practice of Frank Milus and Associates as the firm’s third employee. In 1976, the firm was reorganized and he became a founding partner of The MBTW Group, which has since evolved to become a large multi-disciplinary practice.

Alexander’s early career focussed on regional planning, preparing background environmental studies for numerous urban expansion areas. As a persistent environmental advocate, he persuaded clients to construct artificial wetlands and restore degraded watercourses well before these became common practices; devised a unique root zone recharge system to sustain a provincially-significant woodlot threatened by development; designed a golf course maintained entirely by recycled urban runoff; and, as the environmental planner on the winning 1994 Seaton design competition, illustrated the value of terrestrial tableland habitat linkages between sub-watersheds, a concept that is now a routine principle of sustainable urban planning.

In the 1980’s, he became one of the first Landscape Architects to build a substantial practice as an expert witness. His successful track record representing clients across a broad spectrum of issues, including urban design, recreation planning, environmental planning, and site plan suitability, has helped to establish the credibility of the profession before the Ontario Municipal Board and other tribunals.

As his career evolved, he became progressively more design-focussed, establishing an award-winning portfolio of built works in the areas of public open space and urban design. Being particularly sensitive to the value of art in the landscape, he has routinely sought out opportunities to collaborate with public artists, introducing commissioned works into many of his public realm projects.

Throughout his career, Alexander has been an active OALA volunteer, serving on the Examining Board as one of the group that successfully advocated for the LARE. As the Association’s representative on a multi-disciplinary lobby group, he helped achieve important revisions to the Limitation of Liability Act. Until recently, he has represented the OALA on the Faculty Council of the Daniels School of Design, and in retirement continues to volunteer with the Budget, Discipline and Practice Act Committees. He is also active with the CSLA, assisting with various task forces and as a member of the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Council.



OALA Honorary Member Award

The Honorary category of membership is for non-landscape architects for whom Council wishes to recognize for outstanding contributions in their own fields to improving the quality of natural and human environments.

Alex Munter

Alex Munter is the President and Chief Executive Officer at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.  Health starts where we live, learn, work and play. And so the built environment plays a crucial role in the healthy development and overall wellbeing of all citizens, particularly children and youth. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario is home to some of Canada’s leading researchers in the area of childhood obesity including Dr. Mark Tremblay, director of the Healthy Active Living and Obesity research group at CHEO.

Landscape architecture is the bridge that connects people to the built and natural environment around them. Alex states that in his various roles over the last 20 years – as an elected official, member of the University of Ottawa faculty and now health and social services administrator – he has greatly appreciated the positive contribution made by landscape architects to the well-being of our city and its citizens. We are pleased to award Alex Munter an Honorary Membership in the OALA.


Pinnacle Award for Landscape Architectural Excellence

This award recognizes an OALA member and his or her professional work. It singles out specific projects to draw attention to a body of work which demonstrates outstanding professional accomplishment.

Steve Sunderland, OALA, CSLA

Steve Sunderland was a principal of CSW since 1979 and brought strong administrative, organizational and technical capabilities to a diversity of projects. His extensive portfolio of work includes residential, recreational, urban design, urban planning and transportation planning projects. Of particular note was his special interest and proficiency in detail design and construction, which he applied to projects across Canada.

Steve has worked on over 20 major urban design projects including street malls, parks, plaza’s, markets and multi-use projects. Steve has been instrumental in bringing about positive change to the National Capital Region. The following examples are but a few projects in Ottawa: Confederation Boulevard, Governor Generals Forecourt, Cancer Survivors Park and the Rideau Canal Esplanade.

Steve has mentored and contributed extensively to the advancement of many landscape architects careers across Canada. Through his tireless enthusiasm, leadership and passion for landscape architecture, Steve has added an invaluable contribution to the profession.


OALA President’s Award

The President’s Award is given in recognition of the contributions by an OALA Full Member who supports and advances initiatives and actions of the association and promotes the profession of landscape architecture in Ontario. It is given in recognition of dedicated volunteerism, generous service to the association, and for leadership in the field of landscape architecture.

Glenn O’Connor, OALA, CSLA

Glenn O’Connor has brought a strength and energy and leadership to the OALA and more recently the CSLA on many initiatives to further landscape architecture in Ontario.

Glenn has served on many professional committees since 2003 and, in particular since 2007 on OALA Committees, OALA Council, Council Executive Committee, and most recently the CSLA Board of Directors.

He is not one to take the spotlight for himself, always promoting others, referring to himself at times as ‘the skunk at the garden party’ when he felt change was necessary in order to improve a dysfunctional process or situation.  However, I can state, based on the work I have witnessed first hand,  his contributions  have always been for the betterment of the association.  He has given selfless volunteer hours each year to this end.

As stated, Glenn has served on the OALA Council and Executive Committee holding positions of Treasurer for three years, as President for 2 years, and as Past-President for a year.  Glenn has contributed extensively to the organization and management of OALA budgets; to association revenues, to office operations; and to many other OALA activities, two of which remain the sole revenue GENERATING annual events for the Association: Ski Day and Golf Day. He is the current OALA representative on the CSLA Board of Directors and as a member of the CSLA Executive, Glenn is a strong promoter of the OALA and landscape architecture. He has elevated the professionalism of the Association and has guided the annual awards program to become a more accountable event with the introduction of structured evaluation criteria. Through his leadership he has facilitated the OALA to become a more sustainable association. His vision, enthusiasm, and belief in landscape architecture has attracted membership to get involved in their association.  Glenn has left his signature on the OALA and the CSLA. Whether we are aware of his influences or not, we have all benefited from his contributions.