June 15, 2019
2019 Skills Ontario competition

The next generation of skilled trades professionals showed its talent and enthusiasm at the 2019 Skills Ontario competition, including over 40 students from across the province from various horticulture and landscape programs.

Energy and excitement was palpable as students and spectators from across the province packed the Toronto Congress Centre for Canada’s largest skilled trade and technology competition, May 6-8.

Students qualified for the provincial event at regional competitions, earlier in the spring. Winners got the chance to move forward to the Skills Canada national competition in Halifax, May 26-28, 2019.

“Skills Ontario is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the skilled trades and technologies as viable, first-choice career options to Ontario youth,” the organization explains on its website. “With the support of our many partners, Skills Ontario encourages young people to consider a career in the skilled trades and technologies. Through programs and initiatives such as in-school presentations, qualifying and provincial skills competitions, we touch the lives of thousands of young people across the province each year. The Skills Ontario Competition, our cornerstone event, showcases the talented youth of our province. Over 20,000 spectators converge on this three-day event to watch over 2,000 of the brightest young people of this province compete in one of the over 68 skills contests offered.”

In the horticulture and landscape competition, teams of two were tested by building a garden based on a common set of drawings (one for high school students, and another, more complex design for post-secondary students). Components of the gardens, installed within square plots, included precast paving unit walls, installing paving stones, carpentry, plantings and the placement of landscape rocks.

The team of Blaise Mombourquette and Thomas Hawley from Algonquin College were winners of the post-secondary Horticulture and Landscape category and will go on to represent Ontario at the national competition. The same duo won the Ontario competition in 2018 and then went on to win silver at the national level. In addition, Mombourquette and Hawley each received $500 from the Ontario Horticultural Trades Foundation (Foundation) for their first place finish, plus an additional $1,000 each to cover travel expenses to the national competition in Nova Scotia.

Winners of the secondary school competition, William Haney and Matthew Ratthé from the Waterloo Region District School Board, earned $500 for their school horticulture program from the Foundation for their first place finish.

In the landscape design competition, students used Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) software to showcase their design and drawing skills. The designs were then judged based on creativity, how well they met client (and site) requirements as well as on plant selection.

Congratulations to Thales Leonardo Guilherme Da Silva from Humber College, winner of the post-secondary Landscape Design competition and $500 from the Foundation.

Nashwa Bilal from Halton District School Board took home first place in the secondary school Landscape Design division, earning $200 for her school horticulture program.

“It’s great to be here, with the future of the workforce who are just a little bit behind me,” said Michael Garcia, a Landscape Ontario member and volunteer at Skills Ontario. “Here [at the Congress Centre] there have been a lot of people watching life unfold over the two days of the competition; that’s a great thing, because it gives these students the platform to really build on stage, which is exactly the way it happens in real life. It’s going to happen that way in the workforce where they are building in front of their employers, as well as for their clients. I think it’s a good experience for them as school comes to a close and they head off to summer jobs.”

Landscape Ontario would like to thank the many sponsors and volunteers who provided equipment, materials, computers, software, expertise and encouragement to make the competition possible.

2019 Skills Ontario winners:

Horticulture and Landscape (post-secondary)

First place: Blaise Mombourquette and Thomas Hawley, Algonquin College
Second place: Thomas Vanamerongen and Daniel Wanders, Mohawk College
Third place: Patrick Misko and Taylor Schottroff, Humber College

Horticulture and Landscape (secondary)

First place: William Haney and Matthew Ratthé, Waterloo Region District School Board
Second place: Anton Niemi Fielding and Colin Therrien, Rainbow District School Board
Third place: Caden Martin and Gracie Post, Bluewater District School Board

Landscape Design (post-secondary):

First place: Thales Leonardo Guilherme Da Silva, Humber College
Second place: Raymond Lo, Humber College

Landscape Design (secondary):

First place: Nashwa Bilal, Halton District School Board
Second place: Larissa Mazzacca, Halton Catholic District School Board
Third place: Caroline Vidolovics, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Company support

Thank you to the following companies who contributed to the success of the 2019 Ontario Skills competition:

Stihl Canada: Stone saws and supervision
NVK: Plant material
Battlefield Equipment: Construction equipment
Permacon: Hardscape supplies (walls and pavers)
Compact Sod: Sod
King Canada: Table saw
Dynascape: Design software


Thank you too all the amazing members who came out and volunteered as judges for Skills Ontario 2019.

Horticulture and Landscape Competition
Michael Garcia, Soares Landscaping
Colin Imrie, Bobcat of the Tri-Cities
Candice Lapointe, 7 Acres
Eckhard Lutz, Waterloo Region District School Board
Steve Neumann, Algonquin College
Garry Reisky, Terra Form
Blake Sicard, UPI
Rob Tester, TNT Property Maintenance

Landscape Design Competition
Brandon Gelderman, Gelderlands

Foundation continues to support Skills Ontario winners

The Ontario Horticultural Trades Foundation continued its financial support of youth recognized in the Ontario Skills Competition in 2019 to the tune of over $7,000.

Gold, silver and bronze winners in the post-secondary categories for Landscape Gardening and Landscape Design earned prizes of anywhere from $300-$500 each.

Top winners were also given additional funds to cover expenses to compete at the national level.
Secondary school winners in both categories earned anywhere from $150 to $500 for their school horticulture programs.

For more information on the Foundation, visit OHTF.ca.