April 15, 2017
Paul Brydges
LO President

Paul BrydgesWith spring looming, it is the end of another busy season of winter training courses, trade shows and education. Every trip I made to the LO home office this winter saw a full parking lot with attendance to capacity on almost all courses. We should have no problem justifying with Halton Region that we are an educational school if we put the numbers together for how many students we had in attendance this year.

Despite a snowy start to the day, GreenTrade Expo in Ottawa went off well. Participants poured in through the afternoon to speak with exhibitors and attend seminars. A meeting of landscape designers discussed the potential Name Act legislation and collaboration with the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA). With the early draft of a matrix comparing landscape architects and landscape designers, the discussions focused around areas of practice, similarities and differences. The key to this discussion is that all designers are, and need to be, collaborators to bring their clients the best possible results.

From a collaboration standpoint, Unilock has been working this winter to give Landscape Ontario the opportunity to speak to their authorized contractors across the province. They asked me to speak on behalf of LO to discuss how we, as designers, collaborate with our suppliers, contractors and colleagues. This was all based on the model of collaboration at LO and how we, as members, gain so much more when we work together toward a common goal. Unilock has also produced a very professional video for secondary and post-secondary school students, outlining the diverse career opportunities available in the horticultural profession. Many members were showcased in the video and sharing their passion and expertise to let students know what our profession has to offer. Unilock also put together a designer/contractor collaboration seminar. This allowed designers and contractors who had never worked together before (and potentially never worked with the other profession before), to see the value of collaboration. At the end of the day, feedback from participants was very positive; focusing on how much more complete and unique a project can be when multiple professionals with varied expertise work together to create solutions.

Discussion is ongoing regarding home office redevelopment and renovation. Plans have been circulated and discussed that are beyond the budget allocated by the provincial board of directors. New discussions are continuing on how to scale back costs while still creating a world-class facility that properly portrays our profession and meets our needs for the future.

A formal welcome back to Sally Harvey is most fitting as we also welcome back spring. The eastern provinces benefitted immensely from Sally’s time with them and she will bring even more value to national meetings with her new perspective.

Another staffing change sees Heather MacRae accepting the role of Executive Manager at LO. With her even temperament and can-do attitude, I know Heather’s work in LO’s trade show department will spread to accelerate growth throughout the entire association. Congratulations to Heather and to Tony DiGiovanni for being confident to share his wisdom and experience.

Wishing you all a busy and prosperous spring.
Paul Brydges may be reached at paulbrydges.la@sympatico.ca.