January 2, 2023
Lindsay Drake NightingaleAs we all celebrate the 50th anniversary of Landscape Ontario in 2023, who would have thought that by combining the Ontario Garden Maintenance and Landscape Association, Ontario Landscape Contractors Association and Ontario Nurseryman’s Association, it would have developed and flourished into an internationally recognized association and trade show that has led to the prosperity of over 3,000 current member companies. Our founders had the vision to make it happen when they gathered around their tables in 1973. A lot has changed since those early days, but one thing is still certain — there is a growing passion for all things landscaping and horticulture.

When I approached our current Landscape Ontario Board of Directors’ Executive Team, I asked them to look into their crystal balls for the next 50 years. A particular thread was present with all: we must take care and nurture the environment (particularly the urban environment), fight climate change, utilize technology, and continue to value the potential of our workforce while providing them with the best opportunities to make landscaping a viable career. The collective vision of the executive team reflects the overwhelming stance of the entire provincial board.

Our Past President Dave Wright (second generation, president of Wright Landscape Services) stated that, “it is important to look back and celebrate what we have achieved in the last 50 years. It is also important to not dwell on the past, but use it as a guide to our next 50 years. Looking back at the changes in our profession over the last 50 years, I can only imagine the changes in the future. I expect the landscape profession will become even more important as climate change makes cooling our urban spaces an even bigger priority than it is now. I expect technology will change our tools making them more environmentally sustainable. I look forward to being a part of the next 40 or so years.”

Treasurer Jeff Olsen (second generation, president and CEO of Brookdale Treeland Nurseries) said, “When I think of LO 50 years from now, I can imagine the great-grandchildren of our founders at the helm of the organization. The association will be stronger than it is today through prudent financial management, good governance and holding our core values above all. Membership in LO will be the gold standard for the companies in our industry and the public will know that when you hire one of our members, you’re dealing with a true professional. LO members will lead all industries in the fight against climate change and will have accomplished the goal of doubling the urban tree canopy over the prior 50 years. We will be seen as the stewards of the urban environment. Our workforce will be highly trained through our educational programs and, as such, will be able to make a very good living in our industry — we will attract the best and brightest. Our members will continue to benefit through group programs that allow the smallest and largest companies a place at the table. What an exciting time to be in such an amazing industry.”

Ed Hansen, First Vice President (president of Hansen Lawn and Garden) felt that, “We have to continue to embrace technology and let it push us to the next level, while still pushing the limits of what we can do. What might be interesting is how 50 years pushes us back in time to what we realized we should get back to.”

Lindsey Ross, Second Vice President (president of Living Green Landscapes) said, “We will have cracked the code to attracting small companies into the LO family, which will increase our membership exponentially. We will have gone back to our roots to continue to bring other related associations into our fold. We will have planted tens of thousands of trees through our Reconciliation Grove initiative, thus increasing Ontario’s tree canopy.”

We are the nurturers of tomorrow’s entrepreneurial dreams, sustainable environments, tree canopies, and much more. I believe that the next 50 years of Landscape Ontario is in the hands of strong visionaries.
pictures of four men
Lindsay Drake Nightingale
LO President