February 15, 2017
Paul Brydges
LO President

Paul BrydgesCongress opened with a full house at the IPM Symposium and a large, engaged group of owners and managers at the Peer to Peer workshop. The Landscape Designer Conference was also very well attended, with several renowned guest speakers to inspire young and seasoned designers alike.

The new format for the Awards of Excellence ceremony was met with incredible enthusiasm and excitement. I had the honour of welcoming our scholarship recipients and heard about some of their very diverse skills and backgrounds. As our future, they will provide us with a great start to our concerns about ongoing staff shortages. I hope they take the experience  back to all of their classmates to show them how much LO has to offer.

It was a distinct honour to be on stage to represent the association as Mark Cullen received the Honourary Life Membership Award. As only the tenth member to ever receive this distinction, Mark stands in a very unique class with our founders. As Mark’s reaction proved, he was very moved by the honour, and I hope he realizes how much he continues to inspire both existing and future members.

At the reception afterwards, I had the opportunity to speak with many of the award winners. Christine Moffat and Janet Mott from Christine’s Touch Gardening received their first-ever award, and were elated by the recognition from their peers. I could tell from their response that the positive energy the award created for them and their team will last a lifetime.

Not only were the awards titled “Paint the Town Green,” but a conscious effort was made to ensure the awards themselves were represented by projects with more use of green space and plantings. Next year’s awards will continue to see even more changes. Congratulations to all award winners. I could not be more proud of all of you.

I would be remiss if I did not take time to also congratulate our entire LO staff and the many volunteers for their excellent work leading up to, and throughout Congress. I have not seen a show with better organization and energy. Thanks again to all of you.

At the annual general meeting on Wednesday morning we saw how well the association is doing financially and the many initiatives we have underway. We also welcomed back Blake Tubby and Tim Kraemer as our Members-at-Large. I look forward to meeting with them and discussing two distinct committees that will continue to improve our association.

I greatly enjoyed meeting so many new faces as members introduced themselves to me throughout the week. Each meeting is an opportunity to learn more about the depth of our association and to assist members in making connections with each other to further their businesses.

With Congress wrapped up it is now time to focus on committee work and begin final preparations for Canada Blooms. Our Canada Blooms garden will showcase the amazing Highway of Heroes Living Tribute. Committee work continues to try and solve the complex issue of branding LO for the future and how to better reach the public to explain who we are. This has been a perennial issue without an easy solution. As much as the digital age has eased communication, it has created an endless amount of work to try and keep ahead of technology and keep us in front of our clients.

I look forward to seeing more members throughout the province at numerous events.

Here is to hoping for an easy winter and an early spring.
Paul Brydges may be reached at paulbrydges.la@sympatico.ca.