Canadian Landscape Architecture Exposed!


By: Mnrupe Virk

Along with the rapid urbanization of regions around the world, landscape architecture is becoming an increasingly important and growing field. On February 6, the John H. Daniels Faculty of Landscape, Architecture and Design will be holding a symposium that explores the work of up-and-coming and seasoned Canadian landscape architects. It will feature keynote speaker Charles Waldheim, Department of Landscape Architecture Chair at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The symposium, Innate Terrain: Canadian Work of Established and Emerging Canadian Landscape Architecture Practices, is unique in its aim to identify and present a distinctively Canadian approach to landscape architecture.

“A lot of what we study [are] American and European examples, but there’s not a lot documented or written on Canadian landscape architecture in a way that’s accessible, particularly to students,” said Professor Alissa North, the event coordinator and curator, on the choice of symposium topic.

The Innate Terrain title itself represents the dominant theme of Canadian landscape architecture. “It’s a thesis on what I expect to find in the discussions of the symposium,” explained North, “looking at existing landscapes that we have across the country and really trying to understand the innate characteristics of the landscape instead of imposing something. Canadian landscape architects are actually quite adept at being very respectful of the existing landscape.”

The symposium will also address the Canadian emphasis on sustainability. The process of urbanization often threatens a region’s existing social, cultural, and biological environments. As a result, the desire for environmentally sustainable landscape architecture continues to grow, especially among Canadian architecture schools.

In addition to the symposium, there will be an exhibition of the “exemplary work and ideas” of the participating Canadian landscape architects. Following the event, organizers will assemble a publication that will provide students and professionals with additional reference material on the topic.

Innate Terrain is a free event open to the public, held on Feb. 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Room 103 of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design (230 College St.). Seating is first come, first served. The exhibition will be held from February 1-12 at the Larry Wayne Richards Gallery of the John H. Daniels Building.

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