We are proud to say that PLANT has been certified as a Women Business Enterprise. WBE Canada (Women Business Enterprises Canada Council) is a Canadian nonprofit organization that certifies Canadian B2B businesses that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by women and connects them to corporate and government supply chains. As a WBE, we can now provide proof to many corporate and government organizations with Supplier Diversity procurement policies in place that we meet their Diverse Supplier criteria. We are excited to be included in Canada’s largest database of Canadian women-owned businesses and we look forward to providing exceptional architecture and landscape architecture services to organizations seeking to do business with Diverse Suppliers.

Congratulations to Zeynep Benk, the newest PLANT person to be certified a full member of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA). Zeynep earned her Master of Science in Landscape Architecture from Istanbul Technical University in 2011 and joined PLANT’s team in 2016. A creative designer with a strong technical background, she has been a vital team member on recent PLANT projects including the landscapes for Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Innovation and the University of British Columbia Okanagan’s Centre for Teaching and Learning. Her current projects include Guelph Pedestrian Bridge, the Governor’s Bridge Lookout at Toronto’s Don Valley Brick Works Park, and the expansion and redesign of Alexandra Park for the City of Waterloo.

The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial in St. Catharines has won a Niagara Biennial Award. This new awards program recognizes and celebrates design excellence throughout Ontario’s Niagara Region. PLANT was the landscape architect and construction services manager on this memorial project, which was designed by Dereck Revington Studio to commemorate the 137 workers who lost their lives during the current Welland Canal’s 1913 - 1932 construction. “Fallen Workers Memorial weaves a landscape within a memorial,” the jurors observed. “The monolithic forms create a strong presence and speak to the engineering marvel that the workers constructed.”

We are excited to share the news that PLANT’s Face to Face / Tête à Tête curb-lane parklet for the City of Toronto is a Finalist in the international 2020 Architizer A+ Awards. As a Finalist, our project is one of five worldwide to be eligible for a Popular Choice Award in its category. This means that as of today and until July 31, 2020, you have an opportunity to vote for it online – and we do hope you will! To vote, please follow this link and search for Face to Face or PLANT Architect Inc. (That’s faster than scrolling through all the award categories.)

Created for the King Street Transit Pilot, our six-feet-wide ‘concentrated community conversation zone’ received a nod from the jurors in the Architecture + Urban Transformation category, which recognizes projects that create new public spaces and build “new ways for the world’s citizens to live more densely within existing urban fabric.”

Face to Face / Tête à Tête was completed on a $25,000 budget, with PLANT staff sharing in some of the fabrication duties with the amazingly resourceful team at Oriole Landscaping. This project has transformed a couple of curb-lane parking spots on King Street just east of Yonge into a place where pedestrians can pause and connect. (A success in its own right, the King Street Transit Pilot demonstrated that a more-streetcars-fewer-cars approach on central King would ease downtown traffic congestion, and this route is now known as the King Street Transit Priority Corridor.) For more on Face to Face / Tête à Tête, please see our website and PLANT’s Architizer page.

PLANT Architect and the consultation and engagement specialists at PROCESS have moved a big step closer to developing a vision and concept master plan for the Mulock property in Newmarket, ON. Formerly the estate of Canadian lawyer/politician/farmer/philanthropist Sir William Mulock, the 11.6-acre estate is set to become a hub where community, recreation and culture intersect. On May 25, 2020, our team’s Phase 1 report was approved by the Town of Newmarket Council, and we are now moving forward with the development of the master plan. The Town has posted a very cool YouTube video summarizing the engagement input collected from more than 3,000 Newmarket residents, and has posted our team’s Council Presentation and PROCESS’s Engagement Summary Report on its website.

We are delighted to share the news that PLANT’s St. Anne’s Garden is Houzz’s “Patio of the Week”! Here’s where you’ll find a great article by Becky Harris on this project. She explains how we transformed a nearly non-existent backyard on a steep slope into a colourful courtyard enjoyed by the three generations of one family who share this home.

And while we have your attention, we would also like to mention that PLANT Landscape Designer Karen May will be the featured speaker at 9:15 am on Friday, February 21, 2020 at Reference, an annual symposium for landscape architects, designers, gardeners, and trades, held in Toronto at Ryerson University’s George Vari Engineering and Computing Building. The one-day symposium centres on learning to use ecosystem references in cities bearing the brunt of climate change, and Karen’s presentation is on Ecological Land Classification. Here’s where to find information about the event and how to register for it online.

Issue 36 of Stephanie White’s extraordinary On Site Review has just been published, and we’re proud to be part of it. This issue’s theme, Our Material Future, addresses points of intersection between the material world and the science of the climate crisis. On Site 36: 2020 asks the question, “What must we save and how?” PLANT’s Lisa Rapoport, in her essay, “Material Memory,” looks back on two PLANT landscape projects, Sweet Farm and Dublin Grounds of Remembrance, that promote engagement with the environment as a means of sustaining it. She answers the “What must we save?” question by describing how PLANT’s recent With Words as their Actions artwork for Ottawa’s Lyon Station preserves the memory of 19th-century women who preserved the history of the community founded as Bytown, at the time when it was about to change its name and become the nation’s capital. The entire On Site 36: 2020 issue can be read online here.

After a 23-year absence, the horses have returned to the Kay Gardner Beltline Park Bridge. Iron Horse was a much-loved temporary art installation by Toronto artist Robert Sprachman that traversed Yonge Street just south of Merton Street from 1994 to 1996. When PLANT completed a new master plan a few years ago for the Midtown Yonge Business Improvement Area (BIA), our clients told us they were eager to re-create the artwork as a permanent gateway into their district. This objective became part of the master plan, and the official unveiling of the completed installation took place on November 30, 2019.
The title alludes to the history of the bridge: originally a horse-and-buggy overpass, the bridge became part of the Toronto Belt Line Railway in the late 19th century. The ‘iron horses’ of various passenger and freight railway services rumbled along its tracks into the 1960s, and in the 1980s the conversion of the Belt Line into its present use as a recreational trail began.
Funded by the Midtown Yonge BIA and the City of Toronto, the new Iron Horse permanent public art installation re-creates Sprachman’s horses in a durable mix of recycled fiberglass and plastic, and incorporates a solar-powered LED lighting system that illuminates the pedestrian pathway and the equine sculptures at night.

Prætorium Analysis Axonometric
Drawing by Lisa Rapoport

Our Roman roots will be showing when the ROMA XL exhibit opens later this month at Toronto’s Istituto Italiano di Cultura. This show features drawings executed by former Waterloo School of Architecture students – including PLANT’s Lisa Rapoport and Chris Pommer – during their term of study in Rome. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Rome program, the exhibit also includes drawings by Alison Brooks, Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe, John Shnier and other U of Waterloo Architecture grads who have gone on to illustrious careers. Curator Sascha Hastings juxtaposes students’ Rome-term drawings with their subsequent built work to reveal “unexpected influences of Roman architecture, landscape and urban design on Canadian architects today.” The opening reception takes place on October 16 from 6:30 to 8 pm; the exhibition is open to the public from October 17 to November 1.

Evergreen Brick Works (photo: Evergreen Brick Works)
Photo: Evergreen Brick Works

We are very excited to be working with LGA Architectural Partners and the stakeholder engagement consultants at PROCESS on developing a new Evergreen Brick Works Master Plan. Operated by Evergreen for nearly a decade in Toronto’s Don Valley, this former industrial site and quarry is a thriving community hub and demonstration site for sustainable urban practices. PLANT is the landscape architecture lead on the multidisciplinary team that is charting the adaptive reuse of un-used or under-utilized buildings on the site, developing design strategies that support Evergreen’s fostering of sustainable future cities, and strengthening links between the Brick Works and surrounding ravines and trails. A lively and inclusive public consultation program is central to this project’s unique master-planning process. For more information and participation options, please see Evergreen’s media release.