Monday January 8, 2024 |  Delta Hotel by Marriott Toronto Airport

The 2024 edition is Presented With Recognition of the OALA.

Sessions qualify for OALA Continuing Education Credits.

A full-day event with lunch and closing reception. An initiative of Landscape Ontario's Landscape Designer Sector Group.  

Landscape Horticulture Certification (LHCP)

Each conference session qualifies for one (1) Landscape Horticulture Certification (LHCP) CEU.


Early Bird Member $175 | Regular Member $225

Early Bird Non-Member $225 | Regular Non-Member $295

Early Bird Student $75 | Regular Student $125

*Early bird pricing ends December 15. 2023


8:30 am - 8:45 am

Landscape Designer Sector Group - AGM

Join your sector peers and learn about what the Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association Designer Group is doing on your behalf, and help shape future initiatives and projects.


Bob Scarfo taught and practiced landscape architecture in Canada and the United States for 39 years, the last 19 of which were with Washington State University Spokane’s Interdisciplinary Design Institute. He is an Emeritus Professor and registered landscape architect in Washington and Massachusetts. His Landscape Architecture Bachelor and Master’s degrees were earned at UMass, Amherst. His Masters and PhD degrees in Social Geography were earned at Clark University in Worcester, MA. He consults under Land and Life® LLC in Spokane, Washington. Bob’s understanding of emerging global trends enabled him to join, in workshop settings, seemingly diverse, yet mutually-beneficial, professions. His joining of gerontologists and landscape architects, architects, and land planners became Re-creating Neighborhoods for Successful Aging (2009; Health Professions Press). More recently, 36 years of work to provide a comfortable approach to teaching and learning landscape design is now realized as Landscape Architecture as Storytelling (Routledge, released December 2022).  

8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.

Landscape Architecture as Storytelling

When we consider landscapes as texts, designers as authors, and end-users as readers of those texts, then good design becomes good storytelling. Thirty-six years of searching for a comfortable, fun approach to learning and practicing landscape architectural design is distilled into storytelling as a design process and product. A summary of that journey, how it got started, and how it concluded (for now) is presented in three parts. While my journey relates to landscape architecture, each step along the way is easily related to architecture and interior design.

Part One looks at my introduction to the ambiguous world of landscape design and the first question I asked of my studio professor, “What’s the formula?” Efforts to answer that question became a three- tiered analogy that provides a comfortable way to learn landscape architecture design based upon how we learned to read, write, and tell stories. With the idea that good design is good storytelling, Part Two, introduces landscape as more than text. It is a narrative. Highlighted is the idea that landscape texts are authored by designers and once built, are read by those who experience them. Put simply, and with the help of Betty Edwards (1999), John Simonds (1961), and John Conron (1974), our design process rests

solidly on the fact that “People Come First.” That realization is an outgrowth of John Simonds’ epiphany that we design "...not places, spaces, or things [but] experiences (my italics). The places, spaces, and things take their form from the planned experience” (1961, 225).

The three-tiered analogy sets us up for an experiential approach to design as a three-step process. You, as the designer-author write a first- or second-person narrative of someone or group experiencing your design. No, you do not have a design at this point. Yes, you have a good idea why people will come to and experience your design. You have a good idea as to their expectations. As the characters in your written narrative, your eventual design’s participants take you through your design. Once written, even in a rough form, your narrative, with the help of your peers, is then turned into a storyboard. Finally, the storyboard, again with the help of your cohorts or friends, is turned into your proposed landscape design.

Given Parts One and Two we arrive at Part Three’s logical question: “Are we, as the designers of other’s lifeworlds, ethically responsible to at least meet if not exceed the experiential expectations of those we serve?”

Those attending my talk will receive a take-away graphic example of the three-tiered analogy and a bibliography in support of what is discussed.


Catherine has been working with persons with a disability for over forty years. Graduating as a Recreation Therapist, she started and directed the first school in Canada teaching children and adults with a disability how to sail. Catherine has worked with several organizations promoting quality of life for persons with a disability.  Catherine is also an avid volunteer. She has sat on several boards including serving on the Canadian Standards Association as Chair & committee member with the Universal Design for the Built Environment committee and the Strategic Steering Committee on Community Safety & Well-being. She is currently the Executive Director of Living Better with Parkinson’s – a grassroots organization supporting people living with Parkinson’s Disease in South Georgian Bay.

Catherine is a partner with Smart Move Training and Development Inc. specializing in accessibility solutions, project management and professional coaching. 

9:45 a.m. - 10:45 am

Accessible Landscaping 

Accessible landscaping uses the principles of universal design, aiming to make outdoor spaces usable by everyone no matter their needs.

Catherine will introduce the audience to the concept and importance of universal design in the outdoors. This interactive, collaborative conversation will include the following discussion points and more!

10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Networking Break


Chip Sullivan is an artist and professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at University of California, Berkeley, who has devoted his career to promoting landscape architecture as an art form. Chip has earned national and international recognition for his expertise in landscape representation as well as innovative energy-conserving design. He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture. 

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m

Revealing the Spirit of Place: The Earth Tells Its Stories

Throughout time people have shaped their environments according to their first-hand experiences and instinctive understandings of natural phenomena; landscape design was informed by the concept of genius loci, or “spirit of place.” 

Recognizing and honoring the genius loci is the first step in preserving the ecological integrity of place while creating spaces for human use and enjoyment. 

Our research presents a survey of global myths, legends and folklore that are based on a deep understanding of the genius, or spirit, of the land, and presents a new framework for their application and interpretation. 

In this age of profound climate disruption and ecological upheaval, the time is ripe to reconsider and honor the sanctity of the land, to reimagine the role of the earth spirits in bringing forth a new era of landscape consciousness and care.


Elizabeth Boults is a licensed landscape architect and educator with over 25 years of professional and academic experience. Her areas of focus are landscape history, representation, and site design. She is a SITES (Sustainable Environmental Design) Accredited Professional who maintains a landscape design practice founded on promoting environmental consciousness and ecological narratives. Elizabeth holds a leadership position with the American Society of Landscape Architects.  She is a senior lecturer in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at University of California, Davis.

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.



SESSION ONE - 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

NETWORKING BREAK - 2:30 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.

SESSION TWO - 2:40 p.m. - 3:40 p.m.


Paula Vital is an award-winning mindfulness coach, yoga therapist, speaker and writer dedicated to helping you move from striving to thriving by accessing the power of the present moment.  With over 20 years of experience in the field of mindful leadership and health, she is passionate about helping people integrate ease, clarity and wellbeing into all aspects of their life.  

Mindfulness for Career Success

3 Steps to Transform Overwhelm, Exhaustion and Burnout to Clarity, Courage and Vision

This course will provide an overview of why mindfulness matters to professionals, as well as an in-depth, practical application of mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, increase clarity and efficiency, improve communication, and establish a clear sense of purpose and wellbeing.

Items discussed will include:

• 3 transformations that will give you back your energy, power and wellbeing

• What is Mindfulness and Why does it Matter?

• Strengthening your Attention Muscles

• The Power of Breathing

• The Challenge of “Multi-Tasking”

• What can ONLY you do?

• 80-20 Rule

• Self-Compassion – The Foundation for Career (and life!) Success

You will walk away with a clear roadmap of how to turn current challenges into opportunities for expansion and growth.


Adele Pierre Landscape Architect is acknowledged as a leader in ecologically sound solutions for landscapes. The firm regularly provides training for businesses and landscape professionals in the use of sustainable materials, water conservation and stormwater management through the use of native plantings. As a landscape architect and arborist, Adele Pierre has designed projects requiring sensitivity to the changing requirements of municipalities and conservation authorities. Projects have twice been awarded Hamilton Urban Design and Architecture Awards (2018, 2022). Designs have also been recognized with Kitchener Environmental Awards and Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence.

Permits and their impact on landscaping 

Permits are an essential part of most landscape projects, and lack of a permit or

incorrect drawings can seriously impact schedules and costs. 

This session will discuss how to obtain permits for projects, the consequences of building without them, and strategies for successful applications. 

Topics covered will include: building permits, site alteration permits, pool enclosure permits, letters of permission from conservation authorities and tree protection plans. 

Participants will learn how to create clear permit drawings, and how to design and build to comply with requirements.


With over 30 years in the Horticulture Industry, The Tattooed Gardener is inspiring people from every generation, and sharing his love and passion for all things plants.  He is currently the Vice-President for the Etobicoke Horticultural Society; has  experience as the Director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden, and Curatorial Gardener at the Toronto Zoo; Paul has industry experience in every corner of the industry.  From Hybridizing to Garden Design. He has a passion for rare and unusual plants.  Join him as he walks down this winding road of Horticulture. With all that in mind... Lets Grow!

Shady Business

Gardening in the Shade doesn't need to leave you in the dark! 

Discover tips and tricks to lighten up your shady spot. Powerful Plants, Tantalizing Textures, and Cohesive Combinations.  Find out why Paul loves gardening in the shade, learn about his favourite lower light plants, discover how to improve a dark corner in your home garden; and make the most out of a shady situation.  

Hello, Darkness, my old friend…

3:40 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Certification Story & Closing remarks

Presenting Partner

Supporting Partners