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A groundbreaking history of the development of designed landscapes in Canada.The largest and most pervasive of human artifacts, landscapes are both cultural expressions and environments that shape our actions. Ron Williams, a longtime professor and former director of the School of Landscape Architecture at the Universite de Montreal, is a practising architect and landscape architect.
The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) recently announced the winners of the 2014 Awards of Excellence in Canadian landscape architecture. The Landscape of Memory: Poppy Plaza (Calgary) Dave Spencer + Marc Boutin, Stantec Consulting Ltd.
Victoria Park Subway Station – Green Roof and Landscape (Toronto) Scott Torrance, Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc. John Lawson Park Playground and Splash Pad (West Vancouver) Richard Findlay, Richard Findlay Landscape Architect Inc. Throughout history—with the exception of the great Olmsted, of course—it seems that landscape architects seldom find their way into the design spotlight.
The plaza in front of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada now celebrates the swaying grasses of the Canadian prairie.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization was designed by Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal and inaugurated in 1989. Playgrounds, cemeteries, memorials, historic sites, public squares, gardens, industrial rehabilitation sites, wild national parks, and manicured urban parks provide the settings for work, recreation, commerce, memorialization, and mourning and shape the experience and meaning of these activities in Canada.
Selected by a national jury of landscape architects, the national and regional awards are judged on a variety of factors from project management performance to application of environmentally friendly practices. The museum consists of two pavilions whose volumes are physical representations of distinguishing geographical features in Canada.
In the first critical history of designed landscapes in our country, Ron Williams approaches landscape architecture as a social art that creates places for people to use and as an environmental art through which practitioners act as stewards of the natural world. The public display wing is meant to replicate the dramatic effect of the glaciers, while the contours of the curatorial wing symbolize the majestic Canadian Shield. Landscape Architecture in Canada provides a detailed panorama of the man-made landscapes that vary as widely as the country's geography. The landscape renovation began in 2005 and was completed in 2010 and is now its own living prairie.

The book profiles the projects and people that defined landscape architecture, illuminating the motivations and aspirations that drove landscape architects and explaining the intellectual climate in which they worked. Williams casts a wide net and examines the varied traditions and impacts of Canada’s first peoples, its early colonists, later immigrant communities, the remarkable landscape innovations of nineteenth-century industrial cities as well as agricultural landscapes and the protected natural environments of national parks. To remedy this, the museum set out to renovate the plaza and bring to life the original concept, this time with real, living plants to recreate the Canadian prairie. The urban landscape also acts as a micro-climate, increases biodiversity, lessens heat island effect, and improves local air quality.
He also shows how stimulating new ideas from recent decades have expanded landscape architecture and opened the door to projects that embody a distinctive Canadian approach, reflecting the social and natural diversity of contemporary society and its responses to rapid change.Thoroughly researched, practically oriented, and grounded in the country's many regions, Landscape Architecture in Canada is a richly illustrated and affecting narrative of the ways in which we have shaped our environment and an inimitable lens through which to view the story of Canada. The final result completes the original design and evokes this sweeping expanse in the Canadian landscape.

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