Cultural Landscape Foundation in Toronto, Ontario

Published On: 22 May 2015


With a theme entitled Second Wave of Modernism lll: Leading with Landscape, this conference hosted by The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) addressed the subject of planning for city identity at the eclipse of ‘historical’ and ‘modern’. Asking the following questions: “what does it mean for a 21st-century city to be historic and modern at the same time?”, and “what new models for public/private financing and management are emerging?”, the conference was focused on landscape architecture’s role in Toronto’s growth and evolution as a world city.

Speakers from Canada, Netherlands and the United States, collectively brought a global perspective to this discussion, tackling both the opportunities and problems faced when dealing with the co-mingled complex of human and natural systems that exist within the urban environment. Exploring the breadth of landscape heritage on some of the very unique city planning that has been forged through a Canadian culture of modesty, it was suggested that understanding where we have come from greatly informs how we should be designing in the future.

Discussions concluded with the examination of several current waterfront projects that have helped establish the City’s reputation as a leader in landscape architecture. Additionally we looked at precedents of innovation and failure on how existing parks and open spaces are being adapted to accommodate contemporary and future needs and expectations, and how innovative landscape planning and design techniques developed in Toronto can be applied to other cities.

The common theme that recurred throughout the days’ events reinforced the notion of stewardship. From all parties, including city officials, residents, commercial enterprises and non-profits our City its neighbourhoods and our communities are shaped by their natural, cultural, scenic and ecological assets, and it is our collective responsibility to maintain and enhance them.