Awards of Excellence Jury

Claude Potvin, AAPQ, FCSLA

claudeClaude graduated from the Université de Montréal in landscape architecture (1979). He worked briefly in the private sector and with Parks Canada however most of his career was with the National Capital Commission (NCC) in Ottawa – he occupied the position of Chief of the Landscape Architecture and Industrial Design group before officially retiring from the public service in 2015. Over the course of his career, he was responsible for a wide range of landscape architectural projects and studies in national parks, historic sites and within NCC portfolios such as the official residences, urban parks and transportation, as well as Gatineau Park and the Greenbelt. He was a member of the City of Gatineau’s Urban Planning Advisory Committee for over ten years. He is a past board member of AAPQ and CSLA, of which he was President in 2013. Claude was a jury member for various editions of the CSLA Awards of Excellence and for the National Urban Design Awards. He helped organize two CSLA congresses abroad (Cuba and Mexico) and participated in two Landscape Architecture Accreditation Council reviews. He periodically contributes to CSLA and affiliated associations while devoting time to community endeavours and to his painting. 

ElaineElaine vanTol Smit, SALA, CSLA

Elaine vanTol Smit SALA. BLA University of Guelph (2007), MES University of Waterloo (2012). Municipal and private practice, avid volunteer, currently on parental leave experiencing landscapes through the eyes of three rugrats. 



Travis Martin, BCSLA, CSLA

travisTravis Martin holds duo degrees with a Bachelor of Urban Planning and Master of Landscape Architecture. He works as a landscape architect and is an associate with Van der Zalm + associates (VDZ+A) in Vancouver, BC. Since childhood, Travis has been fascinated by the intersection between nature, public spaces, and architecture. He values efficiently planned communities, safe pedal-powered transportation for all, and dynamic and fun spaces. His design experience spans from large-scale skatepark master plans, and active transportation strategies, to tangible parks, playgrounds, and parkour across Canada, US, and UK.

Fun fact, Travis designed the first parklet installed in Vancouver, with hopes of shaping permanent change to the urban landscape. More recently, he and his team were honoured in 2023 with the CSLA Award of Excellence for the Vancouver CitySkate Strategy. As its project manager, he is humbled by the breadth and depth of insights and understanding shared by stakeholders from all walks of life and hopes the results will provide more vibrant and cohabitated city spaces.

Sung Ae Sim, OALA, CSLA

sungSung Ae Sim, OALA, CSLA, BCSLA (inactive), P.E. (as a landscape architect in Korea), ISA, is a seasoned landscape architect, educator and arborist. She originally practiced as a registered landscape architect in BC after getting her Master's Degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia. She accumulated a diverse portfolio from working in North America and Northeast Asia for almost 20 years through multi-disciplinary and cross-regional environments in private and public sectors. She was an educator for many years, teaching landscape architectural studios and courses as an adjunct professor and an instructor/guest lecturer in Korea as well as Canada. She currently works at the City of Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division focusing on park (re)developments for the City.

Margot Kopache

margotMargot Kopache is engaged in her final year of the Master of Landscape Architecture program in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph. Her relationship to the land is sculpted by her roots in upstate New York where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Cornell University with a concentration in Biodiversity and Systematics. A decade of diverse experiences in environmental monitoring, public health, education, and sales across the U.S. and Canada profoundly influenced her perception of the damaged relationship between people and the environment and the role of landscape architects to reconcile it.

Guided by design ethos of ‘action plans’ not ‘master plans’, Margot’s approach to landscape architecture centres on equity and resourcefulness. She seeks to reveal and serve the ‘other client’ — human or other-than-human — through the understanding that every design decision is an action that ripples beyond the site boundary. Her current work with non-profit and research initiative, plazaPOPS, solidifies the impact of this approach. As a Research Assistant she works closely with the principal investigator designing and coordinating a multi-method inter-disciplinary research program evaluating the socio-spatial and economic impact of transforming privately-owned parking spaces into public gathering places along Toronto’s suburban main streets. Her thesis research expands on this work and explores how sourcing hyper-local materials and labour impact communities from an environmental and social lens.  With wide interests in the field, she is also investigating how reframing waste landscapes as assets could promote a social practice called ‘commoning’.

Margot was inducted into the Sigma Lambda Alpha Honor Society, and awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. A resident of Calgary on Treaty 7 Territory, and Guelph on Treaty 3 Territory, she contributes to the Alberta Association of Landscape Architects publication committee and is the Board Treasurer of the Guelph Campus Cooperative. As her career progresses, Margot aspires to establish a multi-disciplinary design cooperative that cultivates a network of diverse practitioners who contribute to design activism through evidence-based, applied research.

Alex Sarian, external juror

alexAlex Sarian is the President & CEO of Arts Commons, the largest arts centre in western Canada and the nation's third largest arts facility. Appointed in January 2020, Alex became the youngest CEO to oversee a major performing arts centre in North America, including its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the $660 million Arts Commons Transformation project—the largest cultural infrastructure project in Canadian history, scheduled to break ground in downtown Calgary in 2024.

Prior to his current appointment, he spent 18 years in New York City, the last seven at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where he served as the senior executive responsible for the organization’s social impact portfolio. Alex has worked on cultural projects in 15 countries spanning five continents and has taught at New York University, Pace University, and City College of New York.

He has served on governing boards and special advisory committees for institutions including the Calgary Downtown Association, SXSW, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, and the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize. A proud member of the 2022 class of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40, he received undergraduate and graduate degrees from New York University, is a graduate of the CommunityShift program at Western University's Ivey School of Business, and was an inaugural graduate of the Impact Program for Arts Leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

His debut book, The Audacity of Relevance: Critical Conversations on the Future of Arts & Culture (ECW Press) will be available in bookstores later this fall.

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