George F. Dark Honoured with the 2018 Governor General’s Medal in Landscape Architecture
George F. Dark, OALA, FCSLA, FASLA, was selected as the 2018 recipient of the Governor General’s Medal in Landscape Architecture. The Governor General’s Medal in Landscape Architecture (GGMLA) is the highest honour bestowed on a landscape architect by the CSLA. The medal is intended to honour exceptional landscape architects whose lifetime achievements and contributions to the profession have had a unique and lasting impact on Canadian society. (Photo: Courtesy of McMichael Canadian Gallery)
About George F. Dark, OALA, FCSLA, FASLA
George Dark is an urban designer, landscape architect and member of both the College of Fellows of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and the Council of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects. George has over 40 years of professional practice experience bringing the core thought process of landscape architecture to all his fields of endeavour. George’s work focuses on the quality of urban environments and the coordination of large groups of diverse professionals, policy makers and implementers aimed at guiding projects through complex approval and consultation processes to successful outcomes.
During the past 20 years, George has developed a focus on the strategic design direction of large scale urban regeneration and regional landscape undertakings, putting him at the centre of design decisions for some of the largest urban and rural projects in Canada and abroad. George is very active in the charitable and not-for-profit sectors, having served as Board Chair of the Evergreen Foundation of Canada for over 12 years while creating Brickworks, leading to his appointment as Chairman Emeritus of the organization. He is currently Chairman of the Social Innovation Foundation at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto and was appointed by the Province of Ontario as a Trustee of the McMichael Canadian Collection Gallery. George was the founding Chair of the Academic Advisory Council of the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts.
George has directed numerous master plan projects for communities throughout North America including Toronto, Ottawa, Orillia, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton, Oakville, Charlottetown, Moncton, Markham, Windsor, Providence, Rhode Island, St Paul Minnesota, Youngstown, Ohio and Sarasota County, Florida.
George directed the award-winning University of Toronto Open Space Master Plan. He led the Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy 20/20 and three subsequent district plans based on the strategy; the Escarpment Area District Plan, the Mid-Centretown District Plan and the Scott Street Community Design Plan. These include frameworks for community improvement, targets for site-specific and precinct-wide actions as well as design guidelines to evaluate future developments.
He completed the Bridgepoint Health Neighbourhood Redevelopment Plan and the Master Plan for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, large institutional sites in the center of Toronto, to be redeveloped as complete neighbourhoods while re-integrating their current uses into the existing urban communities. Currently George is working on several large mixed use redevelopments in downtown Toronto, including East Harbour Master Plan (Unilever site), The Well at Front and Spadina, The Galleria Mall redevelopment, Bathurst + Bloor Honest Ed’s redevelopment, and the redevelopment of the Golden Mile Shopping Centre on the new Eglinton LRT line.
George led the Cornell University’s Comprehensive Campus Master Plan, the Public Space Framework for Toronto’s Central Waterfront, a 4-year Comprehensive Master Plan for the University of Ottawa and a master plan for the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus . He led the Central Corridor Development Strategy for a new LRT in St. Paul, Minnesota, including 11 station area plans along the line. Additional transit related work includes LRT station area plans in Calgary, and the Community Building Strategy for the Waterloo Region LRT line. George has directed station area plans for the new LRT in Ottawa, at Tremblay Road and Lees station areas.
George led the USI team in the creation of the Barbados National Physical Development Plan and National Park 17 years ago and was invited back in 2016 to undertake a comprehensive review of these policy directions for consideration by parliament.
George is renowned for his unique style and skill at facilitation and the ability to forge consensus among various stakeholders, political interests and professional disciplines. For example, George led the preparation of the civic vision for Youngstown, Ohio, as part of the first new Comprehensive Plan since 1976 which has been extensively written about as the first “Shrinking City” in the United States.
George has served on the strategic steering committees , the design juries and review panels for some of the most important public projects in Ottawa and Toronto, including the 1812 Fort York National Historic Site, the HtO park in Toronto, Lansdowne Park and Nepean Point Park in Ottawa.
The not-for-profit and charitable sector is an important part of George’s approach to city building. Social Enterprise and Social Innovation are a key part of his approach to making places more diverse, accessible, livable, and economically successful.
- Evergreen Brick Works Evergreen Foundation of Canada: Serving as chairman of the board of directors for over 12 years and currently Chairman Emeritus George oversaw the creation and launch of Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto.
- Willowbank: Following a term on the board of directors George established the Willowbank Academic Advisory Council to assist this very important educational institution continue to excel in the field of restoration arts and the cultural heritage landscape fields.
- Centre for Social Innovation – Social Innovation Foundation: George serves as the founding chair of the board of this important sister organisation at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto.
- McMichael Gallery: Appointed as a trustee by the Province of Ontario in 2017 George chairs the Gallery’s Grounds and Buildings Task Force.
- Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation: George was the founding Chair of the board of the foundation seeking to support and enhance the significant resource of Toronto parks through local action.
- Prime Ministers Row: George is part of a special advisors group to the formation of Prime Ministers Row which will offer a literal and figurative meeting point between those who shaped Canada’s first 150 years and those who will shape the next 150.
- 2016 Governor General’s Medal in Architecture for the Bridgepoint Health Master Plan
- 2016 OPPI Award, Urban/Community Design, University of Ottawa Campus Master Plan
- 2016 CIP Award for Planning Excellence in Urban Design, University of Ottawa Design Guidelines and Precinct Plans
- 2016 CSLA National Award of Excellence for Planning & Analysis, University of Ottawa Campus Master Plan
- 2016 National Urban Design Award of Merit (RAIC, CIP and CSLA), Urban Design Plans, University of Ottawa Campus Master Plan
- 2015 Ottawa Urban Design Award of Merit for Visions and Master Plans University of Ottawa Campus Master Plan
- 2014 CUI Brownie Award, Excellence in Project Development Bridgepoint Health Master Plan
- 2014 CIP Award for Excellence in City & Regional Planning Waterloo Region Central Transit Corridor
- 2014 RAIC National Urban Design Awards Certificate of Merit Waterloo Region Central Transit Corridor
- 2014 Canadian Society of Landscape Architects Regional Honour Award, Downtown Tomorrow: Linking Orillia’s Core to the Water
- 2013 Ontario Professional Planners Institute Award for Planning Excellence, University of Guelph Campus Master Plan
- 2013 CIP Planning Excellence Merit Award Orillia Downtown Tomorrow
- 2011 API Awards of Excellence for Physical Plan and Design Charlottetown Eastern Gateway Waterfront Master Plan
- 2010 OALA Pinnacle Award for Landscape and Architectural Excellence
- 2010 CSLA National Award of Excellence in Planning & Analysis, Ottawa Escarpment District Area Plan
- 2009 American Planning Association, NYU Chapter, Award for Comprehensive Planning, Cornell University Comprehensive Campus Master Plan
- 2009 OPPI/Heart and Stroke Foundation Healthy Communities Award Ottawa Escarpment District Area Plan
- 2009 OPPI Award of Excellence Ottawa Escarpment District Area Plan
- 2009 CIP Award for Planning Excellence in Neighbourhood Planning, Honourable Mention, Bridgepoint Health Master Plan
- 2009 CIP Award for Planning Excellence in Urban Design, Cornell University Comprehensive Campus Master Plan
- 2009 Canadian Society of Landscape Architects Regional Honour Award Cornell University Comprehensive Campus Master Plan
- 2008 Design Exchange Award of Excellence in Urban Design Cornell University Comprehensive Campus Master Plan
- 2008 CIP Award of Excellence for Neighbourhood Planning City of St. Paul Central Corridor Development Strategy
- 2007 APA, Minnesota Chapter, Honor Award City of St. Paul Central Corridor Development Strategy
- 2007 OPPI Award of Excellence, King Edward Precinct, University of Ottawa
- 2007 American Planning Association Public Outreach Award Youngstown Ohio Vision
- 2005 Canadian Society of Landscape Architects National Award of Excellence, Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy 2020
- 2004 American Society of Landscape Architects Award of Excellence for Planning & Analysis, Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy 2020
- 2003 Congress for New Urbanism - Charter Award, Sarasota 2050
- 2001 Canadian Society of Landscape Architects National and Regional Merit Awards
- 2001 City of Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Award of Excellence University of Toronto Open Space Master Plan
- 2001 City of Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Award The Pape Mortimer Neighbourhood
- 2001 Ontario Professional Planners Institute Excellence in Planning Award Vision for the Redevelopment of the Queen Street Site, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
- 1999 ASLA Planning Honor Award, The Barbados National Park Plan, Barbados
- 1999 CIP International Grand Prize for Excellence, Environmental Management and Land Use Planning for Sustainable Development, Barbados
- 1998 OPPI, Central District, Outstanding Planning Award Oakville Uptown Core, Oakville, Ontario
- 1995 Credit Valley Conservation Authority Merit Award Montgomery Village, Orangeville, Ontario