President's Award

The CSLA President's Award is the honour the President of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects may bestow upon a CSLA member for outstanding contribution to the profession.  


James Thomas to Receive the 2019 CSLA President's Award

April 29th, 2019 - At the CSLA Awards Gala on May 7th, at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, James (Jim) Thomas will receive the CSLA President's Award from CSLA President Nastaran Moradinejad. According to Ms. Moradinejad:

Jim Thomas' devotion to the profession is unparalleled. He is a consummate professional, an award-winning landscape architect, and, most importantly for the members of CSLA, shows leadership by ensuring we explore issues which are closely linked to landscape architecture, such as climate change and reconciliation. 

Jim holds degrees in planning (Waterloo, 1977) and landscape architecture (Manitoba, 1983). He was accepted as a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners in 1985 and as a member of MALA and CSLA in 1990. He was inducted to the CSLA College of Fellows in 2013.

Jim is a former Principal, now Senior Advisor with HTFC Planning & Design based in Winnipeg. He has been leading regional, community and environmental planning projects for more than 35 years. Over this period, Jim has worked closely with Indigenous clients, earning long-term respect and trust, to negotiate and implement land claim agreements, and plan sustainable communities.

Jim is helping the CSLA to respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission through his involvement with the CSLA’s Reconciliation Advisory Committee and the former Indigenous Issues Task Force. As a member of the CSLA’s Committee on Climate Adaptation Jim is helping to develop tools for landscape architects to respond and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Jim supports students and graduates in landscape architecture, as an advisor, mentor and teacher. For many years, he has volunteered his time to teach site analysis and site planning to landscape architecture students at the University of Manitoba. He established a fellowship in landscape planning that is awarded annually to a student in the University of Manitoba Master of Landscape Architecture program.


Chris Grosset (2018)

Chris Grosset.jpgChris Grosset is a partner at NVision InSight Group, an Indigenous Consulting firm based in Iqaluit and Ottawa that provides services to empower Inuit, First Nation and Métis communities and organizations.  Chris has worked across northern Canada for almost two decades.  His projects seek the respectful integration of landscape architecture with local Indigenous principles in community development, land use, and protected or sacred areas. He is also a part-time instructor of community planning at Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa, a post-secondary program providing Inuit youth with academic learning in their cultural context. Chris is a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, the President of the Nunavut Association of Landscape Architects, and a member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals.  He served on the CSLA Board of Directors for seven years; Chaired the 2011 CSLA Congress in Iqaluit Nunavut; and is currently on the Nomination Jury for the College of Fellows.  Since 2016, he has been the Chair of the CSLA Indigenous Issues Task Force, mandated “to guide the CSLA in improving awareness and capacity for supporting Canada’s First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples”.  Chris believes that landscape architecture, and every landscape architect, can contribute to Reconciliation with Indigenous people.


Virginia Burt (2017)

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2016 - Colleen Mercer Clarke

Colleen is an interdisciplinary scientist specializing in advancing community resilience to a changing climate.  With over 40 years experience in the consulting and research sectors in Canada, and internationally, Colleen’s career has focused on the sustainable development of resources and communities through stewardship and ecosystem-based approaches to the conservation of natural and cultural resources.  Trained first as an aquatic/marine ecologist and landscape architect, her portfolio of projects ranged in scale from international and national coastal management initiatives, environmental audit and impact assessment, through watershed, regional and municipal planning initiatives, detailed site design and environmental management. Colleen now works as a member of national and international community-university alliances and other interdisciplinary teams focussed on aiding adaptation to a changing climate in communities in Canada and the Caribbean, and on the effective transfer of knowledge from science to decision-making.  In 2012 she was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on coastal assessment at the Climate Change Directorate of Natural Resources Canada, and served as one of the primary authors for the 2016 science-based assessment of adaptation along Canada’s marine coasts.  Colleen is a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, a Past President and member of the Board of the CSLA, and a Past President of the Atlantic Provinces Association of Landscape Architects.  She has recently been accepted as a Member for the Commission on Ecosystem Management of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  Currently, Colleen chairs both the CSLA’s Committee on Climate Adaptation and the Working Group on Climate Change of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA).  

Robert Norman and Colleen Mercer Clarke (Photo: J. Landry)


2015 - Alexander Topps

Alexander Topps is a fellow of the CSLA and an Emeritus Member of the OALA. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a finance degree in 1970 and after a brief business career returned to enroll in the Landscape Architecture program. After graduating with a BLA in 1974, and being awarded the CSLA Certificate of Merit, he joined the emerging practice of Frank Milus and Associates as the firm's third full-time employee. The business grew rapidly and by 1976 Alexander became a founding partner of the firm known today as the MBTW Group — an award-winning multi-disciplinary Landscape Architecture and Urban Design practice located in Toronto. Alexander’s early career focused on environmental planning but rapidly evolved to become more design-focussed, building an award-winning portfolio of built works in the fields of open space, community planning, and urban design. In the late 1970’s Alexander was one of the first Landscape Architects to establish a practice as an expert witness. His successful testimony across a broad spectrum of issues, including urban design, recreation planning, environmental planning, site plan suitability, and construction litigation helped build the credibility of the profession before a variety of regulatory tribunals and civil courts. Throughout his career Alexander has been an active OALA volunteer, serving on the Examining Board in the early 1990's, and later as a member of the Budget and Disciplinary Committees. In 2002, he was selected to represent the Association as a member of a multi-industry delegation that achieved important amendments to the provincial Limitation of Liability Act. Throughout the 2007 – 2008 period, he served on the Faculty Council of the Daniels School of Design. As an early volunteer on the OALA’s Practice Act committee, he initiated the first economic impact analysis of the landscape architecture profession in Ontario. Since retiring from active practice in 2009, Alexander has devoted much of his volunteer activity to the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Council, acting as Chair from 2013 – 2016, during which time he led an important initiative to revitalize the Council and align the CSLA and ASLA accreditation standards.

Photo: Robert Norman, Alex Topps and Carol Craig (Photo: J. Landry)


2014 - Gordon Smith


Gordon Smith receiving the President's Award from Peter Briggs (Photo: J. Landry)


2013 - Linda A. Irvine


Linda Irvine receiving the President's Award from Claude Potvin (Photo: J. Landry)


2012 - Arnis Budrevics


Claude Potvin, Arnis Budrevics and Liane McKenna (Photo: J. Landry)


2011 - Sara Jane Greutzner, Peter Klynstra


2010 - Jerry W. Belan, Margery Winkler


2009 - Gérald Lajeunesse, Ronald Middleton


2008 - Cathy Sears, Liane McKenna, Wendy Graham, Judy Lord

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