2024 CSLA President-Elect Message: Matthew Mills

matt millsI am sincerely honoured to be considered for the role of President-Elect of the CSLA. 

The decision to accept this nomination was one that I did not take lightly and when considering it, I could not help but to look back on the somewhat circuitous journey that led me here.

I came into this profession accidentally. A native Newfoundlander, my journey began as a Technologist at a local firm in St. John’s. Frankly, I had no idea what landscape architecture was at the time, but under the mentorship and guidance of colleagues at that firm, I grew to love it. In 2007, I applied and was accepted to the University of Guelph’s Master of Landscape Architecture program. My time at Guelph was incredible. As I’m sure that many of you can appreciate and perhaps have experienced yourselves, it was fulfilling to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who were just as passionate about landscape as I was. It only solidified my commitment to the profession.

Upon graduation from Guelph, my wife and I headed to our nation’s capital where we lived and worked for several years before, as many Newfoundlanders do, feeling the urge to come home to our “rock.”

We made the move in 2012 and remain here today. Since then, I have worked hard to be an advocate for our profession in Atlantic Canada. I’ve been involved with the Atlantic Provinces Association of Landscape Architects (APALA) since 2016, serving a 7-year term on the Board which included two years as President. I was responsible for establishing an ongoing partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Architects Association on a successful Lecture Series, which has welcomed landscape architects from all over North America and has been instrumental in increasing awareness of the profession. I also played a key role in advancing several important APALA Board initiatives including introducing the Landscape Architecture Registration Exam (LARE) path to membership, forming the Communications Committee, and launching the APALA Awards of Excellence program. My term on the APALA Board also included two years of service on the CSLA’s Board of Directors which, in hindsight, only whet my appetite to serve at the national level.   

Serving the profession at the national level presents an opportunity to affect change. The societal challenges that we face are unprecedented in our lifetimes and significant. The CSLA’s Strategic Plan highlights but a few: climate change, biodiversity loss, urbanization, health and wellbeing, and equity. Tackling these (and other) complex challenges is no small feat. But I truly believe that our collaborative nature, diverse skillset and expertise, commitment to stewardship and the environment, and our remarkable innovation positions us, as landscape architects, to lead the way. As the CSLA’s Strategic Plan states, “This is the time for Landscape Architecture.” 

If elected, the board’s priorities during my term would include supporting our component associations, becoming carbon neutral, enhancing partnerships with our schools and students, operationalizing the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, enhancing reconciliation goals, and continued engagement with government. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the profession and to work with the board and its incredible staff to advance these strategic priorities. I will, as always, remain an unapologetic advocate for our profession and the incredible work that we collectively do. And, of course, I’ll strive to do it all with just a touch of dry East Coast humour. 

Thank you for considering me for this opportunity.

Matthew Mills

CSLA | AAPC 12 Forillon Crescent, Ottawa ON K2M 2W5