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05.03.19 – Richard Strong 1930-2019

The Daniels Faculty was saddened to learn about the death of Richard Strong, who passed away on April 22. A landscape architect and educator, Stong's contributions to the field were profound and far-reaching.

Strong, together with the late Michael Hough, founded the University of Toronto's program in landscape architecture and became its first chair in 1968.

"Dick had a vision to build the Bachelor of Landscape Archiecture program at U of T," said Professor Emeritus John Danahy, who worked with him at the university. "The remarkable faculty he hired were dedicated to building a distinctly Canadian approach to landscape architecture, and the department became internationally recognized as a result."

Strong's contributions to Canada's built environment were vast. After graduating from Harvard with a Master of Landscape Architecture in 1950, he began working in Toronto with John B. Parkin Associates. He launched Sasaki Strong Associates with Hideo Sasaki in 1961, and practiced in Alberta from 1977-1997 with Steven Moorhead before moving back to Ontario. Strong's projects included Nathan Phillips Square, Devonian Square, and a master plan for Queens Park in Toronto, and the La Ronde amusement park and the Ontario Pavilion at Expo67 in Montreal. His firm also designed Canada's Wonderland, Canada's first major theme park, just north of Toronto in Vaughn.

"The impact of his thought on [landscape architecture] is globally recognized," writes the OALA. "He is one of the pioneering landscape architects featured by the Cultural Landscape Foundation and holds numerous awards and honours from the CSLA, ASLA, American Interior Plantscape Association, Ohio State University and Royal Canadian Academy of Arts."

Among Stong's many awards, was the Teaching Award, which he received from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects in 2006.

Image, top: the Ontario Pavillion at Expo67, Wikipedia Commons