2022 OPA Spring Green Sward

We hope you enjoy this issue of the Green Sward!! It is packed full of parks related information and news just for you.

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Spring 2022

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The Green Sward - Spring 2022

Green Sward the The word “sward” is defined as a grassy surface of land. Green sward is often used in other English-speaking countries as an alternate term for an open grassy area.

Board of Directors

Spring 2022


PRESIDENT, KARA BUNN City of Hamilton E: kara.bunn@hamilton.ca

Executive Director Paul Ronan

Message From Our President

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Musings Spring 2022

OPA Members can Promote OPAF Awards to Students From the desk of the Office Manager More Than Just the Falls to See at Niagara Parks


Office Manager / Magazine Editor Social Media, Membership & Special

PRESIDENT-ELECT, DARRYL GAIRNS Town of Oakville E: darryl.gairns@oakville.ca VICE PRESIDENT, DAVIDWARDEN Town of Lincoln E: dwarden@lincoln.ca PAST PRESIDENT, WAYNE GOULD City of Vaughan E: wayne.gould@vaughan.ca TREASURER, GENE MATTHEWS City of Guelph E: gene.matthews@guelph.ca DIRECTOR, ADRIENNE JEFFERSON City of St. Thomas E: ajefferson@stthomas.ca DIRECTOR, CHRIS KERN City of Woodstock E: ckern@cityofwoodstock.ca DIRECTOR, DUSTIN MILBURN City of London E: dmilburn@london.ca DIRECTOR, JEFF SILCOX-CHILDS City of Waterloo E: jeff.silcox-childs@waterloo.ca DIRECTOR, MATT MINTZ City of Richmond Hill E: matt.mintz@richmondhill.ca DIRECTOR, MIKE MURPHY City of Windsor E: mimurphy@citywindsor.ca DIRECTOR, NETAMI STUART Waterfront Toronto E: nstuart@waterfrontoronto.ca DIRECTOR, SHANE TAYLOR City of Cambridge E: taylors@cambridge.ca


Events Coordinator Leesa Woodhouse Training Coordinator Jonathon MacAlpine

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From the Parks Bench Chicken Taco Salad

Art Direction Kerfont Designs

Members Page

To Our Green Sward Readers

OPA Foundation News

Playgound Practioner Program New Report Shows Access to Large Parks is Not Equal Mental Resilience and the

The Ontario Parks Association is committed to educating parks professionals and enabling them to meet or exceed industry standards while actively advocating for the protection and enhancement of parks and open spaces. Our motto “Protecting Tomorrow Today”® is a commitment to civic beautification and the advancement, protection and conservation of parks, open space and the environment in the Province of Ontario.


Integral View


Turf Care

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Hy-Grade Precast Concrete Dave Gower Memorial Golf

Cover photo courtesy of Niagara Parks

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Email: opa@ontarioparksassociation.ca Web: ontarioparksassociation.ca

Submissions deadline for Summer 2022: May 27, 2022

Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of OPA. Charitable No.: 12725 7509 RR0001 Publication Mail Agreement #41066026

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Ontario Parks Association

Message From Our President

As we all dig out from the snow and start to make plans for the spring, I am reminded of the vast number of assets and services that parks provide. If we asked our friends or family what they think we do they would probably instantly respond with cutting grass, removing garbage, planting trees and snow removal. We all know we do so much more than that and in all that we do, we need to consider what we can do to improve the quality of life for the people, plants and animals that depend on our parks. From passive spaces to active spaces and programmed and manicured parks to natural parkland, all need to be supported and have unique maintenance requirements. As budgets get tighter and demands on us are heightened, we need to find ways to ensure we continue to provide for all these needs. The OPA is aware of the challenges that parks professionals are faced with and we are here to help advocate for you and to bring awareness to the positive impacts that parks can have on climate change, biodiversity and health and wellness. Parks are essential green infrastructure and require investment the same way that we invest in roads and water infrastructure. If we protect our green spaces now and make plans that will have a positive impact, we are collectively working towards the OPA mandate, Protecting Tomorrow Today® . In the spirit of moving forward and building our future I’d like to welcome and introduce our new office Manager Leesa Woodhouse. Leesa started with us in November and comes to us with 20 years of combined private and public sector experience including in the fields of: parks and recreation, agricultural fruit orchard management, special events, air transportation and more. She has been a wonderful addition to the team and we are all excited to work with her.

The OPA is considering another exciting move forward; currently activities are being undertaken to explore the value and feasibility of greater integration of OPA

services and programs with the Ontario Trails Council (OTC). This exploration and feasibility assessment is being undertaken by a joint OTC and OPA Amalgamation Feasibility Committee (the Committee). Parks and trails have a natural symbiotic connection and they realize mutual public and social objectives. Similarly, OTC and OPA share mutual goals and each organization has unique and varied strengths that we believe could be stronger together. OPA is embarking on this exploratory exercise with OTC for the following reasons: • Funders are increasingly requesting that charities and nonprofits and charities work together to avoid duplication, increase efficiency and improve service delivery; • The ability to share and pool resources, consolidate duplicate governance structures and combine political will and strategic thinking to effect changes in the parks and trails sector;

• The opportunity to offer broader and better services together;

• To alleviate the pressure on staff and core volunteers by pooling human resources and capacity; and • It is a natural progression of a successful long-time partnership between OTC and OPA.


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Meassage From Our President ( Continued from page 4)

• Having one strong voice for all aspects of Parks and Trails will be welcomed by all our internal and external stakeholders including our Provincial, Federal and Municipal governments.

We will be sharing details of this exploration with you as we move through the process ensuring that our actions will be guided by the collective OPA and OTC membership voices. I hope you are all as excited as we are about these changes and we look forward to being able to support you all as you address current challenges and future planning. As always please feel free to reach out and let us know how we can support you, our members as we educate, advocate and grow together.

Best wishes,

Kara Bunn OPA Board President, and Manager, Parks and Cemeteries City of Hamilton

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Ontario Parks Association

Musings Spring 2022

“Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them but you know they are there”. Christy Evans

Life is not fair. This was never more evident than in the last year of Vic Hergott’s life. However he steadfastly refused to be a victim of his circumstances and lived his days to the fullest.

commodity in his opinion. Vic was noted to be “kind, sincere and dedicated”, by those who knew him. A proud family man, he nurtured and was loved dearly by his families and five grandchildren. A staunch supporter of the Broad street bullies for many years. A man of two faiths who went to mass regularly on Saturdays and then participated with Kathy and their children on Sundays at their Presbyterian services. Vic was passionate about his work and made a difference in this world while leaving an admirable legacy. Golden BoyTours had a mantra of “years of forgotten memories”. Vic treasured memories and was big on celebrating with his friends, families and particularly grandchildren so pictures, fun and pranks were a big part of his life. Vic’s ‘send off’ was outstanding. He had selected the readings, two poems and four appropriate hymns. The minister, a family friend outlined how passionate Vic was and his values of family, faith, having fun and friends were central in his life. The presentations were excellent as his daughter delivered a masterful eulogy and presenters outlined how he fit into his special friend’s families while a close friend read the “Back Nine”. A solid supporter of the Ontario Parks Association, its’ Foundation and their programs. A tree will be planted in his honour by OPA at Seneca Park, one of Vic’s favourite parks in Branford that is close to his grandchildren. Vic accomplished so much. His appropriate suggestion on all his emails was “say it while you can”. And now we can’t. Life changes quickly sometimes.

Vic was playful, and pulled many pranks on those around him. An excellent planner who organized Golden Boy Tours to numerous football games for over forty years. A traveler, who toured New Zealand, Australia and many US cities. An instructor, who taught many courses for OPA including sports turf, where we spent many long hours and days together. Vic was a good speaker and an excellent MC. He was instrumental in developing the certified playground safety guidelines. He also helped develop the Playground Safety Educational course and taught it as well. He was a proud Past President and Life Member of OPA. This true gentleman was a mentor to many others in numerous situations. One employee said Vic was his boss and a good friend a rare


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Musings for Spring 2022( Continued from page 6)

Will Rogers once said, “we become in part a little bit of everyone we know” and we are better for having known Vic and the world is a better place. RIP Vic, you have earned your rest free from pain. You are missed but will not be forgotten.

patients a yearlong Parks Canada Discovery Pass to Canada’s National Parks System to improve their mental and physical health and counteract the stress and anxiety levels that have recently built up. The program is called “A Prescription for Nature and known as PaRx which encourages patients to go into natural settings for a minimum or two hours per week. Parks Canada has whole heartedly joined the program because being in and around Nature promotes learning, better health and mental well being according to numerous sources. Currently over one thousand Doctors have prescribed this program. In a written statement, BC Minister of the Environment and Climate change Steven Guilbeault described the new collaboration as a “breakthrough” in how practitioners treat mental and physical health. With the impacts of COVID-19 still felt across much of the country, it couldn’t come at a better time, he said. “The destiny of future generations depends on our actions today”, said Sunday Adelaja recently. Does this not support the forward thinking of Jamie Houston when he penned the OPA mandate “Protecting Tomorrow Today”! Past President Jamie was in a highly creative mode when he passed that along to OPA many years ago and everyone picked up on it. That is who OPA is and what we are about. Like the commonly stated premise that “those who plant a tree and will not sit under its’ shade”, are doing it for others. Well OPA has been pointing out for years that our planet needs help and continues to help those who train, educate themselves and do good things for our planet day to day to help future populations. More open spaces ….Toronto is again challenging the value of Golf courses to golfers and looking at the possibility of re-purposing or selling/ incorporating into affordable housing, trails and other public recreation facilities. At a time when open spaces and outdoor activities are highly valued and use going off the charts this opportunity

“It’s time to say: enough. Enough of brutalising biodiversity.

Enough of killing ourselves with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves.” Antonio Guterres at COP 26,The United Nations Climate Change Conference.

“ Too much talk and not enough action between conferences.” 95 year old Queen Elizabeth regarding the COP 26 Conference.

It is surprising and rewarding that we can read so much about the value that nature could play if we enhance and promote it more. Numerous scientific studies outline the many benefits that nature, more trees, more green areas, more community gardens, more forested areas could help us with health, both physical and mental, climate change improvements as well as grow healthy food. Members of OPA have touted a stronger alliance with the health industry for many years. We need a couple of programs and some interaction with the Health Industry. The planet is screaming for help. Governments have to act. Our youth are showing leadership in many countries and they should be heeded as they are our future and have the most to lose by our inaction now.

Recently an announcement that several Canadian provinces have Doctors who are prescribing


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Ontario Parks Association

Musings Spring 2022 ( Continued from page7)

continues to arise. The increasing densities are also putting pressure on the existing open spaces so any standard of acres per thousand is being eroded rapidly. The main issue is the relatively low numbers of golfers using a huge open space that could accommodate many more people through other uses. But this premise also stands for any specific use recreation facility. Vancouver, Brantford and Thunder Bay also have examined the scenario of losing money golf courses [not Vancouvers] going to other uses. The pressure from public courses to sell out to private sources is luring to many councillors as the funds would help offset some troubling debts. But when the land is gone from public hands, the land is gone. The option to sell golf courses seems to be

part of every Parks and Opens Space Master Plan and has been for numerous years. The demand for more and better trails for walking hiking etc. continues to place high values on outdoor activities but also in the minds of many councillors an easy target for some found money or a place for services not easily provided. This action does not compliment the provision of open space for the huge population increases currently seen with so many high rises being constructed. Best advice…”Don’t take things for granted” . An article on top companies suggested that the most common phrase when workers get fired… ”This was a bit unexpected”. People get complacent on teams, at work and with relationships. I liked this because at our age the suggestion was “all this


SAVE THE DATE Dave Gower Memorial Golf Tournament

September 15, 2022 Usshers Creek at Legends of Niagara

more details to follow...

The Green Sward - Spring 2022

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Musings Spring 2022 ( Continued from page 8)

“ We can never pay people enough to care----- to care about products, services or families. True leaders tap into people’s hearts and minds,

could go away at any moment”, so don’t take your work or time with friends for granted. Treasure heartfelt moments and you are being watched so work like you are one strike from being fired and your supervisor is debating on whether you continue in your job.

not merely their hands and wallets”. James M. Kouzes and Barry Posner in the Leadership Challenge “ I wish you enough, be grateful for what you have, and you can be happy if you give more than you take.” Tom Clancy

“Ain’t no use in worrying about things out of your control, because if they are out of your control, ain’t no use worrying….. Ain’t no use worrying about things in your control, because if they are in your control, ain’t no use worrying”. Anonymous

Tom Clancy, NPD, BSc., CMMlll 519-748-0377 candtclancy@rogers.com

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Ontario Parks Association

OPA Members can Promote OPAF Awards to Students


The Ontario Parks Association Foundation is trying to reach more students to make them aware of the funding available for their education through the Scholarships and Bursaries Program. Every year OPA members hire students who may be interested in a future career in parks or environmental services, conservation, landscaping or one of the other related private or public organizations related to our field. If you know of one or more students who you feel could use some financial assistance and would be deserving of an award you can encourage them to submit an application on line through the OPA website www.ontarioparksassociation.ca. If you feel strongly about the student(s) you are recommending you can also provide a reference letter as part of their application process.


Students must be registered in a college or university program at the undergraduate or graduate level in a program related to our field of service as described above. A completed application form must be submitted to the Ontario Parks Association office by the last Friday in May. All of the details related to the application process are available on the OPA website/Foundation.


The OPA Foundation will make available to eligible students a total of three scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each and five bursaries worth $2,000 each in 2022.



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From the desk of the Office Manager

Happy Spring! It has been quite the winter this year. I for one look forward to spring.

My name is Leesa Woodhouse and I am the Office Manager at OPA. I started with OPA back in November of 2021 and it has been great learning about all that OPA offers and how we aim to Protect tomorrow today. I moved around a lot as a kid as my parents were both ministers but when I was in Grade 6, we moved to Niagara Falls which I consider home. In this issue of the Green Sward and in future issues, I would like to highlight one city or town and showcase the parks and trails that they have to offer. For the first issue I have chosen Niagara Falls. I reached out to the Mayor of Niagara Falls, Jim Diodati and asked him to write an article and share some pictures of the many trails and parks that the Falls has to offer. Mayor Diodati felt that the Chair of the Niagara Parks Commission April Jeffs, would be a better choice to share this with us. April has shared some great pictures with us and one of them is my favourite place. Dufferin Islands or as locals call it “the duff”. Going back to the last day of High School, we would find ourselves at “the Duff” celebrating summer with all of the 6 High Schools at that time. There are a few islands that make up this beautiful park and we used to swim there and BBQ and just enjoy our surroundings. Since becoming a parent and now a grandparent, I love to take my family there and check out the trails and have a picnic and enjoy the wonder of this magical place. Be sure to check this wonderful park out next time you visit the Falls. As a previous employee within the Parks and Rec field, I got to see the value of parks and trails in all of our communities. Whether it is playing baseball on a field, soccer, taking the kids to the splash pad on a hot summer day or just going for a walk on a trail and taking in the colours and smells of nature. Parks and Trails are a vital part of our life. I cannot imagine what the last 2 years would have been like if I wasn’t able to go on a hike or take my grandkids to a conservation area. I truly believe that it helps with physical and mental health, just by getting outside and enjoying our beautiful parks and trails.

I look forward to my future at OPA and what we can accomplish to Protect Tomorrow Today © .

Take Care Leesa Woodhouse

Please note that the AGM is Tuesday June 21 st at 9am virtually. Link will be shared closer to the date.

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Ontario Parks Association

More Than Just the Falls to See at Niagara Parks By Niagara Parks Chair, April Jeffs

stewardship team at Niagara Parks has invested their time and resources over the past two-years in extensive shoreline restoration work at the site.

Across from the Horseshoe Falls, and located in the heart of Queen Victoria Park, is an important example of our cultural stewardship work at Niagara Parks is on display at our newest landmark attraction, the Niagara Parks Power Station. This century old engineering marvel has been brought back to life

It’s no surprise that the iconic Horseshoe Falls are the first thing that comes to mind when most people consider visiting Niagara Parks. This spectacular natural wonder has captivated the imagination of travelers from around the world for centuries. As stunning as they are, the Falls themselves represent just one of the many of unique visitor experiences available to enjoy at Niagara Parks. The numerous parks, trails and greenspaces that we maintain along the 56km Niagara River corridor provide the perfect outdoor escape for Ontarians. One example is Dufferin Islands, a picturesque 10-

through adaptive reuse construction, opening to the public for the first-time last summer. A new outdoor plaza was designed and built to welcome guests as they approach the building. Visitors then have the opportunity to explore the cathedral like generator hall which has been restored with new interpretive exhibits that tell the fascinating story of hydroelectric power generation in Ontario. This July we will add another layer to the attraction, inviting our guests to travel 180-feet below the ground floor to explore the tunnel below the station, leading to a spectacular new viewing platform with panoramic views of the Falls! Our visitors to Niagara Parks come for many different reasons and travel different distances to reach us. Our goal as the environmental and cultural stewards of the land is to ensure our park is ready to welcome them with a clean and safe environment where they can enjoy nature and history that is preserved and celebrated with pride. For those who are planning to visit regularly, our annual Niagara Parks Parking Pass

acre park just south of the Horseshoe Falls. Dufferin Islands has been a favourite of local residents for generations and it is easy to see why. Abundant with wildlife and accessible waterside walking trails, it is a great spot to spend leisure time with loved ones and connect with nature. Recognizing the importance of Dufferin Islands both as an ecological habitat and hub for recreation, our environmental


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More Than Just the Falls to see at Niagara Parks ( Continued from page 12)

is a fantastic option. Offering unlimited parking at 17 Niagara Parks lots across the 56-kilometre scenic

Niagara Parkway. The pass is just $40 and is available for purchase at niagaraparks.com/parking.

We look forward to welcoming you back to enjoy Niagara Parks again this season!

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Ontario Parks Association

From the Parks Bench

Creating your Legacy

There is no doubt that we will never get it perfectly right every time and that is okay because it is how we deal with adversity and the unknown that moulds the components of our own

I recently attended the funeral of a very long time OPA and OPA foundation member whose legacy is something that has inspired me. Vic Hergott, taken from us far too soon set an example which all of us can benefit from. As a young man I have no doubt that Vic had many aspirations as he went through his life’s journey. He loved sports, people, nature and became a strong and credible leader.

legacy. Sharing some of Vic’s traits have helped me understand where I’m at now and where I want to go. Some of those traits are as follows. Honesty, Vic would always have a strong opinion about things however they were well thought out and never harsh or demeaning to anyone. It most definitely is a skill to be able to maintain your stance or position and to do it honestly. The biggest thing I learned from Vic was to be honest with myself and not fool myself into thinking things beyond my capacity or ability to accomplish. This is a trait that will serve all of us well to be remembered as an honest person even when the temptation may be to bend the truth to our liking. Integrity was another of Vic’s traits that stood the test of time. He was dependable and went about his business with passion and respect for those he had dealings with. When Vic went into a room he had a presence that was confirmed in the way he spoke and conducted himself. This is a major component of building a solid legacy because without it pretty much everything else doesn’t matter. Humor, Vic used humor to do so many things. To soften a hard nosed crowd or situation or to make a stranger or new acquaintance feel comfortable. I believe he also used it to keep his sanity during very difficult and trying times whether it was dealing with councillors, constituents, staff or member of the public. Although it may not be easy for all of us to find humor in certain situations it certainly is something that is well worth practicing and trying to incorporate into your own communication style. Respect, Vic treated every single person with empathy and respect. He would listen and carefully .../15

As I reflected on Vic’s career as I knew it, and also as I listened to the many stories that were shared about his life, it made me think of my own life and what people may say about me when I pass on to that Park in the sky. The more I thought about it I couldn’t help but feel that there were many lessons that could be taken from Vic’s time here with us. Every one of us has goals and desires of how our lives and careers are going to go, or at least how we wish them to go. Very often things do not go the way we thought they would. It is then that we can truly start to develop what will ultimately be our own story or legacy. Those of us who have chosen a career in Parks know the many positive and satisfying experiences that we are having and will continue to have. We also are well aware of the challenges that we have and are about to face as we build towards our own legacy. The decisions we make at these times are crucial to how our lives will play out and we hope that we will make smart and well thought out decisions.

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From the Parks Bench ( Continued from page 14)

try to understand how best to assist in all situations. It was this respect for others that allowed Vic to become a mentor to so many people. They could see his positive, energetic and inclusive attitude and they wanted to learn how to incorporate that into their own personal tool box. If we don’t respect the people we work with or serve then we are going to have a very difficult time building a positive legacy. Family, Vic loved his family. He loved not just his own family but his work family, his OPA family, his Foundation family and his Golden Boy Tours family. In other words Vic loved people and you could see it at every event he attended and right up to the end he was able to inspire his grandchildren to the point where they witnessed the tremendous legacy that he had built. We all need to remember to balance our busy lives with time spent with family. That can be very hard to do however you will definitely want family to be a big part of your legacy if at all possible. Leadership, I think Vic was born a leader. He was well educated, well spoken and never shy about stepping up and putting himself out there. He took advantage of any window of opportunity that would come his

in so many areas so here is your window of opportunity to make your voice heard and influence positive change in your own situations. Humility, this is the final trait I will share with you and Vic never forgot his roots or who his friends were. Whether it was his attendance every Saturday at church or realizing he needed to change his approach depending on the situation, he was never bigger than the ssue itself. He was gentle and understanding and because of that he was so well liked and loved by so many. So really what I’m trying to say here is that although Vic Hergott was not a big man physically he had the heart and spirit of a lion and he set such an amazing example for us to follow should we choose to. He inspired me and taught me to make sure I knew what I was talking about before I spoke. He made me laugh and he always beat me at golf. I will miss him just as many of you will, however his memory will most definitely live on and the legacy he has left is remarkable. I hope all of us can take a moment and reflect on how we are doing and whether or not our legacy is one that we too can be proud of. In closing I want to thank everyone who reached out to Vic and his family and for your generous donations to the OPA Foundation. That will have Vic smiling for sure. So, until next time, thank you for your continuing efforts in delivering our mandate of PROTECTING TOMORROW TODAY ©.

way and he made the most of it. This is something we all should strive for in some way. Today we seem to be lacking strong leadership

cindy@ure-techsurfaces.com www.ure-techsurfaces.com

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Ontario Parks Association

Chicken Taco Salad

This taco inspired salad is satisfying as an entrée and offers a tangy burst of flavor from lime juice and fresh cilantro.

1-5oz container of baby greens (such as spinach, romaine or spring mix) ½ small red onion, diced 2 english cucumbers, diced (with the skin on) 2 sweet bell peppers, chopped 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced 1 c canned black beans, drained and well rinsed 1 c shredded low fat cheddar cheese 1 Tbsp vegetable oil such as sunflower, safflower or avocado oil Optional: jalapeno slices (canned pickled or fresh) to taste Directions: 1. Toss chicken with 1/2c of the cilantro lime vinaigrette in a bowl, cover, and marinate in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. 2. Whisk remaining 2 Tbsp vinaigrette with sour cream in a small bowl and set aside. 3. Toss together greens, onion, cucumber, peppers, avocado, beans and shredded cheese then divide equally between four bowls. 4. Heat vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and carefully add both chicken with marinade. Sautee until chicken is browned and cooked through, turning pieces often. 5. Remove chicken from heat, allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a cutting board. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces and divide equally between each of the 4 salad portions. 6. Top salad with a drizzle of cilantro lime cream and jalapenos if desired.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

2 c fresh cilantro leaves, tightly packed ½ c vegetable oil such as olive or avocado oil ¼ c fresh lime juice 2 tsp honey or maple syrup 1 clove of fresh garlic or ¼ tsp garlic powder ½ tsp ground coriander Pinch of sea salt Freshly ground black pepper (If you like heat add a few small pieces of canned or fresh jalapenos to make it spicy) Directions: 1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. 2. Store in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Chicken Taco Salad

Tip: You can also change up the flavor by adding a dollop of your favorite salsa to this salad.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs 2/3 c Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (divided into 1/2 c + 2 tbsp) ¼ c 5% light sour cream or low fat plain Greek yogurt


Renee Bernardi-Ronan, RD OPA Consulting Dietitian

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Members Page Welcome New Members

Town of Lincoln Mack Pollard Cedar Signs Inc. John Rivers

Jeannie Maidens Town of Cobourg Chris Allin Jesse Wilkinson Town of Innisfil Nicole Bowman Sierra Sims

Homewood Health Centre

Municipality of Kincardine Jayne Jagelewski Christina McLean

Norfolk County Adam Kannawin Adrienne MacDonald

City of Oshawa Shane Sleep

Township of Uxbridge Courtney Clarke

Township of Wellesley Derek Switzer

Municipality of Middlesex Russell Kelly

City of Brantford Rick Cox

Town of Plympton-Wyoming John Veniot

Hybrid Landscape Management Megan Kraly

Town of Orangeville Jade Crown Darryl Lum Ryan Lundy

City of Thorold Scott Walton

Township of Oro-Medonte Dan Melo Municipality of Bluewater Maggie Off

Town of Pelham Amanda Deschenes

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To Our Green Sward Readers I would like to take some time to highlight some of our upcoming courses, both currently planned and in development! As Ontario begins to open back up and COVID is less of an immediate concern, OPA hopes to meet the training needs of our community through reintroducing in-person training on a wider scale. The following courses have currently been scheduled for Spring 2022, with more to come! Should any of our courses interest you for this Spring, please reach out to me at training@ ontarioparksassociation.ca and I will be happy to assist you in signing up for or hosting a session! Please also be sure to regularly check our calendar of events, as new courses will continue to be introduced there. Spring 2022 Upcoming Courses:

Centre serving the Orangeville and surrounding area for over 21 years. Donna who loves to share her knowledge has also been teaching Botany and Soil Science at Humber and Mohawk College, University of Guelph, and the Vanier Correctional Institute. This program will be a 3-level program that aims to take those with varied levels of (minimal) experience in the world of horticulture and prepare them with the knowledge needed to succeed in a horticulturalist position, and eventually manage horticulture operations. Each level will include new information and go more in-depth on introduced topics, and eventually shift its focus in Level 3 towards information relevant to the management of horticulture operations. Once successfully completed participants will be issued an OPA Municipal Horticulture Practitioners Certificate which will be well recognized in the Municipal Sector. Topics covered will include the following: • Workplace Hazards & Relevant Legislation • Tools & Small Engines • Plant Identification • Plant Health Care & Soil Science • Bed Preparation & Turf Care • Bed Design • Greenhouse Management • And more! We look forward to sharing this program with you soon and can’t wait to let Donna share her skills with you as you advance your career! All the best from OPA’s training department,

Parks Operation & Maintenance Smithville, ON – March 22 & 24, 2022 *1 Spot Remaining*

Trails Specialist Workshop Woodstock, ON – April 4 & 5, 2022

Registered Playground Practitioner Program Middlesex Centre, ON – May 2 – 6, 2022

Practical Ball Field Clinic Winchester, ON – May 25, 2022

Spray Pad Practitioner Program Chatham, ON – June 7 & 8, 2022

Registered Playground Practitioner Program Hanover, ON – June 20 – 24, 2022

Spray Pad Practitioner Program Brantford, ON – June 23 & 24, 2022

Coming Soon: OPA is very close to launching (working hard to introduce) our upcoming Parks Horticulture Municipal Practitioner program. This program is being developed in partnership with Donna Zarudny, our latest addition to our great stable of professional OPA instructors. Donna brings over 35 years of Horticulture experience to the table as we launch our newest Parks Horticulture Municipal Practitioner course. Donna attained her master’s degree in landscape architecture, Master Planning and Heritage studies and then honed her skills as a gardener at City of Brampton. Donna also Owned Dufferin Garden

Jonathon MacAlpine Training Coordinator for OPA training@ontarioparksassociation.ca

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Ontario Parks Association

OPA Foundation News


Did you know that the Ontario Parks Association Foundation was founded in 1986? Or that the OPAF began making student awards in 1990, and since that time we have made 170 student awards with a total value of over $300,000? Pretty impressive! HOW CAN YOU HELP? The Ontario Parks Association Foundation is trying to reach more students to make them aware of the funding available for their education through the Scholarships and Bursaries Program. Every year OPA members hire students who may be interested in a future career in parks or environmental services, conservation, landscaping or one of the other related private or public organizations related to our field. If you know of one or more students who you feel could use some financial assistance and would be deserving of an award you can encourage them to submit an application on line through the OPA website www.ontarioparksassociation. ca. If you feel strongly about the student(s) you are recommending you can also provide a reference letter as part of their application process. WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR STUDENTS TO APPLY? Students must be registered in a college or university program at the undergraduate or graduate level in a program related to our field of service as described above.

Like so many others across the OPA membership, the Foundation board members were saddened to hear of the sudden passing of our long-time Chair, Vic Hergott. Vic led our little group for countless years and was the driving force behind the annual Dave Gower golf tournament. On behalf of all board members, we offer our sincerest condolences to Nathan, Melissa and the rest of the Vic’s family. We also want to thank all those who made a donation on Vic’s behalf; to date, the Foundation has received over $2,000 in his memory.


The Green Sward - Spring 2022

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OPA Foundation News (continued from page 20)

A completed application form must be submitted to the OPA office by the last Friday, May 27, 2022. All of the details related to the application process are available on the OPA website/Foundation. WHAT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE? The OPA Foundation will make available to eligible students a total of three scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each and five bursaries worth $2,000 each in 2022. ARE YOU AN OPA ASSOCIATE MEMBER? Are you looking for a new way to support the Foundation and also help young students entering

the profession? How about committing to a 3-year sponsorship of one of our many bursaries or scholarships? That’s just a $1,000 or $2,000 commitment each year. If you’re interested, please contact any one of our Board members. 2022 DAVE GOWER GOLF TOURNAMENT At the time of submitting this article, the OPA Foundation is still trying to confirm a date and location for this year’s event. However, if you are one of our many municipal partners and are interested in co-hosting the event with us, please reach out to one of our Board members.


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Ontario Parks Association

Playground Practioner Program

When we started the course development back in 2020, we took a holistic approach to managing playgrounds. A voluntary advisory body was formed from some key OPA members and stakeholders. An expert in the development of training courses (Robyn Peterson) was contracted for advice and guidance. The goal was to create an interactive adult training course that would empower and help parks employees and managers in the design and management of their playspaces. The course was originally designed as three 2-day modules titled Playspace Strategies, Playspace Evaluation, and Playspace Management. These three modules were eventually combined into the week-long Registered Playground Practitioner Program. From the start we intended to use subject experts to enhance the delivery of the program. People who could speak from experience rather than merely read from a book. The essence of Playspace Strategies is to try and look at why things are the way they are in play- grounds. To that end we always used Landscape Architects and other experts such as industrial

designers to share with the students how designers approach the issues associated with the layout and design of playgrounds and parks. Subjects such as play value, user needs, site needs, etc. are included. The goal is to share with students the thinking that went into the design of a playspace and that de- signs may be the way they are for very good rea- sons. Playspace Evaluation focuses on tools and criteria to use in evaluating a playspace. This involves applicable standards such as CSA and Annex H as well as known best practices for inspection and maintenance. We used experienced inspectors and installers to present this material. It also always includes a site visit to a nearby playground for hands on demonstration and practice in applying evaluation criteria. The Playspace Management portion introduces necessary tools for managing playground inventories. This includes risk management, legal issues and the importance of record keeping. We always used lawyers, professional risk managers, and municipal managers with years of experience in record keeping to deliver this module. Topics covered include best practices in avoiding bad


The Green Sward - Spring 2022

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OPA Foundation News ( continued from page 22 )

things happening, what happens when bad things happen, what is involved in a lawsuit, the legal responsibilities of owner/operators and employees, and the importance of good record keeping. Applying all this information in the field is not an exercise in absolute right and wrongs but more of an exercise in applied common sense and judgment. To this end, the course tries to expose the students to all the aspects of playgrounds from concept design right through to life cycle renewal.

Very few of them will become designers, probably none will become lawyers but hopefully they get enough out of the course to have the tools and sense of context to manage and maintain their playspaces in a thoughtful way. One of the best complements we ever received was from a municipal parks manager who said that his employees were thinking a lot more when working in the parks after taking the Registered Playground Practitioner course.

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Ontario Parks Association

New Report Shows Access to Large Parks is Not Equal By Jennifer Court and Thomas Bowers

Large parks have a large impact, providing magnified benefits to both residents and the ecosystem, but access to large parks is not equal for residents across the Golden Horseshoe. This is one of the key findings from the upcoming report Improving Access to Large Parks in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe: Policy, Planning, and Funding Strategies by the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition and the Greenbelt Foundation, with support from Re: Public Urbanism, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and the Ontario Parks Association. This report is a follow-up to the State of Large Parks in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, published in 2019. That report was the first-ever regional scale analysis of park supply in the Golden Horseshoe and was intended to inform our understanding of what large parks we have, their capacity, and how this supply will evolve with population projections identified in the growth plan. We found that there is a shortage of large park supply across the region, and that this limited supply will not keep up with population growth if governments do not prioritise large park planning. There is a growing gap in government capacity for planning, funding, establishing, and managing large parks for public recreation and nature appreciation, and there is a need for further research on policy and funding solutions to address this gap. These findings were the inspiration for our new research. In this new report we re-examine the park supply in the Golden Horseshoe from an accessibility and equity perspective, explore the barriers

to establishing and managing additional large parks (including for underserved populations), and identify four key strategies to establishing and managing additional large parks for park planners, funders, and policy makers. Our findings reinforce the critical role of large natural parks, which has grown even more evident in the COVID-19 pandemic with the vast increase in park usage, and the challenges of establishing them in an environment of increasing land values, development, and land scarcity. Parks of all sizes contribute to human health and well-being; however, there are unique and magnified benefits associated with large parks. Large parks are more likely to be used for physical activity, offer better wilderness experiences and are more likely to be used as a natural classroom; they also offer more ecosystem services, help foster biodiversity, and they contribute more to climate change mitigation. In undertaking the accessibility analysis, we made a few key changes to our definition of “large parks” and our approach: we lowered the threshold for large parks from 50 hectares to 20 hectares, to align more closely to municipal definitions, and introduced a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)* to ensure that the focus remained on more natural parks with a significant amount of vegetation. We also expanded our definition of “parks” to include other greenspaces that the public can use for recreation and nature appreciation, such as valley lands and natural corridors, and looked at linear parks and urban river valleys for


The Green Sward - Spring 2022

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New Report Shows Access to Large Parks is Not Equal ( continued from page 24 )

connectivity and accessibility to the broader park network. Finally, we also combined adjacent parks that were interrupted by gaps of 20 metres or less to account for parks split by road and infrastructure networks, but otherwise functioning as contiguous greenspace. The intent was to recognize that the Golden Horseshoe is a substantially urbanized region where it is reasonable to expect that a large park user may encounter some interruptions and infrastructure while visiting a large park. In a densely populated areas like the Golden Horseshoe, large parks are particularly valuable, as they provide an opportunity for people to escape into nature. However, as the region is expected to reach a population of 15 million by the year 2051, parkland must also continue to grow to keep pace with the needs of residents. To maintain the current rate of large parkland for residents, almost 32,000 hectares of additional parkland must be created over the next 30 years. This is a rate of 1,400 hectares per year. Another key finding is that access to large parks within this region is not equal. Our research found that 30 per cent of Visible Minority and Low-Income neighbourhoods have low access to large parkland, as well as over 47,000 children. Additionally, 55 per cent of neighbourhoods with high ratios of Indigenous populations have low access to large parkland. This is problematic, given that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report acknowledged that indigenous health and well- being are seen as inextricably linked with the land. Some jurisdictions across the Golden Horseshoe have been working to prioritize Indigenous voices and partnerships. An example cited in the report is Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), which has made commitments in their strategic plan to explore Indigenous co-management of lands. What’s more, large parks are not easy to get to for many residents of the Golden Horseshoe. Research shows that being out in nature reduces stress, improves well-being, and contributes to physical

health. However, 1.7 million (or 1 in 5) people in the GH have no access to large parks within a 15-minute walk, 400,000 people have no access to large parks within 15 minutes of cycling, and 235,000 people have no access to large parks within 30 minutes of transit. Further details about current and planned parks, areas of low accessibility, and details about accessibility for underserved populations, as well as accompanying maps are included in the full report. In order to address these supply challenges in both park supply and equitable access, we engaged stakeholders from across the region to understand barriers to the creation and operation of large parks, and then to develop strategies to help overcome these barriers. Through this process, we identified the following strategies:

1) Establish a regional strategy and strengthen intergovernmental coordination. 2) Employ innovative strategies and

partnerships to increase the size and quality of the large park network. 3) Improve effective funding mechanisms for large parks. 4) Centre equity and accessibility in park planning. After identifying these strategies, we sought to find models or case studies from jurisdictions in Canada and globally that could be replicated or borrowed from in the Golden Horseshoe area. The report includes at least one model or case study that speaks to each strategy, including: Ontario’s Greenbelt; Melbourne Australia’s suburban parks strategy; the green infrastructure network in Surrey, BC; the Anishnaabek Land Trust; and models of indigenous co-governance from Auckland, Aotearoa-New Zealand.

As an overarching recommendation, park planners, funders, and policy makers should approach all


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Ontario Parks Association

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