In 2003, John Zvonar stood with Donald W. Graham at the Garden of the Provinces along Confederation Boulevard in Ottawa listening to its birth story. This Modernist masterpiece, symbolizing the constituent parts of Canada, was conceived in 1960 in the early days of Mr. Graham's career, and was executed under the aegis of the National Capital Commission. A fortuitous outcome of the 1950 Greber Plan for the National Capital, it remains one of the few examples of inspired, high quality landscape design from that time.
Its unveiling by Prime Minister Diefenbaker in September 1962 coincided with the Cuban missile crisis, a time of 'stern reality'. Persisting to this day, however, it serves as a reminder to the tenets of the Harvard landscape school not to mention the ongoing relevance to our divisive geopolitical world today. It will soon welcome a new neighbour in the form of the Victims of Communism Memorial which provides a delicious connection back to the period when America and the Soviet Union were posturing, with Castro's Cuba as the foil.
The presentation will speak to the original story of this park, explain its evolution, and anticipate a new addition to the collective 'urban narrative'. Its high potential as a National Historic Site of Canada will underscore its importance within the pantheon of nationally significant sites across the country, while once again reinforcing Mr. Graham's legacy- and the relevance of Landscape Architecture – to Canada.