Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
March 26, 2004
Landscape architect donates drawings, plans to library
A collection of drawings and plans that documents significant heritage landscapes in Canada’s capital has been donated to the University of Guelph by a landscape architecture professor.
Original materials from nearly 200 commissioned works will make up the new Cecelia Paine Collection at Guelph. Paine is one of the few female practitioners in Canada who built her own practice and worked on significant public landscapes.
The documents will become part of the Canadian Centre for Landscape Architecture Archives at U of G, an online collection that includes both early and recent works of Canadian landscape architects. Although the archives include landscape architectural design collections of other practitioners, including materials from Lorrie and Howard Dunington-Grubb, Lois Lister and George Tanaka, this is the first collection donated by a U of G landscape architect.
“These original drawings are important because you want to see how ideas are put down on paper,” said Lorne Bruce, head of the library’s archival and special collections.
He added that Paine’s projects in the Ottawa region, including her work for the National Capital Commission (NCC) on the Ottawa Greenbelt and numerous historical properties, make the collection nationally significant. Bruce, who expects to finish cataloguing the collection later this year, said that Paine’s work on large public landscapes was unusual because many female landscape architects gravitated toward smaller residential designs.
The collection includes drawings Paine did between 1970 and 1998, including numerous working drawings rendered in pencil and ink and about 40 file boxes full of contracts, correspondence and photos.
Paine spent 16 years in Ottawa working for two private firms and the NCC before opening her own practice in 1982. Cecelia Paine and Associates Inc. operated there for eight years before she moved to Guelph. “At the time, I was one of the first female practitioners working under my own name in the Ottawa area and one of only a few in Canada,” she said.
About one-third of the collection consists of master plans Paine developed for the NCC, including more than 5,000 hectares of natural areas and agricultural lands in the Ottawa Greenbelt. Among her favourite projects was the restoration master plan for Mackenzie King Estate, a national historical site in Gatineau Park, Que. She also led the $5-million redesign of Sparks Street Mall, which opened in downtown Ottawa in 1988.
The collection also includes Paine’s plans for restoring the grounds of the Queen’s Park Legislative Assembly building in Toronto and landscape development for the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village in Alberta. The earliest work in the collection includes about a dozen drawings done in 1970 while Paine was doing her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois.
Explaining her decision to donate her materials to the library, Paine said: “I was looking for a home for my original drawings and documents where I knew they would be well taken care of and used.”
Listed in Who’s Who in Canada, Paine is an elected Fellow of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and past president of both the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) and the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA). She has won numerous design and planning awards for her projects, including work on Ottawa’s Byward Market and Sparks Street Mall.
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519)824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.