Discovering the riverine landscapes of northern Ontario

For nine days, master’s students at the Faculty of Planning at the University of Montreal visited the Great Lakes region to discover the riverine landscapes of northern Ontario. This trip falls under the Fluvialities research project carried out at the UNESCO Chair in Urban Landscape, and the Urban Design studio, taught at the master’s level by Shin Koseki, holder of the UNESCO Chair and professor at the School urban planning and landscape architecture.

From Thunder Bay to Toronto, the group traveled nearly 1,400 km. Among the places visited were the municipalities of Marathon, Wawa, Sault-Ste-Marie, Manitoulin, Sudbury and Parry Sound, and the natural parks of Kakabeka, Sleeping Giant, Pukaskwa and Lake Superior. During this excursion the group was able to visit several historical and cultural heritage sites, active and abandoned industrial sites, including paper mills and mines, characterizing the economic decline of the region.

This trip was an opportunity for students to meet the local population as well as experts to better understand the environmental, economic and social issues that mark the Great Lakes region. Thus, on the fifth day of their journey, the group had the unique opportunity to visit the Vale Living with Lakes research center, and to meet Peter Beckett, professor emeritus in ecological restoration at Laurentian University, who shared his secrets to the regreening of Sudbury’s landscapes over the past 50 years.

The students will continue their reflections on the ecological, social and technological transition of the Great Lakes by proposing strategies aimed at reimagining the way we cohabit with nature within a riverine context, while taking into account the future of the hydrographic basin of the St. Lawrence.

This trip was made possible thanks to the support of UdeM Internationale, the Sid Lee Architecture Fund, and the collaboration of Laurentian University.