March 8, 2022
The glitz. The glamour. The emotive music. The engaging hosts. Despite being a virtual event, the 49th Annual Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence ceremony had all the elements of a superlative celebration.

In fact, the theme of the event was based on the four natural elements, which host Carson Arthur deftly navigated. Arthur, with a cadre of who’s who in landscaping, tied the various categories of the juried competition to earth, wind, fire and water.

The 95-minute show was a feast for the eyes as dazzling image after image of winning projects swept onto the screen.

The main categories recognized the creativity and craftsmanship of landscape construction, maintenance, design, lighting, irrigation, and plantscaping projects created by LO members.

This year’s ceremony also held a few new surprises.

LO’s deputy executive director Joe Salemi introduced the first ever Young Entrepreneur Award. This honour recognizes a member under the age of 35 for outstanding achievement in establishing and growing a successful horticultural business. The inaugural recipient was John Karpov, of Action Home Services.  Watch the video online at

Another high honour added to the ceremony was the Neil Vanderkruk Award for Excellence in Landscape Design. It is to be awarded annually to the most outstanding and highest overall scoring project from the design categories. The award, presented by Vanderkruk’s son, Mark, and grandson, Brent, is in memory of a man who breathed life into every endeavour he took on. Vanderkruk was a founding member of Landscape Ontario, a past president, and an Honorary Life Member. Derue Designs took home the inaugural award for their residential project, Serenity. Watch the video online at

When congratulated, recipient Rhonda Derue said, “I am still pretty stunned by the ‘Neil Vanderkruk Award.’ Such an honour to be the inaugural winner of a legacy award named after such a great man in our industry.”

The Neil Vanderkruk Award joins the three highly coveted top awards which honour major contributors to the profession: the Dunington-Grubb Award for highest scoring project in the  construction category; the Casey van Maris Memorial Award for the submission with the highest marks for execution and innovation in landscape design; and the Don Salivan Memorial Grounds Management Award for a project from the maintenance submissions that enhances the value of the original landscape.

To see a list of all winners, along with photos of their stunning entries, visit You can also watch a recording of the event that originally streamed Feb. 3, 2022.

The ceremony was produced by Jennifer Howe of Perfect Sphere Productions.

Landscape Ontario would like to thank our presenting partner: G&L Group, and supporting partners: in-lite Outdoor Lighting, Connon Nurseries, Aspire Software, and SiteOne Landscape Supply. The Awards of Excellence ceremony is made possible through their generosity.