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School is back in session!

Prince of Wales Summer School Elaine O'Sullivan, Director of School Program, (centre) sketching in the London Borough of Hackney as part of The Prince's Foundation for Building Community summer program. We've had an eventful summer at Willowbank and we are happy to welcome our students back to the three year diploma program in Heritage Conservation. Check out some of the great things our staff and students have gotten up to this summer! ~ Cheers - Willowbank

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario’s Visit to Campus

On June 10th, 2015, Willowbank welcomed Her Honour, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to the campus, where Her Honour participated in a roundtable discussion with students and staff. Her Honour, whose own initiatives have integrated environmental, economic, social, educational and cultural concerns was given a full tour of the campus and engaged with students who gave demonstrations in the trades and spoke of Willowbanks ecological approach to heritage sites.

Prince of Wales’ Royal Patronage

The school is entering into its second year under Royal Patronage. In 2014, The Prince of Wales announced his patronage for Willowbank. This patronage has allowed Willowbank to explore amazing opportunities, as the schools’ goals to explore sustainable urban development and traditional trades skills are well-aligned with The Prince’s own initiatives that include The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts. This summer, David Deo, Class of 2015, and Elaine O’Sullivan, Director of Academic Programming at Willowbank, travelled to Dumfries, Scotland, UK, to participate in The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community summer program. David and Elaine participated in design contests and were both part of winning design teams. The winning designs were selected by the stakeholders who included the CEO of Dumfries House, architect Keith Ross, the Estate manager and HRH The Prince of Wales. Of his time in Scotland, David Deo stated, “We discovered many philosophical similarities between The Prince's Foundation and Willowbank, and we're striving toward many of the same goals.”

Willowbank 12th Annual Jazz Festival

Students, staff and a dedicated volunteer force hosted the annual Willowbank Jazz Festival on the grounds of the Riverbend Inn and Vineyard in Niagara-On-The-Lake. Despite some rain, the music played and the people came. This year's event featured award-winning Toronto-based jazz musician Tyler Yarema as well as quality local food and wine, and a silent auction. All of this benefits the school’s program and we are very thankful for the volunteer team, led by Pat Lamb, who puts it all together every year.

Susan Buggey Cultural Landscape Fellow

Juliana Glassco, a current third year student at Willowbank and the 2014 Willowbank Susan Buggey Cultural Landscape Fellow, celebrated the publication of an article in the June 2015 Timber Framer’s Guild Quarterly Journal, entitled “Symbolism and Ritual in Compagnonnage.” The article focused on the importance and relevance of studying the trades. Juliana will intern this coming year at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

The Willowbank Centre

The Willowbank Centre, which focuses on the research and promotion of Cultural Landscape theory, has spent the summer conducting a North American regional survey, in order to inform the UNESCO ‘Global report on the Role of Culture and Heritage in Sustainable Urban Development.” This report will contribute to the development of the New Urban Agenda which will be endorsed at the Habitat III Conference, in Quito Ecuador, October 17-20, 2016.

The Willowbank Estate

This summer Willowbank partnered with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and the Niagara-On-The-Lake Horticultural Society to enhance the natural landscape of its 13 acre estate and lower campus. Located at the base of the escarpment and abutting the Niagara River in Queenston Ontario, Willowbank’s campus which includes a biodiverse ravine, represents an important ecosystem. Students worked to reintroduce native species gardens and solitary bee stations, as part of the larger goal of partnering with local organizations to align cultural and natural heritage interpretation. Students also partnered with local community members to create a medicine wheel in a community healing garden that has the aim of reconnecting the aboriginal and contemporary layers that exist in the prominent historic site.

An Exciting Year Ahead...

In the upcoming months, Willowbank is set to release its 2014-15 Annual Report and in 2016 will begin its 10th anniversary year and its second year under the Prince’s Royal Patronage. This upcoming year will see a major investment in infrastructure projects at the Willowbank Estate House, all sparked by the reengagement of one of the founding donors and with the continued support of our generous community of donors. DONATE NOW

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Visits Willowbank


On Wednesday, June 10, Willowbank welcomed Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, OC, OOnt, 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, to Queenston.

Her Honour participated in a multi-faceted programme, engaging with a broad cross-section of students, graduates, faculty associates and board members.

In a roundtable discussion, the Lieutenant Governor was introduced to the student experience, cultural landscape and to Willowbank's reach in Ontario and the world.

In a tour of the estate house, workshops, lower campus and grounds, Her Honour spoke one-on-one with a range of students and graduates about their emerging careers.

The tour also gave orientation to the dynamic layers of the National Historic Site which Willowbank inhabits.

A selection of hands-on activities were in progress, including glazing, carpentry and drafting, demonstrating the balance of skills and theory in the Willowbank three-year diploma.

The programme proved an uplifting experience for the Willowbank community, full of meaningful exchanges with an accomplished Lieutenant Governor who has made vital contributions to initiatives that integrate environmental, economic, social, educational and cultural concerns.

The occasion to welcome the Lieutenant Governor, The Queen's representative in Ontario, is an important example of the dialogue made possible through the Royal Patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales granted to Willowbank in 2014.

Willowbank Remembers Susan Buggey

Susan BuggeySusan Buggey had a long and committed interest in cultural landscapes. As former Director of Historical Services at Parks Canada, she played a key role in developing the concept of cultural landscapes within the Historic Sites program. Susan also participated in UNESCO’s international expert meetings to develop guidelines for the inclusion of cultural landscape on to the World Heritage List. World Heritage continued to hold strong interest for her and she remained active in this area until very recently. Over the course of her career, she published widely on cultural landscapes, but was perhaps most closely associated with her research and writing on the topic of Aboriginal cultural landscapes. Susan made a significant contribution to the development of the concept, along with the notion of associative values of cultural landscapes. She also taught historic landscape conservation and cultural landscapes at the Universities of Manitoba and Victoria. Following retirement from Parks Canada she was the Adjunct Professor in the School of Landscape Architecture at the Université de Montréal. Susan was also a founder of the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation and a fellow of the Association for Preservation Technology. She was actively engaged for more than 35 years in national and international organizations related to heritage conservation including the ICOMOS/IFLA International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes and a working group of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas. Susan was a great friend to Willowbank and it was through her generous gift to the school two years ago that we are able to encourage students interested in cultural landscapes by providing financial assistance through the Susan Buggey Cultural Landscape Fellowship. Although I only met her briefly, Susan's generosity and bright spirit influenced my path into the heritage field, and I am so grateful for that. Her contribution to Willowbank's fellowship grants encouraged me to go deeper into understanding cultural landscape theory, and her work has been a clear guide to Canada's unique cultural landscape perspective. Upon meeting her, I felt her genuine interest in emerging work and was instantly inspired by her kindness and humble curiosity. - Angela Garvey - Susan Buggey Fellow 2013