PMA Landscape Architects Ltd.

University Courtyards


Lester B. Pearson is recognized for his international and national presence and roles, as well as at Victoria University where he studied and later on, became Chancellor. This garden was conceived to commemorate his life and the peace towards which he worked. The goal was to develop a green oasis where students and the general public could fi nd a quiet solace to read, contemplate, or be inspired. The small courtyard site located at the centre of the Victoria College campus is framed by historical Victorian dormitory buildings on one side, a more modernist library on the other, and a tall retaining wall at its healm.


The design concept aimed to provide an informal garden setting with the existing majestic Copper Beech as the centrepiece, and water on its edge. PMA worked with Victoria College to develop the detail design of the courtyard: a free-form garden featuring a quilt of perennial plantings, a shallow waterbasin and waterfall. Smooth straight concrete slabs and a stone-paved walkway penetrate the lush groundcover planting, providing opportunities for visitors to enter the garden, without disturbing the planting. All hardscape elements were detailed to rest on the surface of the site, to minimize further stress on the Beechs’ root system. PMA designed a custom bronze railing that would also provide a leaning balustrade on the upper promontory, which is the also to the donor’s plaque. It would be easily readable but unobtrusive of the view to the lower terrace.


CSLA Award – Regional Citation 2004


Design Exchange Awards – Honourable Mention 2009

  • Toronto, ON
  • Varies
  • Campus Design

reading garden


reading garden

reading garden

reading garden




lash miller

Lester B. Pearson Garden for Peace and Understanding – waterfall

Lester B. Pearson Garden for Peace and Understanding – view from behind waterfall

Lester B. Pearson Garden for Peace and Understanding – waterfall and planting beds

© PMA Landscape Architects Ltd. 2019