Early one morning, just as the backyard Catalpa tree was breaking into bloom, we visited Victoria Taylor at her west Toronto home. Her vocation as a landscape architect becomes quickly apparent when wandering through her well appointed rooms. Nature abounds in combination with impeccable design, contemporary artwork, and an informal comfort, creating an inspiring balance between refinement and wilderness. This is one who truly lives a beautiful life.
With a Masters in Environmental Studies, Taylor worked as a designer and gardener for over 10 years before completing her Masters of Landscape Architecture. With this background and an added tenure at the award winning architecture and design firm Brook McIlroy, she was well poised to launch her own company, Victoria Taylor Landscape Architecture, in 2011. Over coffee and a lovely spread, we discussed some of her recent projects including the curation of GROW OP : Exploring Landscape and Place, a 4 day event that challenged participants to integrate gardens, art and urban spaces; and the co-creation of Parks & Rec, a massive rooftop organic food garden. These projects highlight Taylor's desire to make gardens work, whether to heal, feed or rejuvinate a community, culturally and artistically. She is currently designing landscapes for the Picton Community Centre in Prince Edward County and Toronto's fifth Christian Science Church. Each commission brings fresh objectives and influences. Taylor emphasized the importance of listening to and understanding the needs and opportunities of each project.
Taylor's holistic attitude towards landscape architecture permeates her home. Her 1910 semi has been renovated with a sensitivity to the original structure combined with a courageous integration of modern lines. She removed some walls to open up what was once a dark warren, but left original architectural elements to maintain a level of privacy and separation of space. You get the feeling that this is a wonderful place to spend time during morning, noon and night, be it working, entertaining or relaxing. To complete our tour we visited the sauna, created by Castor Design. Concealed behind a bank of black cedars, it is the property's hidden gem.