As they say, “all good things must come to an end” and this sentiment hits close to home for me this week. For the past two years, I have had the pleasure and distinct honour to represent the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), as their President. Today, my two-year term comes to an end.

The Ontario Association of Architects is a self-regulating organization governed by the Architects Act, a statute of the Government of Ontario. The mission of the OAA is to serve the public through the regulation, support and promotion of architecture in Ontario.

As President I was able to speak at some of the top architectural seminars and conferences; meet and interact with respected architects from across the country; and participate in lectures touching on some of the top trending subject matters in our industry today. Public engagement started with speaking out on the VOCM, gaining national exposure for architecture, and concludes with my recently published article in Huffington Post on climate change and its connection to the world of architecture.

There are so many highlights of the past two years that it’s hard to know where to begin. Aside from the public engagement, and the day-to-day chairing of meetings that are normal duties of the President, a few key things stand out: engagement with the membership on key issues that affect the profession; leading the redefinition of the Vision Mission and Mandate of the OAA; leading change in the OAA governance model to include interns and OAA Licenced Technologists; leading and supporting change in communications and awards, fostering dialogue on procurement, Requests for Proposal and the role of architects in society; fostering dialogue between allied organizations such as the RAIC, OAAAS, PEO, OGCA and the OBOA as well as provincial regulators across the country, and assisting the recognition of the OAA in supporting the promotion of architecture, and the OAA’s role, in public engagement.

Now it’s time for a new President to take the lead. I’m encouraged by the opportunity for someone else to take on this role, and lead in their own way; I also look forward to working with the new OAA Executive, and the rest of Council, on the ongoing tasks as I continue to serve the balance of my term. My experience with the OAA has been incredibly special. As an architect and President of Dreessen Cardinal Architects, I remain committed to cultivating an open dialogue with the public on the value of architecture within our society, and I am proud to say that I have been able to accomplish many of my goals in the last two years.  The experience of opening yourself up to new challenges can fulfil you even more than you knew to imagine.

Architecture has been my life passion, and I will continue to work closely with the OAA and look forward to participating in upcoming architectural events and seminars.

Thank you to the OAA, members of Council and staff; thank you to the members for the confidence you’ve shown in the OAA over the past 2 years. This has been the experience of a lifetime.

Toon Dreessen