Mr. Speaker, today, I honour the memory of Cornelia Oberlander, a renowned British Columbian landscape architect who passed away last month.
At the age of 18, Cornelia and her family fled the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. She was one of the first women to study at Harvard's Graduate School of Design and continued to be a role model for women in a male-dominated field.
Cornelia described her move to Canada in the 1950s as pivotal to her career. “The freedom to create, the freedom to think differently, was unlimited...[in this] younger country”, she said. In Vancouver, she designed the log seating on Vancouver's beaches, accessible public spaces in Robson Square, the Vancouver Public Library Central Library rooftop garden and VanDusen Botanical Garden. Central to her work was the idea that everyone could have access to green and environmentally friendly designs.
Cornelia was awarded Companion of the Order of Canada, but her legacy was the enrichment of urban spaces in Vancouver and other Canadian cities.