Our Mission

Canadensis is a magical botanic place where visitors can enrich their lives with unique learning experiences that excite and stimulate the senses.

Our Vision

Canadensis is a beautiful and diverse botanic garden that provides all visitors with educational, interactive and enjoyable experiences in a unique, sustainable environment. The Garden promotes a deeper understanding of our intimate interdependence with nature and encourages the commitment and passion necessary to pursue environmentally responsible lifestyles.

This is accomplished by:

  • Protecting and preserving, for future generations, the diversity, durability and uniqueness of flora that grow in Canadian climates;
  • Showcasing the ongoing innovations and research taking place in horticulture including environmental sustainability and biodiversity; and
  • Demonstrating the impact of our evolving climate on plant life and its effect on our lives.

Our Board Of Directors


Gérald Lajeunesse, B.Sc., B.A.P., FCSLA.

A native of Ottawa, Gérald first studied at Carleton University, and subsequently completed a second degree at l’Université de Montréal.

He completed his long career at the National Capital Commission (NCC), as Chief Landscape and Project Director. A member of the OALA, AAPQ, ASLA, a Fellow of the CSLA and recipient of the Governor General Medal for Volunteers, his accomplishments span over three decades of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design.

He has participated on several juries dealing with design and public art and continues to be involved in his community. Contributing to the enhancement of the quality of life of his community has been his lifelong passion.

Past Chair

Monique Oaks

Monique Oaks

 Ms. Oaks is a business executive with over thirty-five years of general, sales, and marketing management experience and an outstanding record of achievements, including management of large projects such as the Results System for the Montreal Olympics. She specializes in strategic and business planning, interim management; personal and executive coaching, marketing and sales program design and development, and executive education. 

She had a prestigious career with IBM Canada Limited, LGS Group, and Industrial-Life Technical Services Inc. Ms. Oaks is the past Chair of CBGS, the Ottawa Art Gallery, High Performance Computing Ontario, and Le Cercle universitaire d’Ottawa and a past Vice-Chair of Innovation Ontario Corporation.

Vice Chair

Jean Carr 

An Ottawa native, Jean Carr graduated with a degree in mathematics and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). Jean had a rich career through successive promotions in software sales and marketing, and retired as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an asset tracking company.  Having held positions based in Ottawa, San Francisco, and Paris, he has gained rare on-the-ground experience in international markets.

His volunteer works over the years includes being on the board of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation and, for many years, advisor to local high tech start up companies, some of which have grown to provide good jobs in Ottawa.

Jean joined the Canadensis Board in 2019 and was elected Vice Chair in 2020. A regular visitor to botanical gardens, he has seen the benefits they can deliver to their communities and seeks the same for Ottawa.


Christiane McGovern

Born and raised in Ottawa, Christiane studied environmental sciences at McGill University and completed her law degree at Queen’s University. Christiane is now a lawyer in the Business Law Department of Gowling WLG’s Ottawa office. Her legal practice focuses on commercial and corporate governance work. Christiane advises a wide range of clients, and in particular, not-for-profit corporations, on matters relating to corporate governance, corporate structure and directorial duties.

She has also devoted considerable time to various charitable causes in Ottawa, including as a member of the organizing committee for the annual Ronald McDonald House Skifest fundraising event, and she previously served on the City of Ottawa’s Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee.

Christiane grew up in a family of garden lovers, but her passion for gardening only flourished a few years ago when she founded her condominium’s gardening committee. Despite losing tulip bulbs for three consecutive years to squirrels, Christiane remains optimistic for Spring 2021.


Courtney Flood

Raised in rural Newfoundland, Courtney completed her Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Ottawa and became a Chartered Professional Accountant in 2018. She has spent most of her professional career in finance in the Real Estate sector and is currently Director of Finance at Windmill Developments, which focuses on developing communities within the resources of our planet.

Courtney loves to spend some of her free time planning and growing food in her backyard garden, enjoying the cycle of saving seeds, garden planning, sprouting seedlings, planting, growing, harvesting and preserving food in around 120 square feet of gardening space. The rest is spent outdoors on the water, training in competitive paddling on Ottawa’s Rideau River.

Chair, Membership Committee

Steve Wilson 

Steve graduated from Algonquin College’s Electro-mechanical design program in 1969. In 2011, he retired from Optotek Limited, where he was head of Design Engineering Services producing state-of-the-art LED display systems for military and commercial applications. Steve is co-inventor of 3 different LED (Light Emitting Diode) based systems: High Density LED optical array, fabrication technique for the assembly of high resolution LED printheads and a UV LED digital imaging system for screen printing.

As Vice President of his neighbourhood community association, Steve is actively involved with local events and helping ensure that the best interests of the community are represented and defended.  Canadensis has been an exciting and fulfilling part of Steve’s life for the past 5 years.

Chair, Planning Committee

Dave Ballinger 

David graduated from the University of Ottawa.

Prior to his retirement from Parks Canada, he was the Director of Operations for the Rideau Canal
National Historic Site and World Heritage Site.

A founding partner and principal of The Canals Group, a registered partnership of management
consultants delivering a number of reports to various levels of government and the private sector in
Canada and the USA on canals and connected topics.

Recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Confederation of Canada in “recognition of
significant contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada”.

He is past President of Inland Waterways International (IWI and a special advisor to the World Historic
and Cultural Canal Cities Cooperation Organization, Yangzhou, China.


Satya Brink 

Satya Brink misses the flowers of India and she strives to maintain her garden at home, while visiting gardens wherever she can.

She earned her Ph.D. from Purdue University in the United States and has lived in Canada since 1978. She worked for the Canadian government for over thirty years and retired as the Director of National Policy Research in Learning at Human Resources and Social Development Canada.  Next, she was an international consultant for ten years for international organizations such as the World Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and UNICEF in countries in Europe, West Africa and the Middle East.  During her working years she maintained links with academia and the volunteer sector.

Mira Olah 

After joining the Canadensis Board in June 2019, Mira’s curiosity for gardens has grown and she has since visited both the Eden Project in England and the Seoul Botanical Garden in South Korea. An idealist with a passion for design and humanitarian issues, Mira brings her dedication and altruistic nature to the causes she champions.

Mira works at Global Affairs Canada where she has played senior advisor and managerial roles in governance, policy and design including with the United Nations division, and has over a decade of experience as an interior designer in the private sector. She has previously been a Board member with One World Arts in Ottawa and has recently started work on a special project with First Nations. Mira has a BSc in Economics from the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Diana Thibodeau 

Diana first got involved with gardening societies 15 years ago when she needed to learn about maintaining the beautiful perennial garden at her new house.  Previously considered a “brown thumb,” her enjoyment of that garden led to trial and error with new gardens and lots of bird feeders at her next home. 

Volunteer activities, beyond various local gardening societies, include the Peer Support Program at the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre, the Ottawa Blues Society, Bluesfest and Kanata Canada Day.

After many years working in Amateur Sport she worked at Integral Coaching Canada for a decade, and still takes great pride in the difference graduates of their Integral Coaching® Certification Program are making, reducing suffering in the world. Diana is now (Jan. 2023) moving on to working with seniors as an activity assistant and is looking forward to being more active and helping to bring a little joy into their daily lives.

Kathleen Fischer 

Kathleen joined the Canadensis Board in June 2022. She is pleased to have the opportunity to share the knowledge and experience gained from over 35 years of studying and working in the environmental and natural science fields.  

She holds a degree from the University of Toronto in biology with graduate studies in environmental science and has worked in the public sector for the province of Ontario and for the Government of Canada. 

Since retirement, she has been busy with travelling, volunteer work, cycling and a number of outdoor activities, as well as enjoying time in her garden. Kathleen is a current board member of the Gloucester Horticultural Society, member of the Ottawa Horticultural Society and an active participant in local garden clubs and activities. She continues to be very interested in supporting initiatives to increase biodiversity, including growing more native plants in our gardens.

Anne Harbord 

Anne has been gardening since she was six, when her English Mum started to teach her all the gardening tricks she knew. 

Currently, Anne is OHA Director for District 2. Anne belongs to the Manotick Horticultural Society, the Ottawa Garden Club, the Hamilton and Burlington Rose Society, the Canadian Rose Society, the Ontario Regional Lily Society and the North American Lily Society.  

Anne lives in Prospect near Carleton Place with her husband, Roger and their Border Collie, Kate. She is a mother of one son, one stepson and three stepdaughters, as well as Nana to nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.  Anne is a member of the OHA Honour Roll, a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and a three-time Rotary Paul Harris Fellow and a Benefactor with Rotary International.