CCA Master’s Students Program

The CCA Master’s Students Program encourages students at Canadian universities to take up urgent questions of public relevance to the built environment in Canada and beyond. Through a three-month collaborative project, participants actively engage with the CCA’s Collection, participate in seminars and other pedagogical activities, and articulate their own understanding of architecture as a public concern.

River, Shore, Land: Ecological Futures at the Jardins de Métis

This three-year project seeks to explore and support how the Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens are contending with a changing local climate. The Jardins de Métis is a landmark horticultural laboratory that for decades has set an agenda for international landscape design. This project focuses on the site’s changing local conditions through its connections to the Mitis River, the shoreline of the Saint-Lawrence River, and their surrounding territorial ties to what is now known as Gaspésie. Each year the three participating students will develop a project anchored by this state of ecological flux, occasioned both by the effects of global warming as well as the short- and long-term consequences of farming, mining, and other local extractive industries. Grand-Métis, Quebec, will thus become a microcosm to reflect on the broader ecological futures of shoreline erosion, depleting aquifers, soil exhaustion, and other manifestations of a rapidly changing ecology.

The Jardins de Métis will serve as a space of dialogue and community engagement. Located on the eastern shore of the Mitis River, and so on the ancestral territories of the Wolastoqiyik and the Mi’gmaq, the Jardins de Métis will host the participating students for a one-month research residency in June of each year, as well as foster a community forum near the end of the project period. Participants may also draw on the Jardins de Métis’ archival collection.

While the first year was focusing on the Mitis River and its importance as a gathering place, the second year will examine more specifically the shorelines of both the Saint-Lawrence and the Mitis rivers. The aim is to better understand how the Jardins de Métis and surrounding communities are imagining new methods to slow, counter, and work with water-based erosion. What do archeological digs along the eroded shoreline reveal about the past, the present, and the future of this place? How can these knowledges inspire regenerative design practices and support a shift in relationships to the Saint-Lawrence and the Mitis rivers? Particular attention will be given to the Wolastogiyik and the Mi’gmaq perspectives and their responses to climate change repercussions on sites where water meets land in the region.

First Year - 2023

The first year focused on the Mitis river, and its important role as a gathering place and site of invitation for surrounding communities, in particular members of the the Wolastogiyik community.

To know more about the first-year project, read the article River as Invitation.

Hannah Thiessen
Jia Chen Mi
Marie-Ellen Houde-Hostland

Second Year - 2024

The second year will examine the shoreline and how the Jardins de Métis is imagining new methods to slow, counter, and work with water-based erosion.

Robyn Adams
Julia Pingeton
Marie Pontais

Third Year - 2025

The third and final year will consider the territorial legacies of local extractive industries and how these can exceed current paradigms of ‘remediation’ in order to project new models of ecological restoration premised on the resurgence of biodiverse futures that also recognize the legal implications of Indigenous sovereignty, with particular attention to the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation, located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River near Rivière-du-Loup, the site of Canada’s smallest reserve, and their advocacy for renewed land-based rights.

Guidelines and terms

Participants will be selected by a CCA-Jardin de Métis selection committee. Selected candidates will work collaboratively on a common research project, with advising and support provided by the CCA’s Associate Director of Research and Coordinator, Research, in addition to members of an advisory committee.

Students currently enrolled in professional and post-professional master’s programs—Master of Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture, Master of Environmental Design, or Master of Urban Design— in Canada are eligible to apply, regardless of citizenship.

Selected candidates are expected to participate in a three-month residency at the CCA and the Jardins de Métis during the summer 2024 (June, July and August), for which they will receive a stipend of CAN $7,500 to cover travel, housing, and living expenses while in Montréal and Grand-Métis. June will be spent at the Jardins de Métis, and July and August at the CCA. The award is non-renewable.


Candidates for the Summer 2024 Master’s Students Program are invited to submit applications that describe how their research interests, professional endeavours, volunteer experiences, and design philosophies align with the 2024 theme (Second Year).

All applications must be submitted online through the CCA application portal, and must include:

• a written statement (500 to 750 words) addressing how the candidate would approach the 2024 theme from a critical perspective, as well as how the output of this residency will contribute to their development as a designer;
• a curriculum vitae indicating one preferred academic or professional reference;
• a portfolio including visual and/or written materials (not to exceed 5MB);
• in efforts to be responsive to concerns voiced from Indigenous communities, the CCA may ask selected candidates who self-identify as Indigenous to submit one of these references: their status card, a letter of support from their community (Band Council, Elders Council, cultural center, etc.), or a letter of support from their peers (Native Friendship Centre, Indigenous Students Services Circle, etc.).

Deadline: 31 March 2024 at 11:59pm (EDT)

For questions regarding the program, please contact

For updates on the Master’s Students Program, please subscribe to the newsletter.

This program is generously supported by the Power Corporation of Canada.

The diversity of our institution is at the core of our creativity and strengthens our research efforts. While all qualified candidates are invited to apply, we particularly welcome applications from persons with disabilities, Indigenous, Black, and other people of colour, of all genders, and LGBTQ+ persons. Candidates are encouraged to self-identify in their application (CV or cover letter). Applicants who require accommodations for any part of the application process can contact to receive confidential assistance.


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