The firm now known as HTFC Planning and Design (formerly Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram) began in 1969, when Garry Hilderman, having returned to Winnipeg from graduate studies in the United States, established the firm of Garry Hilderman & Associates Landscape Architecture. Despite the name, he was in fact practising partnerless, with his first office located in his mother’s attic. The new enterprise quickly captured clients and within two years moved to larger, more formal quarters. Many of its early projects were residential in nature and were executed in co-operation with such local architectural practices as Moody Moore and Associates. As the firm gained contracts, it also gained talent – thereby earning the descriptor “Associates” of the original name.
During the early 1970s the firm welcomed David Witty and Jon Fier, who eventually became partners. By 1976, the firm had been renamed Hilderman Feir Witty & Associates. A Saskatoon office was added in 1978, and in 1982 the office changed its name again – to Hilderman Witty Crosby Hanna & Associates – to acknowledge the addition of partners Rob Crosby and Andrew Hanna. (The Saskatchewan arm of the company later went its own way to become the firm Crosby Hanna & Associates). The firm gained its current name, Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram, in 1997, signifying principals Jim Thomas, Jeff Frank and Heather Cram. Glen Manning and Monica Giesbrecht are now also principals of the firm.
Throughout all of these changes, the firm’s approach has consistently been grounded in a fundamental sense that responsible design arises from a consideration of project and client goals, context, and of overlapping biological, physical, social, cultural and economic attributes of land systems. Much of the work the office procured during its early years came in northern Manitoba and by way of contracts with the provincial government. Amongst other projects, in 1973 the office was employed to design the new town of Leaf Rapids, Manitoba. Here, Hilderman and his colleagues developed a plan that sought to function in concert with the context of boreal forest, near-arctic conditions and a unique, consolidated town centre. The firm also conducted studies of such issues as hydroelectric flooding and tourism along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.
Projects from the 1980s and 1990s included designs for: the National Research Council Headquarters (435 Ellice Avenue, 1983-1985); the Winnipeg Regional Taxation Data Centre (66 Stapon Road, 1985), where functional ponds abut architecture, creating a unique and interactive exterior space; the Royal Alex Hospital Grounds & Atrium (Edmonton, 1989-1994); the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre (Stonewall, Manitoba, 1990-1994), which incorporates an extensive green roof; the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden (Assiniboine Park, 1994); and the Forks Commemorative Plaza and Oodena Celebration Circle (1993-1995). The latter features a deep bowl gathering space accented with sculptural stone elements designed to evoke the site’s long history, natural forces, celestial patterns and mythologies. These projects and others have earned such awards and distinctions as the Premier's Award for Design Excellence in Landscape Architecture and multiple Canadian Society of Landscape Architects notices of National Honour and Regional Merit. In 1997 the firm also received an award for its design of the National Archives of Canada grounds, which are composed of a naturalized landscape including wetland, woodland, and meadow environments.
More recent, varied work has included a golf course (Lake of the Sandhills Golf Course, Buffalo Point First Nation, Manitoba, 1994-2001) and community and regional planning in such locales as Kenora, Ontario (2005); Warren, Manitoba (2006); and Sioux Lookout, Ontario (2008). Other projects include: the University of Manitoba Student Union Building roof-deck modernization (1997-2001); the University of Winnipeg Campus Master Plan & Projects (2005); a green roof at Manitoba Hydro Place (360 Portage Avenue, 2005); the Winnipeg Folk Festival Master Plan & Projects (Birds Hill Park, Manitoba, 2006) the Winnipeg Humane Society grounds (45 Hurst Way, 2002-2007); the redevelopment of the John A. Russell Building courtyard (University of Manitoba, 2007-2009).
In 2012, Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram completed redevelopment plans for the Millennium Library complex, at 251 Donald Avenue, which included the renovation of the adjoining library park to the immediate south of the building. The focal point of the project, completed in 2012, is Winnipeg’s largest public art installation, 'emptyful', by Vancouver-based artist Bill Pechet.
Firm Principals in 2019 are: Glen Manning, Monica Giesbrecht, Eleanor Bonny, Tim Hogan, and Maureen Krauss.