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Communities in Bloom honours top municipalities

Program enters 22nd year in Canada

December 6, 2016  By Turf and Rec Staff

An attractive green space in Barrie, Ont., which was crowned grand champion at the 22nd Communities in Bloom.

Communities in Bloom, now in its 22nd year as a showcase for community beautification, civic pride and environmental responsibility, recently honoured its class of 2016 at its national awards program in Regina, Sask.

Not only were Canada’s top participating municipalities recognized for their efforts, but awards were also bestowed upon communities from the United States, England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Croatia and Italy.

National program chairman Bob Lewis thanked all participating municipalities, saying, “Their efforts are making our communities better places to live in, to work in and to visit.”

Crowned grand champion was the City of Barrie, Ont., which was also recognized for its fruit share program. Runner-up was the municipality of Boissevain-Morton, Man. whose community leadership was applauded.


National award winners competed in four distinct population classes: up to 4,500 people, 4,501 to 9,000 people, 9,001 to 25,000 people, and more than 50,000 people. Additionally, both Canadian and international municipalities competed in such events as small, medium, large and “very large” international challenges.

Other categories of competition included class of champions (small and medium), special attractions (an evaluated, non-competitive event), circle of excellence (an evaluated, non-competitive event), and circle of excellence (a non-evaluated event).


Each participating municipality—no matter which category it was listed—was recognized with a special mention, earning a score out of five with a gold, silver or bronze rating.

Outstanding achievement awards were given to several of the participating municipalities by sponsors of the Communities in Bloom program.

National and international award winners

Up to 4,500

  • Ituna, SK (5 bronze rating, pristine prairie pride)
  • Bruderheim, AB (5 rating, community partnerships)
  • Maple Creek, SK (5 rating, main street redevelopment)
  • Valhalla Centre, AB (5 rating, community helpfulness)
  • Windsor, NS (5 rating, trail system)
  • Witless Bay, NL (5 rating, puffin patrol)
  • Hanna, AB (4 rating, community garden)

4,501 to 9,000

  • Humboldt, SK (5 bronze rating, Old Humboldt Grassland)
  • Bay Roberts, NL (5 rating, environmental action)
  • Drayton Valley, AB (5 rating, raised bed edible garden project)
  • Stonewall, MB (5 rating, Wayside-Kurelek Park)

9,001 to 25,000

  • Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (5 silver rating, community involvement)
  • Amherstburg, ON (5 bronze rating, Holiday Beach and Big Creek Conservation Area)
  • South Huron, ON (5 rating, Grand Bend Area Wastewater Treatment Facility landscape)
  • Bois-des-Filion, QC (4 rating, landscape design)

More than 50,000

  • Coquitlam, BC (5 silver rating, Mackin House Museum and Mackin Park)
  • St. John’s, NL (4 rating, Bowring Park)

International Challenge (small)

  • Commune de Pre-Saint-Didier, Italy (5 bronze rating, schoolchildren garden)
  • Pincher Creek, AB (5 bronze rating, murals program)
  • Killarney-Turtle Mountain, MB (5 rating, restoration of heritage building)
  • Sun Rivers Resort Community, BC (5 rating, quality landscapes)
  • Sveti Martin na Muri, Croatia (5 rating, children involvement in the community, beginning in kindergarten)

International Challenge (medium)

  •  Estes Park, CO (5 bronze rating, riverwalk)
  • Jasper, AB (5 bronze rating, effective management of the environmental file)
  • Stettler, AB (5 bronze rating, environmental initiatives)

International Challenge (large)

  • Lambton Shores, ON (5 silver rating, CiB Mystery Tour)
  • Fairhope, AL (5 silver rating, year-round floral displays)
  • Omagh Town, Fermanaugh and Omagh District, Northern Ireland (5 bronze rating, wildflowers initiative)
  • Rosemere, QC (5 bronze rating, riverbank enhancement)
  • Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Ireland (5 rating, Letterkenny Tidy Towns Committee)
  • Morro Bay, CA (5 rating, dune restoration and maintenance)

International Challenge (very large)

  •  Edmonton, AB (5 silver rating, Mosaic Centre)
  • Norwich City, Norfolk, England (5 bronze rating, Heavenly Gardens)
  • Racine, WI (5 bronze rating, Samuel Myers Park shoreline rehabilitation)
  • Loughborough, Leicestershire, England (5 rating, Forest Road green belt project)

Class of Champions (small)

  •  Sussex, NB (5 silver rating, Discovery Park)
  • Ashcroft, BC (5 bronze rating, glass mosaics)
  • Kinistino, SK (5 bronze rating, Mather Park)
  • Millet, AB (5 bronze rating, volunteerism and community partnerships)
  • Tignish, PE (5 bronze rating, tribute to the veterans of Tignish)
  • Vermilion, AB (5 bronze rating, cenotaph reconstruction)

Class of Champions (medium)

  •  Chalottetown, PE (5 silver rating, working together)
  • Beaumont, AB (5 bronze rating, positive partnerships)
  • Castlegar, BC (5 bronze rating, blooming of spring bulbs)
  • Trail, BC (5 bronze rating, exploring trail on two wheels)

Special Attractions (evaluated, non-competitive)

  •  Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, AB (5 gold rating, mobility program)
  • Jardins de Metis/Reford Gardens, QC (5 gold rating, protection and enhancement of natural and built heritage)
  • Battlefields Park, QC (5 silver rating, redevelopment of Gilmour Hill)
  • Assiniboine Park Conservancy, MB (5 bronze rating, sustainability)
  • International Peace Garden, MB (4 rating, conservatory with cacti and succulent collection)

Circle of Excellence (evaluated, non-competitive)

  •  Goderich, ON (5 gold rating, Goderich waterfront master plan)
  • Brooks, AB (5 silver rating, water conservation in irrigation)
  • Strathcona County, AB (5 silver rating, prairie walk in centre of the park)
  • Calgary, AB (5 bronze rating, Central Memorial Park)
  • Indian Head, SK (5 bronze rating, Pollinator Garden initiatives)
  • Yarmouth, NS (5 bronze rating, helping hands and growing pride)

Circle of Excellence (non-evaluated)

  •  Aylmer, ON
  • Brandon, MB
  • Dauphin, MB
  • Denzil, SK
  • Essex, ON
  • Forestburg, AB
  • Fort Erie, ON
  • Gibbons, AB
  • Granby, QC
  • Kamloops, BC
  • Leduc, AB
  • Minto, ON
  • New Glasgow, NS
  • Olds, AB
  • Oshawa, ON
  • Pugwash, NS
  • Saint John, NB
  • Stratford, ON
  • West Kelowna/Westbank First Nation, BC
  • Westmount, QC
  • Whitby, ON
  • Wood Buffalo, AB

Outstanding Achievement Awards

  •  Trail, BC (Home Hardware Community Involvement Award)
  • Bruderheim, AB (Scotts Community of Gardeners Award)
  • Barrie, ON (CN Urban Forestry Award)
  • Millet, AB (National Capital Commission Floral Displays Award)
  • Castlegar, BC (Home Hardware Beauti-Tone Heritage Conservation Award)
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (Scotts Turf Builder Landscape Award)
  • Lambton Shores, ON (Natura Tidiness Award)
  • Kingsville, ON (Municipal World WinterLife Award)
  • Brandon, MB (Scotts Miracle-Gro Youth Involvement Award)
  • Maple Creek, SK (Butchart Gardens Land Reclamation Award)
  • Stratford, ON (Bees Matter Pollinator Friendly Community Award)
  • Estes Park, CO (Ball International Flower Displays Award)
  • Letterkenny, Ireland (CiB Foundation International Community Involvement Award)
  • Witless Bay, NL (Canadian Nursery and Landscape Association Environmental Action Award)

Held in conjunction with the national awards presentations was the annual symposium on parks and grounds. The event presented an opportunity for elected officials, parks and grounds professionals, and community volunteers to learn and share about current issues, trends and challenges in horticulture and gardening as well as community tourism and projects and environmental awareness.

The Communities in Bloom program, which launched in Canada in 1995, is a program for which participating municipalities are evaluated either provincially or nationally according to eight key criteria: tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape, turf and ground covers, floral displays, and community involvement.

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