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Pride Grows With Communities In Bloom
by News Canada
August 24, 2003

A record number of Canadian communities will celebrate their participation in Communities in Bloom with pride this year when representatives of more than 450 municipalities trek to Stratford, Ontario for the ninth annual Communities in Bloom National Awards program.

"Communities in Bloom celebrates the best every community has to offer," says Raymond Carriere, founder and president. "When people take pride in their environment and become involved in its appearance, maintenance and development, they will enrich the quality of their own lives and those of their neighbours as well."

Founded in 1995, Communities in Bloom is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification. Inspired by similar programs in England, France and Ireland, Communities in Bloom engages like-sized towns and cities to compete for "Bloom Ratings" based on eight key criteria: tidiness, environmental awareness, community involvement, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas, floral displays and turf and groundcover areas.

"Communities In Bloom has evolved as an organization because of the tremendous support, initiative and input from the communities themselves," adds Carriere. "The stewardship of the elected officials, the support of municipal staff and the involvement of volunteers has contributed immeasurably to the quality of life in participating communities throughout Canada."

Parents, kids and grandparents join businesses, institutions and municipal representatives to beautify their communities and strengthen their sense of neighbourhood by planting trees, flowers and shrubs, cleaning up green spaces, landscaping and creating floral displays. Partnerships with government agencies such as the Department of National Defense focus on developing education programs that promote sustainable landscape management practices.

This year, Scotts Canada grew their founding sponsorship support to become the Official Lawn and Garden sponsor, while Home Hardware became the Official National Retailer for Communities in Bloom. Tree Canada Foundation supports the best practices in urban forestry segment, while Glad is the Clean for Green program partner. Participating municipalities also have the benefit of showcasing their efforts to improve tourism with the support of the Canadian Tourism Commission. Tours Chanteclerc, Travelinx and all work to support walking tours and gardens showcases that draw visitors and revenue for Canadian communities.

Stratford's theme this fall will be Dramatically Different, fitting for a city renowned for the Stratford Festival and many popular, classic stage productions. Stratford native Lloyd Robertson will act as master of ceremonies for this year's awards program, and celebrated Celtic singer Loreena McKennitt, who has adopted the picturesque town as her home, will entertain.

To learn more about Communities in Bloom or the Winter Lights program, visit

- News Canada


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