Edmonton earned top honours at the 2009 Communities in Bloom national awards Oct. 3 in Vaughan, Ontario.
Edmonton won the national title among large municipalities as one of Canada’s most beautiful and livable communities by taking first place in the Cities Over 300,000 Population category. National judges gave Edmonton the highest rating possible – 5 blooms out of 5 – allowing the City to finish ahead of London, Ontario, and Halifax Regional Municipality.
“This recognition reflects what Edmontonians have always known,” said Councillor Kim Krushell. “Edmonton is a beautiful community, and we are always growing. Our participation in Communities in Bloom is just one of many ways that Edmontonians are working to be the most livable community in Canada.”
“This year really shows that Edmontonians want our city to come alive,” said Lucy Chang, President of the Edmonton Horticultural Society. “Drought conditions mean different expectations, but we still work to make Edmonton beautiful.”
National Communities in Bloom awards are presented to more than 100 municipalities each year. Communities are evaluated for tidiness, environmental responsibility, community involvement, natural and cultural heritage, trees, landscaped areas, flowers, and turfs.
Two national judges toured Edmonton at the beginning of August 2009. The judges gave Edmonton special recognition for the “Front Yards in Bloom” program, which received 1056 nominations in 2009. During their visit, judges presented Front Yards in Bloom awards to a packed house at City Hall.
Judges toured Edmonton’s extensive parklands, Louise McKinney Park, Muttart Conservatory, John Fry Park, the world-renowned Edmonton Waste Management Centre, and other sites highlighting Edmonton’s blend of community, heritage, art, parks, plants, and trees.
Judges also met with residents, businesses, and civic officials to learn about Edmonton’s vibrant community leagues and the City’s Capital City Clean Up program to eliminate litter and graffiti.
Judges were particularly impressed with Edmonton’s commitment to environmental responsibility. Edmonton was one of three finalists for the Waste Management Environmental Awareness Award, with the City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario winning taking first place.
Edmonton’s involvement in Communities in Bloom has prompted several beautification programs including the “Ride the Wave” petunia barrels, Front Yards in Bloom, and naturalization plantings.