Communities in Bloom

Communities in Bloom judges tour Amherstburg

 

By Jolene Perron

 

For the second straight year, Amherstburg made the list of qualifying towns for Communities in Bloom with national judges touring the community for three days.

From Sunday through Tuesday, Lorna McIlroy from Alberta and Normand Fleury from Quebec stayed at The Bondy House and saw a number of key areas in Amherstburg.

Communities in Bloom judges Normand Fleury and Lorna McIlroy were in town Monday and Tuesday with one of the stops being Holiday Beach Conservation Area. Top row (from left): Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society president Dr. Allan Halowski, Councillor Leo Meloche, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, CAO John Miceli, Paulette Drouillard and Maxine Iler of the Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society, tourism co-ordinator Jen Ibrahim. Bottom row (from left): manager of parks Annette Zahaluk, ERCA director of conservation services Kevin Money, Fleury, McIlroy, Councillor Diane Pouget, director of public works and engineering Antonietta Giofu and manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota.

Communities in Bloom judges Normand Fleury and Lorna McIlroy were in town Monday and Tuesday with one of the stops being Holiday Beach Conservation Area. Top row (from left): Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society president Dr. Allan Halowski, Councillor Leo Meloche, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, CAO John Miceli, Paulette Drouillard and Maxine Iler of the Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society, tourism co-ordinator Jen Ibrahim. Bottom row (from left): manager of parks Annette Zahaluk, ERCA director of conservation services Kevin Money, Fleury, McIlroy, Councillor Diane Pouget, director of public works and engineering Antonietta Giofu and manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota.

“We’re excited to be here,” said McIlroy. “This is a beautiful, beautiful community and we have met so many people who are proud of their community and they’re volunteering and making it a better place. We look at tidiness, we look at environmental awareness, we look at heritage conservation and we look at the urban forestry, the trees, we look at the floral displays and the landscape, and through it all the community involvement.”

“It’s not only dealing with flowers but much more,” added Fleury. “It’s about how the cities are involved. It’s much more than just horticulture.”

Communities in Bloom judge Normand Fleury (left) chats with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo on the judges tour of Amherstburg July 17.

Communities in Bloom judge Normand Fleury (left) chats with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo on the judges tour of Amherstburg July 17.

McIlroy, who has been a judge with Communities in Bloom for 13 years, said this year is particularly special because the six cities she is visiting are all ones she has never seen before. Fleury on the other hand is experiencing his first year as a judge.

“It’s very exciting again,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. “I think most people know, we did quite well last year, but did not take first place, but that’s OK. We lost to Niagara On The Lake, so we’re here doing it again and I hope we take the first prize this year. It is another nice opportunity, that is one of my jobs, selling the town and for this particular event it’s not selling it to have them move here, but just to show all of the amenities and attributes that make us the Town of Amherstburg and a great place to be.”

Communities in Bloom judge Lorna McIlroy takes a photo from atop the hawk tower at Holiday Beach Conservation Area.

Communities in Bloom judge Lorna McIlroy takes a photo at Holiday Beach Conservation Area.

Some of the stops on their tour included the historic Belle Vue site, the old Duffy’s site where the judges learned about the town’s plans to reconstruct the area, Fort Malden National Historic Site, Walker Aggregates, Holiday Beach and much more.

Amherstburg’s manager of tourism and culture, Anne Rota, said she along with the other residents of the town are incredibly thrilled to have the judges in attendance, and it shows.

“They seem to be very impressed,” said Rota. “It’s a team effort, and last night we walked along the Dalhousie street and we noticed that even the residents have really put their best foot forward and come out on top, the town looks amazing and I think we have a lot to offer. I think Amherstburg might just be very fortunate in their efforts to take home the gold this year.”

Communities in Bloom judges coming to town July 16-18

By Jolene Perron

 

A fun, candid, be caught wearing your Canada 150 t-shirt contest has been issued to Amherstburg residents.
From July 16-18, Communities in Bloom judges will be touring Amherstburg, which has made the list of Ontario’s 2017 National Finalists.

According to their website, “Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with focus on enhancing green spaces in communities.”

“We’ve participated in two previous years, this is our second time in the national competition for communities in bloom,” explained Amherstburg’s Tourism Coordinator, Jennifer Ibrahim. “They’ll be assessing our community based on several aspects. It’s just not about the flowers, its about how progressive your town is, it’s about your community engagements which is why I think this is so fun and appropriate. It’s about environment, it’s about having food infrastructure, it is about having nice flowers too, but it’s about so much more than that. “

The 2017 Communities in Bloom committee members in Amherstburg include Dr. Allan Halowski, president of the Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society, horticultural society members Marilyn Cadotte and Maxine Iler, Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce representative Janet Willoughby, tourism co-ordinator Jennifer Ibrahim, manager of parks, green spaces and naturalized areas Annette Zahaluk and Anne Rota, manager of tourism and culture.

Communities in Bloom logo

Over those three days when judges Lorna McIlroy from Alberta and Normand Fleury from Quebec will be in town, photographers will be out in the community snapping candid photos of anyone wearing their Canada 150 t-shirts. The winning community participant will have their photo published in the July 26 edition of the River Town Times. It will be up to all participants to make sure they look at the newspaper, and if they see their photo, to bring the paper in to the River Town Times office at 67 Richmond Street to claim their prize pack. The prize pack will include two tickets to an upcoming event at Caesars Windsor, as well as two tickets to the Tavern at the Fort VIP event Aug. 5 at Fort Malden National Historic Site. The event will feature a meet and greet, preluded by the Battle of Point Pelee re-enactment which is taking place on the Detroit River on the south side of the Fort Malden property featuring Tall Ship Appledore V at 7:30 p.m.

Canada 150 t-shirt are available at The Gordon House or The Village Shoppe.

Amherstburg takes second place and bronze level rating in Communities in Bloom nationals

 

Special to the RTT

The Town of Amherstburg has placed second in the National Communities in Bloom (CIB) Awards with a bronze level rating.

Amherstburg rated marginally behind first place Niagara–on–the–Lake who scored a silver level in the 9,001 to 25,000 population category.

There are four levels of evaluation (5 bloom, bronze, silver or gold) that are exclusive to the national and international edition depending on scores in the following criteria – tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays.

Communities in Bloom judges Sylvie Cormier and Colleen Stockford were joined by council members and administration during a tour of Amherstburg during the summer. The results were revealed last week with Amherstburg winning second in the 9,001-25,000 population category.

Communities in Bloom judges Sylvie Cormier and Colleen Stockford were joined by council members and administration during a tour of Amherstburg during the summer. The results were revealed last week with Amherstburg winning second in the 9,001-25,000 population category.

Following their evaluation of Amherstburg, Judges Sylvie Cormier and Colleen Stockford wrote: “Holiday Beach and Big Creek Conservation Area earn a mention for their modern facilities and eco-environmental building with a green roof and solar panels. The entire conservation area offers a richness of diverse vegetation and landscape remembering the environment that includes animals and a significant bird sanctuary. With the actual context of climate changes and environment concerns, communities such as Amherstburg can be proud of their efforts, which provide real and meaningful environmental solutions that benefit all of society.”

“We received very useful feedback from the judges. I believe we put our best foot forward and having come so close right behind Niagara-on-the-Lake in the National category says something about Amherstburg’s potential for the future. It was a win-win program all around,” says Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Amherstburg showcased for Communities in Bloom national judges

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg was on display for the national Communities in Bloom judges late last week and now the town awaits to see how it did.

Sylvie Cormier from Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec and Colleen Stockford from Sussex, New Brunswick were in Amherstburg last Thursday through Saturday taking a look at the town and seeing what it has to offer. They were given a look at Boblo last Thursday but the main tour was by trolley all-day Friday with stops including the Libro Centre, the Walker Aggregates quarry, Holiday Beach Conservation Area, the Canadian Coast Guard base, Fort Malden National Historic Site with lunch being in the middle of that tour at the Park House Museum.

Communities in Bloom judges Sylvie Cormier and Colleen Stockford were joined by council members and administration during a tour of Amherstburg last Friday. One of the stops was Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.

Communities in Bloom judges Sylvie Cormier and Colleen Stockford were joined by council members and administration during a tour of Amherstburg last Friday. One of the stops was Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.

The Saturday portion of the tour included a walk through Navy Yard Park led by parks manager Annette Zahaluk and historian Robert Honor.

“It’s fabulous,” Stockford said after Friday’s tour. “It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been knowledgeable but fun as well.”

Cormier said she was impressed by not only what she saw, but who she met as well.

“The people have been so kind and nice,” said Cormier. “They are proud of their city and community as well. I am very impressed.”

Stockford stated they were happy with the agenda items on the tour, but the surprises they received along the way as well. Those surprises included each of the judges getting to fire a musket while at Fort Malden.

Those who live in the area may take for granted some of the amenities Amherstburg has, added Stockford, but the town has qualities which stand out to visitors.

“You are luck to have what you have here,” she said.

Cormier pointed out the many volunteers the town has and those volunteers helped ensure the judges had a great visit.

“It takes a lot of people to put this on,” noted Stockford. “They made us feel a part of it.”

Judge Sylvie Cormier fires a musket at Fort Malden.

Judge Sylvie Cormier fires a musket at Fort Malden.

Judge Colleen Stockford fires a musket at Fort Malden.

Judge Colleen Stockford fires a musket at Fort Malden.

Amherstburg was their final stop on a two-week judging trip. Also included as part of their journey were the other towns Amherstburg is competing against in the 9,001-25,000 population category. Those include Bois-des-Filion, Quebec, South Huron, Ontario and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

The judges were impressed not only with the beauty of the town but some of the technology and industry they saw. Town officials hope that translates into success when the judges reveal their verdict at a Communities in Bloom conference in Regina Oct. 27-29.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo believed the tour of the town went well.

“We got some positive feedback from the judges,” said DiCarlo. “I think we showed them a lot of things they don’t see in other municipalities.”

While Amherstburg has a lot of natural beauty, that is something many other municipalities can boast as well with DiCarlo noting the judges were looking for more than that. He said the community involvement in Amherstburg is a big plus for the town.

“Hopefully it’s something (the judges) are taking away with them,” he said. “I think stuff like that sets us apart from other municipalities. We see it, bring it and live it.”

Seeing volunteers and community members engaged in Amherstburg “is just unbelievable to some people,” added DiCarlo, “so hopefully we showcased that today.”

Judges Colleen Stockford and Sylvie Cormier stand at the CiB floral display in Navy Yard Park with parks manager Annette Zahaluk.

Judges Colleen Stockford and Sylvie Cormier stand at the CiB floral display in Navy Yard Park with parks manager Annette Zahaluk.

Manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota and visitor information manager along with numerous members of council and administration accompanied the judges on Friday’s tour. Rota said the town appreciates the co-operation it got for the Communities in Bloom tour.

“We were very fortunate that businesses and organizations like Diageo, the quarry, the Coast Guard and others opened their doors to the judges so that we could not only share our beautiful gardens but highlight and show our industrial partners,” said Rota. “The residents got on board and it shows how much Amherstburg cares about its own community. We could not do this without our partners and residents on board. It was a huge team effort.”

Win or lose, the town had a good three days with the judges, Rota believed.

“I think Amherstburg put its best foot forward,” she said. “We think the judges were left with a good impression of Amherstburg but either way, the town looks amazing.”

Amherstburg was awarded five blooms, the highest ranking possible, in last year’s provincial competition.

Town gearing up for visit from national Communities in Bloom judges

 

By Ron Giofu

 

After the town of Amherstburg received the highest rating of “five blooms” in last year’s provincial Communities in Bloom (CiB) competition, the hope is that the feat can be repeated in this year’s national event.

Amherstburg will be competing against three other municipalities in the 9,001-25,000 population category in an attempt to see which town stacks up the best. Competing municipalities include one from Quebec – Bois-des-Filion – and two from Ontario – South Huron and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Amherstburg has drawn comparisons to Niagara-on-the-Lake in the past and manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota said having them as one of Amherstburg’s competitors will be a challenge.

“Competing against Niagara-on-the-Lake does put a lot of pressure on us but we think that all of Amherstburg’s amenities and beauty are just as important as Niagara-on-the-Lake,” said Rota.

The judges come to Amherstburg July 28-30 with the main days of judging being July 29-30. Rota said the contest is far more than just about flowers and beauty, with judging categories including tidiness, urban forestry, environmental action, landscape, heritage conservation as well as floral displays.

With it being a national competition, Rota said they will be showing judges about the global presence that exists in Amherstburg through the “world class businesses” that have located here.

A flower bed in the Navy Yard Park is ready for the Communities in Bloom judges.

A flower bed in the Navy Yard Park is ready for the Communities in Bloom judges.

The Friday tour includes stops at the Libro Centre, the Walker Aggregates Quarry, Holiday Beach Conservation Area, the Park House Museum, the Canadian Coast Guard base, the south gateway water settling pond, Diageo and Fort Malden National Historic Site. The Saturday tour includes a tour of King’s Navy Yard Park, the peace sculpture and the Battle of Lake Erie monument.

“The pride, sense of community and feeling of accomplishment generated through participation are visible in communities that participate in CiB. These benefits make it a program where everyone wins,” said Rota.

Rota added that participants can benefit financially from the program through community tourism initiatives, business opportunities for the entire community, and other related projects. A valuable information exchange network allows communities to share accomplishments, best practices and projects.

All participants are showcased on the Communities in Bloom website through the “Explore our Communities” section, with a description page and a link to their respective community website. The Communities in Bloom magazine, published twice a year, also features participants and program results, as well as articles and educational content.

The town also had to prepare a community profile book to submit to the judges in advance. For residents to view the community profile book, they can visit http://www.amherstburg.ca/Event/Details/cibnational2016.

Rota also stated the town has submitted two applications for outstanding achievement awards with one being in the “Winter Life” category and the other being for its floral displays.

“I have a feeling we have a pretty good chance in at least one of those two categories for sure,” said Rota.

The judges are from Quebec and New Brunswick.

“It’s very nice to have an outsider critique our community and give us some feedback,” said Rota.

The town puts a lot of effort into the Communities in Bloom submission and appreciates the effort residents and businesses do sprucing up their own properties.

“We are very appreciative of the support we get from the entire community for this program,” she said.