The Town of Orangeville is the winner of the 10,001-30,000 population category in the national Communities in Bloom (CiB) contest. The Town of Orangeville achieved a Five-Bloom Silver rating and a special mention for the Friendship Gardens at the Headwaters Health Care Centre, as announced September 29 at the National/International Symposium and Awards Ceremonies in Strathcona County, Alberta. The Town competed in the finals with Leamington, Ontario and Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland.

Judges travelled to participating communities over the summer to evaluate the overall contributions of municipal council and departments, industry, businesses and the private sector, including volunteer efforts, in regards to the following criteria; tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays.

Following their evaluation, judges Susan Ellis and Tina Liu wrote: “The creation of the Friendship Gardens was the idea of a group of volunteers called Friends of Headwaters and was initiated in 1997. Having raised money to buy equipment and a critical care unit for the hospital, the group looked at the beautiful new facility and saw the barren landscape outside. Eight spectacular gardens now surround the hospital, providing horticultural therapy for all patients, staff and visitors. The gardens are well kept and maintained, and are a wonderful example for any community health centre that wishes to provide a holistic, thoughtful, and therapeutic setting for healing.”

Communities in Bloom has been a passion of Orangeville’s committee chair Ted Zarudny who has experience as a national and international judge. “It was quite a surprise to win the nationals especially after such a short time being involved,” Mr. Zarudny says. “It is a tribute to the hard work of the Town, the volunteer groups and service clubs, and the citizens. Winning will allow us to decide what category we could compete in in 2019, such as class of champions, international etc.” He adds that being national winners is a boost for the Town’s tourism, business and residents.

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 the enhancement of green spaces.

For a complete list of results, visit communitiesinbloom.ca