YARMOUTH - Communities in Bloom judges visited Yarmouth last month to tabulate observations for the town’s entry in the annual Communities in Bloom competition.
Yarmouth has competed in the event for close to a decade.
The non-profit organization is committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with a focus on enhancing green spaces in communities.
Susan Ellis is a graduate of the universities of Guelph, Western and Waterloo. She has enjoyed a multifaceted career as an educator, professional marketing and advertising consultant, and municipal manager of economic development, recreation and tourism. She is also an award-winning creative director and copywriter of several marketing campaigns.
Ellis was in Yarmouth six years ago and says it has “changed profoundly” since then.
“It’s really uplifting to hear how the community came together to help change the perspective of where they were and where they wanted to be,” she said. “It’s totally what Communities in Bloom is as well.”
She referred to the work that‘s been done along Main Street as “lovely and iconic.”
“You’ve done a really great job of creating a place where people want to linger,” she said.
With regard to areas needing improvement, she stressed the importance of looking at the overall site plan development for the entire town and paying specific attention to industrial areas.
“Make sure constraints are there so that landscaping takes place as well so that the whole community kind of flows from one area to the next,” she said. “The residential areas are absolutely gorgeous.”
Tina Liu has practised landscape architecture for over 20 years in a diverse range of high-profile projects in Canada and overseas. As the design manager of the Capital Floral Program, she leads the design of flower bulbs in spring, annual floral display in summer and fall, and perennial bed designs based on the NCC Capital Floral Vision.
Liu referred to Yarmouth as a “five-star town.”
“The committee and the town are doing everything right. We have suggestions for improvement but not many,” she said.
The most impressive aspect of her visit, she said, was how welcoming and inviting the community is.
“The façade program that you have is awesome. When you drive along Main Street the colour adds so much character to the town. The signage is so authentic and not overwhelming,” she said.
During her debriefing with the Yarmouth CIB committee she suggested developing a birds-eye view master plan of parks, the trail grid and other attractions, showing them linked together.
Winners of the 2018 competition will be announced during the 2018 CIB award ceremony in Strathcona County, Alberta, Sept. 26-29.
The Town of Yarmouth will host the 2019 national CIB symposium Sept. 24-29 of next year. Close to 250 delegates from Canada and the U.S. are expected to attend.
“You’re ready,” Ellis said. “Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
More about Communities in Bloom in Yarmouth
Yarmouth’s CIB committee has been chaired by several since its inception close to a decade ago: Esther Dares, the late Ken Langille, Yarmouth town councillor Sandy Dennis and, most recently, councillor Wade Cleveland.
Here’s a list of CIB awards Yarmouth has received over the years:
2017 - 5 leaves - bronze in the Canada 150 Category, with recognition for the Downtown Core Streetscape
2016 – 5 blooms - bronze in the Circle of Excellence Category, with recognition for Helping Hands & Growing Pride
2015 – 5 blooms - bronze in the Circle of Excellence Category, with recognition of Streetscape Upgrades on Hawthorn Street
2014 – National Winner in the 5,001-9,000 population category, with recognition of Mayor’s All Hands on Deck Initiative
2012 – 5 blooms in the 6,501-10,000 population category, with recognition for the Art Gallery’s Innovative Programs
2013 – 5 blooms in the 5,001-10,000 population category and the Canadian Nursery and Landscape Association Environmental Action award
2011 – 5 blooms in the 7,501-10,000 population category, with recognition of the 250th Anniversary Celebration as a Community
2010 – 5 blooms in the 3,001-7,500 population category, with recognition for Reverence for Heritage
2009 – 4 blooms in the 5,001-8,000 population category, with recognition for Blooms by the Sea