Delegates arriving in Yarmouth this fall for the national Communities in Bloom (CIB) symposium may be surprised by the climate, say members of the local hosting committee.
Last year, Dave Sollows was among the contingent from Yarmouth that travelled to Strathcona County, Alberta, for the 2018 symposium. The group wanted to get an idea of what to expect when it was their turn.
“Things were blooming here in Yarmouth last fall when we left; the floral displays were covered in snow in Edmonton,” said Sollows.
The planning committee is in full stride for this year’s event, which is scheduled for Sept. 25-28. Securing funding to assist with the program is part of the work.
The Town of Yarmouth has committed $60,000 to the event and the municipalities of Yarmouth and Argyle are being asked for $10,000 each.
Sollows says this is the first time CIB has allowed a small town to hold the symposium, which will see between 200 and 300 visiting the area.
“We’re excited about the opportunity. It brings people from not only across Canada but also people from the U.S. and a number of European countries,” said Sollows.
“We’re encouraging them to come early and stay late. It’s an opportunity to promote our area in a way we often don’t get.”
CIB, a 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.
Communities are visited by trained judges who evaluate the community in various categories. Sollows says those kinds of reviews provide valuable information.
“It’s the kind of thing where, if you wanted to know how things were going in your municipality, you might hire a paid consultant,” he said.
Participants receive a written report highlighting positives and recommendations for improvements.
During the symposium there will be workshops and site visits, many in Yarmouth municipality.
Site stops will include the Cape Forchu lighthouse, Wedgeport walking trail, Port Maitland Beach and Acadian Village.
Mile East Productions has been engaged as an overall planner by the planning committee.
“We’re essentially a volunteer committee,” said Sollows.
“With something of this magnitude, we wanted to make sure there is someone who can oversee the fine-tuning and make sure that all of our guests have an experience that will leave them with really warm memories and a sense that this is a place they’ll want to come back to.”
Here’s a list of CIB awards Yarmouth has received over the years:
2018 - Urban Forestry Award – Outstanding Achievement.
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.