What is Communities in Bloom?
People, Plants and Pride...Growing Together
Communities that look successful are most likely to be successful. Whether a community's specific goals are to increase tourism, generate new economic development or simply to build civic pride, the appearance presented to citizens and to others is a key factor in achieving those goals. The Communities in Bloom program inspires communities to enhance and sustain the visual appeal of neighbourhoods, public spaces, parks and streetscapes through the imaginative use of regionally-appropriate plants and landscaping with attention to environmental stewardship and to preserve heritage and cultural assets. An integral component of this very popular program is the friendly competition between communities, engaging citizens of all ages, service groups, businesses and associations in a public-spirited effort to succeed and be recognized.
For first time participants the goal is to learn how to maximize their community’s assets, and for the experienced, reaching the 4 and 5-bloom rating level provides the impetus for further recognition and success. At our Annual Awards event, each community receives an evaluation report that provides a benchmark of accomplishment and a bloom rating that is promoted as a symbol of excellence within the province, across Canada and to the rest of the world. All ‘in Bloom’ communities participating in the Provincial Edition or competing in the National Finals are winners for connecting and engaging their commUnity pride.
Many communities have realized their full potential because of the CiB program and it is because of our ability to directly view and talk to local stakeholders that this program offers unique benefits that no other organization can offer. Destination BC supports involvement in CiB when developing a community tourism program and BC CiB is working with the BC Garden Tourism Coalition group to develop a new tourism sector.
We invite communities of all sizes and from every region of the province to participate in the BC Communities in Bloom program and to benefit from the many environmental, social and economic results.
National beautification initiatives have flourished in Europe for decades and it was from those successful programs that Communities in Bloom took its inspiration. Beginning in Canada in 1995 with 29 Canadian communities, the national Communities in Bloom program has grown to encompass hundreds of jurisdictions across the country with most provinces hosting regional editions. Since 1997, BC has hosted its own Provincial Edition and in 2005, structured as a registered not-for-profit society: British Columbia Communities in Bloom (BC CiB) to administrate the program within this province.
BC Communities in Bloom is an organization of dedicated volunteer judges who provide their expertise through an evaluation process that is conducted every summer to help participants measure their community’s livability. Each year over 30 communities in British Columbia participate in the ‘in Bloom’ program that involves thousands of volunteers; on average these CiB action groups contribute over $10,000 worth of time and in-kind donations to many meaningful projects within their hometowns. Provincially, over ½ million residents benefit from the impact of these volunteer driven initiatives. More than 100 BC communities have participated since its inception, and over 60 since 2005, when the BC CiB Society formed to administrate the provincial edition.
This dynamic program inspires participants to enhance the visual appeal of their streetscapes, neighbourhoods, public spaces and to preserve heritage and cultural assets. It stimulates civic pride and encourages tidiness, beautification and environmental initiatives throughout the area. Using the collaborative power of local government, business, service clubs and citizens, it is this ‘Growing Together’ that enhances a community’s livability. It encourages a ‘transformation’ process that can impact social, environmental and economic aspects of the community.
In annual surveys of our participants, Beautification is listed as the top improvement, with Tidiness a close second. Other benefits noted were Property Values and Green spaces, with Lifestyle, Environmental, Tourism and Safety rounding out the list of valued improvements.