From left, Rob Pulyk, Donna Moon, CIB Judge, Jim Baird, CIB Judge Evelyn Alemanni, Shawn Bell, and Craig Brown at the Community Oven as part of the Communities in Bloom Tour on July 24. Photo Angela Mouly
Soaking up community spirit, judges Jim Baird and Evelyn Alemanni, toured Vermilion on July 24, as part of their national Communities In Bloom tour.
This year, Vermilion is in the category of champions with Castlegar, B.C., Trail, B.C., and Millet, A.B. Vermilion’s Communities in Bloom (CIB) committee began in 1999, won a provincial award in 2005, and a national award in 2010.
According to judge, Evelyn Alemanni, the day’s rain was timed perfectly as they were able to complete the downtown walking tour before it began.
“This morning we viewed murals, street improvements, stunning hanging baskets, Lakeland College and the Regional Centre. One thing different about Vermilion was the community oven. I had seen one in Italy that was still being used after 300 years, but I haven’t seen one in other parts of North America. That’s a great project,” said Alemanni.
Judges took note of tree planting, and the Canada 150 Mosaic, as well as many other community improvements.
“It’s not just flowers; we look for environmental awareness, urban forestry, community involvement, heritage projects, general landscaping, floral displays, and tidiness,” said Alemanni.
Alemanni has been volunteering with CIB for 12 years, is a past mayor and obsessed gardener; having won local, state, and national awards for her own garden in Elfin Forest, California. Jim Baird is from Saint John, New Brunswick and his experience as an urban planner helps with judging categories on heritage, environment, and community involvement.
“You will always see different things in each community because they are unique and choose to commemorate different things. It is the story as opposed to just the thing. It is the whole community, not just CIB, or the municipality,” said Jim Baird referring to community members in Vermilion rallying together to complete the community oven.
"As volunteers we enjoy learning what towns are doing, as well as the opportunity to meet people who have a passion for their community and maintain a collaboration between municipality and residents,” said Alemanni.
The results of the national judging competition will be announced at the National Symposium in Ottawa in mid-September. For more information, you can visit www.communitiesinbloom.ca.