In the first meeting of Communities in Bloom committee since the visit of two judges, the members expressed their satisfaction and pride with the performance.
Communities in Bloom, Canadian non-profit organization, awards participating cities from one to five blooms and either awards bronze, silver or gold rating. This year’s theme was “The year of the Garden.” This year’s judges were Martin Quinn of Ontario and Anthony O’Neill from B.C.
The committee discussed how everyone including staff, residents and businesses stepped up to show to the judges the best of the city. To make sure the judges get the best, they were given an airplane ride over the city and taken by Clr. Kungl in her convertible.
Councillor Ann-Marie Kungl of Ward 3 said that one of the judges loved the lakeshore drive and was “impressed with the gardens around the military side.”
But only having great gardens does not assure a good rating. The city also needs to showcase the accomplishments of the whole community including environmental efforts and representation.
In 2019 when the evaluation was done, Barrie received 5-Blooms – silver rating so only a notch below the top rating. The city received a special mention for the Tall Trees Park Forestry Education Initiative. Due to the COVID pandemic, it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021.
To make judges familiar with integration of vegetables into the public garden beds, Kungl brought a “women and children shelter cookbook to show examples of the integration of food and food security,” an initiative she has been involved in.
Committee chairperson Karl Bagnell said the airplane ride must have given “a tremendous different view of the city” to the judges. He, who moved to Barrie from Toronto said that he was not aware of Barrie’s beautiful gardens and tree canopy as always drove past the city.
The city asked staff, citizens, businesses to step up to put up the best show by tidying up, showing creativity, respecting the environment, inviting participation from youth and local schools.
“Made me proud. I was very impressed. And I was like, Yeah, this is our city. This is what happened here. Yeah,” Kungl said about the judges’ visit.