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August 8, 2006
Toronto is ready for the flower power challenge: Communities in Bloom judges arrive this week
Mayor David Miller’s Clean and Beautiful City action plan is about to take centre stage as Toronto prepares to welcome judges from the nation-wide Communities in Bloom competition. Scheduled to arrive in the city on Thursday, August 10, the judges will spend two days listening to presentations, talking to staff, officials and community representatives, and touring a number of the City’s parks, gardens and horticultural features.

Last year, the City’s beautification efforts paid off when Toronto was awarded the prestigious five bloom rating in the non-competitive category of the annual Communities in Bloom program. With this achievement in hand, this year, for the first time since amalgamation, the City has entered into the competitive category of the program.

“Since the Clean and Beautiful City initiative began, Toronto has undergone an amazing transformation, thanks to the efforts of staff, residents, community organizations and the private sector,” said Mayor David Miller. “I look forward to welcoming the Communities in Bloom judges and I’m confident we are up for the challenge of the competitive category.”

Communities in Bloom is a non-profit Canadian organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community participation and the challenge of friendly competition. The judges will evaluate Toronto according to eight criteria: tidiness; environmental awareness; community involvement; natural and cultural heritage conservation; tree/urban forest management; landscaped areas; floral displays; and turf and ground covers. Toronto will be competing with other municipalities from around the world.

The City’s submission to the Communities in Bloom competition is led by Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, which has been making notable progress in the implementation of its 15-year strategic plan, adopted by Council in 2004. The plan, called Our Common Grounds, places renewed emphasis on the importance and value of City parks and open spaces.

“I am particularly proud of our parks staff whose talent and efforts have impressed and inspired residents, community groups and private sector organizations to contribute to the beautification of our city,” said Brenda Librecz, General Manager of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation. “The incredible work of our parks staff is in full bloom throughout the city. Highlights include the breath-taking displays along University Avenue, Front Street, and in Nathan Phillips Square. These innovative floral displays are sure to impress the judges.”

Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation produces over one million plants and flowers in its greenhouses annually. Last summer, parks staff created 28 new and innovative horticultural displays, cleaned up and beautified 48 ‘orphan spaces,’ increased grass cutting in parks, and worked with new enforcement officers to control litter in parks.

This year, building on 2005 efforts, parks staff has implemented a new horticulture program called, Taking the Gardens to the Neighbourhood Parks. Through this new initiative, parks staff identified eight to 10 projects in each ward for horticultural upgrades, which included planting new trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs and creating new ‘hard-scapes,’ by adding rocks and irrigation systems. An additional 11 sites have been added to the orphan spaces program this year.

Staff from divisions across the City, including Solid Waste Management, Transportation Services, and Toronto Water have contributed significantly to the City’s Clean and Beautiful City initiative and its readiness to enter into the competitive category of the Communities in Bloom competition.

“This initiative has served to galvanize City staff, residents, and our community and private sector partners,” said Mayor Miller. “I am incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish by working together.”

About Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation
In addition to being responsible for the stewardship of more than 8,000 hectares of green space and 1,505 named parks, Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation provides a wide range of programs and services for people of all ages and abilities. The Division strives to ensure all Torontonians enjoy active, healthy lifestyles and a high quality of life, supported by leisure and recreation programs, services and facilities, provided in partnership with the community. For more information, visit

Media contact:

Parks, Forestry and Recreation Media Hotline



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