Communities in Bloom judges run the rule over Orangeville

July 25, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Makayla Pereira

Judges Alex Pearl, from Centerville, Ohio and John Lohuis, from Tillsonburg, Ontario each spent three days touring around Orangeville this week, visiting many remarkable gardens and parks, as well as our downtown core. 

The Town of Orangeville was the winner of the 10,001-30,000 population category in the national Communities in Bloom (CiB) contest in 2018. The town received a Five-Bloom Silver rating and a special mention for the Friendship Gardens at the Headwaters Health Care Centre.

This year, Orangeville is competing in the Communities in Bloom Circle of Excellence, a non-competitive category, to prepare for a future international competition.

The Circle of Excellence is a group of communities that have passed the provincial stage of the competition (the stage in which Orangeville won last year) and now are ready to be assessed in a higher category. If they do well in this category, they can then move on to the national category of excellence.

“This is my first time in Orangeville, as a first impression there’s a lot of nice things here, your residential areas are well manicured, people are taking care of their properties,” said Mr. Pearl. “Your downtown area along Broadway is very lively. It was actually lovely to be pushed around by people and the crowds, which tells me something is happening down here, people are shopping, people are going to use the services that are downtown and the parks we have seen and visited again we’ve seen people using so it’s been a very favourable time.”

Many communities seem to struggle with establishing that downtown core, but in Orangeville the downtown core is well established and usually has a high occupancy rate during the day and evening, Mr. Pearl said. “It tells us people want to be in Orangeville, or come to Orangeville as tourist, whether it is for a day or multiple time periods. There are things to see, do, and enjoy here.”

Although Mr. Lohuis has visited Orangeville in past years, this is his first time visiting as a judge for the Communities in Bloom. Describing his first impressions of Orangeville from a judging perspective, he told the Citizen “I’m personally pleased knowing a little bit about the Headwaters area, and the importance of the Headwaters in this area. 

“Having the Credit River going downstream into Lake Ontario, it’s really important that this community embraces the environment. There is a high degree of environmental awareness here and I think that the Council has got the basis for a lot of new plans that I think will move the community towards understanding how to deal with climate change. It’s real and it is happening.”

The judges also noted that the Town of Orangeville has done a great job monitoring the infrastructure of the many children’s parks around the community. Mr. Pearl and Mr. Lohuis both pointed out how the plan of action for Harvey Curry Park is remarkable and will be inclusive for all children.

The judges will complete their reports on Orangeville regarding many different aspects of their tour. They will also make recommendations and observations regarding everything they have seen. 

Mr. Lohuis says communities who are part of the Communities in Bloom tend to learn from one another, and at the year-end award ceremony they will also have the ability to network with other towns of the same size range, which provides each community with the chance to learn and grow each year.

“The communities generally learn from each other, so when we have the end of year award ceremony, there tends to be a learning exercise, with lots of networking,” Mr. Lohuis said. “When you think about it, Communities in Bloom are aspiring to be something better. It’s about enhancing what they already do. The community will have a better quality of life, and the citizens will feel better about where they live.”

For more information on Communities in Bloom, visit

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