Arthur Meighen Gardens at Festival Theatre, Stratford - Photo by: Terry Manzo
The Communities in Bloom Provincial Symposium, Building Winning Communities, was organized by Stratford's CIB committee in consultation with the CIB Ontario President and BOD, and was held at the Arden Park Hotel September 16 & 17, 2016.
The symposium drew 65 delegates from 27 Ontario municipalities along with 20 companions. The symposium included tours, a keynote, 2 panels, 2 receptions, lunch and the Annual CIB Awards ceremony with a Silent Auction of goods donated by attendees and local businesses. In addition, there was a companions program entitled Companion Capers.
The keynote, The Stratford Story, demonstrated Stratford's journey from a founding partner of Communities in Bloom in 1995 to becoming the Inaugural winner of the Circle of Excellence in 2013, and how participation in Communities in Bloom has given Stratford citizens an opportunity to display their history, and showcase their devotion and dedication to the environment.
The symposium program included a tour of Stratford's most popular gardens entitled Floral Fantasies lead by Quin Malott (Parks and Forestry Manager) and Mike Mathews (Stratford District Horticultural Society) that visited Stratford Festival Arthur Meighen Gardens, Shakespearean Gardens, and Confederation Park. A second tour of the Designated Heritage District presented the Stratford Business Improvement Association's initiatives around way-finding, restoration and beautification projects, tidiness, handling graffiti and consistent signage, with visits to City Hall, Perth County Court House and a 150 year old Greek Revival Artist's Cottage.
Two panels offered delegates a chance to learn and experience "lessons from the field". Getting to Gold - What Judges Want to Hear, Do and See was a panel of judges discussing best practises in hosting the judges' visit. Showing your community to its best advantage; creating a successful Profile Book; planning, polishing and scheduling for judges visit. Beautification by Public Art panel of artists and Gallery Stratford curator, Angela Brayham explored the world of public art - enjoyment for all seasons; why is public art important and best practises and policies needed for success.
The symposium was highly successful. The programming and organization were highly rated by attendees, and the volunteer assistance of many CIB committee members as well as representatives from our sponsors and city departments made it a most memorable community supported event. The symposium sponsors were the City of Stratford, the Stratford Tourism Alliance, Stratford Art Gallery, The Festival, Museum and the Queens Inn.