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Saturday July 22, 2017, 8:30 am

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Leamington gearing up for CIB
By Bryan Jessop

Gardening enthusiasts on Queens Hill Crescent must favour perennials, as the results of their efforts have returned year after year.

Leamington Communities In Bloom chairperson Charlie Wright revealed Thursday, June 22 that the urban street was selected as this year’s Best Blooming Street, a title it has earned in the Tomato Capital for the third time since 2004. Queen’s Hill, located south of Ellison Avenue and west of Sherk Street, took the same honours in 2004 and 2005. For 2015, the urban title went to Coronation Avenue while the rural award was earned by Mersea Road 7. A rural winner was not selected for 2016.

Each year, the local CIB committee, led by Wright, accepts nominations from property owners living across Leamington. The committee of 10 — directed by Wright for the past four years — also reviews recommendations for Most Fabulous Garden Display, awarded twice per month over the past two years. Nominations can be e-mailed to

Wright explained that for any particular road to rally several of its homeowners into beautifying their properties for Best Blooming Street consideration isn’t usually a daunting task.

“It’s infectious,” he said. “When one neighbour creates something beautiful, the others don’t want to be left out. This (Queens Line Crescent) is one of the nicest streets the Municipality of Leamington has had for both landscape and floral.”

For the 2017 Communities In Bloom competition, Leamington will advance from the provincial level it has entered over the past three years to the national stage. Two national CIB judges, one hailing from Alberta and the other from Quebec, will arrive in Leamington Tuesday, July 18. The duo, both armed with more than 10 years of CIB judging experience, will tour its attractions and points of interest until Thursday, July 20.

The tour will begin with a July 18 reception at the Leamington Municipal Marina to showcase the region’s waterfront area. For the most part, the judges will be led on a ‘field trip’ by Wright and other local CIB cohorts from north to south starting at the farm of Bob McCracken near Staples, home of Essex County’s last sawmill. Other stops will include components of Leamington’s greenhouse industry, pollution plant, Seacliff Energy, the Leamington Arts Centre, The Big Tomato and The Bank Theatre and Meeting Place. Point Pelee National Park, Mersea Park, the Gallery Restaurant and Seacliff Park will also be featured in the tour’s ‘to do’ list.

For each of its CIB entries at the provincial level, Leamington earned the maximum allowable five blooms. The national competition is marked on the same criteria as provincial and international judging, including landscape, floral display, urban forestry, heritage conservation, environmental action and tidiness.

“They want to see what residents, businesses and the municipality does,” Wright explained. “They’ll be looking for community involvement and volunteerism. It’s a very involved process that’s not just about what the town does. Luckily, we have a very active volunteer group in this community.”

For its first shot at nationwide recognition, Leamington will be competing against the likes of Dorval, Que., Cobourg, Ont., Mission, B.C. and nearby Amherstburg in the 20,000 to 50,000 population category.

“It’s a fun thing to do and a nice pat on the back for those who work so hard,” said Wright. “There’s a lot of time, effort and thought that goes into it, but it’s always been very rewarding.”



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