Town of Minto wins national Communities in Bloom award on Oct. 3

Residents here have proven they are tops when it comes to caring about the community.

Minto took to the national stage on Oct. 3, with a first place win in the national Com­munities in Bloom (CIB) contest at the group’s 15th anniversary National Symposium and Awards ceremony held at Can­ada’s Wonderland in Vaughan.

Minto won in the 8,001 to 10,000 population category.

The award itself was made from granite, originating from the Canadian Shield and was sponsored in part by the Na­tional Capital Commission in Ottawa.

In attendance to receive the award was Louise Bexton, the group’s administrator, assistant Deborah Byers, Treasurer Gordon Duff and Clerk-Administrator Marsha Paley.

Special mention was given to the town’s trail linkages, which received a rating of five blooms.

The town is described as an amalgamation of four communities that has worked hard to create a single identity for the new municipality while allowing each community to retain its individuality.

A feature that helps attain that is the ongoing development of an extensive system of trails throughout Minto, linking all of the communities while allowing access to a number of unique natural areas. Ac­cord­ing to the judges, the well linked trail system is yet another reason why Minto lives up to its motto of “Where your family belongs.” 

Mayor David Anderson said, “This national award was possible through the achievements of all of the town’s dedicated volunteers, staff, community leaders and residents who take pride in our community. By working together we have created a unique system of trails to support a healthy lifestyle and which offers opportunities to enjoy nature while connecting Minto together.”

As one of ten national award winners, Minto shared the spotlight with other municipalities in Ontario including the Township of King and the City of Dryden, as well as CFB Petawawa for the Canadian Forces CIB program.

Goderich won in the small communities category in the International Challenge. 

Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental re­spon­sibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with a focus on the promotion of green spaces in urban settings.

As members were welcomed to the Oct. 7 council meeting, Anderson said be­cause of the great announcement, he would let Bexton and the local Community in Bloom committee share it with those in attendance.

“I’m sure some of you have heard by now,” Bexton said, “We won!”

The announcement was followed by a round of applause and then Bexton read comments from the judges.

“Minto, where you family belongs. This motto is the guide by which the Town of Minto has been working on to create a cohesive community from the amalgamation of three towns within a rural municipality.”

She then described the work done to create a sense of place.

“The residents … told us that they attribute their success in part to the Communities in Bloom, as it is a program which addresses eight categories upon which a community is built.

“The Town … has developed a vision statement, and statement of core values. These values are the touchstone of the actions being taken.

“One contribution of the CIB is to have a single colour theme throughout the municipality and launch of town-wide competitions.”

She also noted the trail system will soon physically link all three communities.

“The lifestyle in Minto is marketable as a tourist destination with its trails, locally-grown farm produce, unique natural heritage, festivals and recreation opportunities, local artisans and beautiful visitor accommodation.

“We loved the great Minto tree hunt.”

Bexton said the town’s mark was 863.5 out of 1,000. The community profile now is on the group’s website.

Bexton said at the event, their group all looked at each other in amazement when Minto was announced as the winner.

“It was a really great mo­ment,” she said, thanking everyone. “I could go on and on, but I won’t.”

In the list of challenges, Bexton noted there were a number of areas where those challenges were met with a “well done” by the judges.

“We’re fortunate to have a progressive and open-minded council,” she added.

Anderson said, “It’s incredible what the town’s been able to achieve in such a very short time. It’s attributed to the whole town working together.”

He’s heard comments from people not from the area commenting how beautiful the area is looking because of the flowers and gardens.

“Even the residents, have commented on how the area has pulled together. We’re very proud.”