The Program

Communities in Bloom promotes involvement and action by citizens of all ages, the municipal government, local organizations and businesses. The program strives to improve the tidiness, appearance and visual appeal of Canada's neighborhoods, parks, open spaces and streets through the imaginative use of flowers, plants and trees. A focus on environmental awareness and preservation of heritage and culture is also an integral part of its success resulting in an improved quality of life.

Provincial Edition

Communities participate with other communities in their population category within their province. Provincial judges evaluate the communities on the evaluation criteria and award a certificate with a rating of 1 to 5 Blooms (5 being the highest ranking) at a Provincial Awards Ceremony in the fall.

The 5 Bloom communities of each population category in each province are invited to participate in the following year's National competition. A community cannot participate in both the national and provincial edition in the same year.

-Process For Participation-

Receiving Information

Communities interested in participating in the program will receive:

Local Committee

The committee is usually comprised of local citizens, including one member of municipal council and members of associations, businesses and organizations interested in horticulture, heritage and improving community life. The committee's objectives are:

  • To involve the community by means of local contests. Local contests increase awareness of the beautification program and its opportunities and benefits to the community, environment and quality of life.

  • To act as liaison with the municipal authorities

  • To create sub-committees to help with various projects within the judging criteria


While participation in the program does not require considerable financial resources, obtaining funds to promote the program, involve the community, honour the participants and volunteers, attend the award ceremonies, etc are recommended. It is suggested that you:

  • Prepare an estimated budget

  • Choose the most important activities or projects to be carried out, based on the budget available

  • Find other sources of funding, if necessary (i.e. fundraising programs - dances, BBQ's)

Fundraising Merchandise and Products

CLICK HERE for the Merchandise Page
Merchandise consisting of T-shirts, canvas bags, lapel pins, and caps etc. are offered to communities at a cost that allows them to sell it to citizens and realize a profit for the organizing committee.

Program Commitment

The participating communities have a responsibility to:

  • Involve the entire community with the support of town council

  • Prepare for the judging which takes place in July or August

  • Provide lodging for 2 nights or 2 ½ days, for 2 judges (billeting is acceptable)

  • Provide transportation for the judges, in all case(s) for the National Edition and in some cases for the Provincial Editions, to and from the nearest airport

  • Attend the Provincial and/or National Awards Ceremonies

  • Pay a registration fee, based on the following categories and level of competition


The judging dates are established in February for the National Edition and in May for the Provincial Edition.

Provincially, the judges, who travel mostly by car, arrive by noon and stay two nights.
Nationally, where the judges travel mostly by air, the general schedule is that the judges arrive on the day prior to the official evaluation date and depart the next morning following the evaluation.

Judges must have the opportunity to visit most of the municipality and meet with those involved in the community. An information form (supplied by CIB) is to be completed along with documents from the community providing the judges with information on various programs and projects related to the evaluation.

The judges require 4 hours of uninterrupted private time to compile the results in the Grid.

Convenient and appropriate standards (meaning no extravagancies) for welcoming the judges are suggested in order to keep it simple and focused on the achievements of the community. For example, hold the awards for the local contests or volunteer appreciation ceremony while the judges are there to honor the volunteers rather than honor the judges.

The Judges' Visit - How to Score Points

  • Know the scoring grid.

  • Prepare materials for the judges that address all criteria in the scoring grid.

  • First impressions count, particularly in a contest like Communities in Bloom.

  • Make good use of the time that the judges are in our community, If you error do so on the side of over scheduling.

  • The itinerary of judges' activities should take into account all of the categories on the scoring grid.

  • Provide the judges with the opportunity to interact with key individuals in each of the categories on the scoring grid.

  • Be flexible

  • If possible schedule a short wrap-up meeting with the judges as close to the end of the program as possible.

  • Have Fun!!!

— NOTE: Two weeks prior, schedule & supportive materials will be sent to the judges —
1 - The schedule
2 - Packet of supportive materials that covers all or as many of the criteria as possible.

Awards Ceremonies

The Provincial Awards Ceremonies are held from late August to mid October. They will include presentations and awards to all participants along with the comments from the judges.


Throughout the year Communities in Bloom is promoted at numerous trade and consumer shows. The CIB Ontario Committee issues press releases prior to and during the evaluation and after the awards ceremonies.

In order for this to be utilized to its fullest potential and to ensure the press release reaches the appropriate people, each municipality is asked to provide the CIB Ontario Committee with a list of their local media contacts.

The Importance of a Good Photograph

Every Picture Tells a Story - We encourage all communities to take the best quality photos they can. After all, it is these photos that will be used to showcase your community on CIB posters, the website, in flyers and handouts and at the Awards Ceremony. Help us show your best to the rest of the world! Some Helpful Hints:

  • Think of the 6 criteria when taking a picture and try to capture a shot depicting each one - Environmental Action, Heritage Conservation, Tidiness, Urban Forestry and Trails, Landscape & Floral Displays.

  • Think of photos showing the benefits, pride in community, tourism, and involvement from people of all ages, before and after shots.

  • Think of the lighting conditions, shadows, etc.

  • Get creative and have fun!

  • Consider the possibility of employing a professional photographer or get your local newspaper photographer. Some may even be willing to do the job at cost or donate some of their time in exchange for a mention of "Photography Courtesy of..."

  • Remember that every picture really does tell a story - make sure yours is a great one!

Specs for Photography

Your quality photographs are appreciated and may be utilized for Communities in Bloom promotional material. For Communities in Bloom posters, flyers, ads and internet promotion purposes please send photographs in the following formats:
High resolution digital file (300 DPI jpeg) minimum size 4" x 6". This format will produce a digital file that is about 2 megabytes in size (per photo). Your camera should be set on "Best Quality" for the sharpest photos. That means the camera will take fewer shots for the memory but the photo will be a higher resolution shot.