People, Plants & Pride, Growing Together

Communities in Bloom is a non-profit Canadian organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community participation and the challenge of a friendly competition. National beautification programs have flourished in Europe, including England, France and Ireland, for decades, and were the inspiration for Communities in Bloom. It began in 1995 with 29 Canadian communities and has grown to involve over 800 communities.

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 neighbourhoods, 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.

This volunteer-based, non-profit organization is committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community participation and the challenge of national competition. We invite you to explore the program, experience Canadian community pride, and enjoy the benefits of people, plants and pride ... growing together.

The CIB Program

Communities participate with other communities in their population category within their province. Provincial judges evaluate the communities on the six program criteria and award a bloom rating from 1 to 5 blooms (5 being the highest ranking) at a provincial awards ceremony in the fall, where communities receive a certificate with their bloom rating.

Up to two communities in each province will be invited to participate in the following year’s national edition.

Any community is allowed to participate in a non-competitive category either to learn about the program or, if they are past provincial participants or national finalists, to maintain their rating from the previous year.

Evaluation and Bloom Ratings

The Judges’ VisitUseful Information

  • Prepare materials and community profile book that address all criteria in the evaluation form.

  • Make good use of the time that the judges are in your community.

  • The judges’ itinerary should include all of the criteria and be discussed with the judges upon arrival.

  • Provide the judges with the opportunity to interact with key individuals and enjoy their time spent in your community.

  • Give them time to start working on their evaluation form.

  • Let them see that you are proud of your achievements.

Communities are rated from 1 to 5 blooms

National 5 Blooms.png

Up to 55 points: 1 bloom; 55-63 points: 2 blooms; 64-72 points: 3 blooms; 73-81 points: 4 blooms; 82 points and more: 5 blooms

Evaluation Criteria

All municipalities across Canada are judged by dedicated, specially trained volunteer judges based on six criteria which include efforts made by residents, municipal bodies and all forms of businesses. The judges travel across Ontario during the summer and evaluate each location based on these factors:

Floral Displays

Floral displays evaluates efforts of the municipality, businesses, institutions and residents to design, plan, execute, and maintain floral displays of high quality standards. Evaluation includes the design and arrangements of flowers and plants (annuals, perennials, bulbs, ornamental grasses, edible plants, water efficient and pollinator friendly plants) in the context of originality, distribution, location, diversity and balance, colour, and harmony This pertains to flowerbeds, carpet bedding, containers, baskets and window boxes.

Landscaped Areas

Landscape includes planning, design, construction and maintenance of parks and green spaces suitable for the intended use and location on a year-round basis. Elements for evaluation include: native and introduced materials; balance of plants, materials and constructed elements; appropriate integration of hard surfaces and art elements, use of turf and groundcovers. Landscape design should harmonize the interests of all sectors of the community. Standards of execution and maintenance should demonstrate best practices, including quality of naturalization, use of groundcovers and wildflowers along with turf management.

Heritage Conservation

Heritage conservation includes efforts to preserve natural and cultural heritage within the community. Preservation of natural heritage pertains to policies, plans and actions concerning all elements of biodiversity including flora and fauna ecosystems and associated geological structures and formations. Cultural conservation refers to the heritage that helps define the community including the legacy of tangible (built/hard assets) elements such as heritage buildings, monuments, memorials, cemeteries, artifacts, museums and intangible elements such as traditions, customs, festivals and celebrations. The participation of groups such as historical societies and conservation groups are considered.


Tidiness includes an overall tidiness effort by the municipality, businesses, institutions and the residents throughout the community. Elements for evaluation are parks and green spaces, medians, boulevards, sidewalks, streets; municipal, commercial, institutional and residential properties; ditches, road shoulders, vacant lots, signs and buildings; weed control, litter clean-up (including cigarette butts and gum), graffiti prevention/removal and vandalism deterrent programs.

Environmental Action

Environmental action pertains to the impact of human activities on the environment and the subsequent efforts and achievements of the community with respect to: policies, by-laws, programs and best practices for waste reduction and landfill diversion, composting sites, landfill sites, hazardous waste collections, water conservation, energy conservation, and environmental stewardship activities under the guiding principles of sustainable development pertaining to green spaces.

Urban Forestry
& Trails

Urban Forestry and Trails includes the efforts of the municipality, businesses, institutions and residents with regards to written policies, by-laws, standards for tree and trail management (selection, design, signage, planting, and maintenance), long and short-term management plans, tree replacement policies, pollinator friendly tree selection, tree inventory, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), heritage, memorial and commemorative trees. Trail types, signage, risk management policies, accessibility, surfacing and promotion.