Trail Communities in Bloom representative headed for awards ceremony

Bill Garnett of Columbia Valley Greenhouses will attend the Ottawa award ceremony and he sees a win in sight.

A long-time blooming volunteer is getting ready to represent the City of Trail at this month’s Communities in Bloom awards ceremony.

Bill Garnett, owner of Columbia Garden Greenhouses, will attend the event scheduled for Wednesday to Saturday in Ottawa on behalf of Trail Community in Bloom chair Dan Rodlie and his wife Lana. Last year he attended the event alongside the Rodlies, which was fitting since the city was recognized as best floral city in Canada.

“I’m just glad that the city got behind Communities in Bloom in the very beginning and has supported (Trail) Community in Bloom all through these years,” said Garnett.

“Without the support of the city council, we just wouldn’t be able to do it.”

Trail has kept its standards high for over a decade, scoring the maximum five-bloom rating for 10 of the 11 years it’s competed in the competition that invites judges into communities to rate criteria.

The city welcomed two judges in July to critique it on categories such as environmental action, heritage, community involvement and tidiness in an international Communities in Bloom competition for a population of under 10,000. Though the city was going up against some communities across the world, it was also challenging its neighbour, Castlegar.

There’s a win in sight, according to Garnett who has always held high expectations of Trail.

“Trail has been treated poorly through the news/media about being a smoky city, one that couldn’t grow anything and being a greenhouse owner I was going to show them yes we can grow beautiful flowers here and make our city very nice,” he said.

Garnett was among the volunteers who started the program in Trail over 10 years ago and has dreamed up themes to flower beds ever since. He puts about 450 hours of work a year into beautifying the city, plus donates some flowers.

Lana is pleased to see a volunteer of Garnett’s calibre take charge.

“I think it’s nice to have Bill go because he’s done so much for the community and I think he can represent us really well and he’ll learn lots at the symposium,” she said.

Garnett will find out how Trail fared at the event, at which time recommendations on how the city can compete next will also be shared.

The city’s involvement next year could look different, according to Rodlie.

“With all this construction happening in Trail (along Victoria Street) and it’s not going to be finished next year either . . . we have to decide whether we want to wait and just maintain what we got so we can get a firm grip on where we can plant because there are areas that we used to plant that we may not be able to plant anymore,” he said.

That said, the local organization would still move forward with beautification projects but just wouldn’t be judged.

Trail included in Via Rail’s Garden Route

Garden tourists may choose to stop into Trail now that the city is noted online as a must-see on a website that maps out floral destinations.

Via Rail Canada presents Canada’s Garden Route (, coined the most comprehensive listing of Canadian gardens and garden experiences, now includes Trail.

“The City of Trail maintains 54 parks and green spaces including a number of show gardens – all helping to win last year’s Communities in Bloom national Outstanding Achievement Award for Florals. Come and see how a once dirty smelter town has cleaned up its act thanks to a heavy dose of community pride,” it’s noted.