Trail’s place on the international blooming scene will soon be planted by judges, who may not have to look too far for some of the city’s toughest competition.
For the first time, Castlegar is competing against the Silver City in an international Communities in Bloom competition for a population of under 10,000.
The neighbouring cities are facing off against Pembroke, Ont; Citta di Savigliano, Cueno (Italy); and Sidmouth, Deven (UK).
Two international judges arrive July 18 for a two-day visit that will include a tour of the city’s quaint neighbourhoods, facilities and summer festivities.
“Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter who wins,” said Dan Rodlie, Trail Community in Bloom (CiB) chair.
“Just to be recognized like that brings people in and they know when they come to a town with a full-bloom rating that there are certain standards upheld.”
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 like tidiness, environmental action and floral displays.
A city has to work its way up the ranks – winning in it’s provincial and national categories before it can even be judged at the international level.
The smelting town has come a long way since it first signed up in 2002.
“They’re not just looking at the flowers, they’re looking at what we do to make this city liveable,” added Rodlie’s wife Lana.
“We’re trying to say this is an international city, you want to come here because we have everything.”
CiB is celebrating Trail’s Scottish heritage this year by transforming the Gyro Park walkway into “Avenue of the Clans,” where nearly 30 banners made from tartan patterns of Trail’s Scottish pioneer families are being hung from pathway light posts.
After the first bridge was built in 1912, Scottish immigrants moved across the water to settle downriver in East Trail, which came to be known as “Little Scotland.”
“The judges over the years have always said that we’re missing the boat on our ethnicity, that we’re not promoting it as we should,” said Rodlie. “We are, as they consider, of a European flair.”
Unlike a routinely quiet visit, these judges will be in for a lively treat, which is sure to show off the city’s community spirit.
They will take part in the Avenue of Clans ribbon cutting ceremony just before Music in the Park kicks off at Gyro Park and the entertainment will continue the following day when they indulge in the Trail Market’s sights, sounds and tastes.
Trail’s nearly 50 parks — 105 acres of sports, passive and green space — will eat up much of the city tour.
“The judges like to see that we’re actually using our parks because really we have more parks than Penticton,” laughed Rodlie.
Tours will highlight the continuous work on the White Garden (a recreation of the Sissinghurst Castle Garden in England located at the end of the Esplanade), a new garden at the top of the Glover Road hill that features a rock wall, a new playground in Sunningdale and interpretive signage that explains the significance of Trail’s historical murals.
Though city flowerbeds are missing some abundance in downtown Trail this year, as construction limited planting in front of the Trail Memorial Centre and a few other spots along Victoria Avenue, volunteers are out adding last minute touches of colour.
Residents and business owners are encouraged to jump on board and polish their yards and storefronts.