The City of Trail – and countless hours of hard work by volunteers who gild the town year-round – received very high accolades by winning the Garden Community Destination Award at the North American Garden Tourism Conference.
The three-day special event was held in Victoria last week, providing a stage for garden and garden tourism experts from all over North America and the world.
“It is very exciting for our small town to be recognized for its gardens, and wonderful for the Community in Bloom volunteers who put thousands of hours every year into beautifying the city,” says Rachael Brown.
“It’s amazing to come to a convention with people from around the world, and meet people who have heard about Trail and have seen some of the photos we have taken of our gardens.”
Brown, from C & S Contracting, is the lead gardener for Trail Community in Bloom (CiB). She was on hand to receive the distinguished award alongside Connie Smith, a very dedicated Trail CiB volunteer.
“This has been a very eye-opening convention,” Brown told the Times shortly after the Tuesday award ceremony.
“We have gotten to meet with many organizations, like Gardens BC, that wants to use gardens or anything else that our municipality has to offer, to bring more tourism to the area,” she shared.
“It would be wonderful to see more people fall in love with our town the way that we have.”
The Canadian Garden Tourism Awards are presented to organizations and individuals who have distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of garden experiences as tourism attractions and motivators.
“This recent award is a very prestigious one, in that the city has been recognized by this organization without application or participation on our part,” says Coun. Carol Dobie.
“This of course, came as a complete surprise to (Trail) CIB,” she said.
“In the past few months Trail has won the CIB Tidiness Award, as well as honorary mention for our White Garden, received recognition at UBCM, and now this award.”
All of this is a result of the hard working and dedicated volunteers who have logged over 2,000 hours in the past 12 months, Dobie said.
“They not only plant and maintain the beds, but they attend our meetings, design our gardens and order the necessary plants, water, remove graffiti throughout the city, and also do highway clean-up. I just can’t say enough about the work that our volunteers do,” she added.
“They have made such a significant contribution to the beautification of our city and put us on the world map in terms of gardening.”
Those interested in getting involved with volunteering, or for gardeners who have a vision of something they’d like to do, Brown encourages them to contact Trail CiB by email at email@example.com.
The awards are supported by the Canadian Garden Council, the American Public Garden Association, the Mexican Association of Botanical Gardens, and sponsored by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association.
The year’s theme was fittingly titled, “Taking Garden Tourism to the Next Level.”
“Gardens not only have a significant economic impact,” the council states. “But also enhance the tourist experience of a destination, while providing positive social and health benefits. “
Over 25 million people travel annually in North America to see gardens, and the global market of garden visitors exceeds 250 million, says the Canadian Garden Council.
Destination British Columbia estimates the value of garden tourism in B.C exceeds $300 million annually, and the latest research in the UK show that garden tourism generates almost £3 billion of economic impact.