Bruderheim presents progress to CiB judges
Bruderheim’s blossoms, community spirit, and budding economy were on full display for this year’s Communities in Blooms (CiB) national competition tour.
The town is squaring off against six other small towns in the 1,001 to 4,500 population category and will be judged on general tidiness, environmental action, heritage and cultural preservation and promotion, town landscaping, urban forest, and floral displays.
Retired biologist from Gatineau, Q.C., Louise Dumouchel and ex-librarian and master gardener Lucy Chang from Ottawa stayed two nights at the town’s new hotel and carried out a full tour of the town’s facilities, businesses, and gardens on July 27.
“Bruderheim has certainly gotten bigger and it’s more exciting and there is a lot going on. There is new construction, changing of the LED street lights, getting help from the big business corporations who surround Bruderheim, and this new Studio 6 Hotel that the town never had before — yes, that’s progress,” said Chang, who was familiar with the town as she previously lived in Edmonton.
“I would say it’s a nice place to bring up a family.”
The judges’ itinerary was packed as they visited the fire hall, the Karol Maschmeyer Arena, the interpretive centre natural area, the community hall, the public works yard, campground and ag site, the West Woodlands and Sunset neighbourhoods, the old town site, the cemetery, Bruderheim Community Church, the Lutheran Church, Walker School, the Bruderheim Pharmacy, and Queen’s Park.
Despite Bruderheim’s humble population of 1,300, Dumouchel was impressed with everything the town is able to offer residents and visitors.
People, plants and pride
Greeting the CiB reps at the arena’s Hometown Heroes Room, Dennis and Arlan Maschmeyer detailed how all of their grand kids learned to skate and play hockey at the arena and eight of them went on to play university hockey or better.
“When I thought about having to explain the history of the arena and this room, I wondered how it fits with Communities in Bloom because I thought it’s all about flowers but these are our flowers that are blooming, the youth of our community,” said Dennis as he looked around at the jerseys of his grandchildren.
Presenting green lawns, a healthy mix of trees, luscious vegetable and flower gardens, a few residents’ gardens were also highlighted during the day. Regardless of having her corn knocked over by high winds just three days prior, which she had to prop back up, Sue Bottorff proudly showed judges her plot of raspberries, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, peas, beans, potatoes as well as her hanging baskets filled with petunias, lobelias, impatiens, and geraniums.
“I’m thrilled. I think my garden is just ordinary but maybe it’s not. So I’m pleased (to show the judges),” said Bottorff, adding she’s invested seven years into her garden, “I find (gardening) very relaxing.”
After viewing the neat rows of dill, Saskatoons, corn, peas, carrots, beets, onions, cucumbers, swish char, and raspberries at Dick and Sue Johnson’s garden, both judges agreed local residents took pride in their work.
“It all contributes towards the embellishment of the whole town,” Dumouchel.
The town’s cultural potential can increase by seeking grants and manpower (volunteers) to organize artifacts and archives in the town’s museum at the old Walker School as well as conduct research of the town’s graveyard to develop a ‘people’s history’, advised Chang.
“We have seen other cultural heritage museums and the potential here is quite high with what we’ve seen at the school. I think a Historical Society group would need a leader, somebody who has the momentum to generate ideas and move forward. Surely, it does take time and funding, but you have all of the ingredients to make it a special attraction for Bruderheim in the future,” noted Dumouchel.
Taking part in the CiB competition both at the provincial and national levels for the last 15 years, the town is able to reflect upon the positive aspects and revisit projects they can tweak or change.
“Communities in Bloom is all about creating a safe and vibrant community to visit and to reside in. It’s a program that gives you some things to think about and reflect on and make changes that everyone would want,” said Sherry Cote, Bruderheim’s director of legal and legislative services.
Such changes made in the last year include the installment of bike racks, increasing community involvement with Canada’s 150 celebrations, expanding the community garden, and an on-going beautification along the main street with flower pots in front of businesses. Those pots will bloom throughout the summer and then switch to fall and winter motifs as the seasons progress.
On the eco-friendly front, the town switched hanging flower baskets to street banners along Main Street as well as switching from a flower bed display at the entrance to Highway 45 to a coloured wood chip design for Canada’s 150. Both projects save staff time as well, making them more economical for the town.
“I’m passionate about the program because I really believe in it,” noted Cote.
Mayor Karl Hauch caught up with the judges on the tail end of the judges’ tour of Walker School, the new Bruderheim Pharmacy, and Queen’s Park. Having seen value from being involved with CiB, Hauch noted he’s looking forward to the judges’ report and recommendations.
The full results, including how many blooms the town earned or if it will receive any special honours, will be announced during the CiB awards ceremonies on Sept. 15 and 16 in Ottawa-Gatineau. Last year, the town received five blooms as well as a national achievement award for community gardens.
Bruderheim will be competing against Hanna, Alta., Indian Head, Sask., Paint-Petronille, Que., Souris, P.E.I., Windsor, N.S., and Witless Bay, NL.