As we prepare to launch the 25th edition of Communities in Bloom, we would like to congratulate the National Capital Commission (NCC), which is celebrating an important milestone in its history. In fact, 2019 marks the 120th anniversaryof the NCC and its predecessors — 120 years of achievements in building a dynamic capital that is a source of pride for Canadians and a legacy for generations to come.
In 1899, urban planning was introduced in the Capital with the creation of the Ottawa Improvement Commission. What initially constituted modest efforts at improvement, over the years, became a complex activity involving planning, development and conservation.
Today, the NCC owns and manages about 11 percent of the lands in Canada’s Capital Region, including Gatineau Park, the Greenbelt, the Rideau Canal Skateway, urban parks, pathways, scenic parkways, heritage buildings and properties, agricultural and research facilities, commemorative monuments, and six official residences. It is also the official gardener of Canada’s Capital, responsible for designing flower beds and planting close to a million tulips in the Ottawa–Gatineau region.
With its 120 years of experience, the NCC adds unique value to the Capital Region by fulfilling three specific roles: long-term planner of federal lands, principal steward of nationally significant public places, and creative partner committed to excellence in development and conservation.
The NCC encourages creativity and innovation in all that it does. This means building strong relationships with people and organizations in the Capital Region and across the country, including the regional municipalities and Indigenous communities.
It is in this spirit that the NCC became involved as a founding partner in Communities in Bloom, and, today, it remains one of our primary partner organizations after 25 years of commitment and contribution. It supported the creation of the program, and organized the first national awards ceremonies in 1995 on Parliament Hill. Since then, the NCC has been on the jury each year, offering a gift of 5,000 tulip bulbs to the city hosting the national symposium, and providing the unique trophies awarded to the winners: a piece of red granite from Confederation Boulevard, extracted from the Canadian Shield in Quebec, and adorned with a pewter maple leaf.
Congratulations to the NCC for its excellent work over the past 120 years in planning, stewardship, and protecting and enhancing nature in the National Capital Region.