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The Beauty of Wood Buffalo: Communities in Bloom and Flower of the Year

Joanne Meredith & Julia Bennett
BY Joanne Meredith & Julia Bennett
(1 Vote)

Wood Buffalo Communities in Bloom is the local chapter of the national Communities in Bloom program. Communities in Bloom is a Canadian not-for-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and through the challenge of a national competition, with a focus on enhancing green spaces in communities. The program promotes the combined involvement and effort by citizens of all ages, the municipal government, local organizations and businesses.

Our local chapter has been active in creating spaces to brighten a range of areas in Wood Buffalo over the years and through all seasons with a variety of programs.

Communities in Bloom Programs

Nominate your Neighbour takes place during the summer and winter seasons, recognizing businesses, organizations and residents for their outstanding effort in storefront and front yard beautification.

BAM! Business Ambush creates attractive storefronts that will not only appeal to prospective customers and clients, but also promotes a positive image of our region. Businesses can apply to the BAM! program to receive a free makeover of their storefront, and get hands-on knowledge on how to maintain plants, or any other seasonal display in a cost and time-efficient way.

Bus Shelter Graphic Wrap Program seeks designs from local artists that showcase the region’s natural beauty and surrounding landscape. Selected designs are transferred onto a vinyl wrap and installed on bus shelters throughout Fort McMurray. The program was initiated by the Communities in Bloom committee in 2014 with the objective to increase local exposure of visual and public art, as well as to enhance the beautification of our urban streetscapes.

Winter Art Contest encourages local high school students to submit their winter art designs for a chance to be featured on street banners throughout Wood Buffalo.

Flower of the Year is selected by the Wood Buffalo Communities in Bloom committee. Flowers are chosen because of their ease of growth, hardiness within our planting zone, or simply because of their beauty. Residents are encouraged to enrich the landscape of our region with the Flower of the Year using seeds provided by Wood Buffalo Communities in Bloom.  The seeds are packed with care by volunteers, and include instructions on plant growth and maintenance. Look for us at various community events to get your free packet of Flower of the Year seeds!


2017 Flower of the Year

This year’s choice for Flower of the Year was selected for a specific reason. Marking the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation, celebrations and ceremonies are planned across the country. We live in a country that has allowed us many freedoms and experiences, and an expression of that is in the poppy. While they can vary in colour, the vibrant red poppy is ingrained within Canadiana. In 1915 during the First World War, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote a poem titled “In Flanders Fields”, depicting fields of poppies during a time of war. The poem is an homage to those who sacrificed their lives for a future they would never experience themselves. As Canadians, we recite ‘In Flanders Field’ and proudly show respect for those who have served and sacrificed for our country by wearing a poppy during times of remembrance. Wood Buffalo Communities in Bloom selected the poppy as our 2017 Flower of the Year to celebrate and remember all that makes us Canadian. Our hope is for the community to embrace this flower and remember all that it means to be Canadian as we see it pop up throughout our community this year.


Visit for more information on Wood Buffalo Communities in Bloom and on how you can get involved!