4 Blooms For Thorsby

On October 11, 2012, members of Thorsby’s Communities in Bloom (CiB) along with Village Council and Administration and others welcomed National and International members of CiB on the “Flower Power” tour—one of four “Movable Feast” tours offered to the CiB delegates to the 2012 National Symposium and Awards Ceremonies in Edmonton and area.
 The “Flower Power” tour first stopped at the 190-acre University of Alberta Devonian Botanic Garden featuring the renowned Kurimoto Japanese Garden, indoor show houses and 80 acres of cultivated areas, as well as ecological preserves and natural hiking trails. Delegates then bussed to Thorsby where they toured the brand new water treatment plant and had a peek at the amazing Thorsby Network of Trails—a grassroots, volunteer designed and developed, network of single-track hiking trails meandering along Weed Creek and the Town of Thorsby. Delegates were treated to a special Ukrainian dinner before  heading to their last stop—a tour of one of the most advanced, fuel-efficient coal-fired facilities in Canada—the Genesee Mine and Power Plant.
 As a side bar, the “Classic Alberta” tour option showcased three local communities: Millet, the City of Leduc, and Beaumont—all three competed at the National CiB level this year. 
 This tour is showcased in Dominique Vrolyk’s in-depth report, “CIB Symposium and Art Work” found at:
http://www.pipestoneflyer.com/Article.asp?id=2413 in our online edition.
 On Friday, Thorsby CiB members Barry Rasch, Fred Purdie, Reg McDougall, Rosemarie Zurek, and Tracy Musson attended the 2012 CiB Alberta Provincial Awards Ceremony held at the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert. The group toured the facility, enjoyed complimentary refreshments before the award ceremony.
 CiB Canada Founding President Raymond Curriere spoke to the group and offered the following advice to municipalities interested in CiB:  “First, get everyone involved; second, remember that little things add up; finally, when everybody shares we see results.” In 1995, Curriere established CiB in Canada with the guidance of Britain in Bloom, Tidy Towns of Ireland, and Villes et Villages Fleuris de France. 
 Mark Cullen, the best selling author and garden guru media personality, was on hand representing Home Hardware, a CiB sponsor. Corporate sponsor Encana, which provides community grants for approved CiB projects, also received kudos for their generous support from Dan Chambers, the CiB Provincial Coordinator with Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA). Chambers announced the 2013 Awards Ceremony would be held in Drayton Valley.
 At last, the moment arrives when participating communities in Alberta’s Provincial Edition of the CiB Program are acknowledged.
 Thorsby was conferred a respectable four blooms out of five in the Population 501-2,000 category and received special recognition for its four beautiful flower towers that accommodate 130 plant plugs each. The judges noted the towers, “catch one’s eye as soon as you arrive in Thorsby.” The flower towers were designed by Thorsby CiB Chair and Mayor Barry Rasch. They “exemplify the spirit of the Thorsby community," said the judges.
 Judges also spoke positively of Thorsby volunteers, "They dream big and then they access all available funding and all available expertise. They are not afraid of hard work and they find an ingenious way to achieve those dreams and still stay within their budget.”
 Regarding the red Lily village signature plant choice, the judges suggested if the choice was not experiencing success that perhaps the following plants would support the “Thor” in Thorsby: Thunderchild Flowering Crabapple; Sempervivum tectorum (commonly known as Thor’s beard,  Common Houseleek, or Hen and Chicks); or the less common Knautia macedonica (‘Thunder and Lightning’ featuring deep magenta blossoms with variegated light green leaves with a cream edge.). The category winner was Bon Accord which received special recognition for its cemetery restoration.
 Following the provincial awards ceremony, many of the Alberta provincial delegates attended the National CiB Community Showcase slideshow and Dinner.
 The host Edmonton Capital Region CiB communities will each receive tulip bulbs, much to the delight of Rasch. He has just the spot in mind—eventually the tulips will bloom in the flower bed at the north entrance sign.

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