There are Eight Criteria
In July and August, trained volunteer judges travel to participating communities to evaluate the overall contributions of municipal council and departments; industry; businesses and the private sector – including volunteer efforts – in regards to the following eight criteria:
1. Tidiness. Elements for evaluation are green spaces (parks, etc.), medians, boulevards, sidewalks, streets, municipal, commercial, institutional and residential properties, ditches, road shoulders, vacant lots and buildings and signage, with regard to weeds, maintenance and repair, graffiti and vandalism.
2. Environmental Action. Includes efforts and achievement with respect to policies, by-laws and best practices, 3-Rinitiatives (reduce/reuse/recycle), waste reduction, landfill sites, hazardous waste collections, water conservation, naturalization, environmental stewardship activities, and environmentally friendly transportation, under the guiding principles of sustainable development.
3. Heritage Conservation. In this criteria, priority is given to natural heritage, as well as the integration of landscape and streetscapes as it pertains to the built heritage of a community. Overall preservation of traditions and customs through year-round festivals and celebrations, events and parades, heritage foods and the arts, as well as the participation of groups such as the Historical Society, are also considered.
4. Urban Foresty. Includes the efforts made with regards to written policies, by-laws, standards for tree management (selection, planting, and maintenance), long and short-term management plans, tree replacement policies, tree inventory, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), heritage, memorial and commemorative trees.
5. Landscape. Supports all efforts that create an environment showcasing the overall surroundings. The overall plan and design must be suitable for the intended use and location on a year-round basis. Elements for evaluation include: native and introduced materials; balance of plants, materials and constructed elements; appropriate integration of hard surfaces and art elements, use of turf and groundcovers.
6. Turf & Groundcovers. Included in the Landscape section of the evaluation form, “Turf & Groundcovers” relates to turf management programs, maintenance, policies, standards and best practices, as well as to quality and use of turf and groundcovers in all sectors of the community.
7. Floral Displays. Evaluates the efforts made by all sectors of the community to design, plan, execute, and maintain floral displays of high quiality standards. Evaluation includes the design and arrangements of flowers and plants in the context of originality, distribution, location, diversity and balance, colour, and harmony. This pertains to flowerbeds, carpet bedding, containers, baskets and window boxes, etc.
8. Community Involvement. It doesn’t happen without you! Community Involvement includes public and citizen involvement in various community programs and projects, recognition of volunteers, and support toward community initiatives by the municipal, business and private sector.