The Communities in Bloom judges toured Merrickville-Wolford last week to evaluate the Village for the national competition. The judges, Lorna McIlroy of Grand Prairie, Alberta and Géatan Deschênes of Montreal, Quebec, arrived on Tuesday afternoon and were welcomed with a meet and greet at the Baldachin Inn on Tuesday evening, organized by the Merrickville-Wolford in Bloom committee. The evening served as an excellent introduction to the community, with a beautifully produced video about the municipality, created by local videographer, Clayton McKinnon.
The tour on Wednesday started bright and early, with breakfast at the Sidecar Café with Mayor David Nash and Deputy Mayor Anne Barr, who gave a brief overview of the municipal structure of the Village to the judges. The morning consisted of a tour of Merrickville, which included the locks, blockhouse, ruins, Merrickville United Arts Centre, St Lawrence Street and the businesses along it, the community garden and part of the trails system. In the afternoon, the judges toured Wolford, checking out Eastons Corners, Maitland Dairy Farm, Chatterfield Farm and Jasper. The group then boarded a Le Boat for a trip down the canal back to the locks. They also took in the migratory bird sanctuary, the municipal office, fire department, health centre and, finally, the Merrickville Midweek Market. It was a jam-packed day, full of small town hospitality, showing the judges what makes Merrickville-Wolford an incredible place to live. “The tour went amazingly,” says Merrickville-Wolford in Bloom Chair Chris Scullino. “[The judges] didn’t want to leave Merrickville.”
The Merrickville-Wolford in Bloom Committee are very excited to see the judges’ results, which will be announced in Strathcona County, Alberta, at the Symposium and Awards Ceremonies from September 26 to 29, 2018. Both Chris and his Vice-Chair Sean O’Meara plan on attending the symposium and are very hopeful that they will claim the top prize and be eligible to enter the international competition next year. “I’m very proud of the team we have,” Chris says. “The community really came together and had a blast.”