Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stop and smell the flowers: Calgary's Centre City beautified

***This post is courtesy of The City's blog, which features everything Centre City related.

Danielle Zadunayski has noticed it more than once: a tour bus pulling up in Calgary’s Centre City giving its riders a chance to stop and smell the flowers.

“They roll right up and you can tell, they are so taken by the beauty of it all, the vibrancy the flowers bring,” says Danielle, horticulture supervisor for Parks’ Centre City team. “It’s truly rewarding.”

It takes a team of over 100 people, seven days a week, to create and maintain the Centre City’s summer flower baskets, beds and displays. This year’s theme is Hot Summer in the City and showcases red, orange and yellow blooms punctuated with hits of blue and purple foliage.

The Parks’ Centre City team has planted and nurtured over 400 flower baskets, beds and displays this summer. Lining streets, sidewalks and parks from 10th Street SW to the East Village, the vibrancy can be felt throughout the Centre City. And with Parks celebrating its 100th anniversary, the excitement is palpable - even for the team that put it together.

“We saw such an amazing energy from so many different divisions in Parks,” says Maggi McIvor,Parks construction manager. “Everyone was contributing ideas and supporting this significant milestone in our city’s history. When it was time to plant, we had staff from all areas rolling up their sleeves and creating a beautiful experience for Calgarians and their visitors.”

Parks’ flower basket and display program is a big piece of an even bigger plan: The Centre City Plan. Approved by Council in 2007, it sets out to strengthen our Centre City, including parks and public spaces through programs like this.

“It comes back to the Broken Windows Theory,” says Lorna Wallace, Centre City Implementation project manager. “When a space is cared for, people notice and, in turn, they also care for the area. What we’ve seen happening in the Centre City over the past few years is residents, visitors and business owners taking pride in the core. They are inspired and they are planting flowers, they are using litter bins and they are keeping an eye on our neighbourhoods. This is good news since the Centre City is the heart of our community.”

It’s exactly how Danielle hopes Calgarians will react to her team’s hard work, “I want them to feel a sense of pride in their city and when they see the amount of effort we put in here – that they do the same in their own backyard and their communities.”

So as the Stampede rolls into its final days, you can bet on a few more tour buses making their way to the Centre City. And the blooms will be here, ready to inspire them, and continuing to inspire Calgarians to make the Centre City and their homes, a livable, caring and thriving place.

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