And the Winners of Great Places in Canada 2015 are …

OTTAWA, Nov. 4, 2015 /CNW/ - Three new Great Places have joined the alumni of Great Places in Canada, the annual contest that awards the title of Great Street, Great Neighbourhood and Great Public Space to a nominated place in each category.  The winners of People's Choice, awarded to the place in each category which received the most number of public votes during the voting period, have also been revealed. 

There were 29 nominations in the contest's 5th year and the Great Places in Canada jury, consisting of seven professional planners, had the challenging job of determining the winners from such a deserving and diverse pool of nominations.  

Ultimately, the jury locked in their decisions, and the winners have been announced as part of CIP's celebration of World Town Planning Day 2015, November 4-6.

Grand Prize Winners

 

Great Street

Broadway – Orangeville, Ontario

Great Neighbourhood

West End – Vancouver, British Columbia

Great Public Space

Stuart Park – Kelowna, British Columbia

 

In addition, a first-ever Honourable Mention went to Grizzly Plaza, in Revelstoke, BC, under the Great Public Space Category.

Amid a flurry of social media and online voting which ended on September 24, the People's Choice winners are:

 

Great Street

Broadway – Orangeville, Ontario

Great Neighbourhood

Historic Downtown Amherstburg – Amherstburg, Ontario

Great Public Space

Labatt Memorial Park – London, Ontario

 

Each of the three newly designated Great Places will receive a stainless steel plaque to recognize the win.  The nominators of all winning places will receive prize packages with gifts from our generous sponsors, VIA Rail Canada and Roots Canada. 

A double winner in the Great Street category, Broadway received both the peoples' vote and the jury's.  "To be great, a street must be a destination in its own right.  Broadway fits the bill as an inviting place at the heart of Orangeville," says Ben Petch MCIP, RPP, contest juror. "Historic buildings, contextual redevelopment, and attention to the pedestrian experience combine in a unique place enjoyed daily by shoppers, workers and visitors alike.  Institutional uses anchor the street and give it purpose, while restaurants, landscaping, and patios enable people to enjoy the space and enliven the street with activity.  Festivals and events regularly invite people to experience the street, and contribute to Broadway's dynamic character.  The jury was impressed by the central role Broadway plays in the community, along with the heritage character and streetscape design."

Great Neighbourhood winner, the West End in Vancouver, was chosen because of a collaboration of many factors. Juror Jaspal Marwah MCIP, RPP states that "the West End makes it easy, safe and inviting for residents to walk and bike to work, to access thriving local businesses and to explore Vancouver's beaches, trails and Stanley Park. Transit access, traffic calming, street furniture, treed promenades, pocket parks and public spaces reflect a thoughtful approach to place-making. Home to the city's LGBTQ community, the West End's density is evenly matched by its diversity of residents, and by a strong commitment to creating an inclusive community that prioritizes affordable housing."

Kevin King MCIP, RPP, gives his jury statement for Stuart Park, winner of Great Public Space. "Stuart Park bridges the re-emergence of Kelowna's downtown within the incredible natural setting of the Okanagan Valley.  Energized by a civic plaza, the park comes alive at all seasons.  Summer performances on the plaza are memorable, while free winter-time ice-skating under the clear Okanagan skies invites people in the winter months.   Recent enhancements to Stuart Park make it a year round destination and the cultural and civic heart of Kelowna.  Ultimately, the jury was won over by the multiple strengths of the park – its everyday use, community focus, unique reflection of local character and natural environment, accessibility for multi-generational activities, and the significant role it already plays as a Great Place in Kelowna."

Finally, Great Places in Canada recognized Grizzly Plaza of Revelstoke, BC, with an Honourable Mention.

Jury member Jeff Merrill MCIP, LPP, writes, "Grizzly Plaza is a great public space.  Located in the heart of Revelstoke's historic downtown, the plaza was created as part of a downtown revitalization project.  The community's farm & craft market is held on the plaza as is the Summer Street Festival—over sixty nights of free music performances.  The jury was impressed by Grizzly's welcoming family-friendly environment.  The pedestrian plaza adorned with public art sets the stage.  However, it's the people who patronize the plaza's quaint shops, who socialize with strangers, and who dance in the street (all summer long!) who make Grizzly Plaza a great public space."

Also new this year is the acknowledgement of the Runners-up for the People's Choice Award.  The voting and social media activity flourished this year and those running a close second and third were very deserving of recognition. So, congratulations to the following six places for having such strong communities behind your nominations!

 

Great Street


1st Runner-up 

Wolfville's Main Street – Wolfville, NS

2nd Runner-up 

Pictou Lobster Carnival – Pictou, NS

 

Great Neighbourhood


1st Runner-up

Quartier Petit Champlain – Quebec, QC

2nd Runner-up

Cobble Beach Golf Resort Community – Kemble, ON

 

Great Public Space


1st Runner-up 

Lethbridge River Valley – Lethbridge, AB

2nd Runner-up

Stuart Part – Kelowna, BC

 

CIP truly appreciates the generosity and support of the Great Places in Canada sponsors for 2015. Much gratitude to VIA Rail Canada and Roots Canada for providing the prizes for the nominators of the winning places.  Thank you, Communities in Bloom, for your support in promoting the contest through-out and to Federation of Canadian Municipalities for spreading the contest buzz as well. 

And finally, congratulations to every single nominee!  All are truly great places and distinctively Canadian in their geography, their design, and in the people who cherish them.  CIP thanks everyone who nominated and shared what makes their community special with Great Places in Canada, and for creating greater exposure to these remarkable places that took both planners and a community to create.

Great Places in Canada is an annual contest hosted by CIP and it is now in its fifth year. The contest seeks to increase Canadians' awareness of the planning profession and the work of professional planners in Canada.  Visit www.greatplacesincanada.ca for more information.

The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) is the national voice of Canada's planning profession. Since 1919, CIP has been dedicated to the advancement of responsible planning throughout Canada. CIP has a membership of over 7,800 professional planners, and collaborates with provincial planning institutes and associations to promote professional standards, training and certification as well as best practices in planning across Canada. Visit www.cip-icu.ca.

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and its 2,500 employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation was awarded seven Safety Awards by the Railway Association of Canada over the last eight years, and was the recipient of the 2012 Agent's Choice Award voted by Canadian travel agents and presented by Baxter Travel Media. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested almost a billion dollars in VIA Rail. VIA Rail information at a glance: www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail 

Roots Canada - Founded in 1973, Roots is Canada's leading lifestyle brand known for its quality leather goods, athletic apparel, accessories, and natural fiber clothing. In addition to its state-of-the-art factory and design centre in Toronto, Roots has 125 stores in Canada and the United States along with 100 retail locations in Asia. The core values that have always governed Roots are based on a commitment to active, healthy living, respect for the environment, community support and a passion for Canada.  For more, visit www.roots.com.

Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with focus on the enhancement of green spaces. The pride, sense of community and feeling of accomplishment generated through participation are visible in communities across Canada.  For more information about Communities in Bloom, visit www.communitiesinbloom.ca.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has been the national voice of municipal government since 1901. With over 2,000 members, FCM represents the interests of municipalities on policy and program matters that fall within federal jurisdiction. Members include Canada's largest cities, small urban and rural communities, and 19 provincial and territorial municipal associations.  Visit www.fcm.ca.

 

SOURCE Canadian Institute of Planners

Image with caption: "Great Places in Canada 2015 Winners (Stuart Park, Kelowna BC – Broadway, Orangeville ON – West End, Vancouver BC) (CNW Group/Canadian Institute of Planners)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151104_C7592_PHOTO_EN_536155.jpg

For further information: Kelly McTavish, Coordinator, Member Recognition Programs, Manager, Great Places in Canada, Canadian Institute of Planners, kmctavish@cip-icu.ca, 613-237-7526 x507, (800) 207-2138

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