Winnipeg in Bloom awards presented

This year, over 300 entries were received for the 16th annual Winnipeg in Bloom awards in categories ranging from residential to business, from apartment and condominium developments to community efforts. 
On August 24, 2013, an awards celebration was held for all entrants, with 260 people attending the event at Rainbow Stage in Kildonan Park.  
Fifty-one awards were presented in six categories with cries of excitement coming from the crowd as winners were announced. Some were reacting to winning, while others were impressed by how the yards looked when a photo of the winning property was shown on the screen. In addition to the awards, everyone in attendance was eligible for a variety of door prizes provided by The Home Depot. The event wrapped up with coffee and pastries provided by Starbucks.
 After the awards presentation, a special moment came from the Monarch Teacher Network, who released tagged monarch butterflies just outside the venue. Guests were invited to interact with these beautiful butterflies. A representative from the network spoke of the fragility of this strikingly magnificent butterfly and indicated a major spawning ground was adversely affected this year in the mountains near Mexico City. 
One key winner was in the Winnipeg REALTORS® curb appeal residential category. First place winners in 2011 and 2012 competed against each other in what some consider “the best-of-the-best” category. This year’s winner was the owner of the property at 43 Berrydale Ave. It was an emotional win for the homeowner, who said she felt overwhelmed to be recognized.  
The judges commented: “This homeowner inherited her love of landscaping and decoration, along with her home, from her father. Inspired by her childhood of watching him carve beautiful handmade décor for the yard, she lovingly maintains and adds beauty to the property every year. Guests are welcomed by an address sign in warmly stained wood, and a beautiful arbor of bright flowers. A dry creek bed winds through the property, starting at the waterwheel beside the house, curving beneath a foot bridge, and finally arriving at an over-sized wood swing for two. Whimsical details are present throughout, including an adorably carved bear, complete with floral headdress! This homeowner truly cares for her community, and her lovely property adds something so special to her neighbourhood.”
Val Werhun, a WinnipegREALTORS® director and contest judge over the past few years, along with her daughter, was pleased to present the owner of 43 Berrydale with a marvelous framed print of Winnipeg in Summer by local artist Roman Swiderik. Her own comments prior to presenting this year’s Winnipeg 
REALTORS® Curb Appeal Award struck at the heart of why many garden contest participants and winners put so much effort into their yards in order to make them stand out and become a source of pride. 
Werhun said there is a story behind every yard and it would be interesting to probe further into what motivated the owners to create such eye-catching delights.   
“It could be they are doing it in memory of a loved one as in the case of our winner this year whose garden was in memory of her father,”  Werhun added, “A few years ago when I was judging a yard, I met the owner and found out she was fighting cancer. The yard gave her a sense of hope and joy despite her awful misfortune.”
A full list of winners will be available later this week on the website, and some photos will also be posted on our Facebook page.
Another program Take Pride Winnipeg runs that WinnipegREALTORS® has been pleased to participate in for a number of years is Brush Up Winnipeg.  The 2013 Brush Up Winnipeg program, sponsored by Manitoba Public Insurance and Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba, aims to beautify the community by painting the exterior of homes around Winnipeg. Homes are selected based on financial or physical restraints of the homeowner. Teams of corporate and community group volunteers do the painting in two  large-scale “paint days.” Three homes have already been painted this year, with six more to be completed in September.
Take Pride Winnipeg has been running Brush Up Winnipeg since 2006. In that time, over 50 homes have been painted. The effect on both the homeowner and the teams involved is quite touching. It is a great team-building exercise for corporate groups, who get to see immediate gratification in helping out someone in need. Homeowners quite often have tears in their eyes at the end of the day, as they are so grateful that the volunteers helped to improve their homes.
This program not only improves the appearance of one home on the street, it can also inspire the rest of the neighbourhood to make improvements on their own properties. 
“Neighbours often stop in, ask questions, and later on that day, you see them out in their yard, working away,” said Take Pride Winnipeg executive director Tom Ethans.
For more details on how to apply as a homeowner, sign up your corporate team for 2014, and to see 
some before and after photos, visit http://www.