Victoria, BC – The 38th annual Flower Count took place during some unusual North American wide weather conditions. While almost all Canada was locked in bone marrow chilling temperatures, regions of Greater Victoria experienced some snow. Unlike most of flower-less Canada, some of our flowers lay under a blanket of snow. Residents of Greater Victoria still rallied and counted 1,392,393,203 flowers beating last year’s count of roughly three quarters of a billion.
The winner of the Bloomingest Community goes to the City of Colwood which, due to one school’s colossal effort, came in with a total of more than one billion blooms. Reached by email, Mayor Carol Hamilton said “The annual flower count is fantastic way to highlight the beautiful setting we live in. Colwood residents love their gardens, and we’re fortunate to be home to many beautiful parks, including Hatley Gardens,” said Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton. “Thanks to everyone who boasted about their blossoms this year – especially our young students at École John Stubbs for taking pride in their community. What a wonderful way to welcome Spring!"
Mayor Hamilton presented Mr. Laurie and the John Stubbs students with a Colwood Pay it Forward award for their efforts. The kids and their families filled Colwood City Hall on Monday, March 24, 2014, and each student shook hands with the Mayor and members of Colwood Council.
Ayla MacDonald is one of the grade 5 students who participated. Reflecting on the award presentation after the meeting, she commented to her father, "That was fun! Who were those people again?" Her father, Scott, explained that they were the mayor and councillors and that they were in charge of making sure things got done in Colwood. Ayla's response: "Oh then they should make sure there are more flowers next year!" Challenge accepted.
This year’s Victoria Flower Count chief organizer Graham Bell of The Butchart Gardens stated “While we talk about this being a light-hearted promotion, the message to much of Canada and the United States is clear: We are Canada’s tropics in the winter. Afternoon temperatures today in Northern B.C. and the rest of Canada are below zero and our temperature is predicted to be only one degree lower than New Orleans.” Bell went on to say “We count flowers at this time of year because we can. We can also garden, golf, kayak, hike, cycle, fish, bird watch and even scuba dive.”
Paul Nursey, Tourism Victoria’s president and CEO commented “Lukas Laurie’s Grade 5 French Immersion class at John Stubbs Elementary school in Colwood has won the school competition and put his city at the top of the count. His class counted at Royal Roads University and Mr. Laurie’s enthusiastic students used spread sheets, plus enlisted family and friends in the count. To them I say ‘Bravo!’”
In revealing the final count today, a group of people representing some of the many outdoor activities now happening in Victoria: bird watching, diving, fishing, gardening, hiking, golfing and kayaking held up the numbers to display the total.
This year’s flower count drew web site visitors from all provinces and territories in Canada except Nunavut. A total of twenty countries, including twenty-seven U.S. states checked out the web site. The social media channels with the greatest activity were Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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