OTTAWA, Ontario – November 8, 2017 – The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017 Great Places in Canada contest. After a rigorous review process by a jury of certified planning professionals, the Institute awarded the titles of 2017 Great Street to First Avenue in Ladysmith, British Columbia; 2017 Great Public Space to Town Centre Park in Coquitlam, British Columbia; and 2017 Great Neighbourhood to Spring Garden Road/Schmidtville in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

From September 5 to October 4, 2017, CIP invited Canadians to nominate a local street, neighbourhood, or public space as part of its Great Places in Canada contest. The seven-member jury reviewed 17 Great Places submissions from communities across Canada for elements that comprise best planning practices: social, economic, accessibility, and safety considerations, alongside design, cultural history, and landscape.

“Congratulations to the winners of 2017’s Great Places in Canada for representing the diverse and complex work planners carry out to create exemplary public spaces that benefit the community and provide lasting value,” said Eleanor Mohammed RPP, MCIP, President of the Canadian Institute of Planners. “It is an honour to recognize these Great Places on World Town Planning Day, an internationally celebrated day that recognizes the accomplishments of professional planners and their contributions to communities.”

In addition to the jury-judged contest, CIP ran an online vote for the public to choose their favourite Great Places in Canada. With over 8000 votes cast, this year’s winners are: Main Street, Smithers, British Columbia for People’s Choice: Great Street; Truro Civic Square, Nova Scotia, for People’s Choice: Great Public Space; and Spring Garden Road/Schmidtville is doubly awarded with the People’s Choice: Great Neighbourhood.

Click here to read the full submissions about the 2017 Great Places in Canada.

2017 Great Places in Canada Winner – Great Neighbourhood
Jury Statement:

Spring Garden Road/Schmidtville is a dynamic and vibrant neighbourhood in the heart of Halifax, which serves as a central place to live, work, and play for all Haligonians. It is located in the middle of the business district, major university campuses, and the waterfront where the cruise ships dock, and provides for a diverse mix of residential and commercial activities. Numerous residents, students, and tourists go to the shops, restaurants, and cafes on Spring Garden Road, which is the main commercial street in the neighbourhood. As one of Halifax’s first suburbs outside the fortified fences, Schmidtville is a largely intact area of architectural character with significant heritage value, reflected in its narrow streets and old world charm. The City of Halifax has recognized the value in preserving mixed use neighbourhoods in the downtown for decades, making investments in public infrastructure that enhance the design and architectural features. Similarly, many residents have also renovated their homes, further contributing to the appeal of the area.

The jury was won over by the multiple strengths of the neighbourhood – its walkability, unique reflection of local history, cohesive mix of residential and commercial uses, and the significant role it already plays as a Great Place in Halifax.
2017 Great Places in Canada Winner – Great Public Space
Jury Statement:

Once the site of a gravel pit, Town Centre Park came to life when Lafarge Lake was donated to the City by the Lafarge company in the mid-1980s. Town Centre Park has since evolved into a city-wide destination park for residents and visitors of all ages, from Coquitlam and beyond. The recent addition of the outdoor performance plaza, which opened in 2016, helps to ensure the park comes alive with both passive and active uses throughout the year.  From its beginnings as a former gravel pit, this area has reinvented itself to become a focal point for the community and a close walk from downtown.  The jury recognized the many strengths of the park, including its everyday use, community focus, continued evolution, accessibility for multi-generational activities, and the significant role it already plays as the spirit and pride for the City of Coquitlam.

2017 Great Places in Canada Winner – Great Street
Jury Statement:

First Avenue exhibits all of the qualities one would expect from a great street: visually-interesting building facades, generous sidewalks, attractive landscaping and artistic details, places to rest, and places to gather.
This street, with its diverse mixture of local businesses, housing and services, has been a focal point of daily life for community members for more than a century.  Streetscape enhancements, heritage preservation, the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, and the many unique and publicly accessible festivals and events held throughout the year, are key ingredients to First Avenue’s success as a Great Street.
The jury acknowledges the community’s commitment to defining and celebrating First Avenue as the heart of Ladysmith’s downtown core.