Canada is home to many great places, but three in particular have received top honours from the Canadian Institute of Planners in their annual Great Places in Canada contest.
The contest recognizes exceptionally well-planned streets, neighbourhoods and public spaces that boast their own unique character and are thriving community hubs.
This year, the contest jury had 29 nominations to consider from all across the country. The winners were announced on November 4 to coincide with World Town Planning Day.
Great Street: Broadway, Orangeville, ON
2015’s big winner was Orangeville, ON’s Broadway Street, which nabbed the jury’s vote as well as the People’s Choice award for the Great Street category.
Located in downtown Orangeville, Broadway is the literal and figurative heart of the town, boasting busy shops, cafes and patios. With 100 feet of space between the buildings on the north and south sides of the street instead of the typical 66 feet, Broadway is also one of the widest main streets in Ontario.
People’s Choice Award, Great Street: Broadway, Orangeville, ON
• 1st Runner-up: Main Street, Wolfville, NS
• 2nd Runner-up: Pictou Lobster Carnival, Pictou, NS
Great Neighbourhood: West End, Vancouver, BC
Bordered by Stanley Park and English Bay beach and set against the stunning backdrop of the North Shore mountains, Vancouver’s West End is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Around 40 per cent of the area’s 45,000 residents walk or bike to work — a statistic the city has facilitated by building bike lanes and installing roundabouts and mini-parks to calm vehicle traffic. An abundance of grocery stores, bakeries, cafes, pharmacies and clinics make it easy for residents to find everything they need within walking distance of home, which contributes to the warm community feeling of the West End.
People’s Choice Award, Great Neighbourhood: Historic Downtown Amherstburg, ON
• 1st Runner-up: Quartier Petit Champlain, Quebec, QC
• 2nd Runner-up: Cobble Beach Golf Resort Community, Kemble, ON
Great Public Space: Stuart Park, Kelowna, BC
The land between Okanagan Lake and downtown Kelowna’s Water St. has had many uses over the years, including a provincial courthouse, the local yacht club and a senior’s center, but its most beloved incarnation is its current one: Stuart Park.
The park is a year-round community event venue with a winter skating rink, a stage and ample space for the city’s major Canada Day and New Year’s Eve events. It also hosts the Okanagan’s Largest Outdoor Yoga Class, which in 2015 raised 800 pounds of food for the local food bank.
People’s Choice Award, Great Public Space: Labatt Memorial Park, London, ON
• 1st Runner-up: Lethbridge River Valley, Lethbridge, AB
• 2nd Runner-up: Stuart Park, Kelowna, BC