Mile of Flowers Plant-In

Courtenay Adapting Mile of Flowers for 2021

Cliffe Avenue will be blooming once again this summer. Following a pause in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Courtenay Council has approved a modified version of the seasonal floral display for 2021. Rather than the usual volunteer plant-in and associated events, the flowers will be planted by Park staff over a period of several days.

Thousands of annual flowers and a selection of perennials will be planted by City of Courtenay Parks staff over several days in late May, supplemented by bulbs that were planted last fall. Planting will occur in the early morning hours to avoid impacts to commuters, and will follow WorkSafeBC regulations and Public Health guidelines to keep staff and the general public safe.

For public health and safety reasons, community volunteers will not be involved in the 2021 Mile of Flowers planting. Thank you for your understanding. 

History

The Mile of Flowers is a Comox Valley tradition dating back to 1967, when Kathleen Kirk set out to commemorate Canada’s centennial year. That year she planted 7,800 seedlings as a welcome to tourists. From those beginnings launched an annual effort to plant tens of thousands of flowers in garden beds along Courtenay’s main thoroughfare.

In a typical year, hundreds of volunteers of all ages fill the garden beds on both sides of Cliffe Avenue with summer flowers provided by the City of Courtenay. Typically, between 200 and 500 volunteers are needed.

The Mile of Flowers was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maintenance and watering

Did you know that aside from looking great year after year, the Mile of Flowers has also made great strides in reducing water use? A lot less – new methods are saving approximately 600,000 gallons of water per year. This is roughly equivalent to an Olympic size swimming pool! Management strategies such as compost, mulch and new soil have greatly improved water retention. A number of flower beds have also been converted to water-efficient drip-irrigation, with some beds converted to water-efficient perennial blooms and shrubs.