About Us

WinterLights Celebrations is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, neighbourhood and heritage awareness and beautification through community participation and the challenge of a national competition.

A Celebration of Light and Life is the program’s slogan and it captures the essence of the competition and its benefits.
WinterLights Celebrations was launched in 2001 to provide a winter focus for the established Communities in Bloom program. The program is based on promoting community action and involvement in expressing the community spirit of Canada’s neighbourhoods, public spaces and streets through light shows, cultural events and spiritual linkages with light.
In developing a national awards program, the objective of the sponsors and organizers of WinterLights Celebrations is to ensure that these important benefits, built on the common focus of community participation, beautification, neighbourhood and heritage awareness, are extended beyond the boundaries of each participating city, town, village and rural area to establish new levels of awareness and a sense of community all across Canada.
There will be an overall winner in each population category, with each participating community being recognized for an outstanding feature/program. All municipalities will obtain valuable information, be promoted nationally and are invited to attend the awards ceremony.

WinterLights Celebrations is incorporated as a federal non-profit organization.

Star Rating System
In order to offer your community a benchmark on which to gauge your success in the program, we are introducing a Star Rating Program which is similar to the Bloom Ratings in the Communities in Bloom warm weather program. Points are given for what the municipality, the commercial and industrial sector, and the residents do to celebrate lights and life in the wintertime. The evaluation form is divided into 5 sections or criteria and the total score is out of 500. Each section is worth 100 points. The Star rating is as follows:
0 to 279 points = 1
Star 280 to 324 points = 2 Stars
325 to 360 points = 3 Stars
361 to 409 points = 4 Stars
Over 410 points = 5 Stars
Two New Judging Criteria
This year, we are adding two new criteria to the Evaluation Form. Goodwill Programs will now be a separate criteria worth 100 points. The second new one is Tourism/Promotion which will also be worth 100. The original three, Festive Celebrations, Winter Pleasures and Visual Presentation are now worth 100 each making the total evaluation mark of 500 (5 x 100).
Networking Category
This is an opportunity to learn more about the program without entering a competitive category. A community pays the registration fee and looks after the judges the same way as the rest of the program. The judges fill out the evaluation form to give helpful hints and the community is invited to the Awards and Symposium.
Promotional Opportunities:
Participating in the WinterLights Celebrations Program offers several ways to promote your community, including:

Profile on the Communities in Bloom/WinterLights website
Various print publications
Community display at the awards event
Media coverage
Host community possibility
Feature in National “Celebration” Magazine
Awards Ceremonies
WinterLights Celebrations Symposium and Awards Ceremonies are held in Fort St. John, BC in February 2006, in Ottawa/Gatineau in 2007, and in Saint John, NB in 2008.

After a community pays its registration fee, it will receive a copy of the Evaluation Form, a Participation Guide, a Judge’s Guide, fundraising information and other helpful material.

I sincerely hope you find your participation in the Winter Lights Program Both enjoyable and beneficial.


Lisa Tompkins , Chair

To find out how easy and economical it is for your community to participate or to learn more about the program, please do not hesitate to contact Melissa De Souza [email protected]

Goal Of The Program
The goal of the program is to encourage municipalities, large & small, and tourism attractions throughout Canada to celebrate light with decorative, cultural and spiritual programs, with the objective of creating attractions for tourism from within Canada and from abroad