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Oct. 25, 2021 | Monday
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NOTL takes home six Niagara Biennial Design Awards
Village Christmas decorating volunteers. (Supplied)

Niagara-on-the-Lake’s many exuberant design efforts haven’t gone unnoticed as local groups took home recognition for the Niagara Biennial Design Awards this year; NOTL teams brought home six of the 18 awards.

One small neighbourhood initiative in The Village last December was recognized with the Award of Excellence in the Urban Design-Urban Interventions Category. Project owner Dale Des Islets said it was nice for the community to be recognized for its contribution to the neighbourhood.

“I think it’s kind of cool that a neighbourhood initiative could get recognition for something like this,” he said.

The Dec. 23, 2019 Lumieres candle lighting along the neighbourhood parks in the small community off Niagara Stone Road was an “elegantly simple gesture of paper luminaries and light installations (which) brought the community and visitors together for the one night event,” the awards team said in its recognition video.

“It's great because we're sort of a small neighbourhood within the town, and we've been doing this Christmas light effort. It’s entirely on volunteers and neighbours who decided it would be a special, fun holiday thing for the last number of years,” Des Islets said.

“This idea of adding the, what we call the lumieres for the one night on December 23 came along a little bit later,” he said.

It takes a group of about 30 volunteers to put up the lights around the neighbourhood each year, and another 10 to 12 people who volunteer to help assemble the candles into buckets of sand in the paper bags and then distribute them around the neighbourhood, he said.

“I think people honestly look forward to in the neighborhood, and everybody thinks it makes the holiday season a little bit different, a little bit special, and especially special for our neighborhood in the residents. So it's very well received,” he said.

The category looked to small-scale, outdoor projects that are temporary in nature and are located on public or private land designed to improve an urban space or condition.

The other five NOTL winners were chosen because of their creative execution and developmental vision, the recognition video said.

The Glendale Niagara District Plan received an Award of Excellence in the Visionary Design category. The Heritage Reconstruction at 106 Queen St. won an Award of Excellence in the Architecture category. An Award of Excellence for Interior Design went to the Student Commons at Niagara College’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in NOTL. And two Outstanding Achievement Awards for Commemorative Landscapes were awarded to the Landscape of Nations and the Voices of Freedom Park.

Winners were chosen by a panel of design professionals which included Amy Friend, Ken Greenberg, Linda Irvine, Gordon Stratford and Lois Weinthal.

This new bi-annual design awards program is an evolution from the previous Niagara Community Design Awards, which ran annually from 2005 to 2016. The new program celebrates the role of design toward the enhancement of unique and diverse environments in Niagara, the award page states. There were 68 submissions this year, 18 of which were named winners.