As with all small towns we have had many proud moments, all of which have been a result of the participation and hard work of community volunteers… students, seniors, businesses and organizations have all worked together to make amazing things happen. Community participation has drawn our community together to create and sustain our Curling Rink, Skating Arena, Swimming Pool, Millenium Park, Avena Gradens, and the Community Fruit Orchard. It would be a shame not to include some of our most recent proud moments.
Communities in Bloom
Communities in Bloom is a provincial and national program recognizing community beautification, heritage, and environmental awareness, green spaces, diversity, originality of landscaping, general tidiness and community involvement in the project.
Some of our community accomplishments have been designing and landscaping the Town Administration Center, the three entrance signs into Ituna, the Ituna Fruit Orchard and Avena Gardens. Through the CN Eco Connexions from the Ground Up and the Agrium Community Green Spaces grants, we were able to plant an orchard in the heart of the town which consists of 250 various fruit trees and shrubs. Our survival rate of the fruit trees after the first year was 99.9%. The second project completed with these grants is Avena Gardens. It was designed to enhance the area around the giant oat stem (Ituna is the birthplace of the Saskatchewan Oat Growers Association). Avena Gardens is situated directly across from the Town Administration center and when you stroll through this park your senses will come alive with the 270 various lilacs, roses, perennials and shrubs planted there. The Orchard and Avena Gardens were once abandoned brown lots but now contain a beautiful mini park and a fruit orchard which only enhance our community more. The community of Ituna also has a very picturesque 9 hole golf course and is environmentally conscious and have installed a solar heated system for the swimming pool at the Ituna & District Regional Park.
Avena Gardens & the Community Fruit Orchard
It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when we work together. The Oat Stem Committee started with a plan to create and display a landmark of the oat stem to commemorate the birthplace of the The Prairie Oat Growers Association. With the help of the Town of Ituna, Centennial Committee, POGA, Communities in Bloom, CN EcoConnexions, Agrium, Tree Canada, Sask Energy and personal and business contributions and volunteers, Ituna created two beautiful landscaped areas “Avena Gardens and the Community Fruit Orchard” for generations to enjoy. Community residents, including the Ituna Communities in Bloom Committee spent countless volunteer hours in order to make these projects a reality.
The Oat Stem landmark in Avena Gardens pays tribute to the oat grain as an important and historical crop type for our prairie region and recognizes that ‘Ituna is the birthplace of the Prairie Oat Growers Association, representing the three prairie provinces. The three stem oat plant sculpture was designed, built and installed by Mr. Dennis Muzyka. It is is 30 feet high and approximately 30 feet wide.
The Community Orchard became a reality when more than 150 volunteers with shovels in hand, came together in pouring rain, to plant 270 fruit trees, including several apple varieties, pear, saskatoon,
Kraft Hockeyville 2017
In 2017, one of our proudest moments was being one of the top 10 finalists for the title of Kraft Hockeyville. The nomination was made by residents Sean and Tamara Trefiak, who so aptly captured the spirit and desire of Ituna to become Canada’s Kraft Hockeyville for 2017. Their nomination reads as below….
The initial voting took place on March 12th and 13th. Individuals across Canada and even around the world could vote as many times as they wished and we were grateful to the efforts of so many who voted for us. A crowd gathered at the arena for the announcement and when the results were tabulated, Ituna was one of the top 2 finalists, the other being O’Leary, PEI. That win guaranteed Ituna $100,000 for arena upgrades and the chance to host an NHL pre-season hockey game.
In the weeks that followed, Ituna was a hub of excitment. From homes and businesses that displayed hockey sweaters, street signs and window painting encouraging the community to sausage makers and perogy pinchers preparing for the announcement on April 1. Social media was abuzz asking for all to vote as many times as possible on March 19 and 20th so that Ituna could become Hockeyville 2017 on April 1st. On that day, the arena was alive with TV Media from Hockey Night in Canada, local hockey players past and present, and over a thousand excited people who had come to enjoy the atmosphere, eat perogies and sausage and await the big announcement. At stake was the opportunity to host a pre-season NHL game and receive $100,000 in arena upgrades.
Though the most votes went to O’Leary, PEI, we were so proud to have come in second, for which we received a much needed $100,000 for rink upgrades. We are so proud of the community spirit initiated by the event and we are so grateful to all those across Canada and even around the world who spent hours voting for our community.