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‘Inclusion’ a Highlight at This Year’s Canada Blooms

During this year’s 10-day Canada Blooms festival, March 9-18, professionals from all facets of the industry celebrated the “Let’s Go to The Movies” theme through energized competitions and floral fashion shows. For her fifth year coordinating and designing for the event in Toronto’s Enercare Centre, host Jennifer Harvey wanted floral professionals to feel like rock stars. By initiating new installments such as the Florist of the Year competition, the Floral Day, and the Canadian Academy of Floral Art fashion show, Harvey involved and highlighted workers from across the industry.

“I’m trying to ignite what the industry had in the 80’s and 90’s,” said Harvey, a featured speaker at this year’s Canadian Florist Business Forum. “That energy is so important because we are all artists. Even the bucket washers have inspiration to share. We gave them the space to do that.”

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Designers onstage produced as many bouquets as they could in 45 minutes, while the audience offered encouraging chants. Afterwards, the creatives answered questions from spectators about arranging tips and tricks. Florists also tested their ingenuity by making red carpet-inspired floral gowns during a fashion show sponsored by the Canadian Academy of Floral Art.

“Florists are not just about weddings and funeral pieces, we can also do sculptures and we don’t always get to share it like this,” Harvey said.

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In the five years that she’s worked with Canada Blooms, she’s never seen the festival become quite as energized and successful as this time around. As an emcee, she got the crowd on their feet, and florists were sharing their cards and expertise with spectators and colleagues.

As another kicker to the revampment, Harvey set up a table in the convention centre where flower shops could advertise their business and promote themselves for free. This attracted newcomers from across Canada to participate in the festival.

“Flower shops could come in and talk to people that were attending,” Harvey said. “It costs a lot to attend Canada Blooms.”

Harvey focused on this value of inclusion when devising Canada Blooms’ new Floral Day promotion, inviting floral professionals across the industry to attend the festival free of charge.

“We’ve had an Industry Day in the past, but never a Floral Day,” Harvey said. “This year was different, the festival was great for everybody. I want all florists to get recognition, and I tried to get everybody involved.”

One individual received special honours, however. Canadian Florist columnist Joseph DeLarge won the inaugural Florist of the Year competition, walking away with $3,000 in prizes.

 

Mackenzie Nichols
Mackenzie Nichols is a freelance writer and experienced floral designer.
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