Boom, boom…Canada Blooms!

March – my least-favourite month – is booming with activity this year: March Break, Easter, Passover, Beach Metro News’ 41st birthday…

…and that gardeners’ circus of delights, Canada Blooms.

PHOTO: Ron Holbrook
PHOTO: Ron Holbrook

Let’s get something out of the way first. Yes, Canada Blooms is sharing space and ticketing with the National Home Show again this year. Like it or not, I think that will be a fact of economic life for the time being. But it doesn’t have to be a painful thing for gardeners. See my helpful hints below for a tip on how to dodge the hucksters.

When, where and how much

Canada Blooms runs Friday, Mar. 15 to Sunday, Mar. 24 at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday, Mar. 17 to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Mar. 24, to 5 p.m.

Admission: Adults $20; seniors, $17; students $16. Buy online to save $3 off all ticket prices; use promo code PEONY to save $4 off regular-priced adult tickets online. Special ticket for admission on any two days, $29.

See the gardens

Visit more than 20 display gardens of all sizes, including some unusual ones:
• A sugar bush
• A condo terrace garden
• A garden for outdoor exercise
• A sensory garden of sight, scent, sound
• A garden for backyard living
• An urban agriculture garden

Learn something new

You can spend all day with speakers and demos. Here are just a few sample topics:
• Veggie gardening (several times)
• Small gardens (several times)
• Garden photography
• Gardening in dry shade (as in much of the Beach)

For a change of pace

Tired of trotting around the gardens? Have little ones in tow? Try these:
• The Children’s Garden Experience designed to show kids 5-12 years old the fun of gardening.
• The Children’s Playground, a fabulous natural playground where kids can burn off their energy. (Parents must accompany children at both of these)
• The Twinings tea tasting area, for a sample cuppa
• The Wine Sensory garden with wine and cheese tastings

Helpful hints

• BEST TIP EVER: Don’t fight your way through the Home Show madness. Get your ticket and then walk down the lobby area to the entrance to Hall A, which takes you directly into Canada Blooms.
• The Toronto Flower Show (formerly Garden Hall) is now the area for the flower design and horticulture competition.
• Looking for what’s fresh and new? Don’t miss the new plants/products showcase.
• The Marketplace shopping area is in the Heritage Court, behind Hall A, and there’s more shopping behind that, in Hall F (which also has a food court).
• Parking is notoriously expensive at Canada Blooms. Come after 4 p.m. weekdays and park for FREE this year.

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