“Look for the palm trees,” says Canada Blooms general manager Terry Caddo. We were talking about the upcoming garden show, running March 13 to 22 at the Direct Energy Centre in Exhibition Place.
There’s been a lot of buzz about changes at Canada Blooms this year, so I tracked Terry down to get the scoop.
Promenade through the palms
The most obvious change is that the flowers have picked up their petals and moved to the rear of the cavernous space, into the Ricoh Coliseum behind Heritage Court. And that’s where the palm trees come in. Canada Blooms visitors will enter through Hall B, walking along the Grand Promenade lined with exotic palm trees in 26 giant planters.
Your ticket includes admission to the Metro Home Show, held at the same place and time, but if you’re a gardener, you won’t want to mess around.
The move, Terry says, opens the way to bring back the “wow factor” to Blooms. The Coliseum area sits on solid ground, so display gardens won’t have the weight restrictions they’ve had in recent years. There’s more garden space – an additional 8,000 square feet for the 26 display gardens – and more space overall (18,000 square feet added).
He’s particularly excited about the enhanced lighting that’s being used this year.
“We’re working very closely with the landscape lighting industry,” he says, to add theatrical lighting and up-lighting to the gardens. In fact, the show has invested a quarter-million dollars in improved lighting for 2015 and future years.
You’ll see the show theme, “Let’s Play,” carried out in various ways in the feature gardens, Terry told me. Some highlights:
- A 10-foot tall, 15-tonne stone Inukshuk.
- A climbing wall that visitors can try out in Landscape Ontario’s outdoor exercise garden. For safety reasons, it’s not tall, but you can climb along its entire curved length.
- The Rain Game garden, demonstrating half a dozen ways to capture rainfall and avoid runoff in a home garden.
- A children’s natural play garden, with a wonky tree house tucked in the roots of a giant upside-down tree.
- The Canada Blooms Lounge, where you can relax in elegant seating and enjoy the sounds of water and music, and sip some wine, if you want.
- A Floral Alley with chaise lounges lavishly decorated by professional floral designers.
And a bit more …
Though Terry didn’t mention them to me, a search through my trusty crystal ball (er, electronic tablet) tells me there’ll also be a magic garden with fairies and a troll, as well as a couple of places where golfers can putter around. And, of course, more.
It sounds like a lot of fun to me, though I admit I’m pretty easy to please in March. Though it’s BAC (bloody awful cold) here then, that’s when I ache for the sights, sounds and scents of my garden. A day at the show should hold me for another few weeks. Let me know if you agree. (Comment on this column at beachmetro.com.)
March 13 – 22 at the Direct Energy Centre, 100 Princes Blvd., Exhibition Place, Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $17; Students 13 to 17 years, $13; Seniors 65+, $14; children 12 and under, free. Add $3 to ticket prices if purchased at the door.
More info: canadablooms.com
Mary Fran McQuade is a hobby gardener and freelance writer