More colour and Canadian content at Canada Blooms 2017

This giant Canada 150 logo will be planted with bright spring flowers. PHOTO: Mary Fran McQuade

It’s cold today. There’s snow on the ground. Some idiot on Facebook keeps posting things like “32 days until spring.” I’m just trying to hang on until March 10, when Canada Blooms begins its 10-day run. This is my March break: a shot of flowers and scent just when I need it.

Canada’s 150th

This year’s flower and garden show’s theme, “Oh! Canada,” pumps up the celebration of our country’s 150th birthday (AKA sesquicentennial). General manager Terry Caddo tells me they’ll have a 250-square-foot “Canada 150” logo planted with 9,000 tulips and other spring flowers right at the show entrance.

We’ve seen a lot of trees and greenery in the last few shows, so I had to ask, “Will there be more flowers this year?” Caddo promised much more colour this time around,  adding “Besides what’s growing in our own greenhouses, the University of Guelph is growing annuals and perennials especially for Canada Blooms.”

As well, we’ll be able to enjoy an amazing display of 500 blossoming Canadian Shield roses, a brand-new rose – developed in Canada – that’s been chosen as Canada Blooms’ Plant of the Year. It promises to be as sturdy as the rocky Canadian Shield itself. (See below for more.)

Beyond the usual

The Secret Path Garden, by Genoscape Inc., looks back at a difficult part of Canada’s past and forward to a more hopeful future.

The garden was inspired by musician Gord Downie’s concept album/multimedia project, The Secret Path, which tells the story of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack, who ran away from one of the notorious “Indian residential schools” and perished trying to return to his family home 650 km west of Kenora.

Designer Joe Genovese says, “I wanted to do something that had some meaning.” He contacted the Downie Wenjack Fund for permission for the project, and involved First Nations people in building the garden. He’s also invited Indigenous artists and craftspeople to participate in events held there during Canada Blooms.

“It was a real collaborative effort. It was amazing,” says Genovese happily.

Get the word from the experts

It’s nice to stroll around and look, but you can learn a lot of things in the flowers.

  • The speaker schedule hits all the hottest topics: native plants, heirloom veggies, bees, gardening with kids, succulents, container gardens and more – even old standbys like lawn care.

Take a look at and pick a day that includes a speaker that appeals to you. (Tip to parents: Sign up in advance for the kids’ free veggie gardening workshop held March 13.)

  • Bring your questions about plants and landscaping to the Master Gardeners Advice Clinic, the One on One Garden Advice Clinic or the ExperTrees display near the doorway gardens.
  • Don’t be shy – talk to volunteers from garden and horticultural clubs at the Gardeners Fare tables about gardening problems and best plants for Toronto.
  • Browse the Marketplace and PickOntario areas for one-stop-shopping for special garden purchases.

See for complete show information and tickets.

The Canadian Shield rose
The Canadian Shield rose

About the new Canadian Shield rose

Canada Blooms’ Flower of the Year is a true northern beauty. Here’s why:

• Hardy to -40° C (Canada Hardiness Zone 2b, which includes places like Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Kapuskasing and Cobalt)

• Field-tested coast to coast in places like Morden, MB; Saskatoon, SK; and Trois-Rivières, QC

Blooms summer through fall

Bred to resist black spot and mildew

• Full, rich red flowers

• 1-metre spread of shrub

• First in the new 49th Parallel Collection of hardy, disease-resistant roses for today’s gardeners

• Developed for home gardeners by plant scientists at the Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, ON

Though it won’t be sold at Canada Blooms (March really isn’t planting season), plants will be available this spring.


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