November 15, 2008

By Charlie Dobbin
Canada Blooms horticultural director

Over the last 13 years, many of Ontario’s well-established landscape contractors have used Canada Blooms as a marketing tool and an opportunity to take their companies to new levels of creativity, work prospects and profits. Overwhelming evidence indicates that when 80,000-plus hobby gardeners get together in acres of gardens in downtown Toronto at the end of a bleak winter, they are very open to learning about what you can do for them.

Canada Blooms will be held from Wednesday, March 18th to Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building. The theme this year is ‘Canada Blooms.’

Construction of the gardens will start at noon on Friday, March 13th. We strongly recommend all builders do as much off-site pre-construction of their garden as possible. What better way to keep your best people still employed by you during the down days of winter…?

We always urge all garden builders to design gardens that are accessible by all festival visitors. This includes strollers, wheelchairs, etc. As a matter of fact, a ‘Universal Accessibility Award’ is given each year after a panel of differently-challenged individuals tours each garden with a fine-toothed comb. We know, as they do, that the goal of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is to achieve accessibility of public spaces, venues, goods and services for Ontarians with disabilities through the identification, removal and prevention of both visible and invisible barriers. Honestly, all of this leads to a better bottom line. Since implementing accessibility improvements legislated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. hospitality industry has increased its annual revenue by 12 per cent.

We all recognize that Canada Blooms requires support from sponsors. Without the financing and interest of keen sponsors, we really wouldn’t have a world class show. If you have a company interested in supporting your efforts at Canada Blooms, we are happy to provide assistance to both them and you. It is extremely important to understand that everyone who contributes at Canada Blooms comes out a winner.

Canada Blooms is proud to help all eligible garden builders by providing the following:

  • Sand (for construction)
  • Composted mulch (for garden beds)
  • Access to volunteer labour
  • Access to environmentally friendly propane-powered machinery
  • Water (for filling water features, and for maintenance of gardens)
  • Forced plant material (including trees, shrubs, evergreens, flowers and bulbs) all at their visual peak at wholesale prices
  • Payment of $9.00 per square foot to be paid within 30 days of the end of the show
  • Access to consignment tickets (garden builders only pay for the tickets that are used) at $12 per ticket
  • Up to 15 complimentary tickets to the show and two opening night party tickets

“Eligible garden builders” are defined as active members of Landscape Ontario. For 2009, we are subsidizing a total of 16,000 square feet. Therefore, this year we have had a competition for space. We sincerely hope that all potential garden builders have proposed new, creative and innovative ideas in an effort to be awarded this amazing marketing opportunity. The companies selected to install feature gardens at Canada Blooms 2009 were announced at Garden Expo.

If you have any questions – do not hesitate to contact Canada Blooms co-chair Peter Guinane at (416) 696-5110, ext. 23, or or Charlie Dobbin at (905) 508-3806, or


Caption: Canada Blooms needs sponsors to succeed.