December 15, 2008
By Colomba Fuller
Canada Blooms artistic director

Since 1997, Canada Blooms has showcased the best in horticulture, design and products related to gardening. This year will not be an exception. The essential elements of the show will remain. We have moved eating areas to the 700 level, which will also include the exhibitors’ lounge. By doing this, we are occupying and making good use of all of the levels.
Choosing a theme for Canada Blooms has always been a challenge. At the beginning, we had a theme that followed the schedule for the Toronto Garden Club’s floral and horticultural competitions. The garden builders quickly adopted the theme. This helped them with their design, which was reflected in the gardens.
You might remember some of the most appealing themes: The Secret Garden, A Walk in the Park, Garden Party, Elements, Urban Mosaic, A Symphony of Gardens, Flower Power, to name a few. The artwork for each of these and all the others was always an original piece, either a painting or a photograph. This year, as once before, we have decided that our name will be the official theme, Canada Blooms, a celebration of wealth and talent in every aspect of the industry — whether, floral, horticultural, or design. The image is a stunning, unusual flower planted extensively from east to west in this very unusual country of ours — a tulip. It will look refreshing and colourful in the gloom of March.
There are many spaces that require particular attention when designing a show like Canada Blooms. One of them is the entrance to the main show on the 800 Level. We have a reputation of high standards to live up to. We are creating a bit of theatre this year for the entrance with jets of water eight to ten feet high, masses of planters cascading with white flowers floating over black stands, cool music.…all enclosed within a black box that visitors must go through in order to enter the show. There should be an element of surprise when one reaches the bottom of the escalator, and a sense of anticipation to what lies beyond the main doors.

The future
What lies beyond? That is even a surprise to me! I design the floor plan, and I know every little corner, measurement and positioning, but it is merely a blank canvas. The garden designers, architects, contractors, builders, florists and all the tradepeople and professionals, who help with the installation at Canada Blooms, are the artists who paint the canvas. It is not until 3 or 4 o’clock on the madness of Tuesday afternoon, after five days of set-up, before the opening night party, when everything is somewhat in place, that the canvas comes to life.
I am always asked, “What is new?” There are a few things that I will mention. I am working on an installation, which I hope will be the WOW of the show this year. As readers are aware, currently, plastic pots used in the horticultural industry are not recycled, and end up in landfills. Can you imagine the possibilities when two talented artists get a hold of thousands of these pots and trays and unleash their creativity? On top of this spectacular piece, which will stimulate the senses, we will offer the visitor facts and solutions on how to solve this particular problem. We will also have a recycling bin where people may drop off their plastic pots.
The Garden Club of Toronto’s Garden Hall has been re-designed and condensed, like the rest of the show, creating a pleasant and welcoming space. This will be the venue for the largest amateur floral competition in Canada. The theme, ‘From Sea to Sea,’ includes names of classes such as Totem, Aurora Borealis, Grown in Canada, Eh?, Our Roots, Garage Sale, Forest Primeval, and many other catchy titles, bound to please everyone. However, before trying to make sense of the judges’ comments, make your own choice and see how you fare. Chances are you might not agree.
We are also proud to introduce the new Canada Blooms pavilion, a multi-functional venue, in the midst of the gardens, that can be used for small intimate gatherings or large corporate functions during our 2009 celebrations. Stylishly decorated in a contemporary black and white theme, the area can be set up for breakfast, lunch, cocktails, buffet or sit-down dinners. We will rent the space at a basic cost, plus food and drinks. We have worked with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to produce a choice of special menus, one of which reflects our Canadian theme. Included in the package are tickets for the attending guests. Anyone needing to entertain could be first to use this splendid venue right on the main floor, within our gardens!
The 12th annual event will present visitors with the absolute essential elements that truly make Canada a great place for Blooms.