Canada Blooms

Canada Blooms Floral Artist of The Year Competition

Please note: The Canada Blooms is currently on hiatus, we will let you know when we are ready for our next festival.

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Canada Blooms Floral Artist of the Year 2019

Tell Me More About The Floral Artist of the Year Challenge

Reminder: Must purchase ticket on Canada Blooms Ticket Page

Meet The 2020 Challengers

Floral Artist of the Year

Here is your chance to be ostentatious!

Canada Blooms is excited to be able to introduce the CANADA BLOOMS FLORAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR presented by Jennifer Harvey.

Up to 20 floral artists will have the opportunity to participate in a real time,
on the floor, design challenge. Competitors will be given the same materials and a time limit of 4 hours to get as creative as they can.

Canada Blooms FAOY Poster 2020

Eligibility and Rules

Contest is open to up to 20 floral designers — amateur and professionals, on a first come, first serve basis. Entrants from outside of Canada are welcome. Fee for entry is $150, paid via the Canada Blooms Ticket page. Competition will take place on the Canada Blooms Festival Floor from 10am-2pm. While designing Canada Blooms will be open to the public.
Competitors must sign a release form at registration stating that Canada Blooms has full rights to all images in order to participate.

  • The Theme will be announced the morning of the competition
  • All design materials (hard goods, flora and fauna) will be given in a surprise pack the morning of the competition at your station. Competitors must use a minimum of one of each fresh good item provided in their design.
  • Competitors must bring their own tools to work with. No electricity is provided (no hot glue), cold glue is allowed.
  • Piece must be able to stand alone, securely on a 2 ft x 2 ft x 3 ft (high) set (pillar like). Material may ‘spill off’ or hang down the set.
  • Competitors may not receive any outside coaching.
  • Once design is complete, or time is finished, competitors will place their designs on the designated set for judging. Competitors must then clear the area in order for judging to commence.
  • Competition begins at 10am. Each contestant must arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to start time to register, to be given a table number and work area allotment. Each contestant, at that time, may look at the supplied material but if touched before start time they will be disqualified.
  • There will be a 45 minute, 30 min, 15 min, 5 min, 1 min and 10 second warning.
  • When time is up, competitors place their display on the set with the display number, leave everything and walk away from their piece
  • Work area must be cleaned and table will be removed before judging begins.

Top prize is $1000 cash and title of Canada Blooms Floral Artist of the Year 2020. There are also prizes for 2nd and 3rd place winners.

Entrants who participate, may sign up for the Jennifer Harvey Floral Workshop with Hitomi Gilliam on Saturday, March 21 from 10am-3pm (lunch included) at a rate of $375 ($500 for workshop alone,  $250 for non-active participation gallery viewing ).

All Canada Blooms Artist of the Year entrants as well as Floral Alley entrants are invited to the Floral Awards Ceremony in the Wine Lounge, Friday, March 20, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. to recognize all the winners.

Check Out The 2019 competitors

View our Photo Gallery



Contact: Jennifer Harvey




The Floral Artist of the Year 2020 Competition presented by Jennifer Harvey and hosted by Floral Ambassador Hitomi Gilliam was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.


JENNIFER HARVEYJennifer Harvey  

Jennifer Harvey CAFA CFD is an award winning, internationally recognized and certified floral and event designer who has been in the industry across North American and the UK for 16 years, managing shops, free lancing, designing for prominent political figures, celebrities and royalty, event planning and designing, and working with some of the most prestigious names in the industry such as Preston Bailey. Jennifer’s work has been Published in several Industry Books and Magazines such as WedLux, Canadian Florist Magazine, Elegant Weddings, House and Home and She was named as top 10 Canadian Floral designers Under 40. Jennifer is Known for her creative Style, energetic nature, and Always Over delivering on every Project she works on, Making her known as the Wedding Specialist who can create anything you dream.


Hitomi Gilliam AIFD is a Japanese Canadian floral artist, keynote lecturer, demonstrator, educator and a consultant in all aspects of the Art and Business of Floral Design. She is the Creative Director for DESIGN358 (2008). She has guest-designed extensively throughout North America, England, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Bermuda, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Belgium, Korea and India.

She owned and operated Satsuki’s Florist in Mission, British Columbia for 28 years. She currently works with her son, Colin Gilliam in an Event & Education business, DESIGN358 which was established 8 years ago.

Hitomi has lectured at Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Chicago Botanical Gardens, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens (Nashville), Museum of Fine Art Boston, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Bouquets to Art (San Francisco), Houston Museum of Fine Art, New Orleans Museum of Fine Art, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Honolulu Academy of Art, Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse), The Walters Art Museum (Baltimore), Longwood Gardens, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (Richmond,VA), Detroit Institute of Arts, Vero Beach Museum of Fine Arts, The Strong Museum (Rochester, NY), North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC) and Columbus Museum of Fine Art. She has also presented at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Newport Flower Show and Singapore Garden Festival.

SILVANA CROCESilvana Croce Floral Artist  

Silvana participated in the first annual Canada Blooms Floral Artist of the year.




Sayeh is a passionate life-long gardener and nature lover so naturally all her hobbies of drawing, design and gardening share this common thread.  She pursues gardening year-round growing African violets and carnivorous plants indoors under light stands, while her outdoor gardens mostly include native plants.

Her previous floral design experience has been mostly self-taught and came from entering the design section of African violet competitions. She joined the Garden Club of Toronto last year and specifically wanted to learn about floral design, and it has been a fantastic and inspiring experience. Since she works professionally as an industrial designer, floral design has become the perfect way for her to combine her love of her chosen profession with her love for nature.  She look forward to expanding my horizon through competitions.




Bruno grew up surrounded by flowers on his family’s farm in Madeira. His approach to floral design is both sculptural and emotional, blending organic materials and found objects together to create works of art. When he’s not at his studio, Bruno can be found creating arrangements in front of a live audience in many places in the USA, Northern Ireland and the UK. He has won the CAFA award at Canada Blooms Florist Alley in 2017 and 2018 and people’s choice award in 2018. He has also won the Pacific Northwest Floral Design Competition in 2018. He had the great opportunity to represent Canada in Singapore in 2018 in Windows of the World at their garden show. He won Floral Artist of the year 2019 at Canada Blooms, Got second place at Maple Leaf Cup 2019 and won the CAFA award for most creative use of materials at the Maple Leaf Cup 2019.

TRUDY GRANTHAM Trudy Grantham Floral Artist  

Trudy is a member of The Garden Club of Toronto and has participated in Floral Design and Horticultural competitions since 1988.
She won the privilege of doing the Honorary Exhibit for Canada at the WAFA Show in Ireland in 2014. WAFA is the World Association of Floral Artists. The show is held every three years in different member countries. She has competed in four shows. She also represented Canada at Canada Blooms in the International Competition.She became a Floral Design Judge in 1996 and a Horticultural Judge in 1999. She has done educational demonstrations to students at the judges school as well as teaching at my own club.

Crystal Hill Floral Artist

I started in the industry in 1990 as a 17 year old high school co-op student in Peterborough. I decided to move to Ottawa and take the 1993 Algonquin College Florist program, graduating top of my class in 1994, during that time met and began working with the great Gerry Arial AIFD, owner of The Silver Rose. I continued to my education with Flowers Canada, completing the design portion of their program, receiving my C.A.F.D. (Canadian Accredited Floral Designer designation). I competed in CAFA photo design contests, winning the 2006 “Christmas Present” category & winning the 2008 “Passion” category. I competed April 2018 in the Fleurs de Villes Mannequin Series Ottawa Showcase, winning “Most Original”. Aug 2018, I started my own company, Floral Envy Inc. and was recently chosen as the winner of the Faces Ottawa Magazine, 2019 Favourite Florist.


A self taught artist/painter and a Floral designer, a recent member of CAFA has a unique style for creating pieces of art. Her works speak of bold colours, harmony, and texture. She is a well accomplished registered nurse from the Philippines and gained local and international medical experiences from various critical care units. Flowers change her path after she took a floral course in Burlington Art Center by accident. Thru the encouragement of her classmates she pursues her passion and creativity and takes it to the next level from CIFD. The travel experiences and diversity of cultural background that she acquired have a huge influence in her art works. She is working now as a freelance designer specialized in both events and retail for the shop promotion. “Being passionate in what we do is the key for creating a great piece of art”.


After graduating from Humber college in 1987, Rhonda Jaxa-Aksentowicz (yaxa-ax-sen-toe-vitch) went on to work in flower shops in Toronto gaining experience, saving money and then travelling for a year in Australia and New Zealand.

Shortly after her return and getting married she moved to the UK where she lived and worked for 12 years. Learning new and valuable skills and defining a more European style.

While there she did work for the Royal family, BBC television, and numerous high profile clientele.

Once back in Toronto she entered the event world of floristry. Which is where she gained a new skillbase in ceiling and large space installs. Doing massive corporate events for the oil industry and high end weddings.

She is presently working for 5 event companies.
Rhonda’s experience has allowed her the opportunity to travel to Calgary, Bermuda, Holland, Bahamas and Mexico.

She is a teacher and mentor to junior designers. And is still loving and learning new things about the industry.


Emily Mays cfd is the Ontario born, Nova Scotia raised daughter of an artist father and gardener Mother. She studied Technical Stagecraft at Acadia University before becoming Manager of Jungle Interiors where she learned the art of faux botanicals.

A restaurant partnership opportunity brought Emily to Toronto in 2001. In 2005 she returned to her studies, this time in Interior Design, but after quickly growing bored with drafting vs the hands-on creativity she was used to- she enrolled at The Canadian Institute of Floral Design and didn’t look back. Upon certification she went on to advance her studies in England with Judith Blacklock and Paula Pryke and returned to CIFD to take on the position of Program Coordinator. This led to a teaching opportunity at the Toronto Botanical Garden, regular floral artist opportunities at Canada Blooms and a return to England as an educator at The Chelsea Flower Show.

In 2008 Emily began a 2 year program at The New York Botanical Garden which demanded she find an internship. Van Vliet & Trap Event Design are the official florist to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and agreed to take her on. Large scale venues included The Rainbow Room, The Pierre, The Waldorf Astoria, Cipriani’s and Ellis Island. Prior to completing her courses, her NYBG instructors encouraged her to test for the American Institute of Floral Designers certification. She did and was inducted in 2010. In 2012, she began a freelance hiatus from Emily Mays Creative Floristry.

In early 2019 Emily decided it was the right time to stop flying and start planting some roots. She sourced a humble little space in historic old-town Niagara-on-the-Lake where her Home & Garden boutique Spade & Sparrow now calls home. It has just received a NotL Choice Award nomination for Best Florist. These days Emily can be found creating at it’s nearby studio with her dog Finnegan or chasing the sunset with her horse Big Tuck.


Melani Nemeskovic is a European floral designer who recently moved to Canada and is currently working in the wedding and event industry. Melani is the owner of Floresco Wedding & Events based in Kitchener.

NORMA  QUILAONorma Quilao  







Margaret is a Designer, Judge and Teacher.

Margaret is an accredited judge for floral design, horticulture, roses and Sogetsu Ikebana. Margaret has represented Canada numerous times at WAFA (World Association of Flower Arrangers), including this year are the competition in India.

Margaret has worked on the Canada Blooms Flower Show committee since 1999 and have served as Design Chair, Convener, Convener of Conveners , International Convener, Design Schedule Writer, Horticultural Schedule writer, Celebrity Stage assistant, Judges Convener, Demonstrator on the Garden Hall stage and MC for the International Demonstration

Margaret is Coordinator of Floral Design Studies at the Toronto Botanical Gardens – implemented both a Basic and an Advanced Certificate in floral design by developing a consecutive series of integrated courses, writing the curriculum, planning courses, hiring and supervising teachers.  This has been a great success for the Toronto Botanical Gardens.


Kirsten VanDijk is a self-described “Negative Space Sculptor currently working with the mediums of Interiors and Flowers”. Her connection to the Natural World was created deep in the moss beds, balsam forests, and rocky coast of Maine where as a child she gleefully roamed and explored for hours on end. Her first bouquet of import was made with Bluets and Dandelions. Hunting frogs in all stages of development was a favored pastime along with climbing trees and searching for rocks. Building forts, houses, secret dwellings and furniture from all found objects was also a formative passion.

Kirsten can look back on a First Place for her entry in the 2011 World Flower Show as the turning point in her development as a visual artist, for it was with this design she found her ability to capture beauty through pure plant-based means. Employing a mindful approach was at that moment cultivated as well.

Creator and Administrator of the Facebook Floral Design platform “Project Flower Show”, Kirsten enjoys educating through competition, which exemplifies her motto since 2011 “Competition is the Evolution of Design”. She has competed both Nationally and Internationally, sharing her floral vision and winning awards in the process.


In 2002 Wendy began her journey in the floral industry, washing buckets and cleaning stock. She was 19 at the time. On a slow, rainy day, she was taught how to make a European hand-tied bouquet which came naturally to her. Soon after, she attended CIFD (Canadian Institute of Floral Design) and graduated top of her class. She found a calling that brought her love of colour and nature to life. Her style is colourful, and romantic, with a modern twist on classic design. Last year she joined the NIA (Niagara International Association of Florists) board after winning second place in their 2019 Design Contest.

Throughout the years Wendy has found her passion over and over again, always expanding her design skills by attending workshops and design shows whenever possible. She has cultivated many amazing relationships with her clients as well as her peers. Wendy’s work has been featured in Wedding Bells Magazine and looks forward to many more accomplishments throughout her career.


Nolan Zhang is a florist based in Vancouver and Beijing. He has run his own art studio in Beijing for 20 years, featuring  a wide range of floral and interior design projects in different scales and different cities nationwide. His studio mainly focuses on high-end shopping malls, hotels, commercial displays, weddings and events.
After he moved to Vancouver since 2019, I work for Vivio Flower Gallery as a floral designer, which has been an exciting and sometimes unpredictable place.


What is Canada Blooms?

Canada Blooms is an annual world-class festival that connects people to the joys and benefits of nature through experiences with gardens and flowers, by promoting, educating, inspiring and celebrating all aspects of horticulture....


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