Staging the Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms….Otherwise known as an Exercise in Madness
When do we begin planning for the next show? We start before the current show is even set up! By June of the prior year, we are in full swing – drawing up construction plans and nagging others for information so we can develop a floor plan.
Schedule writers from Horticulture and Design, Youth, Special Exhibits, Lighting consultants, and plant suppliers are but a few of the people with whom we interact, always staying in touch with Terry Caddo, General Manager of Canada Blooms, and diligently monitoring the budget throughout the whole process.
Once we receive the flower show schedule, we get together over the summer months to review the schedule for the upcoming show and to assess the sets that we have in inventory and how they can be best utilized. We collaborate on the layout of the show – changing the plan from the previous year – to enhance the displays of course, but also to entice the general public to walk through and marvel at the creativity and colours.
Firstly, we revisit the budget figures. With those in mind, and from a review of current inventory of sets, we commence designing new and replacing old sets and finding odd things like chandeliers or the Hula Hoops used in 2015 (which took a summer of many of us scouring stores). We are forever on the lookout for ideas and drive all over looking for props for use. This can take quite some time when we are looking for a specific type of item – and ones that will fit within our budget!
We work all summer to meet the deadline of September in order to have everything planned to allow the contractor/builder time to construct, paint, repair, or replace sets. The inventory is stored in a large warehouse at Landscape Ontario in Milton. In October, existing sets are pulled out to be inspected, repaired and painted with new colours. All the new construction begins.
In early March, everything that has been designated for us is transported to site. As always, there are a few glitches, but the team pulls together. We are usually on site for at least 5-6 days ahead of time before the wonderful designs, created by the members of the Garden Club of Toronto, International designers from around the world and local Horticultural Societies, are put in place. Keeping warm during this period is a challenge and sleep for us is a luxury!
However, when the Canada Blooms Festival is ready to open, we are delighted that we have this wonderful opportunity to be able to help pull the Toronto Flower Show together. In spite of the challenges, the end result is very rewarding.
Celia Roberts and Lil Taggart, Co-chairs, Staging for the TFS