Tag Archives: Garden Club of Toronto

Canada Blooms 25th Anniversary Magazine

Canada Blooms Magazine


2021 would have been our 25th festival, and we thought that maybe you might like to take a look back at Canada Blooms with us. We have chosen a highlight from each year, perhaps you remember them as well. There are also a few gardening tips and tricks from experts who have supported Canada Blooms throughout the years.

Celebrating 25 Years of Blooms

Our festival may be on hold this year, but that hasn’t stopped us from starting to plan for next year –- which will now be our 25th. This way we still get to have a celebration, and when we finally get to see each other again, we will be ready to party!

We would like to thank all the staff, volunteers and partners who worked hard to create our world-class garden festival for 25 years and we look forward to the next 25.

Our magazine is published on issuu.com and you will be redirected to their website, just click the image below.
We suggest you view in full screen.
Please Enjoy!

Canada Blooms 25th Anniversary Magazine


Canada Blooms Chooses Theme for 2021

Celebrating 25 years

The Theme for 2021 is ‘Secret Garden’!

As we approach our 25th Festival, it is interesting to point out that Canada Blooms itself was considered an Anniversary Gift.

In 1997, our founders The Garden Club of Toronto and Landscape of Ontario were both approaching important anniversaries. The Garden Club, with 500 members, had the accumulated knowledge of 50 years of experience, and Landscape Ontario, while 25 years younger, had the strength of 1,200 members companies across the province.

The two organizations decided to join forces and stage a world-class flower and garden show, one that would bring together the entire horticulture and floriculture communities, and showcase the best products, services designs and talent for the public.

The idea of Canada Blooms was born, and after three years of planning, the first festival took place. Canada Blooms was also a gift to Toronto, for as a non-profit event, the proceeds from Canada Blooms went to a number of community garden projects and horticultural scholarships.

Paying homage to our roots, we are going to take the first year’s theme ‘Secret Garden’ and put a 2021 spin on it. Think of cozy hideaways, backyard sanctuaries or perhaps a little green oasis. Each garden will represent just what we all need a little more of in our lives, places to spend time with friends and family.

We hope you will come celebrate with us in March!

Gilda’s Club Gnome Garden

Gilda's Club Gnome Garden

In 2020 Canada Blooms reached out to celebrities and artists to see if they would help us to create a Gnome Garden for Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto.

Margaret Taylor, who is a member of the Garden Club of Toronto, an international floral design competitor and winner, an instructor and floral judge, took on the project of the Gnome Garden at Canada Blooms.

Margaret assembled a team of volunteers who reached out to celebrities and artists to see if they would be interested in painting gnomes to bring awareness to Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto. The gnomes were to be displayed in the Gilda’s Club Gnome Garden and each of the gnomes were to be auctioned off, with all proceeds going to Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto.

Margaret then travelled the countryside looking for a couple dozen gnomes that would look fun and interesting. Each gnome is between 12″ and 24″ and no two look alike. Then after getting the commitment from each of our painters, Margaret and her team then had the fun task of delivering each of the gnomes to their destination and then retrieving them and storing them until the final reveal at Canada Blooms.  And during all of this Margaret was planning her design for the WAFA India competition which took place just before Canada Blooms.

It has been a  journey, sometimes fun and sometimes strange — we lost one gnome along the way, as it was accidentally dropped — oops.  One of the wonderful artists who offered to paint a gnome passed away suddenly, and her niece stepped in and completed the gnome as a way of honouring her aunt.

But each gnome was completed, and names where chosen and pictures taken.  You may have seen some of the finished gnomes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as both the artists and the members of Margaret’s team were busy teasing people leading up to the festival.

Then it happened, Canada Blooms, and their partner — the Home Show, made the fateful decision that they would have to close the festival the day before opening day, much to the disappointment of staff, exhibitors and attendees. But we all agree that safety comes first.

So because most of you never had to opportunity to see all the gnomes or meet the wonderful artists who donated their time and talent to create each masterpiece, please see below. Then decide which gnome you would like to bid on, because the Silent Auction will take place at Canada Blooms 2021.


MISSION:  The mission of Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto is to ensure that all people impacted by any cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.  Emotional and social support are essential to a complete cancer care plan.  All networking and support groups, educational workshops and social activities are provided free of charge.

ABOUT OUR CHARITY : The burden of cancer is not only physical but deeply emotional. Where physicians provide medical expertise following a cancer diagnosis, Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto  is the expert in managing the emotions, behaviors and social relationships impacted by this diagnosis when cancer is the greatest stressor in one’s life.  Their proven psycho-social programs focus on support for the whole family i.e. cancer support groups for the person with cancer as well as support groups for the caregivers, spouses/partners and children in the family and they don’t charge for membership. Their 5 core programs are: support groups for adults, teens and children, education workshops, healthy lifestyle activities, art base programs and referrals and resources. Gilda’s Club also hosts a March Break Camp and a July summer camp for children whose lives have been affected by a cancer diagnosis in the family. Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto has been coined “The missing link in the cancer care system.”

By supporting Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, you are helping them ensure that no one has to face cancer alone.

To find out more or donate, please visit: gildasclubtoronto.org

Meet the Artists:

Gnomes Artists


Bluejay by Judy James and Roberto Alomar


Roberto Alomar
Roberto “Robbie” Alomar Velázquez is a former Major League Baseball player who played for the San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Judy James
Judy is a Floral Artist and Artist. She volunteers at Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto.


Roberto Alomar


Mini Joe and Mini Jack by Angela Argentina


Angela is the chef and vegan food consultant at Kindred Kitchens. She is also an artist and a yoga instructor.


Angela Argentina


Chanel by Jeanne Beker


Jeanne is a Canadian Journalist, Media Personality, and Fashion Entrepreneur. Jeanne started her career as an actress, but moved into radio and then television on The NewMusic and CityPulse News. She then went on to become the hose of the Fashion Television (FT), which aired for 27 years and had viewers in more than 130 countries. Jeanne was recently named Style Editor of The Shopping Channel, and hosts a regular series for the channel entitled “Style Matters with Jeanne Beker”. She was recently appointed to the Order of Canada in 2014 for her support of the Canadian fashion industry


Jeanne Beker


Pobbles by Sue Clarkson


Sue is a floral designer and artist.



Flower Place Holder


Gnomenclature by Ben & Mark Cullen


Ben Cullen
Ben is a fourth generation gardener. Ben spent several years working in the food industry before travelling across Europe, Russia, Mongolia and China on his own, then joining his dad, Mark, in the business a few years ago. Ben has a passion for food gardening and the environment. Ben is co-author of
Escape to Reality.

Mark Cullen
Mark has been broadcasting and writing about the gardening experience since the early 80’s. He has written 23 books, including Escape to Reality. In 2016 Mark was awarded the Order of Canada for “his connections with everyday Canadians through his gardening and environmental messages.” He is the Volunteer Chair of the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign.



Mark & Ben Cullen


Valentine by Bruno Duarte


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. Bruno represented 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, received second place at Maple Leaf Cup 2019 and won the CAFA award for most creative use of materials at the Maple Leaf Cup 2019. Bruno won Judge’s Choice at Canada Blooms 2020.


Bruno Duarte


Dandy by Jayne Eastwood


Canadian Icon Jayne Eastwood is a renowned actor who has had plenty of experience showcasing her comedic talents in TV shows like King of KensingtonSCTV and Little Mosque on the Prairie. For her latest project – web series, Hey Lady– she amps up the laughs as an older woman navigating the challenges that come with aging. Jayne received the ACTRA Toronto 2019 Award of Excellence that recognized her 50-year career in film, TV, stage and voice animation.
IMBD.COM – Jayne Eastwood


Jayne Eastwood with Dandy


Norm Gnomey by Frankie Flowers


Frank A.K.A. Frankie Flowers is one of Canada’s most trusted gardening and weather experts.  With 4 best selling books including Power Plants, Pot it Up, Get Growing and most recently Food to Grow Frankie’s books exemplify his mission to motivate people to garden.  Frankie can be seen daily on CityTV Breakfast Television, he is a regular garden expert on CityLine and also has been the gardening expert for the Dr Oz show. Frankie’s family operates one of Canada’s largest combined greenhouse and garden centre operations located in Bradford and Barrie.




Frank Ferragine




Hortensia by Denis Flanagan



Denis has just retired as PR Director at Landscape Ontario, he was the host of HGTV’s One Garden, Two Looks and Indoor Gardener, a frequent Canada Blooms speaker, and garden designer, teacher and consultant.  Denis combines over 30 years gardening experience with a sense of humour that makes him a popular speaker at events across the country. Denis also appears as an expert guest on many other gardening shows on TV and radio.



Denis Flanagan painting Hortensia


Albert by Albert Graves


Albert has been teaching at Humber for more than 20 years and is an internationally recognized expert in floral design and the commercial floral industry. Trained in the Netherlands, he came to Canada in 1987 and opened Bloemen Décor, a Toronto-based floral design studio, in 1995. Continually searching for the new and novel he has the unique talent of keeping things within a strict design ethos. Whether it’s decorations for the Dutch Queen’s birthday, flowers for visiting dignitaries, glamorous celebrities or an appearance on various television shows, you can be sure that Albert’s designs always bear his unique signature.


Albert Graves


Rex by Rex Harrington


Rex is one of the most accomplished and acclaimed male dancers of his era, he brought seemingly limitless panache, energy, style and showmanship to the vast range of characterizations he created during his 20 years with The National Ballet of Canada. He joined The National Ballet of Canada in 1983 and a Principal Dancer in 1988, remaining in that position until his retirement in 2004. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000 and was given a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2005. In 2006, he received an Honorary Degree from York University and was appointed Artist-in-Residence with the National Ballet. Rex was a frequent judge on the popular television programme, So You Think You Can Dance Canada.



Rex Harrington


Gulliver by Jacqui Jacobs


Jacquie is a renowned artist how has had her art displayed in Canada and many European Countries.



Jacqui Jacobs


Judy by Judy James


Judy is a Floral Artist and Artist. She volunteers at Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto.


Flower Place Holder


Claude the Gnome by Nicole Katsurus


Nicole received a Master of Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins School of art and design in London, UK and has an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. Her work can be found in numerous corporate collections. Nicole is currently working on three solo exhibitions in Vancouver, Arkansas and Toronto.


Nicole Katsuras


Eco Ed and Forrest The Frog by Anwar Knight


Anwar is a proud Canadian broadcaster, blogger, and self-proclaimed “weather weenie”. Anwar Knight joined the CTV News Toronto team as the Weekend Weather Reporter in 2007 and in 2009 transitioned to reporting the weather weekdays on CTV News at Noon. Anwar is proud to be an integral part of Toronto’s #1 Newscast. He anchors the local morning news briefs, followed by live reports from various community events in the GTA on CTV News at Noon while delivering his always engaging forecast.



Anwar Knight


Portrait of a Gnome by Darlene Kulig


Darlene was awarded the CSEA/Berol Prismacolour National Art Scholarship awarded to six Canadian students entering Fine Arts based on outstanding potential in visual arts.  TorontoHOME and Ottawa Life Magazine have featured Darlene’s award winning work, showcasing her vibrant, coast to coast Canadian landscapes. Currently, Darlene is focusing her creative efforts full time on developing a recognizable, signature Kulig Canadian landscape as well as traveling with an eye for her next painting series. You can find her work in galleries across Canada and the United States as well as private collections around the world.


Darlene Kulig


Pride Gnome by Colin Mochrie & Deb McGrath


Colin Mochrie
Colin is a Scottish-born Canadian actor, writer, producer and improvisational comedian, best known for his appearances on the British and US versions of the improvisational TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Deb McGrath
Debra is an actress and writer, known for Expecting, Getting Along Famously and The Joe Blow Show.
IMBD – Debra McGrath


Deb McGrath and Colin Mochrie


Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil by Camille Muller


Camille studied at McMaster University, the University of Western Ontario, London Teachers College and the Ontario College of Education. On graduation, she has had an extensive teaching career spanned grades 5 to 13 – including adult education groups.
Camille enjoys working in watercolor, acrylics, collage, mixed media and print making. In the medium of porcelain/china she has earned the designation of Certified Master Artist and Master Teacher.


Camille Muller


Sweetie by Mara Sciavetto


Mara’s award-winning work has been accepted into numerous prestigious juried shows, including the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA) and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. She has also exhibited in many group shows and several solo shows. Her work can be found in collections throughout North America and Europe. She is a member of several art organizations, including Neilson Park Creative Centre, where she often paints with like-minded passionate artists.


Mara Sciavetto


Mary by Meghan Thompson


Meghan is a Visual arts teacher with the Toronto District School Board. She also creates comics and illustrations, with online galleries at Instagram.com/MeghanT72 and FizzBee.bigcartel.com. Meghan stepped in painted Mary in memory of her aunt Mary Shaver, a west end artist, who started painting the gnome but then had a tragic accident.


Meghan Thompson


Papa Gnome by Tanja Taylor


Tanja is the Director, Creative Services at RBC Global Asset Management.


Tanja Taylor


John by Mayor Tory


Mayor Tory has spent his life giving back to the city he loves, through his tireless work in public, private sector and philanthropic roles.

Elected as the 65th Mayor of Toronto in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, John Tory is making the city more liveable, affordable and functional.


Mayor John Tory


Happy Gardener by Paul Zammit


A graduate of the University of Guelph’s Plant Agriculture program, Paul is an active member of many Canadian and international gardening communities. He lectures on a wide array of subjects, including container gardening, perennials, ground covers and tropicals.

A popular and engaging speaker, Paul has given presentations at many garden clubs and large garden shows such as the Canadian National Exhibition, Success With Gardening and Canada Blooms, and other horticultural trade shows in both Canada and the United States


Paul Zammit

What makes Canada Blooms an International Event?

Canada Blooms 2017 Toronto Flower Show International Competition

Family Affair is the theme for the Toronto Flower Show 2019. You will see many interesting interpretations of family life and relationships. Think about how you would portray “Gathering of the Clan”, “Sunday Best”, “Family Tree”, “Family Game Night”, “Dysfunctional”, Family Feud” and many more. Many of the designs call for techniques which you will not have seen.

What makes Canada Blooms an International Event? It is the competitors that come from around the world to enter a design. The 2019 International Class title is “Relatively Speaking”.

Ten countries are confirmed; Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, France, Italy, Oman, India, NAFAS Great Britain, South Africa, and the USA. These very talented women spend a lot of time and effort preparing for their visit to Canada Blooms. Some are chosen by their country to come as an award for winning top honours in their own country, others are invited because of their special skills/talent. Once confirmed, they immediately start planning their design. They consider the title, the space allotted, the colour of the set and background, learn which plant material they are allowed to bring into Canada from their particular country and which might be readily available here. We have had competitors arrive at Pearson Airport with boxes of material they intended to use only to have it confiscated at customs and immigration. Imagine the heartbreak and anxiety of having to rethink your design at the last minute!

Once here, they are well looked after. Billeted by members of the Garden Club of Toronto, they are treated as special guests in our country. There are dinners, often a trip to Niagara Falls and / or other attraction(s) and a good dollop of Canadian hospitality. Meeting these women at functions in other countries, they never fail to tell us what a good time they had in Toronto.

Make sure you come to meet them and to see their interpretation of “Relatively Speaking”. Each country will have its own unique idea of family relations. The International designs are shown for the first five days only (March 8th -12th) so make sure you come to the show early. If you come after March 12th, photographs of the international entries will be on display.

Don’t forget to bring your family, after all it is a Family Affair!

∼ Donalda Kelk, Toronto Flower Show

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Miniature Design from Pinterest

You have heard the phrase “good things come in small packages”, well whoever coined the phrase must have been thinking about miniatures. You know, those little arrangements that capture the imagination and fit into our ever-growing smaller living accommodations.

What is a miniature design you ask? A miniature is “a design with maximum dimensions of 13.3 cm (5 1/4″) in any direction (height, width, depth and diagonal). For good proportion, the container should not exceed 3.5cm (1 1/2″) in height. Appeal is greatly enhanced when exhibited in appropriately sized niches. Niche size 14 cm (5 3/4″) wide x 15cm (6″) high and 13.3 cm (5 1/4″) deep is recommended. To be viewed at eye level.” Ontario Judging Standards.

The most important element when creating a miniature floral design is scale. You must pay close attention to the relationship of size in each part of the design, each flower should be compared to the others in the arrangement, the flower(s) should be compared to the containers; any base or accessories should be compared to the container and the design as a whole. And the size of the whole design should be compared to the niche in which it will be displayed. No flower should be more than one-third the size of the container.

Here are some tips for miniatures:

  • Look for containers that are not too large but will hold enough water to keep the design fresh
  • Consider creating a cardboard template so that the design stays within size limits
  • Remember scale is the most important aspect of the design, consider using only three-quarters of the five-inch space to ensure lots of room around the design
  • Select plant material carefully, consider cedar, ivies, spirea, barberry, heather, Hydrangea florets, artemisia, cedar, baby’s breath, grasses, coral bells, miniature roses, ferns, hers like thyme and parsley, Queen Anne’s lace, and mosses, things that will be in scale with your container.
  • Condition fresh materials before you start.
  • For beginners, grey or black are the easiest colours to work with
  • Caps off toothpaste tubes or pump aerosol containers can be painted a colour to harmonize or contrast with your design.
  • For stability, use stickum to affix a button under the cap

Items you will need:

  • Floral Foam
  • Fresh or Dried Flowers
  • Manicure or Embroidery Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Eyedropper or Syringe for Watering
  • Stickum or Dollhouse Wax
  • Wire
  • Toothpicks
  • Container appropriate to type of design you wish to create

Once done, put your masterpiece eye level where it can be seen and frame the design in a small shadow box of the appropriate dimensions.

If you are a Garden Club of Toronto member consider entering a miniature design in the Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms. The schedule will be online by the beginning of November, so start planning now!  And if you aren’t a member, come and try your hand at making one during one of Toronto Flower Show’s pop-up demonstration/mini workshops. Watch the web site or newsletter for the dates and times closer to the festival!

Miniature floral arrangement photo borrowed from Pinterest

Life Is A Celebration Worthy of Flowers

Toronto Flower Show International Exhibits

TORONTO, Ont. —Flowers are used to celebrate every occasion. Whether it is a birthday, wedding, or a special holiday, flowers show loved ones we care, and help celebrate life’s important milestones. During Canada Bloom’s 20th anniversary, the festival will showcase that ‘Life is a Celebration,’ and flowers are there every step of the way to help celebrate.

“Presented by The Garden Club of Toronto, the Flower Show will present another year of competitions amongst amateur floral designers and garden club members at Canada Blooms. The competitors enter  classes competing in horticulture, special exhibits, floral design and photography. International competitors from around the world have been invited to participate for the first 5 days. Artists in the garden will provide a new focus on floral painting. Arrangements  will be on display throughout the duration of the show providing guests with a colourful, bright and exciting look at how flowers can be used in a variety of ways.

“The arrangements produced by our florists during the show always go above and beyond our expectations,” says Terry Caddo, General Manager of Canada Blooms. “They really help give Canada Blooms a necessary surge of colour that helps drive away the winter blues.”

Also adding a pop of colour to Canada Blooms will be Bayview Flowers Floral Alley where six professional floral artists will showcase their take on the different ‘Seasons of Life.’  These floral artists include:

-Students from the Canadian Institute of Floral Design
-Opening Night Flowers
-Alma Florists
-LadyBug Florist
-Fresh Floral Creations
-Jennifer Harvey Designs

“Continuing with this year’s theme of ‘It’s a Party,’ floral artists will create designs focusing on the different ‘Seasons of Life,’” says Caddo. “Every season of life is a celebration, and that is what we are asking our professional designers to focus on.”

Awards for the Flower Show will be handed out on March 20, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. on the Canada Blooms main stage.

Canada Blooms will be held from March 11th to 20th, 2016, at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto. The schedule for the show is available at canadablooms.com for anyone wishing to enter, as well as being found on the Garden Club of Toronto website.

For more information or for tickets, please visit canadablooms.com. Follow Canada Blooms on Twitter @CanadaBlooms and Like it on Facebook.

About 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. Co-locating with the National Home show to create North America’s Largest Home and Garden event, Canada Blooms is a not-for-profit organization that gives back to the community throughout the year by funding community garden projects around Ontario, Canada Blooms is also dedicated to providing the community with horticulture expertise, education and resources on an ongoing basis.

Now in its 20th year, Canada Blooms was founded by Landscape Ontario and The Garden Club of Toronto. Each year it is supported by a committed group of partners, sponsors and volunteers.