Must be spring soon - Canada Blooms site open

jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))January 24, 2008

It must be spring soon. Yesterday, I received in my email an invitation to explore the new Canada Blooms site. Personally, I really look forward to it, as:

1) the herald of better weather to come,

2) time to check and prepare to start my dahlia in a few weeks,

3) check my brugmansias which are in cool storage for the winter.

4) sharpen and oil my tools

5) Have I missed anything?

Canada Blooms: The Toronto Flower & Garden Festival, March 12 - 16, 2008!

Here is a link that might be useful: Canada Blooms site

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I too have received my notice. I'm looking forward to my next visit. My main aim in going to these shows is to purchase my seed supplies for the season.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 3:36PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Maybe I'll see you there Ianna. Are you volunteering this year?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 7:49PM
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I work and so I cannot volunteer although the thought is tempting. I try to take a half day from work to attend the show and I do this without my husband knowing that I go to this shows. He thinks I spend too much on plants and seeds so I try to be sneaky about this. So at this time, I don't know when that day will be. How about yourself? Are you attending during the weekday or on the weekend?


    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 4:09PM
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This will be my first time going - we've got quite a group heading down with one of the local hort society bus trips. Any "must see" advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 8:06PM
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I'd say begin with a plan and do be patient. Crowds are especially thick during weekends. Best go during the weekday and bring your own snacks and drinks as food can be very expensive there. For myself, I prefer to tackle the marketplace first. That's the highlight of my visit. Only then do I tackle the garden displays.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 2:22PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

How much is the entrance ticket?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 11:28AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

The site I mentioned gives these prices:

Adult $18
Grp Rate 20+ $16
Student (13 - 18) $16
Senior (65+) $16
Children 12 and under FREE

BUT if you have a Sobey's near you, buy it there in advance and pay only $16.00 - just like a student or a senior.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 12:07PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Yep....there is a sobey's here. I'll do that and try and go during the week, avoiding the weekend crowd. It makes sense since I work in Toronto anyway.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 12:40PM
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hiya all,

I haven t been to this show in a while...and I ve heard some say that it s now very commercial and you might as well just go to a big garden centre. Is it worth the $16 ticket?

I plan to go on the first day to avoid the weekend crowds..

Are there usually plants on sale in the marketplace as well as seeds??

Thanks all :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 8:41AM
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Dear Sunita,

Not quite sure what others meant by too commercial??? This is a garden trade show and it is from it's very beginning a commercial gathering for gardening. There' several components to these shows, landscape displays, flower show displays, marketplace area, and the demonstration.

I go to the event every year because it allows me to resupply on seeds and plants otherwise not available in garden centres. So in this sense, yes it is highly commercial.

For me it's well worth the price of going. There are several places I like to go to for my plants and what a great convenience it is for me to have to just go to one area to access several of them. When I do mail orders, I have to pay for shipping and handling (plus the plants are not always in prime health when these arrive). The price tag of $16 is probably close to what I'd have to pay for one mail order company - let alone ordering from several other mail order companies. It's an opportunity to see other companies that I don't normally buy from. Plus it's not just plants I'm curious to see. there's tools, there's lights, garden accessories.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 11:45AM
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Thanks Ianna,

I ve only been once before....years ago and I only visited the floral display section (I was not gardening at that time!)

I m glad to hear that there are plants as re right...shipping from a mail order company can really be expensive.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 8:02AM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

There is a $10 entry fee if you go after 5pm. This is something to do with the RBC, and tickets have to be bought on site

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 6:57AM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Attending Canada Blooms 2008
Tips for Going to this Popular Flower and Garden Show in Toronto
Amy Urquhart

Jan 14, 2008

Advice for attending Toronto's most well-known flower and garden show, Canada Blooms.
Attending annual gardening events such as flower and garden trade shows is a great way for gardeners to get an early glimpse of green when itÂs still too soon to be digging in the dirt. At Canada Blooms, sponsored by Home Depot (Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 222 Bremner Blvd., Toronto, Ontario), vendors sell garden-related products including seeds, garden tools, gardening books and magazines, clothing and perennial and annual plants. There are also several extensive and unique garden displays, showcasing outdoor furniture and imaginative flower bed plantings for visitors to admire. However, if visitors don't consider comfort and budgeting factors, they might find the day disappointing.

Here are several tips for successfully navigating Canada Blooms.

Purchase tickets ahead of time. Tickets are available online at the Canada Blooms website. Buying tickets ahead of time ensures visitors will receive a $2 discount and is a great way to avoid line-ups on the day they attend. Tickets can also be purchased in advance at participating SobeyÂs stores, or at the ticket booth on the 600 level of the Convention Centre.
Budget parking costs. Visitors who live outside of the City of Toronto should budget between $12 and $20 for transportation costs, whether planning to drive or to take advantage of public transportation such as GO Transit or the TCC. Parking downtown is expensive; the daily maximum cost to park underground across the street from the Convention Centre is $17.
Be prepared to wait in line to eat, and for food to be overpriced. Sandwiches, salads, muffins, juice, coffee, tea and water are the standard fare. Bottled water is $2.50. Alternatively, water fountains are available free of charge. Wear either a very light jacket or sweater or be prepared to check coats. Walking around for hours in a heavy winter coat makes for a very long and tiring day.
Bring cash if planning to shop. There is an ATM at the Convention Centre, but itÂs the type that charges additional service fees for withdrawals, and dispenses fifty dollar bills.
Bring a camera. There are many excellent garden design and planting ideas to see, and visitors will want to photograph the beautiful flower displays.
Wear comfortable shoes. A lot of walking is required at this event. Even the walk through Union Station to the Skywalk to the Convention Centre is a fair distance. There are plenty of escalators, so stairs arenÂt usually a problem, but comfort is key.
Attend a talk. Canada Blooms is not just for shopping. There is much to be learned, too! The schedule for lectures and book signings is available on the Canada Blooms website.
Take medication. Spring allergy sufferers will want to take some allergy medicine ahead of time. There is usually a very strong flowery smell throughout the building which, while pleasant at first, can become overpowering.
With some careful planning, attending Canada Blooms can be one of the most enjoyable ways to kick off the Toronto gardening season. Avoid disappointment by following the advice provided here!


    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 11:30AM
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Hello everybody,

It has been quite a long time since I've posted on GardenWeb as my schedule has been exhausting and perhaps some of the regular posters remember me from the guru garden (Patrick Studio retail).

As a former exhibitor at Canada Blooms, I find that since Loblaws stopped sponsoring the show, it has been going downhill. For individuals who've attended the show several times, the content is no longer original and often, the same speakers are back with the same topic from previous years. The last year we attended the show in 2006, we were within earshot of a booth that was selling absorbent sponges/cloths to wipe counters and wash floors. The salespeople at the booth talked non-stop and were really loud and I found it tacky and inappropriate to have this company exhibit at a garden show.

Although some of the gardens are spectacular, there is less interesting plant material on display or available for sale. The seed that is offered (except perhaps for Florabunda seeds) is commercially packaged seed like McKenzie, Sutton Seed, and Thompson and Morgan. So if you are main goal in visiting Canada Blooms is to shop for seeds and plants, you might be disappointed. I don't feel it's necessary to pay an entrance fee of $ 18.00 (which to me is highway robbery) plus another $ 20.00 to park your car to buy products that are available at the most of the box stores.

Occasionally, Home Depot has some interesting and inexpensive packaged plants (like Brugmansias and Passifloras) but so many of the more interesting vendors will not be displaying in 2008. Mason Hogue, Wild Flower Farm, Fiesta Gardens, Terra, and many others are gone.

I feel that the main reason for this is that it is very expensive to grow plant material in early March given the enormous increase in energy costs. There are very few Canadian growers (in either Quebec or Ontario) that are willing to provide plants for Canada Blooms. The show is just too early. It is too bad that the show cannot be scheduled in April because I feel that it would be better for the public and the exhibitors.

Given the changes in the horticulture world - two major growers, Janet Anderson and Epic Plants are both out of business and the little support horticulture is receiving from the media - just take a look at the few gardening shows (most are really about renovation) on HGTV I have the feeling that if the Canada Blooms management team does not change their approach - innovation and creativity are required here - this show will go the way of the Successful Gardening Show in Mississauga which is totally commercial and pretty awful.

On the other hand, if you are interested in attending a show with interesting speakers and great plant material, there is a show in Peterborough - For the Love of Gardening in mid April that is a treat.

I've supplied the link to the show.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 1:46AM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)


I couldn't agree with you more. The wife and I were talking about this last night, and thought the entrance fee and all the other fees, is just dam ridiculous.

As an avid HGTV watcher, am not happy at the way gardening shows are disappearing of the screen, only to be replaced with more dismal home flippin' shows.

I have managed to buy a lot of seeds and bulbs locally, and even Costco has some on display right now.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:38AM
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MaeT(z5 NL, Canada)

Well my husband and I were in Ontario on holiday and decided to go to Canada Blooms. I must say I enjoyed the displays but I was also interested in buying Begonia bulbs and looking for seed. I was really disappointed in the Begonias bulbs they had for sale. They were like something you buy in Wal Mart and expensive. I came back home and bought them at a local nursery in a town nearby for a lot cheaper and much bigger healthier bulbs imported directly from Holland. I was so pleased with the bulbs that I am waiting for their shipement to arrive to buy more this year.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 1:02PM
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wyndyacre(z6B SW Ont.)

That is too bad about Canada Blooms going downhill. I would attend to also find plants, bulbs etc that I couldn't find elsewhere so if the venders are just something you can already buy at Wally World and the speakers are just repeating themselves over and over again, then it would hardly be worth a 3 hour drive (for me) and the price of admission and parking.

Unfortunately, I feel the Stratford Garden Festival has gone downhill also. It moved into a much smaller venue. There were less display gardens and less venders and the ones that were left were the same ol' stuff with high prices for dissicated and tiny bare roots. I left feeling greatly disappointed for I use to think it was a great show and looked forward to attending.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 8:23PM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

There is the Horticultural society garden show Burlington ON, starting on April 12th 2008, the website has a $2 off coupon.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 9:26AM
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I also agree with you. The Canada Blooms and Home and Garden Shows in Toronto have less vendors set up if you're going for seeds. You could go to a local store to purchase the stuff they had there. They did have nice displays though of tulips and other spring flowers.
Last year I found the Peterborough Garden Show well worth the money and cost less to get in. According to a Florabunda Seeds catalogue I picked it, the show is Apr 11-13 at the Evinrude Centre.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 9:19AM
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I finally have to agree with Marilena. More disturbing though is that this is a reflection of the downtrend of gardening. I saw the same sort of crowd at Canada Blooms but not the same number of choice vendors. Does this pared down show deserve having people coming down from far to come down to? I'd say no. We deserved better.

It is very troubling in my opinion because I don't think you will find enough young folks wanting to travel to out of town places to check out garden shows. Many young folks don't know much about gardening. In my opinion, a city based garden show is most suitable for younger crowds and hence your future market. A city based show does actually provide great opportunity to educate young folks. However, I do agree that the high priced entrance fee (ironically very similar to entrance fees in the Chicago Flower shows) acts more as a deterrent to the curious or newbies.

Sadly, as evidenced by the popularity of instant gardens, most young folks do not have an inkling on what gardening really is. It doesn't really help that these last Garden show was populated with garden accessory vendors - w/c is much more to do with garden decorating as opposed to gardenign itself.

I like the Peterborough area, but it's a long drive for just a day trip. I rather go to shows near or within the city.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 9:48AM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

Ianna....funny how you lumped all "young people" together in your post eh, how young are we talking about here, 30-40?

I consider myself young and have been gardening since last year, and quite hooked now actually. If you've seen any of my pics on here, then you won't make comments like the one you made above.

That is like saying all old folks are whatever the stereotype is

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:24AM
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Dear glaswegian and everyone else,

I sincerely didn't mean any disrespect whatsoever and I apologize for this.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:45AM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

I, too, was very disappointed with this year's show. I usually take all kinds of photos as the displays in the past have generated ideas for me. Not this year. I also found the sales area to be not too stimulating. I did get some more dahlias there which I had not seen elsewhere, but that is all.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 4:49PM
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