April 15, 2016
Tony DiGiovanni CHT
LO Executive Director

Kathy Dembroski from the Garden Club of Toronto arrived unannounced to our office (then located on Matheson Blvd. in Mississauga) some 22 years ago. The Garden Club wanted to celebrate their 50th anniversary by staging a world-class flower and garden show. Dembroski was wondering if Landscape Ontario would be interested in partnering for the event. I opened up our strategic plan and in it was the idea of starting a world-class flower show to celebrate Landscape Ontario’s 25th anniversary — this was the genesis of Canada Blooms.   

After two years of planning, fundraising and mobilizing hundreds of volunteers, suppliers and supporters, the first Canada Blooms opened its’ doors at the Toronto Congress Centre. It was an immediate success. So much so, the traffic reports repeatedly told the public to stay away from Canada Blooms because of the traffic congestion. We were all surprised at the beauty, creativity, skill and passion of our respective members. The displays were stunning and inspiring.   
20 years later, the event still showcases our profession better than any other medium can. Millions of people have been inspired to create a little paradise of their own based on what they see at Canada Blooms. Lifetime memories have been created. Thousands of ideas have been generated. The event has provided joy and wonder for visitors of all ages.    

I would like to share this excerpt from my brief welcome at “Professionals Night” during Canada Blooms because it reflects why the event has been so successful.  

“I am proud and thankful to work in this profession, because I am constantly in the company of the most wonderful, passionate, creative, visionary, inspirational and contribution-oriented family of members, staff and volunteers.

“You are known throughout the horticultural world for your professionalism, positive energy and character. Your work raises awareness for the environmental, economic, social, recreational, lifestyle, health and spiritual benefits of our profession.

“You are community builders, outdoor living specialists and landscape and garden professionals.

“Next years’ industry night event at Canada Blooms will be renamed ‘Professionals Night.’ Landscape Ontario’s new president, Paul Brydges, has inspired this new direction.

“Canada Blooms has inspired millions of people to connect with nature, gardens and plants, and has helped to improve our profession, as well as made a positive contribution to the broader community.  

“Gardens and nature are the universal language that bring ‘Green for Life’ benefits to all cultures and all ages.  

“Each year, the association’s collaborative garden building effort enables our professional and student members an outstanding opportunity to showcase their work and professionalism to the public. And each garden builder deserves credit for their commitment,  industry leadership and beautiful final results… not to mention sponsors who supported materials and supplies.

“You help the industry to inspire students through mentorship, build our network, and provide consumers with ideas and motivation to secure our professional services.

“On behalf of the association, I would like to thank all contributors including industry, students, suppliers and sponsors for their tireless passion for the industry, and commitment to volunteerism that made the gardens possible.”

Please visit canadablooms.com/gardens and gfl.me/h2Q8 to recognize those responsible for promoting our profession with passion, skill, creativity and character. 
Tony DiGiovanni may be reached at tony@landscapeontario.com.