April 15, 2011
Editor’s note: Canada Blooms show manager Gerry Ginsberg announced plans to co-locate the festival with the National Home Show in 2012.

Tony DiGiovanni CHTR
LO executive director

It is very important to realize that we are not selling Canada Blooms to the Home Show, nor are we partnering with a for-profit show. This must be made very clear. The shows will remain separate. They are simply locating in the same venue and same date.  

Each show will advertise its own event, issue its own tickets and have its own entrances. However, the Canada Blooms ticket will allow visitors to enter into the Home Show, and the Home Show ticket will allow visitors into Canada Blooms.   

The original vision for Canada Blooms was a charitable, community-based, world-class event that showcased the very best in horticulture and floriculture. Proceeds then and now are used for legacy garden projects. It is not a business and cannot operate as one. It must be able to mobilize and benefit communities and generations. It must infect all visitors with a desire to contribute to their community and environment. It must reflect the core values of community stewardship, volunteer participation, contribution, celebration, education and pursuit of excellence.  

We wanted to unify the professional and amateur horticultural communities by bringing together all those who had a passion and enthusiasm for gardens, flowers, plants and green space in a grand celebration meant to create an unforgettable impression on visitors. We strive to reach out and stir each visitor’s emotion. Our sincere desire to fulfil this goal is behind our motivation to negotiate a co-location arrangement with the home show. The proposed relationship will enhance both events.    

Here are the five main reasons we are co-locating with the National Home Show:  
  1. Locating Canada Blooms and the National Home Show in one location will make it one of the largest events in North America. The size, scope and added attendance will generate enough energy and resources to enhance and improve the gardens and floral displays. We will also generate enough revenue to contribute to community-related horticultural projects, thus fulfilling our legacy mandate.   
  2. The co-location agreement will allow each organization to focus on its respective strengths. Canada Blooms will be able to focus on education, gardens, floral arts and community building/contribution.  The Home Show will focus on the marketplace, business aspects and logistics. This will allow Canada Blooms staff to focus on the festival part of our event. They will have much more time to go after sponsors, develop grant proposals, liaise with bus tour companies, and develop creative partnerships with other cultural events.  
  3. The co-location arrangement will give Canada Blooms the opportunity to raise awareness for the societal benefits of horticulture and floriculture to an entirely different audience. The demographic profile for Canada Blooms is 75 per cent women, 35 to 55. The audience for the Home Show is younger, first-time homeowners with more males comprising its demographic. This complementary mix will benefit both shows.   
  4. The co-location will allow Canada Blooms to revert to a “garden and floral” presentation area. All non-related exhibitors will be directed to the National Home Show.   
  5. Co-location is good for visitors and exhibitors. Visitors will be able to get into both events with one ticket.  Exhibitors will generate more revenue because of increased attendance.  

Landscape Ontario supports the relationship between Canada Blooms and the Home Show because it will accelerate the vision to produce a world-class garden and floral festival that contributes to the community. I still remember Kathy Dembroski’s comment before the birth of Canada Blooms. She wanted Canada Blooms to be a gift to the community. We do too.   

The following questions and answers will add further clarity:

Will the Canada Blooms brand be diluted?

No. The Canada Blooms brand will be strengthened. The quality of the gardens and floral displays will improve. There will be a separate entrance, separate marketing and separate tickets. The integrity of Canada Blooms as a world- class, non-profit festival will be maintained and enhanced. The vision and core values will remain the same.   

Will Canada Blooms be moving to a ten-day show?

Yes. The original vision of Canada Blooms was for a ten-day show. This was copied from the Philadelphia Flower and Garden Show. This length of time presents logistical issues with respect to the flowering plants and volunteer forces, however, Philadelphia has been operating for over 100 years as a ten-day show. We will learn from their experience. A ten-day show also has many benefits. The increased exposure will allow many more people to benefit. We are also looking at strategies to accommodate those exhibitors who may not be able to run ten days, so five-day options are being looked at.

Are you concerned that Canada Blooms will be perceived as a for-profit home show?

With this co-location arrangement, the business aspects of the show will disappear. We will look much more like the festival that we truly are.    

What do you hope to achieve with this co-location?

We hope to strengthen Canada Blooms so that we can focus on spreading our message of “societal benefit.” Currently, the majority of people plant gardens for aesthetic reasons. However, those of us in the nursery and landscape industry know that plants, gardens and green infrastructure improve quality of life in many other ways. Living green infrastructure provides economic, environmental, lifestyle, therapeutic, recreational, spiritual, tourism, health and community benefits. Canada Blooms can help the public become more aware of the benefits of green space.

What about logistics of building gardens and setting up floral displays?

It will certainly be a challenge to build gardens at the same time that the National Home Show is building the Dream Home. However, with proper planning and more time added to the build, we should be able to simplify the process. In addition, Canada Blooms will locate in Hall A, which is slightly larger than the current Hall B. There are also dedicated loading docks in Hall A. 
Tony DiGiovanni may be reached at tonydigiovanni@landscapeontario.com.