Canada Blooms hurries arrival of spring

Diane Hsu and her husband came to downtown Toronto this week in search of spring.

“We’d like our backyard to look like this,” Hsu said.

The Hsus attended Canada Blooms at the Direct Energy Centre. It’s an annual flower and garden festival, held from March 17 to 21.

It was held this year at the larger venue so that gardeners could show off their horticulture.

Marketing Director Gilles Bouchard said the venue attracted more people than last year’s event because of the 2009 recession.

The 2010 show featured a number of displays, including a wine garden from the Niagara region and a Disney-themed garden park. Celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart was a guest speaker at the event.

Bouchard said this year’s Canada Blooms catered to outdoor horticulture.

“There’s been a great emphasis on the gardens, which is what our visitors love to see,” he said.

Bouchard said that this year exhibitors want to promote eco-friendly solutions.

“We’re all about the environment because gardening for most (people), is a green earth,” he said. “We’re here to promote those initiatives.”

Gardeners were not the only people at the event. The City of Toronto had its own booth at the show. Fruit trees and kitchen gardens were some of the greenery at its display.

Jodi Callan, of Toronto Environment Offices, said the city wants to teach Torontonians how to grow their own food in an urban environment.

“What we’re trying to do is show people that you can grow food anywhere in this city,” Callan said. “You don’t need to have a plot of land.”

Although the City of Toronto has assisted Canada Blooms for a number of years, she said this year is different.

“Our display is very different from anything we’ve ever done before,” Callan said. “It’s mostly food, so our theme this year is urban agriculture.”

There was much to take in for all members of the family at Canada Blooms. While the Hsu children kids enjoyed the fountains and Tinkerbell exhibit, Diane Hsu and her husband were there to learn.

“That’s why we came here, to get ideas,” she said.

Canada Blooms is the largest flower and garden festival in the country. The festival is a non-profit event striving to promote horticulture and gardening.