Local MP sponsors bid to make bunchberry our national flower

Petition asks government to recognize winner of online survey

Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith has sponsored a petition to the Government of Canada calling for the bunchberry to be named our national flower.

The petition, submitted Dec. 4 , was created by Maureen Hulbert, executive coordinator of the Toronto Master Gardeners.

“When Maureen came to us with the idea, with her organization’s expertise and with all of the hard work they’d put in, I wanted to make sure her idea was considered and recognized,” Erskine-Smith said.

With the celebration of Canada 150 last year, the MP felt the time was right to bring attention to the considerable effort the Master Gardeners put into the event.

“Adopting a national flower would rightly recognize that work and would symbolically reflect our country’s unity and natural beauty,” Erskine-Smith said. “In my role as MP for Beaches-East York, my job is often to elevate the voices and ideas of constituents.”

Candidates for national flower had to meet the criterion of growing in every province and territory. The finalists were:

  • the bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
  • hooded ladies’ tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana)
  • the twinflower (Linnaea borealis). 

More than 10,000 Canadians took part in the survey, sponsored by Master Gardeners of Ontario. Eighty per cent of the online vote chose the bunchberry.

As of now, there is no word on the fate of the petition, but Erskine-Smith is hopeful.

“The government has 45 days to respond to the idea once the petition is tabled, and I hope that Heritage Canada pursues the idea,” he said.