Swap plastic-wrapped, pesticide-laced bouquets for ones from these local boutiques that specialize in organically grown, sustainable flowers
Spring may seem like a far away fantasy right now, but picking up some flowers is an easy way to brighten up a dreary day. According to Fairtrade Canada, Canada imports much of its cut flowers from Colombia and Ecuador, where in many cases workers are subjected to poor working conditions. Exposure to highly toxic chemical pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers is also a serious issue in the flower industry. So think twice before grabbing that cellophane-wrapped bouquet at the grocery store and support one of these local spots that sell beautiful flowers without the ugly impact.
Address: 364 King East, ecostems.ca
Target customer: The sucker for succulents
This 10-year-old Corktown spot may be small but is stocked to the ceiling with plants. The space is powered by Bullfrog Power, a Canadian green energy source that uses wind and low-impact hydro, and the compressor for the shop’s fridge produces heat for the store in the winter. All flowers and plants are locally grown in Ontario, and in the summer they stock “uber-local” plants, meaning those grown within the city. This place has a wider selection of succulents than flowers but still a great option for both. International imports during the colder months are all fair trade including handmade sculptures of birds and mushrooms to adorn your garden. All pesticides are organic and leave less of a film on the flower.
Address: 776 Annette, theflowerroom.com
Target customer: The local shopper
In the warmer months, the Flower Room’s MotorMike can be spotted darting around the city on his motorbike making deliveries. It’s one of the charming draws of this west end spot run by Helen Kisicek-Soroka. Most of the pots and containers are ethically produced and fair trade. The flowers that aren’t sourced locally are shipped directly to the store, which takes out that extra step in the delivery process. In addition, all of their packaging and materials are recyclable. In the winter, they have a wide selection of dried flower arrangements created by staff, and in the warmer months this is the spot for every and any flower you fancy.
Target customer: The friendly neighbour
Sarah Nixon’s urban flower farm lies in the heart of the Parkdale and Roncesvalles areas. Her micro-farm model is made up of various residential front and backyards in the area. All flowers are organically grown by her and her team. She also teaches gardening and design workshops out of her backyard business. In the winter, pick up dried wreaths and decor from Nixon. There is no brick-and-mortar shop for her services but she does deliveries, or you can visit her farm throughout the spring and summer and during workshops.
Address: 160 Baldwin, wilbebloomin.ca
Target customer: The frugal flower lover
This cute Kensington spot attracts tourists and locals alike with its wide assortment of flowers and potted plants. All of their flowers and plants are locally sourced from greenhouses and farms around Ontario. WilBe Bloomin’ uses paper packaging instead of cellophane, and they store water for stems using reusable materials rather than plastic. On the more affordable side, you can pick up one of their pre-made hand-tied bouquets for your next special occasion. Their unique interior, including a bathtub filled with flowers, gives this place that quirky Kensington charm.
Address: 513 Church, ladybugflorist.com
Target customer: The personalized gifter
The customizable flower bar allows you to pick out your choice of flowers for a unique arrangement. Each spring, the Ontario Flower Growers puts on an auction for flowers grown all around the province and that’s where Ladybug sources all of its spring and summer stock, much of it from areas like Niagara and Grimsby. Claire McLeod, who started Ladybug 20 years ago, says that despite many local flower growers selling their greenhouses to cannabis growers, this hasn’t stopped her from finding local sources. Ladybug also has a separate studio where they put together some of their more elaborate arrangements. Keep an eye out for their gorgeous selection of tulips.
Address: 294 Roncesvalles, sweetpeas.ca
Target customer: The Roseaholic
This fairy-tale shop in Roncy is dedicated to beauty just as much as to the environment. They use eco-friendly and fair trade blooms, do personalized bouquets and offer unique and hard-to-find flowers including roses in colours ranging from white to black and blue. You can also pick up clean air plants here, which, based on a study from NASA, have the ability to detox the air in your home naturally. Biodegradable cellophane and packaging are used in all their arrangements and they also stock local handmade greeting cards.