Spring Flowers in Vancouver and Toronto

It’s Easter Sunday 2015 and those of us who live in Toronto woke up this morning to a glorious red sunrise and a fresh fall of snow on the rooftops and the cars. No kidding. And this afternoon, the snow has continued. Not a heavy snow or a blizzard, but an intermittent, gentle sprinkling of something more than rain but not as harsh as sleet. It doesn’t last, but it is a reminder that winter has not yet given up, and spring has not yet sprung. How we long for the weather to change. In the meantime, we take what solace we can from the knowledge that spring flowers can’t be too far off.

The first set of photos I have included in this post were taken on February 8th at the home of my in-laws in Vancouver. Fred and Shirley are avid gardeners who love their palms, their flowering shrubs, and their year-long display of ever-changing blooms that provide perpetual colour to the local scene. Fred tells me that the palms, which they planted years ago, grow in Vancouver now only because of global warming. I’ve always thought of Vancouver as coastal, but never as tropical. When I took the pictures, I thought it too cruel to post them when Toronto was in the midst of the coldest February in history. I had planned to put them up to mark the first day of spring. But even that was too cold.

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Last Sunday, at the suggestion of our coordinator, Lori Myers, the West End YMCA Walking Club took in the spring flowers at the Centennial Park Conservatory in Etobicoke. That suburban greenhouse of tropical plants, and Allan Gardens downtown, are featuring an Easter Flower Show which extends until Sunday April 26th. It was just what we needed to lift the spirits and warm the soul. Apart from the profusion of flowering tropical plants, there is a resident Australian cockatoo who dances when onlookers sing, and the occasional red cardinal, attracted inside by the lush greenery and the warm temperatures. The Easter Flower Show features an assortment of hydrangeas in colours to die for, lilies, tulips, daffodils, pussy willows, winter roses, and decorated Easter eggs hanging in the windows and from the trees. Maintained by Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation, the conservatory is a labour of love for the local volunteers who help tend the gardens and feed the birds. For those of us weary of what seems like endless winter, the garden is a welcome respite from the cold and a promise of spring that will come, eventually. Check out the blooms that exist in Toronto at this very moment. They may not be in our gardens, but they are only a TTC ride away. And whether you are celebrating Easter, Passover or a secular family time together, may the season of renewal bring you all the best.

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  1. Marion

    Thanks to Fred for the links to the Agassiz Tulip Festival being held April 1st to the 15th in the B.C. Fraser Valley. Check out the incredible photos at Images for Agassiz Tulip Festival on the internet.

  2. Marlene

    Although we didn’t have snow in Ottawa yesterday, it was freezing cold – a bit of a shock after a balmy 16 degrees Friday afternoon. Appreciated learning of the Conservatory in Etobicoke – reminded me of our visits to the Bloedel in Vancouver. Not only has Vancouver enjoyed the beautiful spring blooms you have shown us for about 2 months, friends there spoke yesterday of the bean sprouts pushing through in their vegetable garden, while ours is still snow-covered. (We have a sizable mass of frozen snow on each of the front and back yards.) Hope we’ll enjoy spring in Tuscany, where we’re headed on Friday!

  3. Michiel

    Add to this story the news of the 17 billion flowers counted — surely there must have been some double counting? — in Victoria from March 5 through 11, and ex-West Coasters can only shiver in envy.


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