“Stop and smell the roses” took on new meaning in 2020. While this well-loved phrase was always trotted out as relaxation advice, this past year, it was a potent reminder to stay in the present. In these turbulent times, few things can be as simple and meaningful – and most importantly, safe and healthy - as a walk outdoors to appreciate the nature and … well, stop and smell the roses.
At the start of the year, Fleurs de Villes rolled out a busy schedule of floral experiential events around the world. Yet after our first event in February in Seattle, the acceleration of the global pandemic inspired us to quickly change direction to offer much-needed beauty and relief closer to home.
Fleurs de Villes show in Seattle at the North West Flower and Garden Festival featured a dozen spectacular mannequins – from an impeccably accessorized forest nymph to a bridal-inspired vision in white. The Hendrick’s Gin Bar attracted crowds and quickly became the place to be seen. How quickly that changed a month later!
Once we got into the rhythm of our vastly different lifestyle, our founders Karen and Tina postponed the schedule of global events and reimagined how the floral showcase could be enjoyed as an outdoor floral trail with safe social distancing and pacing in an outdoor setting. Our first show launched, to brilliant reviews from national press, in Toronto in August after the city loosened restrictions. While the event lived indoors at Yorkville Village last year, this past August, it stretched into a glorious trail through the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood. From Charles Street in the East to Avenue Road in the West, this lively area packed with luxury boutiques and homes is the heartbeat of the city. Over five days in early August, more than 30 floral installations popped up in doorways, courtyards and carefully selected indoor spots. Fleurs de Villes Chien, celebrating our furry (now floral) four legged friends was a huge hit!
In December, a holiday themed Noël Floral Trail launched in Vancouver’s luxury downtown neighbourhood of the Robson and Alberni Streets. Just in time to celebrate the festive season, 32 floral installations bloomed around the doorways of luxury boutiques, including two jaw-dropping regal mannequins at the Sutton Place Hotel, an upside-down Christmas tree (peak 2020) and a lush bow-bedecked $400,000 Bentley across from an exclusive enclave of designer boutiques.
Judging from the bright eyes (everyone wore masks!) and exclamations of joy, the timing was perfect – and so very much needed. People of all ages explored the trail and left feeling uplifted and inspired. As in Toronto, the trail encouraged foot traffic at a safe distance. It brought a sense of community back to a city starved of events and comradery. We’re grateful for the support of our lead sponsor, the National Bank of Canada, and also to the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and Robson Street Business Association for providing a glorious setting for our Floral Trail.
Fleurs de Villes new outdoor trail experience brought people safely together and delivered a powerful message of creativity and joy. Karen and Tina are bursting with ideas for new experiences next year as the world slowly opens back up. Their message that “flowers make
people happy” will spread joy as we come back together in a celebration of life.