From Kenya to North York

Lo­cal florist blos­somed from hum­ble roots

North York Post - - News - by Jes­sica Wei

Pra­tima Go­hill moved to Canada from Kenya with her hus­band in 1974. She worked as a sec­re­tary and then a real es­tate agent for 15 years be­fore open­ing a flower shop in 1989. After 28 years, Ivy Leaf De­sign has be­come an area favourite. Go­hill has cre­ated ar­range­ments for such no­table peo­ple as for­mer premier Mike Har­ris and ac­tress Rachel Skarsten ( Reign). Just in time for Mother’s Day, Go­hill shares her story and why peo­ple should al­ways clip stems di­ag­o­nally.

Any golden me­mories?

When I first started this busi­ness, there were many fam­i­lies liv­ing around here with younger chil­dren. This lit­tle girl would come in ev­ery week and tell me, “I would like to buy a flower for my mom.” She only ever had a dol­lar, and I would pack her a car­na­tion in gift wrap and give it to her. She would be so happy. Since then, I’ve done her wed­ding and flow­ers for her chil­dren when they were born.

Any ad­vice for peo­ple this Mother’s Day?

Cut the stems be­fore they put it in wa­ter. A lot of peo­ple don’t do that. When I pack my flow­ers, I al­ways have wa­ter tubes. But when you take it to the house, you should al­ways cut the stems at an an­gle so that the stems don’t stick to the bot­tom of the vase

Do flow­ers still hold the same sym­bol­ism as they used to?

The rea­son why flow­ers had mean­ing was that, in Vic­to­rian times, peo­ple didn’t talk to each other. Peo­ple used to con­verse by way of flow­ers. If a man gave you a red rose, it would mean he loved you. A yel­low rose would mean friend­ship. But the sym­bol­ism has changed. We are so lucky in Toronto, we have so many dif­fer­ent cul­tures. So I know what the funeral cus­toms are for Ira­nian peo­ple, Hin­dus and Ital­ians. You can­not make a mis­take be­cause it can be an of­fence to peo­ple (670 Finch Ave. E., 416-733-9607).

Pra­tima Go­hill in the early years of Ivy Leaf De­signs

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