From Kenya to North York
Local florist blossomed from humble roots
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