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Design team getting a jump on spring at competition

While the snow lingers despite the calendar indicating it’s spring, those itching to get out into the garden have an outlet just now courtesy of Canada Blooms, the country’s largest flower and garden festival. That’s where you’ll find the owners of Elmira’s Floristerra Greenhouses & Landscape Centre, for instance, who’ve been incorporating some new ideas.

Jeremy Feenstra and a small team are running with an athletic concept for the exhibition. The idea for a fitness garden was first developed by landscape architect Sean Gallagher, with whom he has worked in the past.

The concept can work for any garden, he said, as the idea revolves around incorporating a fitness circuit into an outdoor area.

Jeremy Feenstra, owner of Elmira’s Floristerra Greenhouses & Landscape Centre, in his greenhouse prior to heading to the Canada Blooms show in Toronto. The inset photos depict the fitness garden he showcased at the festival. [elena maystruk / the observer]
Jeremy Feenstra, owner of Elmira’s Floristerra Greenhouses & Landscape Centre, in his greenhouse prior to heading to the Canada Blooms show in Toronto. The inset photos depict the fitness garden he showcased at the festival. [elena maystruk / the observer]
“When working with clients, especially up in the cottage area, who were driving a long way to go to the gym, we figured that by incorporating this into your backyard it saves you the trip to the gym,” Feenstra explained.

The sporty display is one of about 20 feature gardens that will be on display until tomorrow (March 24), having already received two awards after the judging competition concluded on March 13.

The design incorporates a circuit of fitness equipment that allows the user to travel through various exercises and a cool-down area. Feenstra and his team have built sections for resistance and strength training as well as a yoga area and, for traction, a sports court floor that is capable of drainage.

The concept, he said, incorporates anything you would typically need at a gym, but instead of the sweaty smell, users get to enjoy the outdoors.

“It’s also very beautiful so you can relax in that area but you can use it to work out. Also, it’s been proven that if you work out outside, you are going to come back to it again. If you create a beautiful space you are going to be more inclined to work out in it.”

More than 200,000 visitors will walk through the displays during the festival, which runs March 15-24 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.

Founded in 1996 by the Garden Club of Toronto and Landscape Ontario, the first show was held in 1997 with attendance exceeding 70,000 visitors in five days. Since then it has grown into the largest festival of its kind in Canada.

“It’s a good show to be in,” said Feenstra, adding he hopes the exposure will help put his family business on the map.

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