A remarkable era is ending, with the Hole family getting out of their farming and greenhouse business after an inspiring 68 years run.
The era started in 1952 when Ted and Lois Hole bought a 80 hectare farm with no gas, phone or running water at the end of a dirt road near St. Albert. It ends with Ted and Lois’ sons Bill and Jim opening in 2011 the Enjoy Centre — billed as the world’s coolest and most revolutionary garden centre — then selling it to TEC Property Inc. in 2015, and now selling their greenhouses to TEC as well.
Hard work defines the Holes. Ted once bought a new seeding machine, but couldn’t make it work by pushing it. He had no horse, so he hooked up Lois and had her pull the seeder from the front, while he controlled it from the back.
When Bill and Jim were in university, Ted bought two trucks for their commute, but the hitch was they had to load up every morning with vegetables and drop them off at an Edmonton wholesaler on their way. “I told this story to a friend of mine,” Jim says, “and he said, ‘Oh, that’s why you smelled like cabbage during class!’”
Jim got his knowledge about plants through trial and plenty of error. “If I’m in a room of 300 people, I tell them, ‘I just want to tell you that I’ve killed more plants than everybody combined here’ … I’ve frozen them, sprayed the wrong stuff on them, over-fertilized them. I’ll tell you, you learn from your mistakes.”