Valentine's Day is already one of the busiest days of the year for florists, but the pandemic is posing some special challenges in 2021, prompting several flower shops across southern Ontario to encourage customers to order arrangements early.
"We have had to limit the selection of designs on our website due to limited product availability," explained Cheryl Dick, co-owner of Adrienne's Flowers & Gifts in Ajax.
Many flowers are imported to Ontario from Ecuador and Colombia. But with pandemic restrictions, and a drop-off in passenger and commercial flights, the supply of imported flowers, like roses in particular, is less predictable.
"The flowers come over on passenger flights from Miami and then get distributed from there," explained Sara Jameson, the owner of Sweatpea's, a floral design studio in Toronto's Roncesvalles neighbourhood.
"So, if there are no flights going into Miami, we can't be absolutely certain we're going to get our flowers."
Several shops report flower shortages have been ongoing throughout the pandemic, with farms in Equador and Colombia often unable to keep up with demand.