The maple leaf is definitely a Canadian symbol, but it isn't Canada’s national flower.
In fact, Canada doesn't have one. One Humber grad wants to change that. When Maureen Hulbert, a member of the Toronto Master Gardeners and graduate of Humber's Landscape Technician program gave a lecture at Canada Blooms festival in March, she realized Canada did not have a flower to call its own.
Hulbert shared her discovery during the festival, leading to a larger public discussion and eventually a national petition to help celebrate Canadas 150th anniversary.
Hulbert says symbols are important and are a means to bring people together. Although the maple leaf is a strong representation of Canada, the plant does not grow north of the tree line.
“A national Canadian flower does not represent a particular group; it should be a positive story for our vast country to embrace,” says Hulbert.
To narrow down the choices, almost 10,000 Canadians participated in the initiative by voting in an online poll over a four-month period. By June, 80 per cent of the voters chose the Bunchberry (Cornus Canadensis) as their preferred flower choice.
The four-petal flower blooms in the spring benefiting bees and other pollinators and grows berries in the summer as a source of food for animals.
“Canada’s national flower had to follow specific criteria,” says Hulbert. “It had to be a native plant, not a provincial or territory flower and it must grow in every province and territory.”
Among the list was the Hooded Lady’s Tresses (wild bog orchids with white spiraling flowers) and the Twinflower (a delicate pink nodding flower that also provides forage for winter caribou).
“When I was a Landscape Technician student at Humber, I would have never imagined I would be campaigning for Canada’s national flower,” she says.
Following her passion along with former Humber professors, grads and members of the Master Gardeners of Ontario, an online petition to Parliament is in progress to have the winning flower declared Canada’s official National Flower.
The petition required 500 signatures but has surpassed the request before its November 8 due date with 612 signatures.
To sign the petition, please visit: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Sign/e-1179.