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The Leaf playing host to Fleurs de Villes Voyage


A flowery, friendly fight is unfolding at Assiniboine Park between 14 local florists vying for succulent supremacy.

The Leaf is set to play host to Fleurs de Villes Voyage - a pop-up competition that calls on local floral designers to tell stories through botanicals.

Fleurs de Villes co-founder Karen Marshall says this is their 94th show in six years, visiting 24 cities and five countries.

At each stop, local designers are tasked with decorating floral mannequins to represent an assigned country.

“As much as possible, we assign the countries to be reflective of the floral artists that work on them, so you’ll see a Ukrainian florist working on a Ukrainian mannequin, for example,” Marshall says.

One of the competition’s unique challenges is keeping the flowers alive through the 10-day event. Designers had to get creative hiding fishing wire and buckets under the mannequins’ gowns to feed necessary water to the thirsty botanicals.

The public is invited to view the entries and vote on their favourite, with a chance to win a weekend stay at Fairmont Winnipeg.

Laura Cabak, director of communications and public relations with Assiniboine Park Conservancy, says it took about six months of planning to bring Fleurs de Villes to Winnipeg.

“It’s been all worthwhile. I think people are going to be absolutely dazzled by this display.”

Likewise, Marshall says The Leaf is a stellar backdrop for the travelling competition.

Plus, it allows floral designers to stretch their skills beyond the typical centrepieces and corsages, while allowing the public to see flowers in a new context.

“You’re used to seeing flowers in a particular way. What people aren’t used to seeing is flowers in this way, with a real fashion bent, with a cultural bent to it – being able to tell those stories of culture with flowers.”

The event runs from Jan. 11 to 21.

Tickets are available at the door or through Assiniboine Park’s website. However, the public is encouraged to buy in advance as the event uses timed ticketing, and slots can sell out. The exhibit is also included in regular admission to The Leaf. Top Stories

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