Fanshawe Takes Gold and Silver at Canada Blooms
On March 17, 2010, four second-year Horticulture Technician students, accompanied by instructor Patrick Callon and program coordinator Michael Pascoe, left for Canada Blooms in Toronto. Canada Blooms is the largest garden show in Canada, attracting over 100,000 people to the five-day event. The Direct Energy Centre is transformed into over 20 full-size gardens in bloom. Gardens often feature full-size trees in leaf, magnolias in bloom with patios, ponds and waterfalls.
Fanshawe students hard at work on their prize-winning entries.
Canada Blooms was the site for the provincial skills competition in landscape gardening. The Canadian Skill Competition is an Olympic-style skills competition which showcases students' technical and leadership skills. Students participate in practical challenges designed to test skills required in technology and trade occupations.
The philosophy of the skills competitions is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry directly in evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers' needs. The competition allows students to access the newest technologies and communicate with industry experts who serve as mentors by showing students that the skills they possess are valuable.
The landscape gardening competition involved five teams from colleges in Ontario with each two-person team building a garden over five days. Each team builds the same garden and during the competition is judged by a team of six judges on technical knowledge, safety, career and job interview skills, as well as their construction techniques in building the gardens. As in most years winners are decided by a few percentage points.
Left to right: silver medal winners Nikita VanBeers and Ryan Arthur and gold medal-winners Allan Campbell and Melissa Sparling.
Fanshawe captured both the gold and silver medals this year with gold medal winners Melissa Sparling and Allan Campbell going on to represent Ontario at the National Skills Competition in May in Waterloo. Nikita VanBeers and Ryan Arthur came a close second, bringing home the silver medal.
At just seven years old, Fanshawe's Horticulture Technician program is the youngest in the province, but in that time has won more provincial and national medals than any other Ontario college program. Our program motto quotes Grant Tinker, former NBC CEO: "first we will be best, then we will be first."