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tidys flowers historical store

STANDING TALL AND PROUD for 135 years...

The story of Tidy's Flowers began with a dream that brought British native and skilled gardener, Stephen Tidy, to Canada in 1873. Tidy built a small suburban greenhouse at 477 Ontario Street where he operated as a grower until 1877, at which time he officially opened the floral retail business of S. Tidy and Sons Limited. Growing and expanding, Tidy's continued to be run by family members, passing down from father to sons to grandson. In 1913, Tidy's Flowers moved to 79 King Street West, which is now the site of The Toronto Dominion Centre, and continued to operate from this central Toronto location.

By the late 40's, the Tidy family was no longer at the helm. Elliott Lye purchased the company in 1948. Having been employed as a delivery boy with Tidy's in 1910, Elliott quickly became familiar with the daily operations of the business. Through dedication and hard work he moved up the ranks and was appointed to the board of directors in 1933. He was the perfect successor to guide the company into the 20th century.

Excerpts of an Article from INSIDE TORONTO - January 1963...

By McKenzie Porter

Tidy's Flowers, founded in 1877, has always been patronized by Toronto's upper crust. The recent removal of the famous florist's shop, from the south to the north side of King St., is hardly likely to affect the character of it's trade. Recently Tidy's established new administrative offices and a distribution depot on Duchess St. The present manager of Tidy's is Nick Lye whose father, Elliott Lye is still president and owner. Lye senior joined the firm as a delivery boy in 1910 and bought the shop from Philip Tidy, grandson of the founders, in 1948. Ald. Charles Tidy is a great-grandson of the founder.

tidys flowers

Five designers work at the Duchess Street building creating every kind of floral arrangement from a man's buttonhole and a woman's corsage to funeral wreaths and ballroom decorations. Nicholas Lye says that one of the most elaborate floral arrangements the shop ever produced was for the wedding in 1937 of Lady Kemp's daughter, now Mrs. Ian Crookston. It was a garden wedding but the ceremony was held too early in the year for anything to be in bloom. So, Tidy's planted garden beds with thousands of cut flowers, giving the blooms the effect of natural growth. For several years Tidy's have filled an annual order for a couple in Europe:

They send out some 40-miniature Christmas trees to friends of this couple all over Canada and the U.S. The trees, about 30 inches high, are made of boxwood sprigs, decorated with tiny living rosebuds and imported small-scale ornaments, and set in sterling silver bowls. The rosebuds are kept alive through insertion into a water pick, a thimble-sized container of water with a spike on the bottom that enables it to be stuck into the foliage.

The most lavish and costly arrangement of flowers that Lye can remember consisted entirely of purple, pink and white orchids for sideboard bouquets and centerpieces at dinners given in the 20's by the late Gerald Larkin, a president of Salada Foods Ltd.

The orchids were arranged in Larkin's own baskets of woven gold, baskets then worth about $25,000 apiece.

As the years passed, Tidy's Flowers was again being handed down from father to sons Nick & Doug Lye. Often talked about and occasionally written about - Tidy's had become a household name. It was well known that if you wanted something different - call Tidy's Flowers.

tidys flowers store

The business continued to grow and prosper, moving from the King Street location in 1964, to their current location at 526 Richmond Street East. Although this location was further from the downtown core, Nick Lye had the vision that the area would one day blossom into a going concern. How right he was!

Still owned by the Lye family and currently operated by the third generation, sister and brother team Janet and Jim Lye, Tidy's has been a leader in modernizing the floral industry. Improvements are constantly being implemented. In addition to their head office location, they have two retail stores conveniently located in the downtown core at Commerce Court West and Brookfield Place. Their award winning floral artists attend seminars to remain current with what is new in the floral industry and continue to create unique designs for their customers.

tidys flowers store

This year is a milestone for Tidy's Flowers. They are celebrating 135 years of providing the greater Toronto area with their floral needs.

To quote the owners...

"Our customers are the most important ingredient in our success. Without them, there would be no "us"... and for this we are extremely grateful. We have helped them celebrate the moments of their lives and are proud to know that we have been a part of their traditions for generations! Our history is something we are very proud of. Tidy's Flowers has survived two world wars, a depression and a few recessions. Through the years we've seen some giants fall. In the big scheme of things, we are a small company. But in this industry, we are one of the largest shops in the country. We do not think of ourselves as "just a company". We are the guardians of a dream that started 135 years ago. We take that guardianship very seriously. It would be interesting to know if Stephen Tidy's vision for Tidy's Flowers projected this far into the future!"

Tidy's roots were planted in 1877 and although they've changed with the times and kept up with the trends, their values never seem to change. They are committed to providing you with service, quality, respect and a good "old fashioned" way of doing business... with a personal touch! A rare commodity in this day and age.