March 30, 2009

For immediate distribution


The International Garden Festival Steals the Show with the Presentation of the Rita Garden at Canada Blooms in Toronto

For immediate release

March 30, 2009 – Grand-Métis (Québec) Canada.
The International Garden Festival from Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens returned to Canada Blooms in Toronto from March 18 to March 22 as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations with the presentation of “Passe-moi un sapin, Rita” or “Come play in our garden!” installation that stole the show. The Festival presented a feature garden at Canada Blooms for the 5th time.

“Like its previous incarnations,” wrote Danny Sinopoli in the Globe and Mail, “the 2009 Canada Blooms show that concluded in Toronto on Sunday was a riot of glorious spring bulbs, duelling amateur floral arrangements and expertly executed garden designers. For all of the natural splendour on display, however, it was a decidedly unnatural installation that stole the show, Canada’s largest flower and gardening festivral. Created by Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard and Karine Corbeil of Montréal-based Rita Design, a surrealist landscape of oversized cardboard conifers mimicking those pine tree air freshners that drivers hang from rearview mirrors proved a big hit with passersby who were encouraged to pluck them from nearby racks and “plant” them in slots cut into the floor”.

Visitors Bring the Garden to Life

The element of participation is important for Rita. They are leaders in the latest generation of Montreal designers to reshape their city and to bring it to life through public participation. Designers: RITA - Karine Corbeil and Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard, Montréal. Builders: Furni (Devin Barrette and Mike Giles). Sponsors: Landscape Ontario and Le Groupe Germain.

This garden was presented at the International Garden Festival at Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens during the summer of 2008 (and will be presented again this summer from June 27 to October 4, 2009) where 100 little trees were planted in the midst of a mature forest of balsam fir trees. The intent is not to make a particular social statement, but bring a smile to the face of visitors, connect them by a simple gesture and maybe even help them discover the real smell of a coniferous tree. Planting a tree is an act that allows each person to enhance their environment. Plant a tree because it is beautiful. Plant a tree because it smells good. More information on Rita is available at

10th Anniversary Edition of the International Garden Festival

The 10th edition of the International Garden Festival will feature 20 gardens (the largest number ever) by Canadian designers from Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg and from the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. One of the highlights of the 2009 edition of the Festival will be the return of Claude Cormier’s iconic Blue Stick Garden, first exhibited at the 2000 edition of the Festival. This garden has since been exhibited at Canada Blooms in Toronto, Hestercombe gardens in England and at International Flora Montréal. It returns to Metis where it will be given a new permanent home.

Special Events - This summer the Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens offer activities for every taste:  the première of a new documentary on the Gardens and the Festival by Philippe Baylaucq, a round table discussion with the designers, lectures by featured designers from past editions of the Festival, exhibitions, tastings, musical brunches, literary teas and artistic performances. The events continue throughout the summer and include a culinary feast in aid of the International Garden Festival,  in July or August, with chef Normand Laprise and his team from the famed Montréal restaurant Toqué!

A Tradition of Innovation

Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens are located on the shores of the St. Lawrence and Mitis rivers at the gateway to the Gaspé Peninsula. A national historic site, the gardens are one of North America’s premier garden and tourist destinations. Created by Elsie Reford over a period of 30 years, they are a living testimony to her passion for gardening and plants. Today, her great grandson, Alexander Reford, leads a team committed to preserving this unique horticultural heritage and presenting the unique gardens of the International Garden Festival. Launched in 2000, the International Garden Festival takes place on a site adjacent to the historic gardens. A unique forum for innovation and experimentation, the Festival has presented more than 80 gardens by more than 200 designers from ten countries over the past decade. This artistic event allows visitors to discover inspiring spaces bringing together the visual arts, architecture, design, the landscape, and nature.

Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens are open from June 6th to October 4th, 2009. The International Garden Festival is open from June 27th to October 4th. The gardens created for past editions of the Festival are profiled in Hybrids: Reshaping the Contemporary Garden in Métis published by Blueimprint in 2007 which is for sale from the e-boutique of Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens. To obtain additional information on the gardens or the International Garden Festival, consult the garden’s web site:

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Alexander Reford
Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens
International Garden Festival
T: 418 775-2222, x 222



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