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Flower market bloomin’

Everything’s comin’ up roses! And tulips and gardenias and chrysan­themums, too.

Everything’s comin’ up roses! And tulips and gardenias and chrysan­themums, too.

That’s how it is most days at the Ontario Flower Growers auction in Mississauga, where buyers put their mettle to the petal to scoop the best blooms.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, things are heating up in the refrigerated warehouse, where more than one-million flowers cool their heels until it’s their turn to join the parade under The Clocks.

It’s on the two huge clocks in the tiered auction room where, five days a week, flower prices are set in what’s called a Dutch auction, modelled after those in Europe.

Unlike a typical auction, where a quick-tongued auctioneer drives up the price to the shouts of eager bidders, the flower auction operates on the clock, with prices dropping as buyers let their fingers fly over computerized keypads at their seats.

If you wait long enough, you get a great price. If you wait too long, you miss out.

This week’s auctions have been overwhelmed with tulips and, to a lesser extent, roses and they fly out the door on their way to flower shops across Greater Toronto and Ontario.

On Monday, more than 250 buyers started arriving in the dark shortly after 5 a.m. to scout out stock ready to go on the block in the two-storey auction house, opened in 1972 just west of Pearson International Airport.

 
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