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Design Stores

Sweetpea's

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on March 10, 2011

Sweetpeas TorontoSweetpea's has brought eco-friendly, contemporary floral design to Roncesvalles. Finally.

"There really wasn't anything like this before," owner Sara Jameson tells me, leaning over the counter. Jameson has lived in the area for years and is clearly a Roncy devotee. "There were stores that sold flowers, but no real flower boutique." So, after working in landscaping for two years after leaving her previous job as a graphic designer, Jameson took over this space, formerly occupied by Buddha Dog, and opened up in September.

Sweetpeas TorontoPerhaps I let the floral aroma and abundance of freshly cut flowers seduce me, but I found the space absolutely beautiful. The store has a soft rustic feel, with 100-year-old barn board along the walls, an antique chandelier hanging in the window, and the original tin ceiling painted a cool metallic by Jameson's husband, "Who spent four days on a scaffold lovingly painting the whole thing," Jameson says. It also displays the old "Venus Florist" sign behind the counter.

Sweetpeas TorontoSweetpea's tries to source locally grown flowers whenever possible, and recently went through dozens and dozens of eco-friendly, fair trade roses for Valentine's Day. They use flowers that are in season and biodegradable cellophane and bags. "I take so much pride in what goes out of the store, and I really think everyone should have fresh flowers in their homes," Jameson says. "We have posies that are $10 and quite sweet, and stems for as little as $2 each."

Sweetpeas TorontoSweetpea's also sells non-floral items such as its Ketto I <3 Roncesvalles mugs ($24.99), a whole array of Bleu Lavande products, cards, toys, and Mean Card magnets ($6) with wonderful messages including "Your Degree is Useless" and "The Elderly Have a Strange Odor."

"A lot of the products I sell I've found at the One of a Kind Show," Jameson says. "I just look for things that are unique and kind of cool."

Sweetpeas TorontoAlong with its garden centre Sweetpea's plans to open in the spring, the store does floral designs for weddings and other events, will be selling seeds in a few weeks, and of course, will help couch-surfers get out of the dog house.

"I once had a guy come in and ask, 'So what do you have in the I Fucked Up category?'" Jameson tells me. "I asked him, 'Fucked up like "I didn't mean to call you fat," or "I didn't know she was your sister?"" He said he didn't know.

Sweetpeas TorontoThere are sweeter stories, such as the old man who came in this past Valentine's Day to buy a bouquet for his wife. "He signed the card, 'Didn't forget. Couldn't forget. All my love.'" The store itself is named for Jameson's husband, who she calls "Sweetpea." Jameson's Valentine's Day present, though, wasn't a bouquet of roses. "He flew in from Halifax, where he's working as a pilot, and fixed the leak under the sink," she says.

Sweetpeas TorontoPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

33 Comments

Amrita / March 10, 2011 at 01:59 pm
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This is a lovely new addition to the neighbourhood. Staff are super friendly and they have a ranges of price points so you can get something pretty much at any budget. So far I've only bought things off the shelf -- would like to see how they do with making a custom arrangement.
mike in parkdale / March 10, 2011 at 02:24 pm
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looks like a very nice shop - that ceiling is one of a kind.

shame that the sign on the outside of the shop looks so glossy and modern compared to the interior pictures. It's like the interior and exterior are two different stores. Anyway, good luck with it!
Chris / March 10, 2011 at 02:25 pm
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My finance and I were in this shop about 2 weeks ago a simply loved the place. The women were very helpful and they had some beautiful arrangements.
JoeParez / March 10, 2011 at 02:31 pm
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Finally! Something that's not a bookstore, cafe or organic/vegan restaurant or bakery (no offense). This is such a cute little shop, I would've never guessed it would be in the Roncey neighborhood. Gotta check it out next time I'm around.. especially with my girlfriends birthday coming up!

Haha! i didn't know that Budda Dog was gone though..
Amy K / March 10, 2011 at 02:46 pm
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Love the interior and the cute stories. They sound like nice people.
Matt replying to a comment from JoeParez / March 10, 2011 at 03:33 pm
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I wouldn't lump bookstores in with the organic resto/cafe/bakery thing (though there are enough of those on the strip as it is.)

One thing I like about Roncey is that three bookstores can survive in one area (I don't know if they're all doing gangbusters business, but they're there, at least.)

Ian / March 10, 2011 at 04:04 pm
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I bought flowers for my girlfriend on Valentines days from Sweetpea's as I was out of town. Due to an unfortunate series of events, the flowers arrived at her work a few moments after she had left for the day. Sweetpea's more than made it up to me by providing a wonderful arrangement free of charge for our date the next weekend. Both arrangements made my girlfriend super happy as they were beautiful. This is what I call customer service. The second arrangement was the same kind of flowers my girlfriend loves and had to have been close to the first in cost. I will be a repeat customer for sure.
Sweetpea's replying to a comment from Ian / March 10, 2011 at 04:19 pm
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Hi Ian,
We are so happy things turned out so well for you and your lovely girl. You were super awesome to deal with. She's one lucky lady. The big callas were a treat to have in the shop before they were sent out. Thank you for such a kind review!

Big hugs from all the gals at Sweetpea's.
Chris replying to a comment from Sweetpea's / March 10, 2011 at 06:40 pm
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See people??? How can you NOT want to support these girls????
Moi / March 11, 2011 at 02:36 pm
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WOW I love the name Sweetpea's....so cute.
Although I do not live near there, I think this will now be my go-to place.

I love that they have a great selection of Cards also
Well done! The flower shop photos have a very warm feel :) :) :)
Patty / March 11, 2011 at 04:26 pm
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This store is simply amazing! The moment I walked in... I instantly loved everything about it. Well done girls!
David / March 11, 2011 at 05:28 pm
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Of course she's amazing. She's my kid.
Love you
Sara replying to a comment from David / March 11, 2011 at 06:40 pm
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Daddy! So glad you saw the article. I love you too. :o)
bob / March 11, 2011 at 06:52 pm
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uh those roses look like they're browning around the edges
Sara replying to a comment from bob / March 12, 2011 at 12:59 am
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Hi Bob,
That's a combination of two things. There is a creamy/green tint to the edges of the blooms, which didn't translate well in the photos. Also, we tend to leave the guard petals on our roses. Some shops take them off, but we prefer the natural, garden look. Plus they protect the rose until being used, so they stay fresh as long as possible. If a client requests to have them removed, of cours, we can accomodate.

Sara replying to a comment from bob / March 12, 2011 at 01:03 am
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Also . . . Our roses are brought in fresh at least twice a week. They are always eco-roses, both socially and environmentally responsible.
Bill / March 12, 2011 at 08:40 am
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The place looks great. Nice job. And good to see the old Venus Florists sign looking at home. Hope it's a big success.
Bill / March 12, 2011 at 08:51 am
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The place looks great. Nice job. And good to see the old Venus Florists sign looking at home.
Tracy / March 17, 2011 at 04:52 pm
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I went into Sweetpea's today for the first time. Kelly made me the most stunning floral arrangement. She listened to what I liked, let me help pick out some flowers, and then designed the bouquet with originality and flair. Happy early birthday to me! And thanks again, Kelly!
Becky / February 2, 2013 at 06:52 pm
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I found this place through the list of the best florists in Toronto, which directed me to this page. I saw so many nice comments so I decided to give it a try. We ordered a nice arrangement for my fiancé's grandmother for christmas. We just wanted to know how good they were and if we could trust them with our wedding flowers. I was seriously considering this place.
Anyways, we spend $75 on the arrangement and after taxes and delivery charges it cost us $100 and I wish I could attach a picture of the flower that was sent to his grandmother...
I could not believe that was what we got specially after mentioning to them that we were considering the place for our wedding flowers... It was a disaster.
I called them the next day and complained. A week later, without any notice or anything, she received another arrangement, which apparently was very nice looking but I never got to see it.
It was nice of them to send the second arrangement but unfortunately I can never trust their service again and it's a shame that it turned out to be this way.
Sabrina / March 2, 2013 at 09:02 am
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Becky, Next time I would suggest asking the florist for cheap fillers such as baby"s Breath, Daisies, Statice, buttons, to make up your bigger arrangement. If any florist creates an arrangement with anything different than those stems, it does not take much to make up a 75 arrangement. Flowers have gotten more expensive over time and growers/wholesales have passed that on to us, the florists. I'm a florist down South and 75 does not get you much in an arrangement. You would have been sadly disappointed down here. I would suggest checking grocers in the future that have less expensive blooms bundled up and doing it yourself to save money. All florist have to charger a labor/design fee when you request a custom arrangement. That is how we pay our designers. Btw, I love your shop Sweetpeas!!! I'm actually having a new shop reconstructed now and I will have to borrow some of your ideas. :
Becky replying to a comment from Sabrina / March 3, 2013 at 03:41 pm
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Sabrina,
I picked the arrangement from the pictures that were shown to me. I didn't even care how much it cost. I'm not an idiot and I know that two stems of hydrangeas and a bunch of green leaves don't cost $75! The arrangement I had picked from the pictures wasn't anything too crazy. It was pretty and had 3 or 4 roses plus a couple of different types of flowers. This one however was literally 2 stems of hydrangeas.
If I was angry for no reason, they would have never tried to send another arrangement to make up for it...
Kat / April 19, 2013 at 07:30 pm
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Really not happy with the service here. It's too bad, because the store is adorable - and I'm sure the owner is sweet. But after meeting with one florist, who quoted us $300, we were later told he was fired and asked to come back in to the store again for another consultation.

We were then quoted $500 for the same thing and later sent an email that the actual quote was $900. The quote also detailed a list of things we didn't ask for.
Sweetpea's replying to a comment from Kat / April 22, 2013 at 03:21 pm
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Hi Kat,
My name is Sara Jameson, and I am the owner of the Sweetpea's. I have looked into your situation, and am sorry that things did not go smoothly. I will be speaking with the wedding team in greater depth, specifically with your quote and why there were problems in getting accurate details to you.

Balancing a couple's expectations with their budget can be a fine line, but one we normally can handle with grace and efficiency. I will be emailing you shortly to find out what happened so we can better improve our service in the future.

Thank you for your feedback.
Sara
Sweetpea's replying to a comment from Becky / April 22, 2013 at 03:30 pm
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Hi Becky,
My name is Sara Jameson, I am the owner of Sweetpea's.

We are sorry to hear there were issues with the arrangement. I know during that time, we had a new florist who, despite our best efforts, had some issues with balancing budget vs. expectations. They are no longer with the shop and we have done what we can to rectify things from our end.

Normally when we receive a concern in relation to an order, our Senior Florist will take over and ensure a replacement is sent promptly, often above the original value. In your case, I will be checking to see why you were not informed of a replacement being sent, or forwarded a photo, as it is also a standard service we provide.

If you ever have an issue, please don't hesitate to contact us. We want to ensure the experience of giving, and receiving flowers is a enjoyable one. I hope you will reconsider trying our services again. If so, please specifically ask for myself, or Kristi, our Senior Designer. We will ensure you are happy with your order.

Thank you for your feedback,
Sara
Sweetpea's replying to a comment from Becky / April 22, 2013 at 03:31 pm
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Hi Becky,
My name is Sara Jameson, I am the owner of Sweetpea's.

We are sorry to hear there were issues with the arrangement. I know during that time, we had a new florist who, despite our best efforts, had some issues with balancing budget vs. expectations. They are no longer with the shop and we have done what we can to rectify things from our end.

Normally when we receive a concern in relation to an order, our Senior Florist will take over and ensure a replacement is sent promptly, often above the original value. In your case, I will be checking to see why you were not informed of a replacement being sent, or forwarded a photo, as it is also a standard service we provide.

If you ever have an issue, please don't hesitate to contact us. We want to ensure the experience of giving, and receiving flowers is a enjoyable one. I hope you will reconsider trying our services again. If so, please specifically ask for myself, or Kristi, our Senior Designer. We will ensure you are happy with your order.

Thank you for your feedback,
Sara
Sweetpea's replying to a comment from Sabrina / April 22, 2013 at 03:38 pm
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Hi Sabina,
Thank you so much for your kind words, and the added info in regards to how flowers are priced when made into an arrangement vs. purchasing from a 'bucket shop' or grocer. We take great pride in our work and the quality of the flowers we send out. Working with a perishable product is always a challenge because we can't simply exchange it when something goes array. That said, it always helps to hear what our customers' concerns are so we can learn for the future and improve our service.

When customers call to place an order with us, we often find ourselves immersed in a conversation, which tells us more about them, the situation and the person they are sending to. These conversations are always something we look forward to as it helps the designer put something truly unique together for the recipient. I am sure if you have a shop, you experience the same thing.

Good luck with your revamp and flattered that you would use us for inspiration.

Have a great day!
Sara
Becky replying to a comment from Sweetpea's / April 22, 2013 at 04:43 pm
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Hi Sara,

Thanks for the reply. I will be contacting you soon to discuss my wedding flowers.

Thanks :)
Christine T. / April 27, 2013 at 11:46 am
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I wandered into Sweetpeas yesterday and at first was quite impressed - until I saw the owner's revolting behaviour toward her neighbours. That incident turned me right off this store -- and a number of other people who've heard the story are now also shifting their business elsewhere. So, aesthetically -- lovely store, beautiful flowers, nice music. I ordered about $80 worth -one medium bouquet and a few vases -- and was surprised to find it took a half-hour for them put the bouquet and ring it in. But I was feeling mellow and didn't mind the wait -- again, really beautiful store. The problem wasn't until I left - I was walking down the sidewalk behind a woman who had come out of the basement of Sweetpeas just before I left with a huge grey dog on a leash -- a Great Dane, I think. Roncesvalles was at its busiest on a Friday early evening, with old Polish ladies, young kids and everyone in between packing the sidewalks. And there stood this woman from Sweetpeas in the middle of the busy sidewalk, letting her dog unleash what looked to be about the equivalent of two milk cartons worth of urine -- deadsmack in the MIDDLE of the sidewalk. Everyone around the two of them had backed away and were frozen in wide circle, staring at them in revulsion. People couldn't pass along the sidewalk without risking stepping in the stream of urine or getting splashed so they were all just in a holding pattern until she finished the dirty deed. Even weirder, she was making no attempt to pull the dog to the side or onto the street or around the corner just two feet away into a little sidestreet - just let him cover the main sidewalk with pee. It was bizarre. After about 30 seconds, people near me seemed to be recovering from the shock and saying "Disgusting!" "Revolting!" "That's completely unacceptable" ... but she didn't apologize or acknowledge anyone, just walked away when the dog was done. When I called the store to complain, I was told she is the OWNER! So since this is her behaviour to the community around her, I thought I'd post this note so people know what her character is like....
Sara replying to a comment from Christine T. / June 12, 2013 at 07:34 pm
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I distinctly remember this event, and your reaction. I do apologize. What you may not have understood was my embarrassment and the shame I felt knowing that everyone was staring at us. There was little to nothing I could do. Toby is an elderly dog and I receive little to no warning when he is about to "go". Normally when this happens, if I have a water bottle on me, I immediately pour it over the urine to try and dilute it. I can't pull Toby over to the side, due to his size it actually makes matters worse. Sadly, I've learned this from experience.

On that particular evening, what you may not have seen was me returning to the store through the back entrance, knowing that "number 2" was going to happen, and I would prefer to deal with it on a side street, or in the back lane. I got a watercan, went back up the street, and cleaned up the mess as best as you really can.

I care a great deal about this community. Through the shop, I regularly donate to local events and projects. Sweetpea's has gone out of its way to be a proud supporter of the Roncesvalles area and its residents. We work with local schools and the BIA to offer fun and unique projects for children to learn about nature and the environment. We offer "Paint and Pot" programmes at every Roncy Rocks festival, providing over 150 pots and plants for the past three years.

At Canada Blooms, in order to celebrate Roncy's renewal, Sweetpea's designed and installed an award winning garden display dedicated to all the things we feel makes Roncesvalles one of the greatest neighbourhoods in the city.

I am a guerilla gardener, and in the dead of night, and very early mornings, I have spent numerous hours working on creating small beautiful garden spaces throughout the neighbourhood.

When there was discussion about removing bike lanes and graffiti art throughout the city, myself and my crew set about beautify Roncy by painting as many bike posts as possible in bright, bold, beautiful colours, even at the potential of our own arrest. We have plans to do this again this year, as the posts are looking worn and need some TLC. This is all done out of my own pocket.

I have worked with the BIA on numerous projects to help with the planters on Roncesvalles. I have donated over 20 yards of healthy, organic mulch and the labour to spread it. My team and I worked with the BIA the first summer the trees were planted to ensure they were watered daily to help their overall survival rate. Each day, a crew of four people spent hours lugging buckets filled with gallons of water up and down the street, taking care of the new trees which we now all enjoy.

Every year for the store anniversary, I host a party at the shop, open to all residents and customers, decked out with all the fixin's. In conjunction with that, we hand out approximately 1500 fresh cut, locally grown flowers to residents, or drop them on their doorsteps.

I spent two years, working with the city and parks department to get approval for the Sorauren Park Off-Leash dogpark. While this process was happening, I organized seasonal volunteer days, for dog owners to walk through the park and pick up any dog messes, in order to work with the Sports Associations and Farmers Market, so we could all share the park in harmony.

Over the past three years, I have donated over 600 annuals and 20 yards of soil and mulch to the Sorauren Park Field House's annual gardening day. Along with that, we have made cash donations to help fund the new Town Square project.

Since opening its' doors in 2010, and even before that as an active community member, moving to Roncesvalles in 2008, Sweetpea's has donated over $18,000 in resources to various projects in the neighbourhood. I have rescued six Great Danes and seen them through their toughest days, cared for and loved them for the limited time they had left. My sister and I volunteer at local animal shelters, and for two and a half years, we fed and cared for kittens who had, for whatever reason had been abandoned and would have otherwise died. This included sacrificing our Christmas Eves and Christmas mornings three years straight, because other volunteers were not available, and missing a single feeding could have cost these sweet creatures their lives.

Overall, I believe in creating a wonderful community we can all enjoy. I use karma as my guide, and do what I can to always think of others and how I can make their lives better. I carry those principles into Sweetpea's and encourage my employees to do the same. I feel that leading by example is the best way to help those around me lead full and rewarding lives.

I am sorry this is not what you took away from your time at the shop, and your experience was tainted from one small episode. In this regard, I wanted to make you aware of the bigger picture of what Sweetpea's is and what I hope to achieve as a business and a resident.
Beth / June 12, 2013 at 08:02 pm
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What a wonderful shop. I was a freelance designer many moons ago in TO. I live elsewhere now and needed to order over the phone. How lucky I was to come upon Sweetpea. They exceeded my expectations which are considerable and took a photo and kindly emailed it to me to see what they had created. They delivered the same day even though it was already noon when I called and I have been following this caring and kind florist ever since. Makes me long for my old job in such a vibrant city. And I'm a dog lover too so I appreciate the caring and generous spirit the shop has towards helping animals that need it! No need to look elsewhere for a fantastic florist! Bravo Sweetpea!
Sarah Ferguson / June 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm
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Christine T you are the one who disgusts me. Not poor old Toby who is an elderly dog. Not Sarah who cares for him & so many other animals as people would their children. To post such thoughtless selfish comments and to defame her wonderful business for which she works so hard upsets me. You don't know the half of what Sarah, Toby & Sweetpeas do for people in the community. I hope you can reflect & if you are not kind enough to apologise then I can only hope you have the insight to see that you should do so.
Sarah replying to a comment from Sara / June 22, 2014 at 08:13 am
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Wow. I have been searching for a florist for my wedding next year, and frankly having a tough time choosing; as they all seem very good.

However; after stumbling across this post today, and ESPECIALLY after reading the above comments, I will be visiting Sweetpea's very soon.

Funny how a negative comment can actually work in your favour, Sara.

Your store sounds beautiful, but frankly it was reading about the many animals you take in and care for that sold it for me.

Looking forward to visiting you soon, and meeting your furry friends!

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