An acclaimed art exhibit is now open in Mississauga


Published September 25, 2020 at 2:55 pm


Those who have thirsted for the normality of a visit to a gallery or museum over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic can now take in a thoughtful, immersive exhibit in Mississauga that explores “the human experience of war.” 

WAR Flowers: A Touring Art Exhibition–a show “about Canadians, about flowers and about the human experience of war”–recently opened at the Living Arts Centre.

The exhibit, which is presented by Museums of Mississauga and free to attend, will be open to visitors (reservations are required) until Dec. 13, 2020. 

The Museums of Mississauga is also presenting a local connection to the First World War through the Bradley Museum’s exhibit, Our Boys: Mississauga’s Fallen Soldiers 1914-1918 as well as a Speaker’s Series that focuses on the stories of soldiers from Black and Indigenous communities.

According to a news release, Mississauga is the seventh and final stop for WAR Flowers, which has appeared in Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton and France. 

The exhibit is centred around the experience of WWI Lieutenant-Colonel George Stephen Cantlie, a Canadian soldier who picked flowers from the fields and gardens of war-torn Europe and pressed and dried them within a book. 

The names of those who died in WWI (1914-1918)

“Every day, he sent one flower home, along with a short, affectionate note to one of his children, including his one-year-old baby daughter Celia in Montreal, so that, as she grew up, she would have something to remember him by in the event he didn’t survive that terrible war,” a news release reads. 

Cantlie’s letters and flowers were saved and passed on to his granddaughter, the late Elspeth Angus. Six years ago–100 years after the start of WWI–a Canadian filmmaker named Viveka Melki found out about the keepsake and decided to develop the WAR Flowers exhibit. 

According to the news release, Melki has reinterpreted ten of Cantlie’s flowers using floriography, a Victorian-era method of communicating meaning and emotion through flowers, to “tell a larger story of human nature in the landscape of war.” 

The exhibition is comprised of ten stations, each showcasing a different flower picked by Cantlie, and draws on his wartime letters. Actual artefacts of the First World War-era also complement each station. 

The exhibit also profiles ten Canadian men and women of The Great War era, including John McCrae, Georges Vanier, Elsie Reford, Jean Brillant, Talbot Papineau, A.Y. Jackson, Percival Molson, Julia Drummond, Edward Savage and George Stephen Cantlie.  

Each station also features crystal sculptures created by award-winning, Toronto-based artist Mark Raynes Roberts. To make the exhibit even more immersive, the stations also feature original scents created by olfactory specialist and perfumer Alexandra Bachand. 

“I am thrilled that WAR Flowers is concluding its national tour at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga”, said Alexander Reford, director of Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens in Grand Métis, Quebec, in a statement. 

“From its first stop at Les Jardins de Métis, this exhibited has wowed audiences at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, in Toronto, at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, in Montreal and, most recently, in Edmonton. The power and the force of the exhibition is visible in every station and in each of the stories that brings to life an important moment in our nation’s history.”

To learn more and reserve a free ticket, click here

  1. Living Arts Centre
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