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Our History

Providing Fine Flowers For Over 100 Years

In 1891 AMr Cole on farm tractor in vintage Grimsby Ontariolbert Edward Cole erected a 1,000 sq ft greenhouse on the former sawmill property in Grimsby, and grew violets and vegetables. A.E. Cole’s three sons were involved at an early age selling vegetables and later delivering flowers by foot, horse and buggy or the streetcar that ran along Highway 8.

By 1930 the greenhouse was expanded to 25,000 sq ft of the property! Cole’s three sons, John, Gordon and Norman, purchased the business in 1932 and more expansion followed as the floral industry grew. The children and grandchildren all worked to make it Cole’s a success!

In 1957 Norman Cole & Elizabeth became sole owners of the business and they ran the business together for 29 years. After 95 years of family ownership, Cole’s Florist was sold to Harry DeVries in 1986.


The DeVries Family: A New Chapter!

Harry and Nancy DeVries opened West Lincoln Florist in Smithville in 1982. While making a delivery in Feb. 1986 Harry expressed interest in purchasing Cole’s to Mrs. Cole and the sale took place on October 4, 1986!

Ten days after, Harry purchased property from the Cole family and the business was moved across the street.  The old blue house was carefully converted to a 1,200 sqft store. By February of 1987 the small cottage next to the store was torn down to construct a 3,000 sqft greenhouse. As the business grew so did the building! An additional 1,200 sqft was added for more storage and deliveries.

100th Anniversary Celebrated October 1991!

The business continued to grow in the floral industry! Cole’s Stoney Creek location was purchased on September 3, 1991 to expand its service and serve Stoney Creek, Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Growing, Growing, Growing!

Over the next ten years Cole’s continued to expand in leaps and bounds. In 1995 the Garden Centre expanded with the addition of yet another Greenhouse in the centre of the yard to house many of our hanging plants and annuals.

As Cole’s continued to draw customers from a larger area the parking lot was to small to meet the higher volume, especially on holiday weekends. By 1999 it was necessary to expand the parking lot into the vacant lot next to the Flower Shop.

In 2001 Cole’s Florist renovated the Flower Shop entrance area and opened a second floor wedding consultation area. The store was now wheelchair accessible.

By 2002 Harry was at it once again. The purchase of the Brass and Wicker House located next door to Cole’s allowed us to expand again. The property underwent interior modifications and in October Cole’s Christmas Cottage opened to the public. It’s open year round. The property surrounding the Cottage was landscaped to feature a beautiful pond in front and we expanded our Garden Centre into the area behind the Cottage.

Coles garden decor grand opening

In 2006 Cole’s Garden Décor was opened across the street. We continued to grow and expand with new products and features added daily. In 2011, Cole’s saw an opportunity to expand its water garden department moving it to the location of the Garden Décor store. Cole’s Pond Store is a one stop shop for water garden enthusiasts and offers the greatest selection and knowledge on water garden products in the region.

Cole’s is continuing to grow, expand, and operate as a local family owned business, and we invite you to keep in touch with us. Keep following the story by connecting with us on Facebook!

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