The weather outside may be dreary and unpredictable this time of year but inside the green house at Family Flowers a tropical paradise is waiting.
For the last four years this family run business has been helping people to achieve their fitness goals by offering up its temperature controlled green house as an indoor walking track during the months of January and February.
People are welcome to walk wherever they choose in the green house; however, staff have marked out a specified walking track. Five times around this track is equal to ½ a kilometre. The track is free to use and is open to the public Tuesdays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs are welcome. Children are also welcome and visitors are encouraged to stop at the mini farm to see the goats and donkey during their trip to the green house.
For the past four years, Family Flowers has partnered with Elgin St. Thomas Public Health to provide complimentary kits for Walking Club members that include hiking and cycling maps, a white board to track exercise, and more. Family Flowers even provides a sign-in sheet where visitors can keep track of their progress. Some people come everyday and over time they are able to increase the distances that they walk.
According to Retail Manager Jacklyn Versnick, the program originated as a way to more fully utilize the green house space during the quieter winter months. Most garden centres close down in January and February but because Family Flowers grows all its own products, it remains open while staff are busy tending to Hydrangeas and Easter Lilies during this time.
“The feedback from walkers has been great,” said Jacklyn. “People really enjoy that the track is dry, sheltered from the elements, has lots of natural light, is temperature-controlled, and allows them see flowers and greenery during this bleak time of year.”