DRAGON FLOWERS – A MONTREAL GEM
If you have ever walked through Montreal’s vibrant Mile End, you may have noticed a unique boutique located on Bernard Street. Though it is officially known as the Dragon Flowers shop, you won’t find any such mention of the name on the storefront. Instead, there is only one way to recognize the store’s facade: it is covered by dozens of suspended birdcages. With each cage shimmering a delicate white, the store makes that stretch Bernard Street look like an image from a dream.
More than a Flower Shop
Dragon Flowers is run by Montreal resident Tamey Lau. A Hong Kong immigrant, she began her flower shop alone in the 90’s, and the story of its origins is heartwarming. Poor and uneducated, she came to Canada nurturing a lifelong dream: she wanted to uplift and inspire people. Though she hadn’t intended on becoming a business owner per se, she says that she was drawn to being a florist because flowers bring out the best in people.
Though she is reputed for having a sharp eye for detail, Tamey herself has said that the most rewarding part of her work lies not in making beautiful arrangements. Rather, seeing how happy people become at the sight of her flowers is enough for her, and that her work is her way of “taking care of the people.”
Though running the shop is an enormous commitment, she spends the rest of her time caring for her family. She often speaks fondly of her fourteen children, some of whom can be seen helping her around the store. They, too, seem to share in some of her passion for bringing out positive energy and making the world a happier place.
The Community Gives Back
But things aren’t always easy for Tamey. Back in 2013, the Dragon Flowers shop suffered its greatest hardship when it was nearly destroyed in a fire. The shop was closed for months and Tamey could not foresee ever running her store ever again. Once the local residents heard about what had happened, they set up a Facebook page to help fundraise and get the store up and running.
The locals originally set a goal of raising $10,000, but within a single day, they had exceeded their objective and brought in over $15,000. An incredible feat, yes, but when local people spoke up about this dreamlike shop, they said that it was the very least they could do, as Tamey had been so generous to all of her customers. Many of them expressed what special care she put into her work; they said she often gifted customers with extra flowers or provided roses for the children of families that came in. It looks like the Mile End citizens were unwilling to lose such a gem of a store.
“Dragons for the Chinese people bring good luck and good energy,” Tamey said, explaining the name of her store. It’s hard to disagree!