Doris McCarthy Gallery
  • March 22, 2023 - 11 am – 4:30 pm

Flower Sale & Drop-in Reading Group with Waard Ward Collective

Bouquet sale to support victims of the Turkey-Syria Earthquake, followed by a guided reading group on the colonial history of horticulture

11 am - 3 pm: Flower Sale, UTSC Campus Farmer's Market, Meeting Place
3:30 - 4:30 pm: Drop-in Reading Group: Colonial History of Horticulture, Doris McCarthy Gallery

Scarborough-based arts collective – and DMG x UTSC Farm Artists-in-Residence – Waard Ward will hold a one-day flower sale at the UTSC Farmer’s Market, with all proceeds going towards supporting victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake. Choose from a selection of beautiful bouquets made by the collective. (Please note all sales will be processed in cash.)

Following the sale, Waard Ward members Patricia Ritacca and Petrina Ng will host an informal drop-in reading group in the DMG lounge to share some of their research about flowers, plants, and the colonial history of horticulture. Joined by garden designer Allison Chow of Posy Gang, participants will gather in the gallery to imagine the site as a potential green space. This research informs the collective's interest in supporting newcomer communities and community gardening. All are welcome, no prior reading or knowledge necessary. Participants will read and learn together.

Both the sale and program are drop-in, no registration necessary. All are welcome!


Waard Ward is comprised of members of Toronto’s Syrian newcomer community Hanen Nanaa, Shoruk Alsakni, and Abd Al-Mounim; artist Petrina Ng; and educators Patricia Ritacca and Laura Ritacca. A florist for over a decade in Aleppo, Abd came to Canada with his family six years ago as refugees. Waard Ward originally formed to support their settlement and create meaningful work opportunities. The collective utilizes social art practice to explore unconventional ideas of the value of work and labour and proposes experimental solutions to employment barriers for newcomers. Waard Ward invests in a community of aspiring newcomer florists and gardeners, to nurture opportunities for social entrepreneurship, and to co-learn new knowledges and skills in a collaborative environment.


In 2022, the Doris McCarthy Gallery partnered with the UTSC Farm to offer a land-based residency to Waard Ward arts collective.

In Spring 2022, the collective planted historic varieties of Damask roses at the IC Rooftop Garden and the UTSC Farm. This artist project refers to a community’s memory of lost or destroyed public gardens in Syria and the Middle East, creates opportunity to explore diverse culinary traditions of roses, and will build towards an exhibition at the DMG in the winter of 2024.