Elizabeth Young of Flowers Talk to take over Tivoli Florist

Florist Michael Corbeil stands in his shop, Tivoli, which will be taken over by Elizabeth Young upon his retirement. Corbeil’s the goal was to create “the flower shop with no carnations.” Photo by Meagan Curran.

A long-time Westboro florist is passing ownership of his shop on to a relative up-and-comer in the industry.

Florist Michael Corbeil has announced that he will be retiring and transferring ownership of his Richmond Road shop, Tivoli, to Elizabeth Young of Flowers Talk, which is located only a few blocks away.

While Tivoli is a longstanding fixture in the Ottawa floral scene, Flowers Talk, a little shop on Wellington Street West, is fairly new. Young opened the shop in 2005.

Corbeil first opened Tivoli on Clarence Street in 1989. The premise for the shop was to do something different from what other florists in Ottawa were doing at the time. Corbeil says the goal was to create “the flower shop with no carnations.”

And true to form, in Tivoli’s 25-year history it has never carried carnations.

Though the shop was originally located in the Byward Market, Corbeil decided to move it to its current location in 1995.

“At the time, Westboro just was such an up-and-coming neighbourhood,” Corbeil says.

After the move to Westboro, he says business improved dramatically at the shop. He credits this in part to the neighbourhood’s cheaper rents and the fact that it’s a shopping destination in the city.

“One of the things that I love about Westboro is that it really does have a neighbourhood feel, but still attracts people from all over the city,” he says.

However, upon his upcoming retirement, Corbeil will be leaving not only his shop and profession, but also the city he’s called home for decades. He will be dividing his time between the two bed and breakfasts he and his partner own in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Xocotla, Mexico.

When the shops are combined, Young will be moving into Tivoli. Her old space has been listed for lease.

Young will be no stranger to her new workplace. She was a client of Tivoli when she was running another business, Majestic Events.

“Tivoli has always been my favourite flower shop in Ottawa,” says Young.

“Tivoli is the reason why I opened Flowers Talk in 2005.”

Corbeil says he and Young already have many of the same clients. Tivoli will also keep the same location and staff as before. Both have expressed the hope that the amalgamation will combine the best parts of Tivoli and Flowers Talk.

“I will bring my weddings, and events with a modern romantic feel, to Tivoli’s European flair,” says Young.

Though sad to leave Tivoli, Corbeil is excited to see what’s in store for its future.

“I think just having new energy will be good for the shop. I know she’s going to come in and freshen it up and repaint,” says Corbeil.

“It just needs freshening up, and she’ll do that.” 

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