Montreal

Meet the Pierrefonds florists who are trying to keep up with Mother's Day orders in the flood zone

Mother's Day is usually the busiest day of the year for Camille Fleuriste-Boutique in Pierrefonds, but the two feet of murky flood water that has blocked access to the store has left the owners struggling to keep the business going this year.

Camille Fleuriste-Boutique owners struggle to fill orders ahead of busiest weekend of the year

Camillo Di Placido is co-owner of the shop. (Jay Turnbull/CBC)

Mother's Day is usually the busiest day of the year for Camille Fleuriste-Boutique in Pierrefonds, but the two feet of murky flood water that has blocked access to the store has left the owners struggling to keep the business going this year.

Patricia de Luca, who owns the shop alongside her husband, described the situation as surreal and that it was like they were "sitting in the middle of the ocean."

"People have actually been calling — even our customers — asking if everything was OK and if we needed help," she said.

"We've had a great support of help from everybody."

The store, which has been there for 30 years, has managed to stay open throughout the flooding with limited access through a small back street between two houses.

This is what it looks like just outside Patricia de Luca's flower shop in Pierrefonds. (Camille Fleuriste-Boutique)

"We were one of the lucky ones, we didn't have any damage in the shop," she said.

When she can, de Luca has tried to cancel orders to the store, but that hasn't always been possible.

"My biggest concern is I may be stuck with a lot of these flowers," she said, adding that she is still not sure how big the financial impact will be. 

The florist has continued to take orders online and by phone, but de Luca worries about keeping up with the demand. Mother's Day is even busier than Valentine's Day for the shop.

"It's like a catch-22," she said. "We want to take the orders but we don't know how many we should be taking in order to make everybody happy."

Flood damages home too

The business is not the only thing that the flood has affected for the family.

The last de Luca heard from her neighbour, her home on low-lying Île Mercier had five feet of water in the basement and the garage was also flooded.

"It was a major shock," said de Luca. "I feel a bit demoralized."

Nautical rescue teams head over a flooded bridge to check on residents on Île Mercier, just off Montreal's West Island. (Lauren McCallum/CBC)

The family has been staying at a hotel since they were forced to leave their home on Wednesday, while the eldest son is staying with friends.

De Luca is saving the receipts from the hotel stay, but she says she is not sure if the family's insurance will cover it.

"We've been booking every couple of days, periodically," she said. "We don't know what we're doing right now. It's one day at a time."

'We've got to take it as it comes'

Even with the problems at the store and not being able to return home, de Luca admits things could have been far worse.

The neighbouring businesses were mostly evacuated and some are flooded, like the nearby Mourelatos grocery store.

"We've got to take it as it comes and work with what we have," she said, adding that she doesn't know when the family will be able to return home

Patricia de Luca says the store has had "a great support of help from everybody." (Jay Turnbull/CBC)

As for de Luca's Mother's Day, the mother of two plans on doing what she does every year: taking care of the flower shop, but she admits she can't wait for it be over.

"It's a lot of work here and now with the added stress of the situation," she said. "Usually Mother's Day for us, any working mother that's in the flower business knows that it's a working day."

"But this added water problem is also causing a little bit of havoc because we don't know in terms of how many flowers will be left how much loss we will be having. So it's worrisome."

With files from CBC's Daybreak

now