The Sunday Magazine

For the first time in 53 years, a family-run florist won't be open on Mother's Day

Many mothers might feel a bit of an ache today — receiving hugs only from a distance, bouquets of flowers of the virtual kind. For Francesca LoDico and her mamma in Montreal, there's an added sting because, for over half a century, the family flower store has been the centre of their lives. But for the last seven weeks, Francesca's mother has been alone in her house. This is their story, But For Now We Stay Home.

San Remo is at the centre of Angela LoDico's world

Angela LoDico at San Remo Florist in Montreal. (Submitted by Francesca LoDico)
Francesca photographed in 1974 with her brother Angelo (left) and her cousin, also named Angelo (right). (Submitted by Francesca LoDico)

If only flower shops could be declared essential — just for Mother's Day.

This year will be different for mothers who may feel the loss of physical touch, as their loved ones may only be able to send virtual hugs.

For Francesca LoDico and her mother Angela in Montreal, there's an added sting.

Angela LoDico at work at San Remo Florist. (San Remo Florist)

For more than half a century the family flower shop has been the centre of their lives. Angela, 76, lives just two blocks from the San Remo Florist shop, a family business she started in 1967 with her husband Gaetano. They raised their children — Francesca and her brother Angelo — in the apartment upstairs. Now, Angelo and his wife Geraldine manage the shop.

San Remo has always been at the centre of Angela's world, and Mother's Day is usually one of the busiest times of the year. The entire family pitches in, turning it into a family affair, in every sense of the word.

But for the last seven weeks, Angela LoDico has been alone in her house, with a television tuned to an Italian channel as her companion. The entire family finds it inconceivable that San Remo will remain closed on Mother's Day.

Francesca LoDico and her mother Angela. (Submitted by Francesca LoDico)

The family has had to adjust to the new normal of running a business during a pandemic. Until retail stores open in Montreal, San Remo is filling online or telephone orders for delivery or pickup. Even with the strictest safety measures, one thing is unavoidable: Angela can't be at the shop right now.

She speaks for hours with her daughter Francesca, who lives just a kilometre away, every day on FaceTime. 

This is their story, But Now We Stay Home.

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