Canada Road Trip

Canada has state-specific legal allowances for home cannabis cultivation, typically in the region of 4-6 plants per household. One would assume that this allowance has led a whole lot of people, with and without growing experience, to their local hydro store. On a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest we found ourselves inevitably tantalised by a host of questions. “What IS the hydro store experience in Canada like these days?” What’s it like to go shopping in such open times? Is this a time of plenty? What products are prospering? Only one way to find out.

Above: Hello old friends.

Keen to get out and press these questions, Dave Gulliver took his inquiring, International Sales Managing mind on a store tour for the ages. Post-Lift, Patrick and Isaac of GreenPlanet and Zoe from Montel had implored Dave, “stylish Dave, come to Whistler snowmobiling with us, pleeeease! You make the best hot-choc!” But Dave just said “nah, I’ve got questions about the Canadian hydro store experience”. When they tried to insist he disguised himself as a snowman and drove off. Now with coal for eyes, and nude save for a stovepipe and scarf, Dave really would need a guide for the shop sojourn. Implacable at his side; the genius Mark, a rep from from GreenPlanet. Such is the esteem in which GreenPlanet are held by the Canadian hydro trade Dave could rest assured that he would be afforded the finest British Columbia had to offer. 

Above: Anyone seen Dave?

All the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Garden Supplies stores that we visited in Vancouver, Surrey and Mission received us with a great deal of warmth. Each had the kind of impeccable product knowledge and system displays that make a trip such as this so worthwhile. PNW go about their business in admirable style and there were a great many take-aways from Dave’s in-store experiences. They’re keen to learn about new tech and open to new approaches, their relationship with the local community is truly enviable, and they are able to count on a happy, loyal workforce. 

Above: Pacific Northwest Garden Supplies go to great lengths
to make hydroponic growing accessible for all.

PNW’s community relations are an interesting study in how to remove stigma and integrate the kind of businesses that have, perhaps, previously been seen as ‘trade-only’. It’s the result of hard work and an active effort on PNW’s part to engage in local areas – encouraging people to think of hydroponics as a business just as friendly, customer-facing and respectable as any other. These efforts have proved highly effective in attracting new growers in-store along with locals who are simply curious as to what hydroponics is all about.

Above: One of Pacific Northwest Garden Supplies’ exquisite live demo displays.

Vibrant and varied scenes are very much Dave’s milieu so the gaggle of independent stores on his itinerary gave yet more cause for jubilation. Some were devotees, others had never seen AutoPot before. Regardless the reception was good and a few of the stores quickly moved to obtain pricing from GreenPlanet in order to become stockists. Bubblegen who joined us for the visits went down really well too. Super-abundant snow be damned, the welcome was always glowing.

Above: Dave and Mark Prepare themselves for another friendly visit.

Dave’s shot more trouble than Clint Eastwood (in an advisory capacity) so was ideally placed to pop off a few rounds of wisdom for a licensed medical grower who was encountering issues with plant lock-out. A quick pH and Q&A told the tale; the culprit? Unwashed Growstones. Dave’s message to all the good people out there: “Soak, Poke and Drain kids!” Even the most reputable brands recommend some form of washing and buffering to prepare their substrate. It saves you a heck of a lot of hard work and/or heartache later on. Happens to the best of us, we had the same issue recently with clay pebbles. Otherwise the grow was looking marvellous, when in-country it’s always a pleasure to get a peek at some local growing and so it proved here, our profuse thanks for having us round.

Above: You Canuck be serious! When Dave visits Vancouver everybody wins.

Sticks and stones may break the players’ bones but a trip to the ice hockey will never hurt Dave. Much to his delight and gratitude Mark and Steve of GreenPlanet put the ice-rink on the cake of this trip by whisking him along to catch the Canucks, huge thanks for that one. Yve and Zoe from Montel, Coleen from Bios Lighting and Mark from Bubblegen must also feature heavily in the credits for their exquisite dinners and splendid company. Dave is always up for a nibble and a natter and was wined and dined to bits, lucky boy. And despite having been far to busy to go to Whistler, Dave somewhat cryptically sends big thanks to Patrick, Isaac and Zoe for all the good times zipping along in -20. Not sure what that’s all about.

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