John Connon was born on December 17, 1872 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He grew up as the second of four children born to a shipping captain William and his mother Agnes. His father passed away when John was only seven years old. John worked in Aberdeen selling seeds to farmers.
John answered an ad in a trade magazine for the Robert Evans Seed Company in Hamilton Ontario. Once he was offered the job, he immigrated to Canada.
On one of his trips selling seed in the Maritimes, his cutter upset and he broke his leg. While recuperating he realized the need for sales of trees and shrubs for local farmers
John took over the assets of the Webster Floral Company and on October 24 the Connon Floral Company Ltd. was born.
John settled down and married Laurie Isabell Campbell
The start of the Great Depression was hard for many business in this year and as a result, the flowershop and office moved to Stoney Creek in 1929.
The manager, Herb Tilmon, ran the business into bankruptcy. The Connon family home was not touched, as it had been bought in Mrs. Connon’s name. Declaring bankruptcy, the family undertook the enormous task of running their business from the basement of the family home in Waterdown.
The business was able to move out of the family home and grow enough for John Connon to hire some more employees. This was the year he hired Cornelius Vanderkruk.
John Connon passed away at the age of 89.
Cornelius Vanderkruk was born on February 19, 1912 in Loosduinen, Zuid, Holland.
Cornelius left Holland where he worked as a gardener with a successful landscape maintenance business and small nursery to immigrate to Canada with his wife and seven children.
He bought shares and became a partner with Major Connon.
Cornelius became the sole owner of Connon Nurseries.
Innovative new practices were introduced such as container plant production. The company grew as new land was acquired.
Cornelius’ sons Neil, Art and Cor became owners when their Dad retired.
Cornelius Vanderkruk passed away at the age of 62.
The three brothers (Neil, Art and Cor) decided to split the company. We became Neil Vanderkruk Holdings Inc. under the guidance of Cornelius’ oldest son, Neil Vanderkruk.
Neil’s sons took ownership when Neil retired.
On September 15, Neil Vanderkruk Holdings Inc. celebrated 100 years of business and closed for the day. 1800 people came to the gala event to help celebrate this milestone.
Neil Vanderkruk Holdings Inc. is now managed by the 3rd and 4th generation of Vanderkruks and can be known publicly as NVK Nurseries.
Two men’s dreams have cumulated into one of Canada's largest wholesale nurseries serving customers throughout Canada and several Northeastern U.S. states. NVK Nurseries currently operates in the West Flamborough area of Southern Ontario on over 1000 acres across 14 different farms and employs more than 200 employees.
With a rich history, a love of the industry and a firm faith in God, the next chapter is….