East end Montreal florists knew business would be brisk when Mob boss Vito Rizzuto died unexpectedly last week. The only certainty in Italian Mob life is death and flowers (taxes? not so much). Business was good leading up to the Mob boss’s funeral on Monday. Several limousines in the funeral cortège that swept up to an historic church in Little Italy, where the funeral was held, were graced with detailed floral arrangements ordered by friends, family and associates.
A large floral arrangement in the shape of a golf bag was arranged by the staff at Jules D’Alcantara Gardenia Fleuriste in honor of Rizzuto, who was a devoted golfer. “There were golf clubs and balls as well,” said Carmelo Muzzo, one of the owners of the flower shop. One other of the many custom orders was for an arrangement that had the Italian word Nonno (Grandfather) sculptured in cream-colored flowers.
Carmine Florist also received several custom orders following the death of the Mafia don. Whether they consisted of lilies or roses, white flowered wreaths were the most popular, said an employee at the flower shop. The employee, who did not want his name published (lest he get whacked), said worriedly, “The wholesalers didn’t have any more white flowers.”
Several florists were busy over the last week, said the floral informant, while preparing the extraordinary number of wreaths and baskets ordered by wise guys and people close to the family. “Everyone got a piece of the pie,” he said sheepishly. An entire room at the Loreto funeral home was dedicated to the display of dozens of large floral arrangements.
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