Often it is the fine details that guests take away from their visit at Langdon Hall. From the stunning floral arrangements that greet guests in the main lobby, to every planter and table centerpiece, Grounds Crew member Silva Solian is an essential part of bringing the gardens indoors for guests to enjoy. It is her soft touch, creative vision, and keen eye for detail that is such a contributing factor to Langdon Hall’s beautiful floral décor.
Silva came to Canada as a refugee from war-torn Syria and shares a story of resilience, hope, and renewal. In March 2014, many people around the world watched the situation in Syria with a sense of impending doom as the city of Kessab, where Silva and her family lived, was attacked by forces opposed to the Syrian government. However, with each act of violence, there is a greater story of how humans come together to preserve against all odds.
“My family and I have been in Canada for three years now,” explains Silva. “It has not been easy, but I am overly grateful that we have found a new place to call home.”
Silva was born and raised in Kessab, Syria and with three sisters and two brothers her family owned an impressive farm with apple orchards and an array of various fruit fields. After getting married, Silva and her husband inherited the family farm and expanded their wealth to include four rental homes that vacationers flocked to. Silva and her husband happily raised their son and daughter in the wonderful home they had built together.
“We had beautiful gardens,” says Silva. “I fondly remember one of my favourite cherry trees that I would admire from my second floor balcony, and baking my family’s favourite dishes from our fruit.”
These joyful times came to an abrupt halt in March 2014 when her son, who was studying abroad in China, called in the middle of the night to warn his family of the attack on Kessab that he was witnessing on the news. With her husband and daughter, Silva fled their home as bombs dropped around their land. Along with many Kessab residents, Silva and her family found safety in the nearby city Latakia where they stayed with family.
In June 2014, when the Syrian army regained control of Kessab, Silva and her husband traveled home to witness the damage and loss. Their beautiful home had been ransacked, not even their windows and doors remained, and their vast fruit fields had been scorched to the roots. Even their rental properties had been overtaken. They had lost everything.
“It is hard to explain with words the devastation,” says Silva. “But my family remained safe and for that reason I will always be grateful and have hope.”
After residing in Lebanon for seven months, Silva and her family were finally accepted to Canada through sponsorship from her sister who lived in Windsor, Ontario. A new chapter began in Cambridge, as Silva’s husband joined City Carpet & Flooring, and Silva and her daughter were introduced to the nearby Langdon Hall. With her past experience, Silva’s daughter was welcomed warmly to the spa team and Silva found a comforting place on the Grounds team, surrounded by gardens.
“I remember driving up Langdon Hall’s driveway for the first time and the trees and surrounding countryside reminded me of home,” says Silva. “It can be difficult to stay positive at times, but working in the gardens has helped me through this tough time.”
Earlier this year, the Grounds team took on the role of overseeing all the in-house florals and bouquet arrangements around the property. With this opportunity Silva began to truly flourish in her role as she took on new responsibilities. Today Silva is an essential part of the beauty that guests experience from the gardens, both inside and outside.
“Every day I arrive to work and walk through the trees to our team’s shop. The smell and feel of the country air brings me back to my home in Syria and for this I am grateful,” says Silva.
With her son still living in China, Silva talks to him every day and sends him photos of the beautiful floral arrangements she creates. One day she hopes to be reunited with him. Until then, Silva continues to be a beaming light of strength that despite having lost so much, empowers us all with her strength and passion. Langdon Hall is truly fortunate to have Silva and her daughter as part of our team.