A sunflower farm in Ontario, which had been attracting thousands of visitors, had to be shut down after crowds created chaos in the area.
Bogle Seeds, a 250-acre grain and seed farm in Flamborough, Ontario, had announced earlier this year that it would open a field with nearly 1.5 million sunflowers to the general public for a few weeks in the summer. Brad Bogle, whose family has owned the seed farm since 1874, said he had hoped that visitors could witness the annual two-week-long bloom in a "quiet country setting."
The result was something else entirely. Bogle told CHCH that more than 7,000 people showed up two weeks ago, some traveling from as far away as British Columbia. Apparently, sunflowers play well on Instagram, which drew "hordes of plant paparazzi jockeyed to get the perfect shot of bursting bright yellow sunflowers," according to the Hamilton Spectator.
"People were coming from every corner of our farm and just inundating our farm properties, so we had no control whatsoever," Bogle said. "We’re closed this year and we don’t have any plans of ever opening again."
The non-stop traffic jammed the highways as people manically rushed to the farm, some running across multiple lanes of traffic with children just to snap a selfie in front of sunflowers. People were also seen urinating on neighbors properties.
Eventually, the Hamilton Police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario's Ministry of Transportation were notified and the sunflower fields were officially closed to the public.
"Unfortunately, with the police involved, we have had to close the photo opportunities due to the traffic jam which occurred on Saturday, July 28!" Bogle wrote on his website. "PLEASE NOTE: Although photo opportunities have ceased on the farm, we are still open for bird seed and other product sales during our regular hours."
Some visitors also complained about the behavior of their fellow sunflower-seekers. Jill Gowland, a visitor, said; “They were going in so deep. There were quite a few sunflowers that I saw that were damaged, that were broken and laying down on the ground.”
The experience has left Bogle annoyed and angry and he doubts he will ever open the farm again for visitors, other than legitimate shoppers. The chaos generated this past weekend kept many residents from accessing their homes, and there were even complaints of onlookers going through mailboxes.
“They were knocking down sunflowers and taking flower heads with them. I’ve described it as a zombie apocalypse,” Bogle told the New York Times. “There were so many cars. People were walking in and around them. No one would move. I am so thankful and shocked no one got hurt.”