Greenhouse Canada

Best Booth Awards handed out at Congress

January 7, 2014  By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Jan. 7, 2014, Toronto — A lot of time and effort is invested in designing and building an eye-catching display at a trade show, but when you are competing amidst the vibrant colours and professionalism of Ontario’s landscape and garden industry, it takes that much more effort to stand out in the crowd.

The best of those efforts at Landscape Ontario’s 41st annual Congress were honoured this afternoon with the presentation of the best booth and Paul J. Day Best of Show awards.

Judges Deborah Dugan of Conexsys Registration and Lee Ann Knudsen of Landscape Ontario named winners in six categories, reflecting the growing diversity of Congress.


The Paul J. Day Best of Show Award was given to Gro-Bark (Ontario) of Waterloo. The company is a supplier of bulk organic materials, especially mulch. Crafting a compelling marketing story for this product category is a significant challenge, which Gro-Bark solved beautifully. A display of simple raised bins differentiated the products and gave them structure, inviting visitors to interact with sales staff on a soft, mulched surface. The company’s well-lit identity was suspended above. Keith Osborne of Gro-Bark credited Kerri Stevenson as the marketing genius behind the booth design.

In the Heavy Equipment category, Kubota Canada, Markham, Ont., earned top distinction. While large machines painted Kubota orange dominated the exhibit, the company earned extra goodwill through well planned, face-to-face interactions. Special reps wearing orange Wellingtons invited attendees to play a game on iPads. Participants received orange gloves, and the company got new sales contacts – all in a friendly exchange.

Honours for best Small Equipment exhibit went to Excel Industries of Hesston, Kan., manufacturers of Hustler commercial equipment. Equipment was shown to best advantage in an uncluttered setting, with contemporary, effective signage.

Oaks Concrete – Brampton Brick of Brampton, Ont., received the award for Best Booth over 400 sq. ft., Excluding Heavy Equipment. Al Van Haaster said he enjoys working with design teammates Harvey Jonkmen and Peter Eftimovski to develop concepts; this year’s plan breaks the “rule” that traffic should flow through a booth. Rather, the design bisects the space into contemporary/commercial and rustic/residential areas – which Van Haaster says has resulted in better interaction with customers.

BOT Aggregates of Orillia, Ont. actually built a Fred Flintstone-type car out of its products, showing its lines to great advantage and attracting plenty of attention. BOT’s display was named Best 100-400 sq. ft. Booth, Excluding Heavy Equipment.

Winner of the Best Booth under 100 sq. ft. award was Millgrove Perennials of Millgrove, Ont. The booth used off-centre composition, texture contrasts and negative space to highlight its perennials; a simple laptop ran a slide show showing their summer colours.

“Walking this show is marketing inspiration,” said the judges. “Every one of the green industry vendors at Congress has a product or service to help horticultural pros succeed, and exhibitors are telling their stories with colour and creativity. Green industry suppliers complement green industry service providers in design and marketing sophistication.”

“There is incredible potential in the green industry for colourful stunning and imaginative displays, and that’s what makes Congress such a special trade show,” said Heather MacRae, director of events and trade shows for Landscape Ontario. “Distinguishing your booth from the other amazing displays takes a special effort. It’s always a difficult choice selecting the Best Booth winners. The vendors that participate in the show deserve to be recognized for the time and effort that gets put into not only making their booth special, but also making Congress a better show.”

Best Booth winners are judged on a set of pre-determined criteria, including:

  • Design/visual impact – lighting, focal point
  • Quality of exhibit construction – cleanliness, safety
  • Client identification – signage, staff identification, promotional product, product distribution to advertise the company
  • Product presentation – promotional material, layout, unique display techniques, visual aids
  • Booth personnel – passion for their work, appearance, knowledge of their product, willingness to answer questions, pride in their company

You can follow all of the activities and news from Congress 2014 on Twitter @LOEvents and join in the conversation with the hashtag #LOCongress or “like” Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association on Facebook to keep informed of the latest news and happenings in the green, garden and landscaping industry.

For more details and a complete schedule, visit the Congress website at

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