Congress attendance reflects sector growth
Jan. 31, 2011, Toronto – Landscape Ontario’s Congress, Canada’s largest
international horticultural, lawn and garden trade show and conference,
enjoyed a successful three-day run earlier this month at the Toronto
Jan. 31, 2011, Toronto – Landscape Ontario’s Congress, Canada’s largest international horticultural, lawn and garden trade show and conference, enjoyed a successful three-day run earlier this month at the Toronto Congress Centre.
Show attendance held strong at 11,422 green industry professionals. Once again this year, Congress featured the Green Forum, Ontario Park Association’s Explorations and the Canadian Fence Industry Association’s Fencecraft trade shows.
Over 600 exhibitors from Canada, the U.S. and Europe showed the latest and best products for landscaping, including large and small equipment, pools, fencing, plant products, irrigation and paving products.
The success of Congress is important since it reflects the landscape and environmental horticulture industries, and their direct impact on Canada’s economy. The industry is comprised of 20,000 small businesses with an estimated annual economic impact of $14.48 billion. Furthermore, the green industry employs 132,000 individuals, generates $3.8 billion annually in labour income and provides $820 million each year in taxes.
“There was a nice positive tone to this year’s Congress,” said Tony DiGiovanni, executive director of Landscape Ontario. “Despite a little apprehensiveness from some of our members about next year’s business environment, the general feeling is that we are in the right business for the current economic situation. Thousands of homes and buildings have been erected in the last 10 years combined with additional infrastructure spending during the last two. This business activity represents a huge untapped market for our sector.”
DiGiovanni noted other factors that are pointing towards prosperity for the horticultural industry in 2011, including:
• The retirement of the baby boom generation who will be spending more time at home.
• The apparent trend towards a financially conscious public, who will be curtailing their spending, resulting in more time for their garden retreat.
• An environmentally conscious public who are beginning to realize that the benefits of green infrastructures go beyond the aesthetic appeal.
• A sophisticated and knowledgeable public who will treat their outdoor living spaces as an extension of their interior home.
In addition to these factors, environmentally friendly products are an emerging trend, having a strong presence at Congress this year.
For the second year in a row, the winner of the People’s Choice Award for best new or green product was the Green Roof/Green Walls system by Sedum Master. This three square foot square vegetative roof and wall system was on display in the New Product Showcase. The system conserves energy, manages wastewater and provides cleaner air.
Runner-up was Natural Insect Control’s Islandscapes – Floating Island – a floating landscape for any water feature (ecosystem) that creates a habitat, encourages biodiversity, and provides a natural filtration system in any pond.
Companies were honoured and recongnized among their peers for their efforts and successes over the year. Best Booth Awards along with Awards of Excellence were handed out to several industry professionals. Click here for a complete list of winners.
Emerging talent and growing interest in horticultural programs was evident at the show. Three schools participated in building student gardens at Congress under the direction of volunteer member Brian Cocks, CHT. The participating schools were Fanshawe College, supervised by Michael Pascoe, CLT, Jack Parker and Jeff Rowley, CLT, of Horticulture and Landscape Technician Program; Humber College, supervised by Harry Chang of the Horticultural Technician Program with assistance from Brian Clegg of Allweather Landscape Co. Ltd.; and Bendale Business and Technical Institute under the supervision of Shane Jones of the Horticultural Program.
Congress partners include Landscape Ontario, the Canadian Fence Industry Association, Communities in Bloom and the Ontario Parks Association.
Next year’s Congress will be held Jan. 10-12 at the Toronto Congress Centre.