November 15, 2017
Congress 2018 boasts more learning opportunities
Trade show attendees learn proper vehicle safety on the show floor at Congress.
In less than two months, thousands of professionals will explore over eight acres of products and services from leading suppliers at Congress 2018. For 45 years, Congress has continued to evolve with the growing needs of the landscape and horticulture profession, and the latest edition, running Jan. 9-11, 2018 at the Toronto Congress Centre, is no different. Congress ’18 will include three unique, live demonstrations, each held twice daily directly on the show floor. In addition, a full, four-day conference program will feature many leaders and business experts who will deliver countless learning opportunities of value to each sector of the profession.

Hardscape LIVE!

In partnership with Landscape Ontario’s Hardscape Committee, the third edition of Hardscape LIVE! will return to the show floor with daily instructions at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Featuring the latest in hardscape installation techniques, the live build over the three show days will enlighten audiences on many topics related to hardscape installation and efficient business operation.

Green LIVE!

New to the show floor this year is an up-close approach to re-learning the important basics of tree selection, preparation, planting and maintenance. In partnership with Landscape Ontario’s Growers Group and International Society of Arboriculture Ontario (ISAO), Green LIVE! will include several experts on stage for this highly-anticipated event, twice daily at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Topics include: Selection of Trees: Learn what questions to ask to choose the best tree for the location and how to find the best specimen for your site. Plant Handling and Transport: Demonstrations on how to move trees from the nursery to the final planting site, including packing on a truck or trailer; Site Preparation: Learn how to best prepare a site for tree planting, including soil amendments and fertilizers; Proper Planting Techniques: Watch how to properly install a container, wire basket, or bare root tree for success; Maintenance During Establishment: Learn how to water, fertilize and prune in order to minimize transplant stress and help trees thrive; and Long Term Care: What does a tree require to continue to thrive and provide many years of enjoyment and beauty? The sessions will highlight do’s and don’ts, and prepare contractors for the upcoming season.

Drive LIVE!

Proper vehicle safety is one of the most popular topics for landscape professionals. Anyone who drives a vehicle should attend Drive LIVE! at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily for live instruction from Toronto Police and Ontario Provincial Police officers. This safe vehicle refresher demonstration uses a hands-on approach to show how to apply daily vehicle inspection rules, pre-trip inspection reports and itemize defects in compliance with Ontario regulations. Learn how to conduct a proper circle inspection, the difference between minor and major defects and how to operate safely to help avoid costly tickets and fines. Bring key staff and crew leaders to ensure they are ready for the season.

Warm-Up Monday conferences

The four-day conference program that runs alongside the Congress trade show actually begins the day before on Jan. 8 with Warm-up Monday. This series of industry-specific events includes: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Symposium, Landscape Designer Conference and the Peer to Peer Workshop. Each requires a separate ticket purchase and includes admission to the trade show.

Attendees of the IPM Symposium will earn six IPM Council of Canada CEC’s by attending all six technical sessions. The symposium includes time for delegates to visit with several suppliers as well. The Designer Conference will host five sessions followed by a popular networking reception, also including supplier displays and time for guests to circulate throughout.

At the Peer to Peer Workshop, instructor Jacki Hart will provide business owners with some face-time to work on their journey to continued business improvement.

On Jan. 10, the Garden Centre Symposium will feature a prominent and sought-after Millennial expert, David Coletto. David will dive deep into how to hire this group who are key to our future labour force as well as how to sell to them — a topic that applies to not only retailers, but to all other sectors as well.
speaker talking with audience membersThe conference program gives attendees access to leading experts in the profession.

Conference program

The full conference program (Jan. 9-11), presented in partnership with LMN, will help delegates learn valuable insights from leading industry experts. The program has options for owners, managers and key staff who want to stay one step ahead of their competition. The schedule features daily opening keynotes, kicking off with an ice-breaker session hosted by Beth Edney CLD, followed by Harry Jongerden from the Toronto Botanical Gardens refreshing the sense of purpose for each professional in the room, capped off by the infamous economist Charlie Hall from Texas A&M University with his forecast for 2018’s green industry’s economy. The concurrent sessions are filled with business development and industry-specific topics, with inspirational and provocative speakers such as Bill Arman, Janna Bradley, Ed Laflamme, Dan Heims, Paul Tobey, Sean James and Yuill McGregor. Back by popular demand this year are Mike Lysecki and Mark Bradley.

Life Lessons at Lunch will see Javed Khan share his insights on why traditional networking doesn’t work and how to improve building your own network on Jan. 9, followed by the inspiring and entertaining Meg Soper teaching delegates how to get connected and stay plugged-in on Jan. 10. Ron Buist, the brain behind Tim Horton’s iconic “Roll up the rim to win” campaign will share his magic marketing tips on Jan. 11.

The final keynote to close the conference has ultimate star-power. Cheryl Pounder and Becky Kellar, Canadian Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey gold medalists and world-champions, will coach the audience on strategies for leading a winning team.

Evening networking events

Attending the trade show and conference is hard work, so be sure to mingle and unwind on Tuesday night at LO’s Awards of Excellence ceremony (the Oscars of the green profession) and at the infamous Tailgate Party on Wednesday night which includes free dinner and entertainment.

Trade show and new products

Congress offers eight acres of more than 600 exhibitors; the ideal community-building and purchasing environment for design-build, fence, landscape and pool contractors, grounds managers, landscape designers, irrigation and lighting contractors. The popular New Product Showcase area also features the latest equipment, tools, products and technologies from the Congress exhibitors. If you influence purchasing decisions, labour force issues, productivity or manage the budgets of your business, you won’t want to miss this event.

Congress is strategically held each January so horticulture professionals can all kick off the new year together. Congress literally is a one-stop-shop for professional development, innovative products, education and community-building opportunities. Register online now at