Ottawa Chapter’s GreenTrade Expo celebrates 25 years
Landscape Ontario’s Ottawa Chapter’s annual trade show, GreenTrade Expo, celebrated its 25th anniversary with a very special show at the EY Centre in Ottawa, Ont., on Feb. 14.
Coinciding with Valentine’s Day, the weather gods provided sunny skies and comfortable above freezing temperatures, which alleviated any concerns by show organizers that snow removal would take precedence for those who typically visit the show, resulting in near record attendance that didn’t disappoint.
“We’re delighted the weather really worked in our favour this year,” said Bruce Morton, Show Chair. “Move-in was made so much easier and the steady stream of visitors throughout the day seemed to be relaxed and having fun. Early feedback from our exhibitors is very positive.”
From its humble beginnings 25 years ago, the show has grown from 12 exhibitors with table-top displays in the conference room of a local hotel to over 100 exhibitors this year in a state-of-the-art facility. Morton coordinated that first show which has now gone on to become the must attend landscape and horticultural trade event in Eastern Ontario.
The GreenTrade Expo show committee agreed there should be a special celebration for exhibitors and members alike to commemorate the quarter century milestone of the Ottawa Chapter’s signature event.
Chapter awardsFestivities for the 25th anniversary event kicked-off the evening before the trade show (Feb. 13) with the fourth annual Ottawa Chapter Awards of Distinction Gala. Hosted by Gifford Associates Insurance Brokers, the evening is where attendees enjoyed cocktails, great conversations, a delicious buffet dinner and the presentation of awards. A live band and two comedians from Absolute Comedy rounded-out the evening by providing entertainment and lots of laughs for everyone in the room.
“We really look forward to the gala,” said Morton. “It’s our big opportunity, in a fun, social setting, to truly celebrate the outstanding service we get from all our suppliers.”
The 2017 Jim Bauer Award, sponsored by Greely Sand & Gravel, is presented to LO members who have been in business for at least 20 years, and have been an LO member in good standing for 10 years. The 2017 recipients are: Artistic Landscape Design, Exel Contracting, and Upper Canada Stone Company.
The 2017 Joan Johnston LO Community Involvement Award was presented to Brent Pyper, president/owner of Greely Sand & Gravel. The award recognizes individual members who have demonstrated and outstanding commitment to the LO community and Brent continues to support all Ottawa Chapter events.
Supplier awards were handed out to recipients in five categories. Companies were first nominated by their peers online with voting to determine the winners also taking place online. Winning suppliers for 2017 are: Manderley Turf Products, Best Plant Material Supplier (sponsored by In-Lite Design); Unilock, Best Hardscape Supplier; Geosynthetic Systems, Best Landscape Accessory Supplier; Bradley’s Insurance, Best Supplier to the Trades; and Terence Hills of Manderley Turf Products was voted 2017 salesperson of the year.
Trade showPresented by Permacon, the 25th anniversary edition of GreenTrade Expo kicked off with the well-attended and perennial favourite — the early morning, MTO Contractor’s Breakfast. Attendees enjoyed a hot breakfast and a lively seminar presented by MTO officers, covering new and important vehicle safety information for the upcoming season. This informative event was presented by Manderley Turf Products, Gifford Associates Insurance Brokers, and B&T MacFarlane.
In addition to gathering suppliers and buyers from Eastern Ontario, GreenTrade Expo also offers a first-class educational series that runs throughout the day. This year, the SiteOne Landscape Supply Business Education Seminar Series comprised four seminars that included business topics such as government grants for training employees, new trends in plant material, new technology (such as battery powered equipment), and how companies can best deal with the new employment standards in Ontario, as passed under Bill 148.
A community effortGreenTrade Expo welcomes students, the future of the landscape and horticulture profession, with open arms. In fact, students from Algonquin College’s Horticulture Industries and Horticultural Training Apprenticeship programs are key to helping set-up and coordinate activities on show day.
“The students built the Coffee Bar area and decorated the entire show, with floral product sponsored by Connon NVK,” explained Morton. “They also hosted the welcome and registration areas, greeting all of our show visitors with a smile and all the information they needed. We really couldn’t run the show without them. They’re an awesome ‘army,’” Morton said. Students were also coordinated with show branded apparel, sponsored and donated by The Sam Group.
Show attendees once again received complimentary parking this year, sponsored by Geosynthetic Systems, Connon NVK, and members of the Ottawa Chapter of Landscape Ontario.
New this year, GreenTrade partnered with Pinecrest-Queensway Community Employment Services and the Horticultural Training Apprenticeship Program (HTAP) to hold a job fair in conjunction with the show. In total, twelve member firms spent the day conducting speed-dating-style interviews with local job seekers.
The show featured a number of new exhibitors and product lines for 2018, as well as the ever-popular, complimentary all-day Coffee Bar sponsored by Bradley’s Insurance and Cityscape. This year’s 25th anniversary celebration also included a craft beer tent featuring products from Perth Brewery, sponsored by Yates Custom Sprinklers and Greely Sand & Gravel. Proceeds from the beer sales went to support the Ottawa Food Bank. The special area proved to be a great place for those attending the show to network and relax.
“This whole event wouldn’t be possible without the remarkable work and dedication of our volunteers as well as the generous support of our many sponsors,” said Morton. “They don’t just make the event possible, they make it fun, as well. We’re privileged to have such a great group of companies and organizations supporting us.”
Organizers, attendees, sponsors, students and all those involved look forward to next year, where GreenTrade Expo will take place Feb. 13, 2019.