More than 16 years ago a number of Congress exhibitors serving the independent Garden Centre market asked us to create a fall trade show. We resisted at first. The idea went against the strategic vision and we were concerned it would negatively affect Congress. After recurring pressure from several exhibitors we decided to create a fall show at the Toronto Congress Centre called Garden Expo. It proved to be the right move at the time; the show tripled in size and became an important and relevant marketplace for independent retailers. Seven years ago attendance started to decline. The market changed very quickly; mass merchants gained market share and many independent garden centres sold their land to developers. At the same time hard good suppliers consolidated, garden centres formed buying groups and both started their own "captured trade shows". In addition, buying patterns and cycles have changed. In the past it was necessary for independent garden centres to purchase supplies in the fall - this is no longer always true.
In reaction we reinvented Garden Expo in 2015, and brought together a number of other events and hosted "Thrive" at the Ancaster Fair Grounds. Although it was an excellent experience, "Thrive" did not attract the numbers we anticipated. In order to better serve the Garden Centre market we spent the beginning of 2016 collecting valuable feedback from past exhibitors and attendees, as well as the Growers and Garden Centre sector Groups. The overwhelming direction is that we should move Garden Expo back to Congress. The original strategic plan for Congress directed us to bring the entire profession together by hosting a world-class trade show that would be a conduit for professional and business development, personal growth, relationship building, networking and learning.
We are excited and energized about Expo going home to Congress! A number of enhancements will be made including the inclusion of Garden Centre focused education as well as a defined Garden Expo footprint within the the show.
Our original vision of hosting a world-class trade show incorporating all sectors of the landscape and horticultural value chain is still valid. We look forward to growth. "Change comes bearing gifts".
New Products Showcase
One of our most popular features, it's always great to see what's new on the market to make your business run better. From new equipment, tools and technology to new plants and planting innovations.
See landscaping visions materialize from our up-and-coming professionals. Students from Fanshawe, Durham, Humber, Niagara and St. Clair colleges and the University of Guelph design and build feature gardens for your review. Why not come and check out their work and connect with the people that want to make a career in your industry.
A runaway success for Landscape Ontario
Congress has been running for as long as Landscape Ontario itself, and every year we strive to make it more relevant and valuable – to every corner of the industry. Landscape Ontario provides a great range of educational and accreditation programming throughout the year, but the speaker lineup of industry leaders and important subjects at the Congress Conferences are always highly anticipated and well reviewed.
Today, with more than 12,000 attendees, Congress is a great success and – most importantly – provides excellent value to our industry. We hope you have the time to make the most of what’s on offer at Congress this year, and we look forward to your growing success!
Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association exists, simply, to advance the horticultural industry. For decades we’ve represented, promoted and fostered the growth of the many sectors that fall under this umbrella:
• Landscape Design
• Garden Centres
• Grounds Management
• Landscape Contractors
• Lawn Care