May 28, 2002
Congress attracts international participation

Congress further secured its status as an international horticultural trade show recently, attracting participation from companies as far away as West Africa, as well as key international speakers.

     Held January 8 to 10 at the Toronto Congress Centre, Congress 2002 will play host to a number of international exhibitors, most recently a new exhibitor from the Ivory Coast of West Africa, confirms Paul Day, Landscape Ontario (L.O.) Congress show manager. “We’ve booked exhibitors from seven different countries to date. Of course the majority of the 700 exhibitors are from the U.S. and Canada, but so far, this year’s roster includes participation from Italy, the U.K., Holland, Germany, and now West Africa,” he adds.

     The biggest news, however, is the confirmation of Adrian Bloom of Blooms of Bressingham as a keynote speaker, announces Pat Hillmer, education coordinator for L.O., the sponsor of the trade show and conference, which celebrates its 29th anniversary in 2002. An internationally noted designer, grower and author, Bloom will talk about European trends and his own design initiatives.

     The international focus that Congress has taken over the last few years mirrors the association’s mandate to promote the horticulture industry on a provincial, national and international level. “Many members of our industry supply locally,” comments Joan Johnston, president of Landscape Ontario. We believe that a conference and trade show like Congress provides a unique chance to expand our field of business and vision.”

     The “New Products Showcase” is a big draw for the 12,000+ industry professionals who will visit the over seven acres of displays during the three-day trade show and conference. Over 240 new products are introduced annually at Congress of which approximately 80 are selected by a jury to be featured in the Showcase. “It’s the essence of what makes the show new, better and different year after year,” explains Haig Seferian, a landscape designer who also hosts Garden Architecture on HGTV.But it is the concurrent conference that addresses industry issues and trends. Congress 2002 features information-packed talks with over 35 industry-renowned speakers. Topics range from the ever-popular perennials to the logistics of building a Canadian display garden in Japan and how independent garden centres can compete with the big box stores.

     “This year’s conference is called ‘Changing Times’ and emphasizes international gardening trends and good horticultural practices,” concludes Hillmer. “Mr. Bloom’s participation in our program of celebrated speakers is a real highlight.”

     For further information on the trade show, please contact Paul J. Day or Brenda Speck. Conference information can be obtained by calling Pat Hillmer, Tel: (905) 875-1805 or 1-800-265-5656, Fax: (905) 875-3942, Email:, Web site: