July 15, 2011
Expo 2011 begins the decade in a new modern location, on a new date and with a distinct new look.

The team organizing Expo 2011, Gilles Bouchard, Lorraine Ivanoff, Albert Graves, artistic director, and Kristen McIntyre, conference coordinator, have created a powerful new show for 2011. They explained what went into selecting the new venue for Expo 2011, when it opens the doors to its new home on Oct. 19 and 20, in the North Building, Toronto Congress Centre.

Says Gilles Bouchard, director of events and trade shows, “Part of Expo’s success is due to the location of the event. Over the years, the main entrance that was too small and not dynamic enough. The north building at the Congress Centre gives us a bright, airy grand foyer entrance. It adds a sense of style and charisma, as well as functionality. We now have a dedicated exhibitor entrance, main show entrance and seminar/symposia entrance, 12 state-of-the-art loading docks, ground level doors and more.”

Bouchard explains that he felt most show organizers do not place enough time and effort into creating flow that a show floor needs. The floor plan includes a main intersection, or central gathering area, wide aisles to view the exhibitor products and services in a professional setting, and strategically placed features.

“As retailers look for the next best thing or gadget, they continually morph existing businesses into new ventures. Taking on pet products, hardware items and such will cause the exhibitor base of Expo to widen and offer a wider variety of suppliers to the industry. We have experience in co-locating events, and I believe you will see paths cross once again.

Lorraine Ivanoff, show manager, is the driving force behind the transformation of Expo. “We have the largest trade show in Canada that is geared specifically to the garden and floral industries. Each year over 2,700 buyers find it a great place to see what’s new and what’s hot.” says Ivanoff. From a dècor perspective, Expo takes its inspiration from European horticultural trade shows and interior design shows.

Three years ago, Expo experimented with enhanced lighting, bringing in more design elements, and working with designers to create a new look. Says Ivanoff, “We turned off the general lights and used spotlights to help enhance the product and plants. That concept is now being implemented throughout the entire show. Well-known floral designers have helped create gorgeous floral displays that excite the senses and re-energize visitors.”  

The goal this year is to create a completely new atmosphere in the show. “From the moment the visitor walks in there needs to be a sense of comfort and ease. We want to design a place where exhibitors’ product shows up like a performer on a stage. This will be through the use of specific spotlights. Correct lighting is incredibly important,” says Ivanoff.

Moving into the role of conference coordinator, Kristen McIntyre says every business owner and retail employee can benefit from furthering their knowledge and staying current in their profession. “We strive to deliver fresh and relevant sessions that will help attendees further succeed,” says McIntyre.

She points out some of the presentations this year include Taking a Good Garden Centre and Making it GREAT with Karl Stensson  from Sheridan Nurseries; Living Walls at Longwood Gardens by Dr. Casey Sclar and Lorrie Baird, Are You Hooked-Up? is a technology seminar with Ryan Freeman of Strider Search Marketing; Close More Business and Have Happy Customers, with Rory Sheehan of Positive Strategies, plus live demonstrations.

Visit www.loexpo.ca to register online, or for information.