December 15, 2010
Canada’s international horticultural trade show and conference is just around the corner. The 38th edition of Congress will take place Jan. 11 to 13 at the Toronto Congress Centre.

Congress features more than eight acres, containing over 600 exhibitors from eight countries.  

This year’s Congress is four shows in one, including the Ontario Parks Association’s Explorations trade show, Fencecraft produced by the Canadian Fence Industry Association and the Green Forum, sponsored by Communities in Bloom.

Educational sessions

Congress is well-known for its educational sessions, many of which now focus on green initiatives. The four-day conference program begins Mon., Jan. 10, with specialized symposia. The concurrent conference runs from Jan. 11 through 13, featuring 32 seminars. Some of the industry’s most dynamic speakers will take over the podiums sharing expertise and insights in all areas of business success. Jeff Scott and Charles Vander Kooi are back by popular demand. A new panel featuring successful young Landscape Ontario entrepreneurs promises to be a program highlight.

“Congress Conference is strategically timed for professional landscape firms, who invest in professional development for themselves and their employees,” says Sally Harvey, manager of education, labour development and membership services for Landscape Ontario. “Progressive employers are increasing their investment in training to sustain a stable and professional work force. More importantly, they are aware of the business advantage of having certified and competent staff when tendering bids.”

Six pillars

Congress 2011 Conference focuses on the six pillars of business excellence. The six pillars of business excellence are: Sales Success, Financial Health, Customers for Life, Professional Operations, Leadership Excellence and Technical Education.

The conference will feature some of the hottest trends in the industry covering the basics of green roofs, green walls, and rain gardens.

Numerous sessions will focus on sustainable business practices and issues such as customer willingness to pay more for plants and/or gardens that are free of chemicals. Urban forest sustainability will consider the vegetation resource, the community framework, and management approaches to sustainably managing urban forest resources.

Most of the pre-show symposia, normally held at the Doubletree by Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel, will move to the Toronto Congress Centre on Jan. 10. However, the Landscape Designer Symposium will remain at the Doubletree.

Celebrate excellence

Join Landscape Ontario’s members at the Awards of Excellence ceremony on the evening of Jan. 11 in celebration of the talent and creativity of landscape contractors, designers and interior plantscape professions. Besides being an exciting evening to network with members of your professional community, meet LO’s president Tom Intven at the President’s Reception, preceding the ceremony. It’s a great opportunity to enhance your relationship with peers, staff and LO Board members.

Celebrate green spaces

The Ontario Parks Association, Communities in Bloom and Landscape Ontario have come together for the third time to celebrate parks and green spaces, and promote the enjoyment and healthy lifestyle benefits open spaces provide to Canadians. Join over 200 municipal leaders, parks staff and community stakeholders gathering to develop strategies encouraging people of all ages and abilities to enjoy gardening, recreational parks, parklands and landscapes.

Back in 2009, Congress was the first Zero Waste trade show ever held at the Toronto Congress Centre. Since that time, it is estimated that 179 trees and 697 cubic yards of landfill have been saved by LO’s shows.
For more information on the Congress symposia and conferences, or to register, go to A full conference pass starts at $135. One day passes are from $85, or $60 for one session. Conference passes for students start at $30.