Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

The 2011 Canadian Pool & Spa Conference & Expo is causing quite a buzz.

After years in Toronto, the show is moving to Niagara Falls, Ontario, on Dec. 5-8, and interest is high, reports Robert Wood, executive director of the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada, host of the event.

The main reason for the change, Wood says, was to freshen the event using an area that offers more to do when the exhibit halls close each day. Moving to the city’s Scotiabank Convention Centre “has caused excitement, and we’ve been getting a lot of questions since the new venue was announced,” he notes.

“There will be new things to see, and it should generate some interest in the northern states.”

Besides the famous waterfalls and Niagara River, the area offers first-class dining, casinos, renowned wineries and shopping. Adding to the fun, the Winter Festival of Lights will be in full swing, transforming the city into a holiday wonderland at night — and, for those who like to ice skate, the TD Rink at the Brink, an outdoor skating rink at the brink of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, will be in operation.

Another plus: The Scotiabank Convention Centre’s size is “tailor-made for our event — three exhibit halls, and we’ll fill them,” Wood says. “Even the number of meeting rooms is perfect for us.”

Speaking of numbers, organizers expect the usual crowd of 2,000-plus attendees and exhibitors. Based on strong early sign-ups, they foresee at least 140 exhibitors — and perhaps even more will come from the northern United States because of the new venue.

Hit the books

The show’s educational program kicks off with the day-long CPO Course on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 5-6.

Most regular seminars are slated for Tuesday. “There will be something for everybody,” Wood predicts. Topics range from concrete and vinyl pools to spas, water chemistry, job costing, salt and chlorine generation, business diversification and more.

Several sessions are expected to create considerable interest. First up is “Emergency First Aid Training,” led by Beverley Fallon of St. John Ambulance – Canada on Tuesday, teaching students what to do when a life-threatening illness or injury occurs, and including CPR and defibrillation on adults. Also that day is “How to Properly Type and Measure a Pool (for Diving Board Installation) in Accordance with the ANSI/NSPI Standard,” led by Bryan Mills of S.R. Smith. Then on Wednesday, it’s time for “High-End Swimming Pool Design and Construction” with Scott Cohen of The Green Scene Landscaping and Pools.

Another popular educational opportunity, the Public Pool Symposium, returns this year. As part of the in-depth session, panelists will explore issues affecting the operation of commercial pools, such as disease control in recreational water, experiences gained from past inspections, the effects of cyanuric acid on chlorine and more on Wednesday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Timing is everything, as the saying goes, and no one knows that better than trade show organizers. Last year, the goal was to avoid scheduling seminars concurrently. That proved to be tough, so this year if there’s an overlap, it will involve topics that wouldn’t draw the same audience, such as a pool course and a spa-related course, Wood says.

Coming attractions

In addition to the educational track and show-floor activity, the Canadians have planned gatherings such as the annual general meeting and President’s Reception for members of the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada on Tuesday night. And the ever-popular free lunch at the bistro in the convention center is offered on Wednesday and Thursday (badge admission required).

Two special activities — a winery tour and a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake — are slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, but space is limited. It is advisable to call PHTCC at 800.879.7066 for details.

The social highlight of the show, the Industry Awards Banquet, is set for Wednesday evening, also in the convention center. The gala includes a reception, dinner and music by The Caverners, a Beatles tribute band. Among the honors being bestowed will be design and construction awards, Dealer and Supplier of the Year, and the prestigious Industry Achievement Award.

For more information about the show, visit; for city attractions, go to>