Bolstered by a year of better weather and a more stable economy, showgoers will have much to discuss, see and celebrate at the 2010 Canadian Pool & Spa Conference & Expo.
This year’s event, which returns to the Toronto Congress Centre Dec. 6-9, aims to deliver a streamlined education program, public pool symposium, panel discussions, a bustling show floor and numerous networking events.
The show “allows people to find new technologies, products and services — not to mention the educational components,” says Rob Wood, executive director of the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada, host of the event.
“Finally, there’s the opportunity to get together with your peers and network,” he adds. “That’s particularly important because there’s been an increased effort to regulate [the industry], and here we can discuss and determine our positions.”
Focus on education
The Canadian show has always had a strong emphasis on education, but it will be handled differently this year. Instead of scheduling sessions concurrently, the courses and presentations will run one after the other.
“People had said they wanted to go to two sessions at the same time. Now they won’t have that problem,” Woods says. “It’s a more comprehensive program.”
Educational offerings range from seminars on water chemistry troubleshooting and “green” water care for pools and spas, to a panel discussion of industry trends.
For builders, two seminars in particular are expected to pique interest — one on energy conservation products and another on site design.
In addition, a meeting on occupational health and safety for workers on Wednesday should have wide appeal, Wood says.
Plus, there are sessions about new advancements in chlorination, such as saltwater pools, and new technologies, he adds.
A brand-new offering — a two-day CPO Course on Monday and Tuesday — is the lead-in to the Public Pool Symposium on Wednesday. Geared toward public pool operators and health inspectors, the symposium will cover these topics: “Advancing Technologies” (from Europe), “Operating Procedure for Nonregulated Recreational Water Facilities Guidance Document,” “Lessons Learned” (from the Lifesaving Society) and “NSPF Webinar: RWI Prevention.”
Organizers expect more attendees in 2010 than last year. They predict approximately 3,350 will head for Toronto.
“Each year, we’ve had an increase,” Woods explains. “There’s only one show here, whereas in America, there are all those regional shows, too.” He pauses, then adds with a laugh: “Of course, that means all of our eggs are in one basket.”
It looks to be a pretty sturdy basket. Booth sign-ups have been going at a brisk pace: 80 percent sold three months before the show date, says Mette Yellowless, show coordinator.
In the 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, approximately 160 exhibitors are expected to display their wares compared with 140 last year.
The optimistic outlook for the Canadian show is caused more by good weather than economic swings. “In eastern Canada, we had better weather after two bad years in a row,” Wood says. “It won’t be a banner year, but better.”
He also notes that the U.S. economic woes haven’t moved north yet. For that, he gives credit to the banking system in Canada for not making the kind of high-risk loans and mortgages on homes that were happening in the United States.
Meet and greet
The Canadian show will offer ample opportunities for interaction with industry colleagues. On Tuesday night, for instance, there’s the annual general meeting of PHTCC members, followed by the President’s Reception. “It’s a trade show owned and managed by the Council, so our annual meeting is important,” Wood says. “It’s a time to get together and network.”
A show highlight, the Industry Awards Evening, is slated for Wednesday in the Toronto Congress Centre’s Cohen Ballroom and Courtyard. The gala includes a reception, banquet and entertainment by comedian Denis Grignon. Among the honors being bestowed will be construction design awards, Supplier of the Year, Dealer of the Year and the Industry Achievement Award.
For more information about the show, visit www.poolandspaexpo.ca. For city attractions, go to www.seetorontonow.com.