Photo: Niagara Falls, Ontario, by Jason Pratt
Photo: Niagara Falls, Ontario, by Jason Pratt

In keeping with a new policy of alternating host cities, the 35th annual Canadian show returns to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Nov. 30 to Dec. 3.

“More people seem to show up when it’s at Niagara Falls,” said Robert Wood, executive director of the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada. “They like Niagara; there’s a lot to do there.”

Organizers expect numbers similar to those of 2013, when the Canadian Pool & Spa Conference & Expo was last held at Niagara Falls’ Scotiabank Convention Centre. The 80,000-square-foot exhibit space will feature approximately 150 exhibitor booths, though that number may be higher. Wood reported that booth sales were ahead of 2014, when the event was held in Toronto. At least 2,000 registrants are expected.

The conference kicks off with NSPF’s CPO Course on Monday and Tuesday. Among the regular seminars, expected stand-outs include a session on merchandising, led by Ted Lawrence of PoolCorp., and a number of courses on water chemistry and testing. Because vinyl and concrete pools are prevalent in Canada, Wood said, a session on fiberglass pools by Ken Feinstein of Viking Pools, Toronto, should prove helpful to many.

The Short Courses are back, and there are twice as many this year. The 12 sessions are core courses for the PHTCC Certification Program and will cover topics such as pool installation, hydraulics, automation and maintenance. “Hot Topics – Hot Breakfast” round-table discussions also will take place.

New this year is the Pool School, led by Steve “The Pool Guy” Galbraith. “We’re quite excited about this hands-on course,” Wood said. “Most courses are in the classroom or computer lab, but this is a big booth on the show floor, with three stations: pipe fittings, pumps and water testing.”

Another change involves the Wednesday night festivities. Typically, there’s an awards ceremony tied to a banquet, but this time awards for design and construction and industry achievement will be given in the Fallsview Theatre, 5:45-7 p.m. Then it’s over to the nearby Dragonfly Nightclub for the Industry Party, 8 p.m.-midnight.

“The accent this year is on fun,” Wood explained. “We’ve taken a very serious approach in the past, focusing on education and the like. This year, we wanted to make it lighter, so they can come to learn something and have fun.”