The International Garden Centre Association Congress in Niagara Falls, Ontario has come to a close. Hosted by CNLA and Garden Centres Canada this past September, the Congress saw nearly 250 delegates from 21 countries attend to tour the region’s garden centre and nursery operations. CNLA and Garden Centres Canada thanks all of the sponsors for the week-long event, without which none of this would have been possible: Sheridan Nurseries, Proven Winners, Napoleon, Ram Commercial, Nurseryland, TerraLink, Fafard, the spoga+gafa event, the Government of Canada through Growing Forward 2, Ball Seed, 99 Nursery and Florist, Foodland Ontario, Sipkens Nurseries, and Kubota.
Leading each of the five coach buses on the tour, were volunteers from all over Canada. Each bus represented a different Canadian hockey team, in attempt to encourage some healthy competition between delegates. The bus leaders were busy all week providing delegates with helpful information, fostering team spirit and leading topic discussions. We would like to recognize: Robin Godfrey, Peggy Head, Anthony O’Neill, Denis Flanagan, Bill Hardy, Terry Vanderkruk, Brad Rooney, Warren Patterson, Michelle Pain and Mark Sipkens.
Behind the scenes, we had a dedicated committee making important Congress decisions varying from décor at the gala, to entertainment, to all of the stops, and so much more. Thank you to committee members: Michael Van Dongen (Congress Chair), Theresa Calver, Len Ferrangine, Andrew Pepetone, Blair Groen, JR Peters, Terry Vanderkruk, Harry DeVries, Karl Stensson, Art Vanden Enden, Brittany Doleman, Pat Shaw, Jeff Bokma, Valerie Stensson, Ans Winkelmolen, Tom Intven, Barry Benjamin, Mark Sipkens, Nick Winkelmolen, John Zaplatynsky, Peggy Head, Michelle Pain, Anthony O’Neill, Jennie Pepetone, Paul Reeves, Amanda Vandermeer, Lorraine Mennen, and Angie Allen.
The tour would not be complete without stops at multiple locations. Thank you to our hosts for their generosity and accommodation of the Congress delegates – the sheer number of attendees required a lot of planning. Our hosts include: Cole’s Florist, Connon Nurseries CBV, Sheridan Nurseries Georgetown and Toronto, Winkelmolen Nursery, Terra Greenhouses Milton, Holland Park Garden Gallery in Burlington, Van Dongen’s Garden Centre, Humber Nurseries, Pathways to Perennials, Vermeer’s Garden Centre & Nursery, Toronto Botanical Garden and Bradford Garden Gallery.
Social media was widely used by delegates during the event, with our event hashtags used more than 3000 times during the week. You can view pictures on Facebook at www.facebook.com/IGCACanada2017.