Record crowds expected for Toronto show

03/21/2013 04:05:00 PM
Cynthia David

Exhibit space for the 88th annual Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention may be sold out, but there’s still time to register for the biggest CPMA convention and trade show ever, to be held April 17-19 in Toronto.

“We managed to pull together a dream team to plan this convention,” said outgoing chairman Jim DiMenna, president of Kingsville, Ontario-based JemD Farms.

“We’ve exceeded our goals in every area, and we’ll have the most exhibitors and sponsorships in the history of the CPMA,” DiMenna said.

After the annual general meeting April 17 and an optional retail tour, which includes visits to four major supermarkets, delegates will be welcomed to a castle in Midtown for the chairman’s reception.

Now a museum and Toronto landmark, Casa Loma was originally built for financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. Construction began in 1911 and took 300 men nearly three years to build.

The next morning at breakfast, delegates and their companions will convene at the Direct Energy Centre, on the shore of Lake Ontario, to hear guest speaker Mario Pilozzi, the former chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Canada Inc.

After his talk, titled “Listen Today to Build Tomorrow,” Pilozzi will lead an interactive Q&A session.

Delegates can then join one of two business sessions, one on implementing an effective social media strategy, and the other on how new government regulations will affect cross-border produce shipments in the coming year.

April 18th’s lunch speaker, extreme adventurer Jamie Clarke, will share his tales from Mount Everest and stories of courage and determination.

Back at the Sheraton Centre host hotel, across from Toronto’s City Hall, put on your favorite team’s jersey and head to the sports-themed variety night.

April 19th’s business sessions offer the importance of increasing collaboration throughout the supply chain to improve profits, or analyzing the buying habits of Canadian supermarket shoppers.

The final day of CPMA will begin with the presentation of The Packer’s Canadian Produce Person of the Year Award and end with a nod to Toronto’s large Italian community.

DiMenna promises good food and live Italian music for the Tuscan-themed closing banquet, where he’ll hand the chairman’s baton to Walt Breeden, director of sales and citrus category manager for Canada for Vancouver-based The Oppenheimer Group.

“Our entertainment chair has personally selected some good Italian wines with dinner,” DiMenna said.

“The convention will be a great opportunity to network and see what’s new and exciting in the produce industry,” Breeden said. “And you’re coming to a wonderful city.”



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