The Canadian Produce Marketing Association got quite an advertisement for Vancouver as a venue for its annual convention and trade show scheduled for May 12-14.

Riding on the heels of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the show is one of the most popular for the Ottawa-based association.

“The venue here with the facility out on the waterfront  — the scenery is fantastic,” said Adrian Abbott, CPMA chairman and marketing services manager for BC Tree Fruit Ltd., Kelowna, British Columbia. “As long as it’s not raining.”


Trade show record

CPMA is outgrowing Vancouver’s waterfront convention center.

“We’re hoping it will be the largest that CPMA has ever hosted,” he said. “We’re really stretching the capacity of the convention center. There’s not enough room for some of the reefer trailers for on-site exhibitors.”

Abbott expects to exceed the CMPA’s record attendance last year.

More than 2,700 people attended the 2009 show in Toronto, said Melanie Richer, CPMA senior manager of marketing and communications.

The trade show includes exhibitors from Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and China.

It also will feature the “B.C. Pavilion,” with a record number of 40 British Columbia-based exhibitors, she said.

A total of 234 exhibitors are registered this year, down from 241 last year. Richer said CPMA expects 2,600 to 3,000 attendees this year.


Change in leadership

Alain Routhier, president of Montreal-based Courchesne Larose Ltd., is scheduled to take over as chairman of CPMA during the convention.

As he assumes his duties in May, he follows in his uncle Jean Paul Routhier, who also served as chairman in 1976.

“Courchesne Larose Ltd. have been active members for many years and many generations,” he said. “CPMA’s work is critical to our members and our industry. I want to show my support and plan an active role.”

Alain Routhier is past chairman of the Quebec Produce Marketing Association, having served in that position in 1998.

He takes over the office held  by Abbott.

Among the accomplishments of the past year, Abbott said he is enthusiastic about the new consumption education program, Fruits and Veggies— Mix it Up!, that CPMA rolled out this spring under his tenure.

“It”s been a passion of mine to get the industry to revitalize the campaign and get the association behind it,” he said.


Business sessions

Canada’s growing ethnic market puts it in a unique position, Abbott said.

“The only growth in the Canadian population is through immigration,” he said. “That’s an important part of the overall produce mix.”

That subject will be addressed in the business session, “Trends and Opportunities of the Ethnic Market — The Fastest Growing Produce Market in Canada”.

Other sessions cover strategic innovation, capturing new customers for foodservice, and market insights.


General session highlights

Frank Feather, consultant and author, is scheduled to address the general session on May 13. 

According to his Web site at of, Feather has written “Biznets: The ‘Webopoly’ Future of Business” and “Future Living: The Coming Web Lifestyle.”

“We want to get people a sense of what might have changed because of the recession,” Abbott said. “We want to hear what might be temporary or permanent and what the future consumer will be all about.”