Sign Expo Canada shakes it up while attracting over 3,000

The 2017 Sign Expo Canada tradeshow attracted over 3,000 and featured over 100 exhibitors.
The 2017 Sign Expo Canada tradeshow attracted more than 3,000 and featured over 100 exhibitors.
Car-wrap competitions and demonstrations were a popular attraction.
Car-wrap competitions and demos were popular attractions.

This year, the 2017 edition of the Sign Association of Canada’s Sign Expo Canada (Friday and Saturday, October 27-28, Toronto International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario), the only national sign and image-making trade show in the country, shook it up a little. There was a change in location and dates, a new on-floor, dye-sublimation demo, and a new social event. Sign Expo has traditionally been held in late September in Hall 5 at the International Centre. In 2017, the association had to make some adjustments. The usual space and time was taken by the massive Canadian Manufacturing and Technology show. “After being in the same place at the same time for over a decade, this was a great opportunity to take a fresh approach toward the show,” said Chief Staff Officer Erin Roberts.

Erin Roberts.
Erin Roberts.

“We’ve had exhibitors who’ve had their booths in the same place for years, and with a completely different hall configuration, it took some ingenuity to ensure that everyone had comparable visibility in a location that’s much longer and narrower. In the end, we had a lot of exhibitors who told us how happy they were with the traffic flow of the hall, and attendees who loved the look and feel of the show. We traditionally have over 3,000 registrants and over 100 exhibitors – and this year was no exception. Our attendees loved the show and our exhibitors got great lead generation.”

From left are Esko Account Manager Marc Raad with new clients Mark Swan (President) and Steve Alexandropoulos (Vice Presdient) of Vision Print.
From left are Esko Account Manager Marc Raad with new clients Mark Swan and Steve Alexandropoulos of Vision Print.

Some popular show activities included the Young Professionals Networking Luncheon with International Sign Association President and CEO Lori Anderson, the Exhibitor Lounge, the Sign Competition, the Design & Wrap Competitions, and much more. The pre-show golf tournament presented an interesting challenge. Golf at the end of October? Well, yes, actually. In Niagara, golfers can play well into November – so the annual Don Morgan Memorial Golf Tournament was relocated to the lovely Niagara Parks Golf in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Golfers also enjoyed a beautiful day for the event – 12 degrees and plenty of sunshine!

All Graphic Supplies' booth was extremely busy.
All Graphic Supplies’ booth was very busy.

For those who don’t golf, the Sign Association hosted an alternate event in the city. “This was a great opportunity to attract a younger crowd with a new event. Our taskforce came up with an evening of axe-throwing, beer and pizza. Everyone had a blast! We’ll definitely be doing this again next year,” Roberts added. “The premiere social event at the show was the Best of the Canadian Sign Industry Awards Dinner on Friday. It was completely sold out. Guests enjoyed a live band, a casino, and an opportunity to celebrate the winners of the most prestigious awards in our industry, over a great meal.”

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.