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OTA 77 A Success: Organizers

TORONTO, Ont. - The Ontario Trucking Association's 77th annual convention, entitled "Driving Change," held Nov. 12 through 14 at the Toronto Congress Centre was a success, said organizers."Attendance ...

TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario Trucking Association’s 77th annual convention, entitled “Driving Change,” held Nov. 12 through 14 at the Toronto Congress Centre was a success, said organizers.

“Attendance at the evening events Thursday and Friday was down, but attendance overall remained stable because more members drove in for daytime sessions,” said Joanne Benac, convention manager for six years now.

Overall attendance was 4,125, said Benac, adding the association gained at least four new members during the convention.

“And our sponsors were very happy when it came to the quality of the members who attended,” she added.

The gala dinner and Thursday’s night event did see a drop in ticket sales however, said Benac.

“There was about a 20 per cent drop in attendance for those events.”

Benac said a number of members she followed up with said they were trying to cut back on expenses.

“Everyone is feeling the impact of the (rising Canadian) dollar,” she said. “That’s the reason they gave us.”

(Tickets to the Thursday night bash were $120 to $145 per head and 10-person tables for the Friday night gala were $2,000 each.)

Highlights of the convention included the venue, Benac said.

(Last year’s convention was held at the now defunct Regal Constellation Hotel on Dixon Rd.)

“It was a 200 per cent improvement. And the set up allowed us to increase the number of business and networking sessions (there were 17), which in turn increased attendance during he day.”

Another first, for the OTA and for Canada as a whole, was the Technology and Maintenance Council conference held at the Congress Centre at the same time as the convention.

According to the OTA, TMC officials have already indicated they intend to hold another conference in collaboration with the OTA convention next year.

The “Executive Forum: Leading CEOs Share Strategies for Success,” was one of the most popular convention sessions, according to organizers.

The three-hour session featured some of the country’s most respected CEOs.

Other highlights included speeches by Ontario’s recently appointed Minister of Transportation, the Hon. Harinder Takhar, Global’s Kevin Newman, and Globe and Mail Editor-in-Chief Edward Greenspon, and performances by comedian Red Green (a.k.a. Steve Smith, for Friday’s luncheon), crooner Michael Bubl (Friday night) and the Second City comedy troupe (Thursday night bash).

“Red Green was awesome and everybody thought Michael Bubl was perfect for the Friday night gala given the formality of the occasion.”

Indeed Friday night saw Ontario’s carriers at their finest, in black tie.

Members and sponsors can look forward to more of the same next year,” said Benac.

“We’re definitely having it at the Congress Centre next year,” she said.

Next year’s convention will be held Nov. 9 through 12, she said.

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