So far, this year has been a busy one for shows and events for the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada. After taking part in The PPAI Expo, the association kicked off the Canadian industry trade show season with the TOPS+ Tour, which visited four cities across Canada, starting in Montréal on January 30, followed by Toronto on February 7, Vancouver on February 13 and Calgary on February 21.

For the first time in years there was a significant switch in the trade show schedule, which was very well received by our members. Traditionally, the TOPS+ tour took place in the fall and the National Convention in the winter. This year organizers flipped that schedule and the strong attendance in all four cities demonstrated the effectiveness of that change.

Some of the show highlights included:

 PPPC exceeded its revenue budget in both Calgary and Montreal and was pleased to have very strong supplier support in Toronto and Vancouver.

Both PPAI and SAGE had booths at all the shows to explain PPPC member benefits to Canadian members, thanks to the new strategic partnerships between the organizations.

PPPC was pleased to return to Calgary after a two-year hiatus. The show was well received with almost 400 attendees. And in Montréal, attendance increased by nearly 30 percent over 2018, while in Toronto and Vancouver, attendance went up 25 percent and 60 percent respectively.

In Toronto, PPAI’s President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, and Director of Public Affairs Anne Stone delivered an education session on the Introduction to The Strategic Foresight Playbook.

In Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, SAGE staff delivered education sessions on SAGE Online and SAGE websites for the Canadian marketplace.

Mark Your Calendars For Two Upcoming Events

Next up is the 10th annual Women’s Empowerment Event (WEE) May 3-4, 2019. This year more than 100 women will gather at Hockley Valley Resort in Mono, Ontario. The event features thought-provoking professional development sessions, networking opportunities and a special gala dinner.

The other main event PPPC is gearing up for is its 63rd annual National Convention. This year, Natcon 2019 is being held in Toronto’s International Centre, September 10-12, and all are invited to attend. The three-day event includes:

  • Canada’s largest promotional products tradeshow: PPPC regularly welcomes nearly 3,000 distributors and their clients and 200 exhibitors to the event. This year the show will be held over two days (September 11-12).
  • The Image Awards: As the industry’s most-anticipated ceremony of the year, this year’s Image Awards and Of the Year Awards will be given out on September 11, 2019.
  • Professional development sessions: Every year, professional speakers from all over the country deliver sessions on relevant and beneficial topics, with some sessions offering certification points. Sessions take place on September 10.
  • Networking event: The Natcon social event, The Power of Partnerships party, is set for on September 10 at the Delta Hotels Toronto Airport & Conference Centre.

Register for Natcon and find more details at


Jonathan N. Strauss is president and CEO of the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC), the national trade association for promotional product suppliers, distributors and multi-line representatives across Canada.