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March 01, 2009

Bringing dreams to life: 2009 Home & Garden Show

Home + Garden Show full of blooming great ideas for inside and out

Nicole Bross

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Home renovation is a necessity for some people, a hobby for others and a career for others still. One challenge many people face when redoing their homes is having to trek all over town from the lighting store to the kitchen store to the furniture store, then back to the lighting store because your original picks don’t match the furniture you just bought.

The Calgary Home + Garden Show, rolling into town February 26 to March 1, gathers the best local and national home products all under one roof, at the Roundup Centre at Stampede Park, and is expected to bring over 450 different vendors, celebrity speakers and demo spaces to our city. Visitors can get ideas for their home, purchase products and services and hear some of their favourite design and gardening experts speak. This year also marks the first year of a three-year sponsorship deal with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s Ty Pennington.

“The partnership with Ty Pennington, considered by many to be the most trusted name in home improvement today, is a great example of how we intend to grow our shows into more exciting events than even before,” says Marketplace Events’ Terri Higgins, the show’s manager. “As the new spokesperson, Ty will consult and provide content for the show floor including the new TySTYLE feature showcasing Ty’s must-have products and design inspirations.”

Pennington says redoing a home is very personal. “People really are thinking about nesting and personalizing their home,” he says. “It’s now about focusing on how you’re going to change your home to make it work for your family.” He adds that he believes the greatest benefit of visiting a home show is the abundance of ideas for improving your home and finding products that suit your lifestyle.
“It’ll give you ideas that you don’t necessarily have to break the bank financially just to do yourself,” he says. “It will spark an idea that you can do on your own … by going to a home show you really see first-hand what is out there.” 

There are several other demonstration areas at the show. One is the 850-square-foot Canühome, a LEED-certified floor plan that shows how to live more sustainably by saving energy, water and resources and improving indoor air quality.

Another can’t-miss space is the Urban Patio, which shows condo residents four different ways to create chic outdoor living areas that will be the envy of their suburban friends. Envisioned by local designer Alykhan Velji, the Urban Patio is presented by this very magazine. And for the gardening enthusiasts, there’s the Dream Gardens area, where Babbling Brooks Ponds and Waterfalls will create four different garden styles—the Alberta garden, the Zen sanctuary, children’s garden and the going green wetlands for showgoers to tour and have their question answered.

Live speaker presentations on the two stages are another key draw. By bringing in experts to discuss relevant topics, visitors can not only learn ways to improve their homes, but also ask questions of the speakers about their own spaces.

“Often speakers show before-and-after pictures of spaces they have designed ... and provide visitors with the steps it takes from start-to-finish to accomplish their project,” says Higgins.

“Every year we get an overwhelming response about the talent at the Home + Garden Show,” says Jason Krell, senior associate for Tara Parker Tait PR, which handles all the public relations for Marketplace Events’ home shows in Western Canada. Krell says visitors are surveyed on what topics and projects are relevant to them before choosing the speakers for the main stage. This year, for example, the economy is an important factor for many people, so Alykhan Velji will be giving a presentation on the main stage called “Living Stylishly in a Recession”.

Scottish designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan from HGTV’s Home Heist will humorously share tips and tricks they use Bridget Savereux of HGTV’s The Stagers will explain how to present your home for sale to help seal the deal; Lori Mitchell of Tomboy Tools will be teaching Tool School 101 to give women tips to build the perfect toolkit; and Rosalyn Lazaruk, owner of Edmonton’s Wicketblue Interiors, will speak to table settings and stylishly displaying your child’s artwork. The garden stage will also offer presentations on topics from growing and nurturing plants in this often harsh climate, to organic gardening for a family-friendly, chemical-free yard. Seminars run all four days, with most speakers presenting at least twice daily.

Ultimately, the show’s spokesperson Pennington believes home renovation can be a positive influence on any person’s life. “I really believe that what a home show should be is how you make that place you spend with your family a better place to be,” he says.   cl

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