A new speaking gig - Garden Tourism Conference, Toronto

I've been asked to give a talk on Buffalo's successes with Garden Walk Buffalo (and it's by-product, the National Garden Festival) and partnering with tourism professionals to get the word out on Buffalo's growing garden tourism industry.
The Garden Tourism Conference, held on Monday and Tuesday, March 18 and 19, in Toronto's Delta Chelsea Hotel has a theme this year of Gardens and Tourism: A Match for Success. (See the complete program here). The conference is organized and hosted by the Canadian Garden Tourism Council.

I think this is Ed's
yearbook photo.
And to emphasize the "Match for Success" point, I'm teamed up with Ed Healy, VP of Marketing Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN) to give the presentation. We've not yet actually come up with a presentation to give, but I'm sure we will by March 18! The VBN's been a great partner, first with helping spread the word of Garden Walk Buffalo, and then later in helping to form and be a catalyst for the events that make up the National Garden Festival. Between the two of us, we can talk for hours about tourism and the ever-growing garden sector. But don't let that scare you. We only have 45 minutes. And we'll have pretty pictures to look at.

For each session, they have partnered "...success-focused leaders and innovators from the gardens and tourism sectors in what promises to be two jam-packed days full of terrific information and outstanding inspiration. In all, the Conference will feature more than 30 not-to-be-missed experts from Canada the USA and Europe"

The conference is unique to North America. No other area of any country in North America hosts such an event, making it a draw for garden event/facility directors and tourism professionals far and wide.

Richard is also an expert on
Snow Leopards of the Northern
Himalayas of Kyrgystan.
I kid you not.
The speakers include my new best friend Richard Benfield, Professor of Geography, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut. he's written the book on garden tourism, aptly tilted, Garden Tourism. The book has a publication date of July, 2013. t'll be good to see him again. Last time through Buffalo he spent teh night at my place and we went out for a nice dinner.

Aldona's brother is an
accomplished photographer
in Buffalo that I have
worked with in the past!
Another person I'm looking forward to seeing is conference moderator Aldona Satterthwaite, Executive Director, Toronto Botanical Garden, and former editor of Canadian Gardening magazine. Aldona's been to Buffalo for Garden Walk Buffalo a few times bringing tours, and attended the Garden Bloggers meet-up we had here in 2010 when 72 garden bloggers descended on Buffalo for a long weekend. I haven't seen her for a few years now!

I'm looking forward to meeting other speakers - they're coming in from Virginia, Vancouver, Arizona, and Europe. Many are tourism professionals and garden/park/botanical garden directors from around Canada -- the country that has taken garden tourism seriously now for many years. This is the third Garden Tourism Conference, they're held every two years during the big week-long Canadian garden show, Canada Blooms.

Toronto's Delta Chelsea Hotel is a
great hotel. Haven't spent the night there
since the early 90s!
There will also be a Garden Tourism Awards luncheon and ceremony. We'll stick around to see what that's all about. It's the only awards given for garden tourism in the world. THAT'S not surprising. Awards are for many categories, both for Canadian and international garden tourism events, festivals, gardens, and people, among others categories.

Very few organizations recognize or encourage the garden sector of tourism, even though more people visit parks, public gardens, garden tours garden festivals and botanical gardens each year than visit Disney World and Disney Land - combined!

To register, visit here.


  1. Sounds like an interesting conference. I think it would have a salutary effect if people were required to use their high school photos in conference program books, political advertising, etc.

    1. We'd definitely have fewer people in public office if we all had to use those high school photos. I probably wouldn't do anything ever again if it was required for public usage.


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