Canadian Rental Service

CRA President’s Message: May 2012

By Ed Dwyer CRA president   

Canadian Rental Association

Visiting the trade shows across the country reminds me what a great association this is.

Visiting the trade shows across the country reminds me what a great association this is.

The CRA has been around since 1965 and today I am proud to say that over 900 rental stores from across Canada are members. We also have over 200 supplier members. Trade shows are the thread that holds all this together and are one of our biggest benefits. Having got just got back from the last trade show of the season I can see why: it is the social aspect of these shows. I have been to five of the six trade shows held in the last two months and I thank all the rental people who attended and especially our suppliers, many of whom had booths at all the shows.

The first show I went to was the ARA show that was held in New Orleans from February 5 to 8. The show was a great success and for the second straight year there was double-digit growth in both the number of attendees and the number of rental businesses represented. Attendance for 2012 increased nearly 20 per cent over 2011, with the number of rental businesses up nearly 25 per cent. Those traveling to New Orleans came from all 50 states, nearly every Canadian province and more than 40 countries.

The B.C. local held its annual trade show on Jan. 13 and 14 at the Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Grounds in Surrey, B.C. This was the first show I attended as your new president. The B.C. show has grown from a table-top to a full size trade show in a short time. The local put on a great show and has set the bar high for the rest of our locals. You can only do this with dedicated people in your organization. The B.C. local had a big year overall. It was awarded the prestigious Membership Award from the ARA at the leadership conference in Chicago. Winn Rentals from Kelowna won the CRA President’s Image Award. Angie Venekamp was chosen as the Region 10 Rental Person of the Year by the ARA and Angie was also chosen as the CRA Rental Person of the Year by our CRA executive director. The B.C. Local took me out for dinner at a sushi restaurant where I ate Sushi for the first time. I am now hooked. My daughters thank them for this as they have been trying to get me to eat sushi for a long time. The things I do for the CRA.


 The Atlantic Regional Trade Show was held on February 25 at the Ramada Crystal Palace in Moncton, N.B. This was the only trade show I could not get to, so Jeff Campbell, our vice-president, filled in for me. The local there is doing a great job building the show and I will be there next year. Jeff was informed by the local that the weather was always hot and sunny in February in Moncton, so he showed up at the dinner wearing a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and sunglasses. He tells me that he did not pretend he was me; however, that is yet to be confirmed. [Editor’s note: He didn’t actually pretend to be Ed, but he does a heck of an impression.]

The Canadian Rental Mart ran on March 6 and 7. The numbers speak for themselves. The Show hosted 855 rental professionals, up 24 per cent from the tally of 689 the last time the show was held in 2010. Of those, 488 were rental operators representing 225 individual companies attending. They visited 104 exhibiting companies. Bryan Baeumler’s appearance and the ROOTY award presentation all drew enthusiastic crowds. More than 160 people show up for dinner to celebrate Ontario’s 50th anniversary.

The Prairie Regional Trade Show was held on March 17 at the Prairieland Exhibition Centre in the booming city of Saskatoon. Bobcat Brad and the local put on a great show.

We all miss Doug Mitchell and in his memory there was a special toast made for him in the hospitality suite. Blair Holtsman who jumped in at the last moment to MC the event did a great job. He is a natural. There were 220 people at the dinner.

The Quebexpo Show was held on March 27 and 28 at the Centre des Congres de L’ Hotel des Seigneurs in St-Hyacinthe just outside Montreal. More than 170 people showed up for a wonderful breakfast. I made my first visit to a sugar shack and had a great time learning how maple sugar is made from maple trees.

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