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Suppliers Display $125 Million in Equipment In Quebec

Wet weather dampened attendance, but Demo '96 organizers report an otherwise unqualified success for the year's biggest woodlands show. If you braved the weather and turned out, you had to be serious about forestry equipment.

Copyright 1996. Contact publisher for permission to use.

Exhibitors at the CPPA's Demo '96 took some solace in that rationale as wind and rain took a toll on attendance at one of the biggest woodlands shows of the year, held September 12-14 at For�t Montmorency, about 70 km north of Quebec City. The stormy conditions put a damper on public attendance, but had little impact on the turnout of key industry people from across the country, says the CPPA.

"From an organizer's standpoint, we couldn't have been unluckier with the weather," says show manager Wayne Novak. "We must have had the three worst days for rain in the entire month of September."

Demo Weather aside, the show, held every four years, met pretty well all of the expectations of the CPPA, exhibitors, and host Universit� Laval, says Novak. "It has proven in the past to be a unique event that attracts a high level of interest both in North America and internationally, and that was no different this year. I think it went extremely well." Novak says despite the rain exhibitors were happy with the estimated 8,500 attendance, most making the drive up from Quebec City during the first two days before the worst of the weather hit.

"We don't have a final count yet but it should be very close to that, or all told about 10,000 including exhibitor personnel. I talked with about 90 per cent of the exhibitors during the first two days and every one of them said they were very pleased with the turnout. They were especially happy with the number of industry people they were seeing. These are the people they most want to reach. Some of them told me the rain was actually a plus in the sense that the people who did come out were obviously serious about seeing their products. The weather didn't dampen exhibitors' spirits at all." About 100 exhibitors representing manufacturers from around the world participated in the event, with some of the larger companies spending "easily up into six figures" to mount their presentations, says Novak.

The 200-ha Foret Montmorency site, developed with five km of roadways and 100 landings for exhibitors, offered a variety of terrain conditions to accommodate a broad range of equipment, including conventional and cut-to-length harvesting systems. Silviculture, woodlot and portable milling equipment in particular also drew intense interest.

Some 300 machines, valued at an estimated $125 million, were on site, including 200 in working demonstrations and 100 in static displays. About 4,800 m3 of wood was harvested over the three days, with sale proceeds going to meet the university's site development and decommissioning costs. Universite Laval has managed For�t Montmorency on a sustainable basis since 1965.

"The show offered a lot of opportunities for students in the forestry faculty and for the university itself. The university was of course very involved in the conference schedule (held September 9-11 in Quebec City) as well and I think they were very pleased with the way everything went. They put on tours of the site with people participating from around the world and they were sold out."

Novak said the university drew particular praise from exhibitors for its site preparation work. "It can be very difficult because every exhibitor might have different needs and they have a good deal invested in the result. The university did a very professional job and that was recognized and appreciated."

The date and location for Demo 2000 - or perhaps Demo 1998 - has yet to be decided. Novak said that while the idea of switching from four-year to two-year intervals (the show was last held in Kelowna in 1992) has been floated, nothing concrete has come of it yet.

"There has been some talk of doing that, but it is premature at this point to guess whether that might happen. That will be up to the exhibitors. As far as location, we have not chosen a specific site or even an area as yet, but there is a strong feeling amongst the exhibitors that the show should switch regularly back and forth between Eastern and Western Canada. If the consensus from past discussions with exhibitors remains, the next one will be held in the West."

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