Another great year at OTS

Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2024

Written by GTI Admin

The mini trade show at the Ontario Turfgrass Sympsoium

As the curtains closed on the 33rd year of the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium (OTS), we took some time to reflect on the overwhelming success of that year's event. With 380 attendees and the backing of 29 industry sponsors, OTS once again proved to be the premier gathering for professionals from all sectors of the turfgrass industry, including sod, sports, golf, municipalities, and lawncare. The event buzzed with a positive energy, fostering networking, reconnections, and the unification of the industry's diverse sectors within a single venue.

The symposium featured an array of insightful talks by leading experts, which were the highlights for many attendees. Matt Legg's deep dive into the principles of pest control was well-received for its practicality, offering a solid foundation in product application and efficacy. Rob Heggie's exploration of BMO Field captivated the audience with a behind-the-scenes look at professional sports turf management and the intricacies of preparing for international events like the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The OM245 Panel discussion on organic matter management stood out for its in-depth analysis and practical advice, demystifying a complex topic. Katerina Jordan's forward-looking session on the future of turf encouraged attendees to think about sustainability and the economic implications of turf management, while Eric Watkins' presentation on winter injury to turfgrasses highlighted the innovative Winter Turf project, offering hope and strategies for overcoming the unique challenges of turf management in cold climates.

These presentations, representing just a fraction of the symposium's sessions, were particularly appreciated for their blend of scientific insights and practical application. Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to gain newfound knowledge, apply these insights directly to their work, and engage with the speakers and fellow professionals, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose. The varied topics, from technical maintenance to broader industry trends, emphasized the symposium's commitment to advancing the turfgrass profession and its positive reception among those working to navigate the challenges and opportunities of this field.

Furthermore, a particularly memorable moment was the connection with Senator Rob Black, who issued a call to action to include turfgrass in broader conversations about soil health. This represents a significant step forward in raising awareness and garnering attention for the turfgrass industry within provincial and federal legislation.

Feedback from this year's symposium was overwhelmingly positive. As always, the event's familiar and personal atmosphere that was warmly received, and U of G Alumni thoroughly enjoy returning to their old stomping grounds. This year we provided pamphlets, custom notebooks, and the bi-fold name tags returned to provide a clear schedule at the fingertips of our attendees. From improved IT support to effective signage and streamlined registration, we aimed to significantly enhance the overall experience for our attendees and sponsors. The engaging panel discussions, and numerous networking opportunities featured the symposium's role in fostering meaningful connections within the industry. Overall, the symposium was lauded for its excellent "flow," making for a seamless and enriching event.

Looking ahead, we eagerly anticipate next year's event scheduled for February 19–20, 2025. The OTS continues to be an essential platform for knowledge sharing, networking, and professional development. With content that 91% of attendees agreed was relevant and useful to their work, the symposium is a key event for anyone involved in the turfgrass industry. If you would like to provide feedback or suggest speakers for OTS 2025, please reach out to us at Mark your calendars and join us in Guelph next year!

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The audience at the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium

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