Canada's Condominium Magazine

Design, architecture, real estate in spotlight at Buildings Show

For three days next week, Toronto will be the centre of the built universe, in addition to its usual position as centre of the natural universe. On those three days, December 3–5, The Buildings Show, “North America’s largest expositions, networking and educational event,” will be in town. This is really your show of shows, buildings-wise, bringing together under one roof some of the top players in the design, construction and real estate industries.

Event organizer Informa Canada has created a mega-show that combines six industry shows: Construct Canada, PM Expo, Homebuilder & Renovator Expo, Concrete Canada, Construct International, and IIDEXCanada. The Real Estate Forum is also running at the same time. The combined shows’ 1,600 exhibitors, 350 seminars and special events are expected to attract around 35,000 visitors to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Many of the exhibitors are nuts-and-bolts kinds of companies: roofers, pavers, sewer builders, lumber mills—the companies that make the stuff that makes the buildings. All very important and interesting and necessary. Organizers of trade shows like this say they are the most cost-effective way for businesses to reach their target markets face to face, and to generate those all-important leads for new sales.

But the glam events will be at IIDEXCanada. This is the national design and architecture show presented by the Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) and Architecture Canada. The show is geared to the $7-billion-a-year professional design market in Canada. The IIDEX exhibition space is divided into twelve different “expos,” including lighting, materials, textiles, landscape, healthcare, educational, hospitality, retail, workplace, and stone products.

It’s at IIDEX that you can hear Toronto art collector, theatre impresario and real estate developer David Mirvish talk about his plans to build a couple of Frank Gehry skyscrapers on King Street. Daniel Libeskind, one of the world’s foremost starchitects, the man behind the Michael Lee Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum (pictured at top of page) and the nearly complete L Tower on Front Street, will speak about his work and what inspires him.

Another high-profile speaker on the program is American architect David Rockwell, famous for his work on everything from hotels and restaurants to Broadway stage sets—he has won awards for design and architecture and been nominated for three Tony Awards for scene design. Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, will be the opening speaker at a breakfast event on Wednesday.

IIDEX is also offering guided walking tours of various Toronto buildings related to the arts and design, including the Sharp Centre at OCAD, the CBC Broadcast Centre, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Bell Lightbox.

On a far more serious note, the Real Estate Forum (December 2–4) partly overlaps the other shows under the Buildings Show banner. Organizers are promising two “hard-hitting information-packed days” about real estate investment and management. It boasts that almost two-thirds of its attendees are “vice presidents or above” in their organizations. These organizations are the A list, of course, of the multi-billion-dollar commercial real estate in Canada. Global real estate investing, the Canadian economy, urbanization, the apartment market are a few of the weighty topics and themes that will occupy the country’s top real estate executives for three days.

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