Hotel good timing for thousands at trade show

ADELAIDE METCALFE - The planned opening of the Holiday Inn Express on Adelaide Metcalfe’s commercial corridor on Centre Road by Strathroy has been long-anticipated in the region for people wanting to host weddings, tournaments, and other events. One event that expects to draw 2,000 people to the region is glad to see the hotel hopefully finally opening its doors by the end of April.

It might not sound glamourous, but the Association of Ontario Road Supervisors (AORS) Municipal Public Works Trade Show will have over 200 vendors inside and outside the Gemini Sportsplex in Strathroy June 7-8.

“The only thing we were fighting up to this point were accommodations. But hopefully, we’re hoping that those accommodations will be open for our vendors and people who are coming to actually be able to stay at,” said Ryan Hillinger, who works with Middlesex County and the Middlesex County Public Works Association, at the Feb. 21 council meeting.

It is one of 32 such associations, and will play host this year after Covid-19 delayed the 2021 show it was awarded.

Reasons listed to host in the area included central location, 400 series highways access, and an urban and rural population mix.

“It basically benefits everyone in the area. You get a lot of people from outside the county from different areas. Usually people travel a maximum of about three hours to come see the trade show… But we will be getting people from a lot of different areas. We’ll be getting people from Chatham, people from Toronto, people from Barrie; all over Ontario will be coming to see the trade show,” said Hillinger.

“This is something that hopefully will bring the whole organization together and even just bring the different municipalities together in more of a closer working relationship once it’s done,” he added.

“I think it’s nice to have it in our backyard, and it is good for spin-offs: businesses and the hotel being there, the restaurants in our district, everyone will benefit from the increased traffic for sure,” said Mayor Sue Clarke.

Past provincial safety truck rodeo champion Coulter Cahill and Township public works manager will be helping set things up for the show.

Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner