U of G, City Take 'Grow Guelph' to the Royal

November 05, 2008 - News Release

The University of Guelph and the City of Guelph are taking their "Grow Guelph" message to the 86th annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Nov. 7 to 16 at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

Grow Guelph is a multi-partner marketing strategy to build greater brand recognition for the life sciences and agri-food opportunities in Guelph and Wellington County. The campaign is also about protecting and promoting the region’s agricultural roots, whether as a tourism destination or a new investment opportunity.

"Grow Guelph sends a simple and clear message that this region is dedicated to promoting agri-food, from the food we eat to how it’s produced to new inventions," said Sue Bennett, U of G’s director of community relations.

The Royal is billed as the largest indoor event combining agricultural, horticultural, canine and equestrian exhibits. It attracts more than 350,000 people and is an excellent opportunity for the University and city to send the message that the region is the place for all things agriculture, said Bennett.

Since it's September launch, momentum for Grow Guelph has been growing in both size and reputation. The campaign has been nominated for a 2008 "Best of CAMA" Excellence in Agri-Marketing award and has been attracting new and diverse partner organizations, many of which will be at the Royal.

"Support has been tremendous," said Barbara Maly, business development specialist for the agri-food and innovation sectors for the City of Guelph. "Agri-business and tourism partners see the benefit of working together to promote the region's agri-food and life sciences sector as a cornerstone of industry and a destination attraction for the local economy."

The Grow Guelph exhibit at the Royal will include displays about building cars and other items out of biomaterials, how plants are being developed to improve health and fight disease, DNA bar-coding and growing plants in space. Participating partners include Best Baa Dairy, River's Edge Goat Dairy, Nutrasource Diagnostics, Ontario Soybean Growers, Soy 20/20, Guelph Partnership for Innovation, Artisanale and Wellington Buy Local, Buy Fresh.

Guelph research and inventions that have spurred local economic development will also be highlighted, along with U of G research that has resulted in higher yields, improved quality or better disease resistance of crops, livestock or food products.

The University will showcase other innovations and cutting-edge research at this year’s fair, with displays and talks covering a broad range of topics. The Ontario Veterinary College and its Pet Trust Fund, for example, will have a hands-on display that includes models and X-rays of canine anatomy. The University’s Colonel K.L. Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare will also have a display.

Equine Guelph will also be running its EquiMania exhibit aimed at teaching young people about horse health care and riding safety through hands-on activities.

The Canadian Culinary Cookbook Awards, which are co-sponsored by U of G, will be presented on the Royal’s opening day. U of G will also take part in the fair’s “Journey to Your Good Health” display with Cuisine Canada and the City of Guelph.

In the Royal show rings, the University will have a strong presence with students, faculty and alumni participating as competitors and judges. And at the helm of the fair is Prof. Rob McLaughlin, who was seconded from his position as the University’s associate vice-president (research) agri-food and partnerships in 2007 to devote full attention to the Royal as president and chair.

For media questions, contact:

University of Guelph:
Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982/d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

City of Guelph:
Barbara Maly, 519-837-5600, Ext. 2822/barbara.maly@guelph.ca

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1