MONTREAL — It was always going to be the Danny Dempster show.

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s 86th annual convention April 13-15 was Dempster’s last as president. He retires May 1 after 28 years as president and 34 years at CPMA.

Ever since the opening night of last year’s event in Vancouver, British Columbia, when Dempster announced his retirement, the Canadian produce industry knew this year’s convention would be a celebration of his contributions.

Dempster, as he has done in the past, praised the people in the industry and on the CPMA staff for helping him though the years.

“After 34 years of dedicated service, how could it not be about Danny?” asked his successor, Ron Lemaire, who recently returned to CPMA as president after several years away.

According to CPMA figures 3,283 people attended the Montreal event, with the largest expo floor in its history.

As with many CPMA conventions, exhibitors displayed bilingual packaged products for the Canadian market that were introduced earlier in the U.S.

Border issues continue to be a focus of the industry, as is the creation of a Canadian version of the U.S.’s Perishables Agriculture Commodities Act, which would strengthen trust among produce buyers and sellers. Lemaire said the upcoming Canadian election in early May has halted cooperation between the industry and government, but he expects that to resume.

CPMA continues to promote fresh produce consumption with a new version of the “Fruits and veggies — Mix it up” campaign.

Next year’s convention is scheduled for April 11-13 in Calgary, Alberta.

It's all about Danny at CPMA

Greg Johnson

CPMA's retiring president Danny Dempster helps out comedian/ventriloquist Michael Harrison at the April 15 award breakfast at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association's annual convention in Montreal.