(Feb. 10) CALGARY, Alberta — An influx of foodservice professionals got things cooking as bone-chilling cold gave way just in time for the last winter annual meeting of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.

Though less than a week removed from convention-killing minus 30 degree weather, the cold chain remained unbroken at less than 40 degrees as a record 3,200 attendees slogged through the occasional sidewalk slush.

The wintertime blues are not to be an issue next year, when the 80th annual event is May 11-14 in Toronto. All future shows will be staged in May, as well, with sites on a rotating basis to showcase Canada’s different regions, according to CPMA outgoing chairman Leo Baribeau, president of Star Produce Inc. in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

More than 255 firms exhibited this year, said Ron LeMaire, executive vice president of CPMA.

Notable among the exhibitors was a focus on highlighting products and services for the foodservice industry, a conscious decision, said Carl Svangtun, who served on CPMA’s foodservice committee.

While many Alberta chefs and foodservice professionals stepped forward to redeem some free day passes to the show, others came as well, including some from Vancouver, British Columbia, said Svangtun, who is vice president and general manager of Sun Rich Fresh Foods Inc., Vancouver.

The result was a show floor that had the look and feel of a more complete food exposition, with local and national chefs serving as a sizzling sideshow, and source for inspiration on product usage.

To Larry McIntosh, president and chief executive officer of Peak of the Market, Winnipeg, Manitoba, this year’s show offered the best traffic he had witnessed so far. McIntosh expects the move to May to help.

“Traveling will be easier,” he said, “and people will see more of the local community, including product.”

The 3,200 attendees in Calgary topped last year’s show in Montreal, which drew just over 3,000.