Merkley Supply Ltd.’s (MSL) annual MSL Show attracted 1,228 contractors, designers, owners, architects and engineers to the Ottawa Convention and Event Centre on March 23, marking the show’s twenty-fifth anniversary as one of the local industry’s most significant and successful networking and educational events.
MSL president Robert Merkley started the show in 1991, as commercial show organizers competed to provide construction industry trade events in Ottawa. Merkley decided to do some things differently.
First, he ensured the show would be “invitation only,” with invitations issued only to individuals active in the local architectural, engineering and construction community. Second, he didn’t skimp on the amenities – with full buffet-style meal service and an open bar for those who could obtain the coveted invitations.
The show became an instant success. Merkley added seminars and instructional programs provided by exhibitors who are also MSL suppliers. The combination of food, refreshments, and the networking effect with everyone from masonry contractors to senior architects in attendance has fueled the show’s growth, and the relocation from a smaller catering hall to the larger Coventry Rd. convention centre site.
The show also is a venue to support The Ride – an annual cycling event to support cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital.