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The Home and Garden Show


If there's one place I never expected to find myself this past weekend, it was The 2005 International Home & Garden Show, as I have neither a home nor a garden. Yet this trade show in Mississauga was far more widely appealing and interesting than I had suspected.

First off, I was surprised to find that I wasn't the only person under 30 in attendance. In addition to middle-aged families and seniors, young couples and attractive professionals found a reason to come out of hiding this weekend.

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People posed for photos in a Rainforest Cafe-inspired setting with brightly coloured Macaws and Amazon Blue Front parrots, boisterous African Greys and pretentious Cockatoos. The plush garden scenery was stunning, interspersed with impromptu ponds, decks and pool that made me long for Summer. The air carried an earthy fragrance that just made me feel more alive.

If you're the green-thumb type, you could check out prize-winning flowers and cactii and snag ridiculously cheap deals on exotic plants. Many show goers received free bulbs for their gardens. I felt like I was browsing an art museum when I wandered among the multitude of decorative items for your garden and backyard, including dragonflies, suncatchers, dragon heads for the pond, wind chimes, and other postmodern decor.

A guy from Rock Valley Stone had an amazing booth where he set angular rocks on top of each other into single file towers, balancing them carefully in ways that seemed physically impossible. The fibre optic stones changing from green to blue to purple were breathtaking.

Feel like traveling? Representatives from Wales, England, Scotland, and other faraway destinations were available. Curious about cruiselines, condos, vacation homes? All the information was right at your fingertips.

In need of some interactive fun? Try the slot machines! Or take the boating quiz to see if you can be a boat operator. Enter to win a new Mercedes, tickets to Mama Mia or an expenses-paid vacation. Sample jellies, cracker spreads, beer nuts, pepperettes, coffee, and more.
The Lindt Gold Bunny booth was constantly jammin as people clamored to get free samples of the premium Swiss chocolate, spin a prize wheel, and check out the adorably tiny Mercedes Smartcar modified to look like a bunny.

Feeling tense? Dr Ho's stimulating foot therapy tingles almost painfully as if your foot had just fallen asleep but leaves you feeling wonderful afterwards.

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There were shiatsu massagers, chair masseuses and vibrating lowerback pillows. You could get a makeover, learn about speleotherapy or browse the latest natural therapeutic products.

Be prepared to take a look into the future. Demonstrations attracted swarms of people who probably would never sit through an infomercial, yet revel over these miracle products at the show. Mops, nonstick pans and vacuum cleaners that would revolutionize day to day living were big favourites. I also looked at the new "dryer balls" and learned that fabric softeners have nine carcinogenic chemical components and also erode the flame-retardant material on clothing, making them easily ignitable. View the latest in home theatre technology with the $1600 projector and flat screen, high definition LCD panels. The underwater treadmills and bicycles caught my eye as well. What won't they come up with?

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I daydreamed about hottubs with gazebos, heat-encapsulating windows, modern showers, contemporary furniture, brand new countertops, hardwood floor refurbishment, inground pools and mood lighting. It was comforting to know that free stuff and wholesale value was plentiful, if I felt so inclined.

Whether you're looking to redefine your personal space, daydream about your future home, or be entertained... surprise! The International Home & Garden Show fits the occasion.


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