About Us | Who We Are
CanGift Mission Statement
To improve our members' competitive capability and business effectiveness by enhancing global opportunities for retailer/supplier interaction; offering services that contribute to bottom-line success; and supporting personal and corporate growth through quality educational programs and events.
Who We Are
The giftware industry is an industry of entrepreneurs, built by hard-working small and medium-sized business owners. This group gained their voice in 1976, when industry veteran Alan J. Browne invited several of his peers, from what was then loosely known as the gift and tableware industry, to dinner so they could discuss common concerns. During this meal at the Tom Jones Steak House in Toronto, Ont., the association was formed on the recommendation of Browne who also became the group's choice for president. Since its founding, the Canadian Gift Association has remained membership-driven and is governed by its Board of Directors comprised of 16 volunteer members.
Today, the Canadian Gift Association (CanGift) is the pulse of Canada's $10 billion giftware industry. Embodying the entrepreneurial instinct and spirit, the Canadian Gift Association is a national not-for-profit association dedicated to improving members' competitive capability and business effectiveness locally, nationally and globally. The association offers its 1,400 members (giftware wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, importers and exporters) a portfolio of services that reduce the cost of doing business through discounts on freight, long-distance, banking services and group insurance programs. Other services include the Credit Interchange System (CIS), which provides members with a fast, inexpensive medium to check credit reports and the Export Ready Designation program which helps members in exporting, primarily to the United States.
One of the key services the association offers its members and their retail customers are the CanGift fairs. The association owns and manages three trade fairs, which take place in January to March and August each year, providing members with unparalleled trade forums.
The original founders of the Canadian Gift Association always envisioned a national organization representing the needs of members across the country - both regionally and in a centralized way. The acquisition of the Alberta Gift Fair and the Quebec Gift Fair from Daily Mail and General Trust plc (dmg) in April 2010 brought clarity to that vision. The Canadian Gift Association now produces over 28% of all trade show space occupied in the Top 50 shows in Canada, across every industry!
The Toronto Gift Fair is the largest of any gift trade show held in Canada with more than one million square feet of exhibition space. Running twice annually, the event is housed in two facilities - the Toronto Congress Centre and International Centre. Housing over 1,000 exhibitors, the show attracts over 16,500 retail buyers from across Canada and around the world.
The Alberta Gift Fair has operated for more than 40 years and takes place each February and August at the Northlands facility in Edmonton. The Alberta Gift Fair is the second largest trade-only event of any industry in Western Canada, attracting over 12,000 attendees and more than 550 exhibitors to each show.
The Quebec Gift Fair came to be more than 50 years ago and is held each March and August at the Place Bonaventure facility in downtown Montreal. The only gift fair in Quebec, each event attracts more than 8,000 attendees and more than 350 exhibiting companies. Canadian suppliers and french manufacturers and exporters use the show to access and build market share in the predominantly french-speaking province.
Retail News Magazine
In 1997, the Canadian Gift Association launched Retail News, a business publication for gift retailers. Distributed to 18,300 plus gift stores across the country, Retail News provides CanGift members with a quality medium for inexpensive advertising, while assisting retailers in running a more profitable business.
The association also distributes a number of other complimentary publications to the membership which highlight important industry and association initiatives. These include a member newsletter and the annual MarketPulse report. Importantly, the Canadian Gift Association also conducts its own original research, a good example being, quarterly SalesPulse surveys that track how well retailers feel their stores are performing and what they anticipate their inventories, margins and sales will be.
In keeping with our mission statement of providing opportunities for retailer/supplier interaction, beyond the CanGift fairs, the association organizes numerous casual events including social evenings during the CanGift fairs and seminars of interest to both members and retailers.
Retailer of the Year (ROY) Awards
While the association's members are the gift industry's suppliers, the Canadian Gift Association values the input and participation of the industry's retailers. In fact, since 1977 the association has been honouring successful and talented giftware retailers through its annual Retailer of the Year Awards program (ROY). Each year a panel of judges extensively reviews all the entries and chooses an Overall Retailer of the Year and two Retailers of Distinction. Awards are presented at a gala event held in January at the Toronto Gift Fair.