Come On Down. You’re A Winner!

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It is hard to fathom that so much time has passed since last November when I was busy confirming arrangements with hotels and caterers and speakers and the like. Here we are at the start of June with just a month and a half to go before the Ontario Horticultural Association’s 105th Convention in Sudbury takes centre stage. I visited the Radisson Hotel last Friday to meet with Linda Linseman, the Assistant Manager and Mary Hicks-Ulrich, the Director of Sales. Mary had this great idea way back when we first began discussing the possibility of having our Convention in the downtown area of promoting the Convention and the Radisson with an Early Bird Draw that would be held in the late spring of 2011. Those registrants who booked their rooms at the Radisson would have their room number entered into a contest. The occupants of the winning room number would receive free accommodation for the entire Convention courtesy of the hotel.

My goal was to oversee the drawing of the winning room number. Linda provided a printout of all the room bookings (yes, the entire room block is now booked–there is no more room at the inn!) as well as a basket filled with tiny white pieces of paper, each bearing a room booking and the main contact. With great anticipation, I drew a typed slip from the container. Ruth Arndt and Diane Webber, both members of the Omemee Horticultural Society were the lucky winners of the Radisson’s generosity.

Due to privacy laws, I had to do a little private investigative work afterwards to track down the contact information for both ladies. I spoke with Mr. Grassie, a retired United Church minister from Lindsay who described Ruth as being ‘crackerjack’. A Life Member and Master Gardener, Ruth remains active by serving as an Honorary Director and Archivist for her society. Her fellow member, Dianne Webber is involved with their local Youth Group and seves as the 1st Vice President of the Omemee Horticultural Society.

I am looking forward to meeting both of these ladies in Sudbury. Maybe a bit of their luck will rub off on me!

Suzanne Hanna, in conversation with CBC Radio’s Markus Schwabe, discusses some of the highlights of OHA Convention 2011.

Register Now!

OHA Convention 2011 registration information and forms are now available on our website, www.agrowingexperience.ca .

Troubleshooting Results–It Pays to Ask!

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One of the many challenging jobs a Convention Convenor has to tackle in the course of planning a convention is that of troubleshooting–resolving problems before they become issues. Recently I have received numerous emails and phone calls from individuals who have experienced some difficulties in booking their hotel rooms at tHe Radisson for the July 14th-16th, 2011 for the Ontario Horticultural Association Convention.

The first problem that arose began at the Reservation Centre. Those wishing to book a room for the entire Convention weekend were initially given a different price for the Thursday, July 14th booking from the quoted $115, $125 and $135 prices quoted in our Letter of Agreement. Desiree Hamilton, Catering Manager at the Radisson quickly looked into this and discovered that Sunday, July 17th had mistakenly been noted in the booking information instead of Thursday, July 14th. She quickly arranged for the necessary corrections to be made in our booking information so this would not reoccur and noted that any members with billing concerns re the price for Thursday, July 14th booking should speak to the hotel management when they arrive and have this matter corrected.

The second problem was encountered when members attempted to book a double room for 3-4 people who would share the accommodation. They were told that there would be an extra $10 levied per person for the third and fourth occupant above the $115 price originally quoted which would result in the room costing $125-$135 per night. Again, I discussed this with Ms. Harrison who stated that “There would be no extra charge per head for the amount of people in a room and that you can fit up to four people in the standard rooms. The adjustments to bookings will be made for the arrival on Thursday to departure on Sunday.”

I am impressed that these problems have been resolved quickly and without rancour and hope that the future bodes well. Be sure to get your rooms booked as they are going quickly.

Merry Christmas to all!

Hotels in the Convention Area

No Room at the Inn?

NO ROOM AT THE INN?

In yesterdays blog, I discussed the Radisson Hotel where our upcoming 2011 OHA Convention will be held, provided a description of the rooms and the various amenities offered as well as the costs associated with staying where the conference will be held. No one hotel in Sudbury, however, can offer enough rooms for all of our OHA delegates so we have blocked rooms at four other hotels in downtown Sudbury that are in close proximity to the Radisson.

Our committee is hoping that delegates will be able to park their vehicles for the weekend when they arrive at these other hotels and simply walk over to the Radisson to prevent parking headaches and, of course, getting lost. We will be providing volunteers who are acquainted with downtown Sudbury to guide delegates over Thursday evening for registration and Friday morning for the first Plenary session so they become familiar with the easiest and shortest route to the Radisson from these hotels.

The Quality Inn, Days Inn, the Howard Johnson Plaza and the Best Western have rooms blocked for OHA Convention attendees until approximately June 14, 2011. At such time, any of these rooms which have not been booked will be released back into inventory for the general public.

The Quality Inn

The Quality Inn & Conference Centre is located at 390 Elgin St. in downtown Sudbury, a short stroll from the Sudbury Arena, the Sudbury Theatre Centre, Ramsay Lake Boardwalk and Bell Park Beach. Their comfortable guestrooms feature a workstation, free high-speed wireless internet access, coffee maker, free local phone calls, voicemail and complimentary newspaper. Accessible rooms can be requested upon availability. Relax and unwind with the indoor pool and exercise facilities. The hotel offers a restaurant, Bridges Bistro & Bar, which is open from 7 am-10 pm.

The hotel has blocked 50 rooms in total offering two double beds or one queen bed at a rate of $119.00 + 13% HST to OHA attendees. To book a room, contact them directly at 1-800-461-1120 and indicate that you are booking a room(s) for the Horticultural Convention or OHA Convention to ensure that you get the rate quoted above.

The Days Inn

The Days Inn is conveniently situated at 117 Elm St. in downtown Sudbury central to Science North, Dynamic Earth, shopping centres, entertainment and sporting venues. The hotel offers newly renovated guest rooms, indoor pool and sauna, and a restaurant, Spencers Bistro, on site. All guest rooms are equipped with flat screen televisions, high speed wireless Internet, in room fridges, coffee makers, hair dryers and irons/ironing boards. Complimentary passes to Body Works Fitness Centre (next door to the Radisson) are available.

The hotel has blocked 25 rooms in total: 15 single bed rooms and 10 double bed rooms which are available to OHA attendees at $112.99 + 13% HST. To book a room, contact them directly at 1-800-329-7466 or 1 705-674-7517 and indicate that you are booking a room(s) for the Horticultural Convention or OHA Convention to ensure that you get the rate quoted above.

The Howard Johnson Plaza

The Howard Johnson, known familiarly as the HoJo, is located at 50 Brady St. It has been a 100% smoke free hotel since 2007. All rooms include working desk, ergonomic chair, phones with data ports and free wireless high-speed internet. The hotel is central to all area attractions and sporting facilities and provides free parking. Enjoy Bradys Dining Room, the Exchange Lounge and fitness room.

The hotel has blocked 40 non-smoking rooms in total offering either two double beds or a queen bed with sofa at a rate of $103.00 + 13% HST to OHA attendees. To book a room, contact them directly at 1-800-461-1144 and indicate that you are booking a room(s) for the Horticultural Convention or OHA Convention to ensure that you get the rate quoted above.

The Best Western

This stylish Sudbury hotel is located at 151 Larch St. and is close to the Sudbury Centre and Science North. It provides spacious guest rooms, free wireless high-speed Internet access and cable satellite television. Additional amenities at this hotel include a complimentary deluxe continental breakfast, exercise facility, onsite restaurant and cocktail lounge as well as free parking.

The hotel has blocked 15 rooms with two double beds at the rate of $119.95 + 13% HST and 10 rooms with 1 bed at $109.95 with 13% HST. To book a room, contact them directly at 1-800387-0697 and indicate that you are booking a room(s) for the OHA group to ensure you get the rate quoted above.

So dont delay. Be sure to book a room in downtown Sudbury for total enjoyment at next years OHA Convention. Its going to be out of this world!

Suzanne

Booking a Room at the Radisson

BOOKING A ROOM AT THE RADISSON

It has been a whirlwind of activity since the 2010 Convention was held in Barrie this past August. Confirming arrangements with speakers and workshop presenters, finalizing costs with the Radisson staff and nailing down a Letter of Agreement our Board could live with and a whole slew of other details related to the planning of next years 2011 OHA Convention in Sudbury have kept me hopping for some time now.

For the past few years, our Conventions have been held at college and university campuses which in some ways, has made the booking of rooms an easy task, largely because the educational facilities have numerous residences and a lot of rooms that can be potentially rented out. In the case of the Radisson Sudbury Hotel where our 2011 Convention will be held, there is a limited number of rooms.

Arrangements have been made with the hotel management team to block 120 rooms for OHA Convention attendees until June 15, 2011. After June 15th any rooms not booked will be released back into their inventory and available to the general public on a first come, first served basis. This block includes

· 40 rooms (2 double beds, main level) @ $115 + 13% HST

· 40 rooms (2 double beds, fridge, microwave) @$125 + 13% HST

· 30 rooms (1 queen bed, microwave, fridge) @$135 +13% HST

· 10 rooms (1 king bed, microwave, fridge) @ $135 +13% HST

I have personally stayed at the Radisson numerous times in 2009 and 2010 on both the main level as well as the upper floors and have found the rooms quite spacious, clean and comfortable. I slept like a top on the Sleep Number beds which adjust to how firm or soft you prefer your mattress and had no complaints. Rooms on the main level have access to the beautifully landscaped courtyard via balcony doors which can be an asset in the summer.

The web site www.radisson.com/sudbury-hotel-on-p3e4s4/onsudbur provides some photos and a description of the rooms.

Our cozy rooms have been carefully designed and are equipped with all the amenities guests need for a pleasant stay in Sudbury. Hotel rooms at the Radisson include in-room movies, free high-speed Internet and coffee makers. For extra comfort, select rooms feature the exclusive Sleep Number® bed that allows guests to adjust the mattress to their own level of comfort, as well as quality linens, down pillows and comforters. Need more room? We also offer spacious suites.

Additional amenities include: air conditioning, alarm clock, fax/modem ports, irons/ironing boards, complimentary newspapers and voice mail. There are a limited number of smoking rooms (most are non-smoking) and a few handicap accessible rooms available. Traveling with a pet? The Radisson is a pet friendly hotel that offers pet friendly rooms for an additional $30 + 13% HST required cleaning fee. Parking (indoor/outdoor) is complimentary.

To ensure that every guest has a pleasant stay, the Radisson offers a Fitness Centre, indoor pool, airport shuttle service (fee applies) and a babysitting service (not sure if this applies to spouses who have accompanied their wives or hubbies…hmmm.) Three hour Express Laundry service is also available as well as a coin-operated laundry facility.

Pestos Italian Eatery & Saloon, the on-site restaurant, offers great pasta and pizza. According to the web site, House specialities include our signature steaks, rack of lamb, the focaccia club sandwich and Black Forest dessert. Guests at the Radisson can also relax with a drink at the bar. They provide breakfast and lunch from 7 am- 2pm and dinner from 5-10 pm.

The Radisson Hotel is adjacent to the Rainbow Centre shopping mall (where our Convention program speakers will be presenting their talks in several of their theatres) and is within walking distance of other downtown restaurants, shops and hotels. The Radisson is also only a few kilometres from several popular local attractions, including the Big Nickel, Science North, the Inco Superstack and several great golf courses.

To book a room at the Radisson, contact Reservations at 1-800-395-7046 which is a toll-free number. State that you are booking a room(s) for the Horticultural Convention or OHA Convention to ensure that you are charged the guaranteed rates stated above. Confirmation s of bookings will be sent directly to the participants.

Check in time is 3 pm; check out time is 12 noon. A later check out time of 2 pm. (subject to availability) can be requested at no cost at the time of booking. If you have any other questions, contact the Radisson directly at (705) 675-1123.

If you want to be on site for all the Convention happenings, be sure to book your room(s) at the Radisson as soon as possible as they will go quickly.

Tomorrow I will provide info on other hotels within walking distance of the Radisson. In the meantime I have got to book a room…

Suzanne