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From the Editor: Plant tour mania

Top Glass Ten looks like it’s going to be extra-special.

April 10, 2024  By Patrick Flannery

Holy smokes, did we ever get a huge reaction to our day of plant tours that we added on to the Top Glass schedule. The event “sold” out (it is free) within a month of registrations going active. If you aren’t registered by the time you read this, well, maybe next year. But do go ahead and join us at Moxies at the Sandman Signature afterwards. There’s no registration list for that one. 

For anyone who may have missed the memo, we’ve invited interested parties out to tour Bigfoot Door and Saand’s nearby fabrication plants on April 29, the day before the regular Top Glass conference and show on April 30 at the International Centre. The plants will run tours four times during the day, with attendees given their times to show up. We’re doing it that way so as to prevent any one tour getting overloaded…our hosts say they can’t easily accommodate more than 15-20 at a time and parking at some of the locations is limited. Trelleborg has stepped up to provide refreshments. 

It’s going to be a super-interesting opportunity for everyone to see glass heat treating, tempering, etching and lamination, along with IGU, custom fenestration and curtainwall fabrication. I particularly hope many of you from the design and architecture world come out to see what goes on behind the scenes. 

When you do something like this for the first time, you never know what the response is going to be. I was quietly ready to get a couple dozen of my closest friends to show up and to frame my photos carefully so as to make it look like more. Our industry organizations have struggled at times in recent years to fill up events, sometimes even with very good content. We blame the internet for making it less necessary to leave the office and industry consolidation for there just being fewer companies to invite. But people still like to get together when the event looks fun or interesting. 


The chance to learn more about these three big fabricators (and from them) won’t end at the plant tours. Ryan Spurgeon of Antamex, Andrew Dolphin of BVGlazing and Adam Franklin of Saand will join me on stage at Top Glass the next day for a state-of-the-industry panel discussion. For that talk, we’re going to add Ray Wakefield of Trulite for extra interest and expertise. I like it: first we tour the facilities, then we talk to the managers. 

Another gratifying thing as we round out a full decade of Top Glass is to see how our relationships with this industry’s associations and organizations have grown. When we started, it was pretty much just the Ontario Glass and Metal Association helping us out. As “founding partners” they will always have a special place at Top Glass and present their Award of Excellence there. But now we welcome the Architectural Glass and Metal Contractors Association, IUPAT, the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance and Fenestration Canada, too. Make sure to visit the ever-lively Association Row and say hi to the people who dedicate their time so generously for all of us. 

All told, it looks like Top Glass is going to be a little extra special on its 10th anniversary. See you at Top Glass! •

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