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(Updated 5:30 p.m., Jan. 31)
Thousands flock to Ottawa Health and Wellness Expo

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Looneyspoons co-author Janet Podleski spoke to a full house at the Ottawa Health and Wellness Expo on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

After freezing rain in 2014 and frigid temperatures last year, the Ottawa Health and Wellness Expo finally got a break from the weatherman this year resulting in a record turnout.

Over 5,000 people flocked to the Shenkmen Arts Centre on Saturday to get tips and information on everything from the health benefits of a gluten free diet to the fitness benefits of pole dancing.

"The crowds have been great," said vendor Brendan Gorman from Eating Well Ottawa. "I brought a thousand business cards and a thousand post cards and they were all gone by noon."

Eating Well Ottawa enables customers to order organic food products, including fresh produce, online and have them delivered to their door at a significant discount to grocery store prices.

The record crowds at this year's Health and Wellness Expo were drawn by a combination of great speakers and a diverse selection of exhibitors. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Among the many people who dropped by Gorman's booth was Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson who had nothing but good things to say about the Expo.

"I love these types of shows, because they promote our local small businesses, while also promoting the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle," said Watson.

Bellefleur Physiotherapy owner Jason Bellefleur has been promoting his business at the Expo for the past five years.

"From the time the doors opened it's been really steady. We're really happy with the turnout," said Bellefleur who also chairs the Orléans Chamber of Commerce.

180-Degree Fitness Centre owner Adrian Delorey has been coming to the Expo for the past eight years. He too was thrilled with both the crowds and the exposure.

"These are our people. The people of Orléans. If you're a business in Orléans that has anything to do with health or fitness you need to be here," said Delorey.

That type of vendor feedback is music to the ears of event organizer Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp, herself a local business women.

"It's been awesome this year. It's really, really exciting," said Beauchamp who is an author and the owner of the Sante Chiropractic and Wellness Centre. "Everybody seems to be having a good time. The people I've talked to are really happy with the diversity of our vendors and our keynote speakers have been really well received."

As for the attendance estimate, Beauchamp was very positive but equally noncommittal. "I will let you know this at the end of the day but you could be right," said Beauchamp grinning from ear to ear.

This year's keynote speakers were naturooath, Dr. Jonathan Beatty, and Looneyspoons author Janet Podelski.

Podelski regalled a full house in the 500-seat Bill Shenkman Hall with the story of how she and her sister Greta quit their jobs to focus on coming up with the recipes for their best- selling cookbook. She also gave a number of tips and strategies on how to eat, rather than how to diet.

Earlier in the day, several competitors battled it out for the Be Fit Challenge title. The eventual winner was Yves Lanthier who is a personal trainer Vtt Fitness in Vars.

This year's Leadership in Health Awards went to Francesca Davila from innergiZing in the Think Right category; Natalie Rivier from the Canadian School of Nutrition in the Eat Right category; and Ruth Lewis-Tratch from Radiant Horizons Health & Wellness picked up the reward in the Go Green category

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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