The Ottawa Home + Remodelling Show attracted more than 15,000 visitors in its debut at the EY Centre, Jan. 21 to 24, 2016.

“The immense popularity of this show speaks to the current trends in renovations and remodelling. Homeowners are increasingly looking towards home improvement over relocation, and they want to consult experts to make sure it is done right,” says show manager Robert Johnstone.

HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler headlined the show on Saturday, Jan. 23, attracting more than 1,000 visitors at the main stage over his two presentations. One of Bryan’s key takeaways for the audience at the show was to take your time when hiring a contractor.

Bryan Baeumler

HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler speaks to more than 1,000 at The Ottawa Home + Remodelling Show

“Hiring a contractor is a lot like dating and getting married,” Baeumler told the crowd. It is a relationship, like any other, which must be based on comfort and trust to be successful. Without the proper foundation, things can quickly go sour and end up costing you a lot of money. Baeumler warns that you must safeguard yourself by doing your homework, calling references, and making sure you have a strong contract and insurance.

One of the other show presenters, Steve Barkhouse of Amsted Design-Build, provided his tips for a successful renovation, and a few key questions you should always ask references before hiring a contractor:

  • Did you enjoy working with the team?
  • Was the renovation area kept reasonably clean and organized?
  • What were the problems they encountered?
  • How did they react and resolve these problems?
  • If you had to do it all over again, would you?

Barkhouse says that if a reference responds that there were not any problems, this may not be a reliable reference. He says, “There are always problems. It’s how a team deals with these problems that is the real testament of a good contractor.”

Following the Ottawa Home + Remodelling Show is the Ottawa Home + Garden Show, taking place at the EY Centre, March 25 to 28. For more information on the upcoming show and to purchase tickets, visit the show’s website at