Council considers parking options for Canadian Dairy XPO

  • Council   Friday, January 13, 2023   Stewart Grant

With a ten-year history in the City of Stratford, the Canadian Dairy XPO has developed into the “Largest Dairy Stage in Canada” but with that comes some careful logistical considerations. 

Founder Jordon Underhill represented the Canadian Dairy XPO in a delegation before Stratford City Council at their meeting on January 9, 2023, asking for approval of angle parking on McCarthy Road for the three-year period from 2023 to 2025 for the two-day annual event, which this year would be Wednesday, April 5 and Thursday, April 6. 

Underhill explained that the activity on McCarthy Road would be primarily within the 7 to 9 a.m. on the two days of the show, with the intention being that vendors would fill these spaces early in the morning, thus leaving the Stratford Rotary Complex parking for the attendees.

The Canadian Dairy XPO hosts approximately 350 exhibitors from 32 different countries, making it a very significant event for the area. Underhill referenced a study completed five years ago which indicated that sales arising from the show generated $19.1 million in GDP for Perth County, $42.5 million in GDP for Ontario and $75.1 million in CDP across Canada.

Per the CDX website,, Stratford was chosen as the host city of CDX “as it is a rural location in the heart of Dairy Country. If you were to draw a circle 100km around Stratford, you would find the highest concentration of commercial dairy farms in the country.”

Councillor Bonnie Henderson said in response to the delegation, “Congratulations on being able to open up again, and I know a lot of people enjoying going there… it’s excellent that you’ve chosen Stratford to showcase this.”

Following the delegation, Council discussed the request and ultimately voted in favour of the staff recommendation which was a one-year approval of the McCarthy Road angle parking followed by development of a plan to introduce offsite parking beginning in 2024. 

Mark Hackett, Manager of Community Facilities, was on-hand to summarize his position for council, stating, “My recommendation for the development of offsite parking would be for the organizer, after the 2023 CDX, to come up with an alternative plan that they could use for an offsite parking location and then shuttle those patrons to the Rotary Complex from that parking site.”

Although McCarthy Road has been used in the past to service parking for the event, the growing residential neighbourhoods in the area have made safety concerns even more relevant, which was at the heart of the discussion.