As a motorsports enthusiast, I've been to my share of shows, but none so far has rivalled the sheer size and scope of the Toronto International Boat Show, the largest of its kind in Canada. Held over a nine-day period each year at Toronto's Enercare Centre, located on the Exhibition Place grounds, there is truly something for everyone at this massive event.
From January 20-27, boaters from all over Ontario and the rest of North America converge to talk about boats, see them, buy them, walk around in them, and generally enjoy a little touch of summer in the midst of the Canadian winter!
"The boat show is just fun, plain and simple," enthused our ticket seller Gina. "Plus, you can get better deals here than anywhere else." Within the show itself, the sheer variety of boats to be seen is incredible and, at times, even a bit overwhelming… whether you're a fan of North Channel cruising, Dunnville racing, Lake Nipissing fishing or relaxing with friends and family in Land O' Lakes—there's everything from classic and vintage boats to modern cabin cruisers, canoes, sailboats, yachts, fishing boats, pontoons, racing boats, personal watercraft… you name it, the list goes on.
Oh yeah, and if all that weren't enough, there's also the world's largest indoor lake for boaters. More than a million gallons worth, where spectators can enjoy demos by pro wakeboard and wake-skate riders, boat-handling tutorials and more, as part of the Winter Wake Fest show. Or, get in on the action yourself and take advantage of free boat rides in canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and inflatable boats, sponsored by Discover Boating.
I was lucky enough to visit the show mid-week, when traffic was relatively calm. A few people that I spoke with informed me that attendance so far this year seems down a little, perhaps due to the unseasonably warm weather, which may have drawn people to other goings-on around town. That being said, many of the show's visitors are very keen boaters, and they bring a lot of enthusiasm with them. Attendance is expected to spike as the show goes into its final weekend before closing.
If you haven't made it out yet, don't miss your chance!
This is one show that you don't want to miss, whether you're new to boating or an avid enthusiast—the Toronto International Boat Show is the place to be.