Billed as the world’s largest of its kind, The Toronto International Snowmobile, ATV & Powersports Show has been a staple event for powersports enthusiasts since the mid-1980s. This year, the three-day event took place once again at the Toronto International Center from October 20-22, celebrating it’s 30th anniversary and was bigger and better than ever.
It’s become known as a “must attend” event circled on the calendars of enthusiasts around the province, country, and world. I remember my first experience at the show came back in 2003, while on assignment to cover a freestyle motocross demo taking place at the show. That year it was held outside on a mulch track, with just a metal kicker (the take-off jump) and dirt landing ramp carefully placed between two of the exhibit halls.
Show organizer Richard Kehoe (an ex-pro snowcross racer in his own right) went above and beyond, as he often does, and secured well-known U.S freestyle riders Seth Enslow and Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg of The Metal Mulisha to perform for eager crowds. Canadian FMX original Jason Thorne was also brought in to round out the powerhouse talent. The freestyle jump demo would eventually morph into an all snowmobile line up of world-class riders (many of which have resumes stocked with X Games gold medals).
Though at first glance, it would seem like the popularity of the aerial acrobatics puts it front and centre, there’s much more to the show. Because of its size, there’s something for everyone, all under one roof. It serves both ends of the spectrum from the big OEM manufacturers showing off their current line-ups, right down to small local business owners looking to sell products and services to show-goers in search of a great deal. Some shows are considered “display-only,” while this one is proud to be a “buying show.”
The 2017 addition had all the major manufacturers on-site: Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha, Polaris, Arctic Cat and BRP/Skidoo. Each had generous displays with all the current units on hand, allowing potential buyers the rare opportunity to see and touch all the competing products in one location, as well as knowledgeable reps from each company to answer questions.
A newer addition to the event was the Ontario Tourism Travel Pavilion; any operators related to travel and tourism, from lodge owners to off-road trail tours were grouped in the same section helping families plan their next off-road vacation. I found this to be particularly cool because I’ve worked with so many of these great people over the years and it gave me an opportunity to catch up with some familiar faces, as well as seeing my work showcased on numerous booth displays.
Some other attractions of note this year included: the Custom Sled Village (Innovative custom snowmobile designs), Dayco 120cc races (mini snowmobiles piloted by kids battling head-to-head on a synthetic race track), used snowmobile parts salvage, antique and classic sleds dating back to 1959, OFSC Driver Training, ATV Rider Training, Honda Junior Red Riders, North Bay Snowmobile Speed Runs (Drag sleds), Ontario Watercross Association (sleds specifically designed to race on water), Team Empire live motorcycle stunts, and the ever-popular Ultimax Freestyle Event headlined by 12x X Games gold medalist Heath Frisby.
Over the course of 3 days, my Fitbit activity tracker recorded more than 10,000 steps per day meandering through the many halls trying to take in as much powersports joy as one person can handle. As I navigated through thick crowds back to my car, one thing was clear: as long as shows like these exist, the future of the industry will continue to thrive and flourish.
For more information on attending the 2018 show as a vendor or fan click on http://www.torontosnowmobileatvshow.com